28 August 2010

Stage Check I: Passed

One of the landings from my first solo
The oral test was no problem. I learned the significance of the "Zero Fuel" weight limitation that some airplanes have (it limits stress on the wings and airframe that would otherwise be caused by a heavily loaded fuselage with little weight in the wing tanks), where to look for the usable runway lengths during Land-and-Hold-Short (LAHSO) operations, the significance of the asterisk in aforementioned A/FD entries, and generally how to handle the oral portion of the FAA practical test. All very good stuff.

It was pretty choppy, probably the choppiest air I've flown in, yet. The sky was full of puffy cumulus clouds, which guarantees there will be some turbulence.  I usually fly early in the morning, and the ground hasn't had time to heat and form convective currents.  I will try to schedule more afternoon lessons to get more experience in chop. 

I didn't get lost or get anywhere near busting the Dulles class B airspace and SFRA, which were my primary concerns.  And I tried to keep my head on a swivel for traffic.  But the maneuvers were really bad: I couldn't maintain heading control due to insufficient right rudder during slow flight.  I made the mistake of pitching down to break the power-off stall, which you absolutely don't want to do because the manuever simulates a stall occurring close to the ground in a landing configuration (you must minimize altitude loss).  My steep turns were passable: I held my altitude, but I overshot the heading on the first one because I intended to do a 360 instead of a 180 degree turn. 

My landings at Warrenton and Manassas were atrocious.  The approach at Warrenton was awful--airspeed control on the base turn again--and at Manassas, I initially locked on to runway 34R before turning final (that's the fourth time!). 

I don't know how, but I passed without requiring any additional remedial instruction or restrictions (you really have to work to outright fail).  That feat was accomplished by the skin of my teeth.  I'm frustrated because I think I should be more competent during the final approach and landing at this stage of training.  I will persevere, though.  There is no doubt that flight training is one of the more difficult things I've attempted.

Flight time this lesson: 1.1 hours dual
Total time to date: 0.5 hours solo, 13.7 hours dual, 1.0 hours simulated instrument

No comments:

Post a Comment