Sunday, September 25, 2005
Flying Lesson #53: Stage Check
Today I had a stage check with the chief flight instructor, the purpose of which was to check whether I am competent to make long solo cross-country flights. As with the last stage check, there was an oral examination, followed by a flight portion, then a debrief.
I won't go into all the details of what went right and what went wrong. In general, I did fine. However, I did get lost, which is not good when trying to demonstrate competence at cross-country navigation. The chief flight instructor was able to give me some valuable advice:
If you look at the map more often, you are less likely to get lost.
I know that's screamingly obvious to everyone else on the planet, but Kris The Idiot Boy needed the hint.
For my cross-country navigation, I have been relying a lot on dead reckoning, which means making calculations determining where the plane will be at a specified time given an initial position, heading, speed, and wind drift. I fly the right heading for the right period of time, pull out the chart to see if I'm where I should be, then neatly stow the chart out of the way to keep the cockpit nice and tidy. Instead, I should have the chart in front of me all the time, and should be noting my position mile by mile.
The chief instructor had a couple of pages of notes for other things I could do better, but there were no other big mistakes. I am now cleared for the final stage of training, consisting of a couple of cross-country flights (including a 400-mile trip) and then getting ready for the checkride.
Logged today: 1.2 hours dual in N4363D, with one takeoff and one landing, and 0.3 hours simulated instrument conditions. Cost (including 3.7 hours chief-instructor time): $455.