Thursday, September 17, 2015

Flying Lesson #10 - More Landings And No It's Not A Jar, It's A Door

Another beautiful morning for flying.

Winds calm, skies clear, couldn't ask for a better morning.

So I do the preflight on N73445 and I notice the fuel is either half empty if you're a pessimist or half full if you're an optimist, and the oil is low.

So I get the tanks filled up as the fuel truck is coming by, I add a quart of oil and the preflight is completed.

The instructor arrives and it's to pattern work I go.

Good startup, excellent taxi and pre-takeoff checks are all good. I get first a hold short and then a line up and wait instruction and I comply with both.

Then cleared for takeoff with a right pattern, I confirm and then throttle smoothly in full, heels on the floor, holding right rudder, air speed's alive, and we're off. A nice smooth takeoff.

Climb to 1,500 do a right turn for the crosswind, up to 1,800 and then turn to the downwind.

I got a little behind the airplane the first couple landings - creeping above 1,800 on the downwind, then doing the carb heat, power back and flaps all abeam the runway. Sean indicated I can do some of that earlier and should reduce power more and earlier on the downwind leg.

I did manage to worry myself nicely on a turn from base to final which was too tightly banked and sucked, but I retrieved it and I made the landing ok. That one I did not enjoy.

Sean then did a pattern and pointed out some areas for improvement and we kept going and I did improve.

The next touch and go I proceeded to takeoff and during the climb to pattern altitude I felt a bit of pressure at my left arm, which is kinda strange. I do a quick look over and down, and I see the door handle is coming up. This is not supposed to happen.

I hold it down with my elbow and keep flying the plane.

It keeps wanting to come up.

I hand the controls over to Sean and then press down firmly on it and it still wants to come up.

So I do the next landing to a full stop and we go to the run-up area and check the door. It is still latched firmly closed, testing it from the outside shows the movement of the handle isn't causing it to open, but the inside handle doesn't seem to have any tension when it is in the closed position and it wants to keep coming up and not remain in the fully closed position. It's not a serious issue as the door remains happily shut and I just keep my elbow on it for the rest of the lesson. The door does not become ajar at any time in the flight.

Then we start doing a few more patterns and more landings and my last two are the best ones yet. On those I'm effectively ahead of, rather than behind, the airplane and much smoother during the entire process.

That's 1.2 more flying hours and 8 more landings with some good improvement and more responsibility transferred over to me.


juvat said...

Dealing with distractions while flying is an important skill to have. Think of what you'll have to deal with the first time you take Murph up. A door opening in flight will be a child's play in comparison.

Brigid said...

My first solo there's this great clatter and bang on the outside of the airplane where when I closed the door after the instructor without making sure the seat belt was in. I did what my instructor told me, ignore the distractions, they can kill you, fly the dang plane. I felt a little stupid after that first landing having to open the door, secure the seat belt and take off again while he was laughing from the side of the runway.

Aaron said...

juvat: An excellent and true point indeed. I can hear ML going "Oooh, Look! Squirrel!" already.

Brigid: Great story. I had just read before that lesson that a door opening while noisy is no big deal in a Cessna and to just fly the airplane, which I did.