Lesson 100 started out most promisingly - I got there early and the winds were calm, visibility fine and it wasn't as cold as it has been the past few days. This is good as the furnace at home went tango uniform last night and the part to fix it won't be available until Monday at the earliest. Anyways, back to the flying stuff.
A nice preflight with no frost or snow or ice on the plane to speak of, fuel tanks pleasantly full and oil at 6. Since everything checked out and I was early, I added another quart to bring it to 7 as that is both lucky and good for the plane.
I was rather determined this would be a good lesson and was thinking positively and trying to brush aside all them negative waves.
Bobby then joined me and it would again be a no instrument (except for occasional glances at the altimeter) kind of lesson.
Considering the winds were calm to 5 knots this was a good opportunity for that.
Normal taxi etc and I was feeling good. Excellent no looking takeoff and i was getting the feel of the plane nicely. Good pattern, decent landing and taxi off to do it again. Even better takeoff, great pattern, come around for landing and on touch down it became problematic.
The shimmy dampener failed most impressively with the entire plane shaking. Brakes felt off as well. While the tower want us to turn off at Kilo we stated we were unable due to some serious braking issues and they had a plane behind us go around. We got off farther down the runway and taxi'd on back to Flight 101 to terminate.
That was it.
Hilariously enough, N757MK had headed out after we pulled in to park and it then had a complete steering failure and was stuck on the taxiway and had to be brought back via tug. If they lose Papa Romeo today then all 3 172s will be down.
With plenty of extra time on my hands, I drove over to the Piper-flying school on the field and talked with them and I think I'm going to make the switch. Very professional, solid layout, 7 trainers plus more advanced aircraft and mirabile dictu, a solid syllabus approach (which would have to be modified in my case).
On the one hand I think that Bob (who taught previously at the Piper school) really is a good instructor (and the Piper guy affirmed that he is too - he left there over non-instructional differences not due to any flying issues) and does want to get me straightened out, undo the screw ups by prior instructors and get me where I need to be, and I do like him and think I'm learning from him and I tend to be a bit too loyal, to my own detriment, sometimes. The problem is that if it is not the weather, then its the aircraft at Flight 101 that will likely hold me back even as I finally have an instructor that is set on getting me forward. The Piper place will cost more and the transition will eat more time.
In addition, it turns out that Crosswinds from Howell will be opening a satellite school at KPTK, but possibly not soon enough to matter.
So it was an economical lesson with .4 slowing my inexorable increase in hours and 2 landings. Overall was a darn good lesson that should have been longer but may just be enough to put me in a Piper.
Update: papa Romeo was also no-fly for students (but ok for instructors only) due to a similar nose gear problem.
Update: I called and made an appointment at the DCT, the Piper school at the airfield.