KHEF 171415Z AUTO 09006KT 10SM OVC060 M01/M11 A3030 RMK AO1The wind aloft was light, so I used Route 29 and Route 17 as the reference for my S-Turns. A nearby silo served as the reference for turns about a point. I was sloppy with heading control on that one.
I headed back to HEF and attempted a no-flap approach on runway 16R. I had never done these in calm winds or during the daytime before. As advised, I tried to hold my normal approach speed of 65 KIAS. I really noticed the missing drag that the flaps provide: if I pitched down to adjust the airspeed, the clean airplane accelerated quickly. As a result I was a little fast. Without the helpful drag of the flaps, the airplane floated considerably. This gave the crosswind time to work. I am much better at holding the runway centerline on the approach using a sideslip now, but I still have to consciously fight the urge to land with the wings level rather than on one wheel. I made that mistake today, and had struggled to re-establish the correction right before touchdown. Consequently, I landed well to the right of the centerline and made the A4 turn off. Good thing I wasn't being graded on that one.
The next no-flap approach was high and I went around. Next attempt, I used a forward slip but I released it a bit too early and floated it down the runway. The remaining landings were soft- and short-field maneuvers, and I still was fighting the compulsion to land wings-level.
I used the soft-field technique for all of the takeoffs today. With less-than-full fuel tanks and just me in the airplane, it was shocking how quickly the C-172P picked it's mains up off the runway. I was also surprised how much control force was needed to hold it in ground effect.
So I have a few things to make sure that I don't repeat during the stage check later this week, but I'm confident that I'll do a better job this time.
Flight time today: 1.5 hrs Solo/PIC
Total time to date: 58.5 hrs total, 45.5 hrs dual, 13.0 hrs Solo/PIC