Got to fly the other day. What a relief. I hadn’t flown a plane, take-off, and landing in a long time. I’ve been under the weather and wasn’t sure today was any better. But I had a safety net. My IP.
I couldn’t get myself together until the afternoon. I wondered if my “under the weather” was exacerbated by my concern that I might have lost all my flying skills so reluctant to go prove it.
I talked with the IP. He questioned me & asked if I had recently reviewed the POH. (Operating Handbook)
Me: Define “recent”.
We reviewed a few things. I remembered most of it after my first answer which was: Blank stare.
With some prompting to get my brain in gear in the right direction, I shook out the cobwebs and remembered.
He asked me to describe the engine. Works on Avgas?
He asked me if the primer and the fuel pump worked on the same pump.
Blank stare. Hey, you never asked me that the first time I was learning.
IP: Yes. One is low level, the other is high level.
Me: Got it. Makes sense.
IP: So if you have a fire in your engine, you sure want to make sure the primer is off. Or if it’s flooded. Or at altitude – you may starve the engine of air.
IP went through a few more scenarios and I answered correctly. Yay me.
We went out to the plane. I did the outside check. We got in. I reviewed the checklist – realized I hadn’t checked something on the outside and so got myself out of the plane (no easy task) – checked the lights, and climbed back in. That’s what checklists are for.
I went thru the start checklist and everything went smoothly.
I told the IP that while I had flown with Gen Y a lot in the last few months, I had done no landings. I wasn’t comfortable in the other plane, a tail dragger, yet to land it with other than a current IP watching alertly my every move. But I had done many approaches and take-offs.
After the run-up, we briefed emergencies and what we were going to do.
We took off and headed out to the practice area. He had me do a basic turn to a heading. Check.
Then he had me do some steep turns right away. At first we did not so steep – 30 degrees. Not bad. Then I did a steep turn – a bit too steep – at 60 degrees. IP: That was pretty good given you were at 60 degrees – but steep turns are at 45 degrees so let’s do that.
We went around a second time once I got stabilized. Each direction.
IP: You’re fine – just keep that horizon on the same spot on your dash. You just need a little practice.
Me: Get a little confused - the horizon is lumpy (mountains).
IP (knowing me – laughed – not buying it): Draw a straight line thru the lumps.
I realized I was actually fairly comfortable looking out and checking the gauges – alternating. Really relaxed.
We then did a power on stall – fairly recreating a stall on take-off.
Then we set up for a power-off stall – but before we got there a little slow flight – with a turn to a specific heading. Check.
IP reminded me even though turning left in a climbing turn, still needed a little right rudder and that I needed to watch the ball in slow flight and do coordinated shallow turns.
Then a power off stall. Pitch, power, okay.
We headed back to the airport for some touch and go’s. On the way, the IP pulled the power and said emergency landing simulation. What do you do?
I pointed to a spot to land, found the 75 stay alive speed. Then he had me go thru the checklist to try to “re-start” the engine. I went thru the list, simulating some of it.
He was satisfied I would be able to land the plane if the engine cut out.
We headed back to the airport.
First landing: IP said: Great short field landing.
Comes from flying a taildragger.
As Gen Y said afterwards: First landing A+. Right on the numbers. And great tight pattern.
The second one, IP suggested I wait a little longer to add the second set of flaps – so if engine out, I had time. So landed a little longer. General Y gave me an A.
The third one was a little long as well – intentionally. It was a practice engine out. IP had said, if I have to add power, don’t worry – this is a practice. Well, I didn’t have to add power. Woo hoo. And the landing was a kiss.
We took off and decided to go all the way around and land the opposite direction – it has its own challenges – a big downdraft usually at the end of the runway – and it’s uphill.
We turned on the lights – still a bit light out so they didn’t come on but the Vasi lights did.
I had turned a little early – and was going to extend my base a little. Instead we headed in and slipped it. This time, I kept the slip at a good speed and when we got within the red and white lights, straightened out and prepared to land.
We were over the runway as it rushed up a little faster being uphill. I thought in plenty of time to look down to the end of the runway and….
We landed no problem – another kiss the ground and we still could slow down enough to turn off at the mid section.
We taxied in. I even put the plane back exactly in the spot where I left. Not even an inch off.
I was pretty thrilled – I could still fly. I appreciated the pointers, too. My IP was happy – enjoys flying with a keen student. He said: It shows that you fly a lot with General Yeager, one of the best stick and rudder pilots. He’s obviously keeping you in shape and teaching you a lot.
And Gen Y said later: I knew you would be a good pilot.