19 July 2010

First Lesson

I decided to enroll in the Part 141 flight school where I did the demo flight, and today I took my first lesson. Part 141 schools have a standardized training syllabus, and my school uses the Jeppesen training materials. Back in June I started working through the King Schools Private Pilot course. The King Schools software is good and should help me prepare for the FAA written test, so I'm not kicking myself too hard for buying it ahead of picking a school. So after filling out all of the enrollment paperwork and going over a few ground school topics, I pre-flighted the same C172 from the demo flight, taxied, and did pattern work: 5 takeoffs and 5 full-stop landings. I made most of the radio calls to the tower, and I am starting to get the hang of communications. Taxiing was still a little rough, but better than before. I felt more comfortable with the airplane this time, but I still have lots to work on:
  • During takeoff, I wasn't assertive enough on rotation and skipped the tires once
  • I was pretty sloppy keeping the runway heading after takeoff
  • I had a hard time maintaining a reference on the crosswind turn (wing gets in the way?) So I would just kept turning until it felt about long enough
  • I seemed to always want to make the base turn too soon
  • At one point, I attempted to line up my final approach on the parallel runway Very embarassing. I'd look at the instruments to check airspeed, etc., and lose focus on where I was
  • Landing will take a lot more practice. Without coaching, I don't think I would know when to round out and flare. I was high on final, I was low on final, fast, and slow. I haven't gotten the pitch for airspeed, power for altitude technique down at all: I just leaned on my CFI to tell me when to add or remove power.
Despite all the mistakes, it was a lot of fun. My instructor is very patient. Can't wait until Wednesday, weather permitting. Flight time this lesson: 1.1 hours dual Total flight time to date: 1.6 hours dual

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