Saturday, November 14, 2015

Flying Lesson #22 - Happier Landings

So this morning I had a lesson booked with Will so I headed to the airport, did the pre-flight and got the plane ready to go.

Winds were 8-10 knots,most of the time straight down the runway but occasionally were fickle and shifting to give a nice crosswind.

More pattern practice was the order of the day.

I had a cunning plan. A plan so cunning it had graduated from Oxford with an advanced degree in cunning.

I explained to Will that I was having problems getting a stabilized approach down, and I asked him to let me do pretty much everything on the first pattern around as he watched and let me know what I was doing wrong and to critique the hell out of it.

So off we went.

I did a nice taxi and takeoff as always so that part is nice and consistent.

The I turned crosswind and reduced power as we got near pattern altitude, which is an improvement for me so it was nice and we ended up right on the altitude instead of going over as I tended to do.

Then abeam the runway I added carb heat, reduced power to 1500 RPM and then added flaps - all much smother than before.

I had a bit too much of a downward pitch in my turn from downwind to base, and then made the turn from base to final a bit to early (which I tend to do - I may be subconsciously trying to really avoid runway 27L's flight path as I line up on 27R), so I had to fight to shift over to the left as the winds had also just shifted, so it was not a stable approach. Got it down with a decent slow flight over the runway with increasing pitch to flare and not a terrible landing. Then go and do it again.

Will pointed out two things that made a huge difference - 1. Keep each turn to 20 degrees, and pitch up the nose a bit before entering the turn, I was pitching up after entering the turn which just made for a sharper angle and causing the diving down problem from downwind to base, and 2. Don't turn so early from base to final but again keep it 20 degrees and get lined up on the runway so I don't have to fight my way over while landing.

Huge difference following that advice. I wasn't fighting the plane nearly as much on final and could have a nice stable approach and adjust as needed with the minute adjustments that should be used rather than all over the place as I was doing.

The pattern and approaches got much better after that and even with the fickle crosswind the landings started becoming pretty nice and right on the glide slope.

It was a busier day with lots of traffic in the pattern and wake turbulence advisories from numerous jets taking off, including a good wake turbulence one for a falcon jet that took off in tandem with us - we started and rotated first, but he passed us in the air and climbed away like we were standing still.

We also had a tower ordered go-round when a plane dawdled on the runway when we were on short final. I put the throttle all the way in, carb heat off, brought the flaps up as the airspeed rose and sidestepped to the right of the runway where we were then directed to do an early crosswind about mid-field, and back to the downwind we went and around for a landing. Kinda neat.

That's 1.1 more hours and 10 more landings.


Home on the Range said...

Sounds like you have a top notch instructor. I got lucky, my instructor was a carpenter by trade that gave lessons for extra money for his brood of 7 sons. He'd been flying 30 years, and with seven boys, his nerves weren't easily rattled. I'm alive today because of what he taught me.

Aaron said...

Yes, my instructors have been great so far.

Both have different teaching styles. Sean is more hard-nosed and exacting/critical. Will is a bit more encouraging and more focusing on the good aspects while working on fixing the bad aspects. I learn a lot from both of them.

So far at least I haven't put a serious scare in either of them.

Apparently one of Sean's students last week on final instead of pulling the throttle back pulled the mixture out which caused some concern....He's rather careful about watching student's hands at that point now.