Saturday, January 16, 2016

Flying Lesson #36 - Going Places, Landing Soft, Landing Short, And Both Short And Soft Field Takeoffs

Today the weather was finally decent enough for flying. Winds were generally from 290-300 degrees and around 10-15 knots so we were using runway 27R.

Before we started, Sean let me know that today's flight would be a tour of the dimensions of the practice area, and we would have a diversion on the way to the first waypoint of the practice area, Lapeer airfield. He went over the methods for doing a diversion including quickly estimating distance, time and fuel on the fly from quickly using the paper map. Then Sean went over short field takeoffs and landings and soft field field takeoffs and landings.

Then I went out and pre-flighted N73455 and got ready to takeoff, got taxi clearance and then had clearance to takeoff for a flight to the northeast.

Sean announced this would be a short field takeoff, so I started from the edge of the runway, stood on the breaks and applied full power then took off and trimmed at Vx, best angle of climb speed. Then once I had cleared the "obstacle" I re-trimmed for best cruise climb and then turned to the northeast.

I then navigated via the map towards Lapeer, flying at 3,500 feet and leaning the mixture for better fuel economy, following the roads and looking for terrain features to confirm where I was. I found the airport, which was a little hard to pick out, and then announced my location on the CTAF (the common radio frequency for that field) and then descended to pattern altitude and entered the downwind leg of the pattern. Then I turned base and final and Sean announced the runway was not "suitable" for landing so we had to divert.

He then told me to fly to Romeo, and to give him the estimated course, distance and time it would take to get there. I then gave him some estimates that he was happy with and we headed on that course to Romeo.

We arrived over Romeo and again I headed to pattern altitude and then did a short field landing. Then I taxied back to the start of the runway and did a soft field takeoff.

Soft field takeoffs are fun - you keep moving without slowing from the taxiway to the runway, adding 10 degrees of flaps while having the yoke all the way back to get the nose wheel off the ground and the airplane flying as soon as possible. At 45 knots the plane takes off, which is too slow for it to fly, so you need to keep it about 10 feet off the ground so it stays in ground effect and builds up speed until you can leave ground effect and fly the plane. Once you get up to speed you can retract the flaps.

That was a lot of fun - With the yoke back, as the plane accelerated down the runway I did a wheelie down the field until I took off and then I leveled it out in ground effect and watched the airspeed rise and then was able to get it flying out of ground effect. Tons of fun.

Then we headed back to KPTK.

On closing to 11 miles from the airfield, I radioed the tower and got instructions to enter a right base at two miles. I figured out what that meant in terms of my relative position to the field, and it actually made sense, which was cool.

Then I did a soft field landing which was a lot of fun to do - again you want to keep the nose wheel off the ground as long as possible.

My landings were darn nice as were my takeoffs, and it was a great and fun lesson where pretty much everything worked nicely and it felt great. Now I'm allowed to roam around the practice area solo and Sean is going to endorse me to land at Romeo so I have an uncontrolled field to practice on. This should be fun.

Then I dropped Sean off at the FBO as he needed to get his car there after doing some aircraft ferrying, taxied back to the flight school on my own and shut the plane down and secured it.

That was 2 landings and 1.3 hours of a very enjoyable lesson indeed.

If the weather holds and conditions are good, the next lesson will be a dual cross country that I need to plan and then fly.


Murphy's Law said...

Good job. Sounds like you're coming along now.

Aaron said...

Ml: Yep, it's getting there. I need to tighten everything up to meet the PTS standards, not to mention get a lot more requirements out of the way but the basics seem to be finally clicking.