For Lesson 114 today I was half expecting it to be JAFGS. Rain was coming down and it was pretty low overcast but still showing VFR.
Since they don't cancel for weather I drove over there and was happy to get the checkout book and key for N1869H from the receptionist.
I then met Marcus, who would be my instructor for the lesson and I headed out to preflight the plane.
No issues, but the starter is being a bit of a pain when you have to turn it to the right and at just the right time push the key in and hold it which annoys me every damn time as it's kinda fussy.
Other than that, startup was fine, taxi and run-up were fine and he seemed impressed at how smooth I was doing things.
Takeoff was good from 9L and winds at 7 knots from 110 so there was practically no crosswind, and we headed to the northeast.
As we did so we left the happy visibility hole of Pontiac and the rain was constant and the ceiling around 3,500. So we stayed below that, got about 9 miles form Pontiac's airspace and started practicing maneuvers as clouds were below 3,000 in every direction after that.
Slow flight was good and he showed me a few things to watch to improve it. Power off stall was good. Power on stalls he wanted full power once takeoff speed was hit and really crank back far and quickly - with no real horizon due to the clouds/haze this was kinda interesting as it felt the plane was heading straight up before it finally would stall. Overall not bad though.
Then we headed back to Pontiac to do some patterns and I did them quite well. Then we did short field takeoffs (overall quite good, just need to hold Vy (76 knots) after clearing the obstacle at Vx (64 knots)) and landings and I'm finding that landing an Archer on a short field is either a lot easier than a 172 or I'm actually improving at this, or something, as I did it with no serious problems all by my happy self and Marcus thought I did it very well indeed.
Then on to a soft field takeoff which was good enough but I think could use a little more polish, and a soft field landing that he said was great.
Marcus after I finished the soft field landing said "Well we just have to finish polishing you up just a little bit, I expect a couple more lessons setup as mock check-rides with some emergency maneuvers, cleanup your power on stall a bit, and you'll be ready to be signed off and go.
Says I: "Great, but I kinda still need to get endorsed to solo in an Archer first".
Marcus: "Yes that would be required, I'll send an email to Ray that I think you're ready".
Wow, I might just be back to where I was last August and the status of "You're practically ready". Wheee!
I'd still say it was a very good lesson and I must be improving, as it felt rather good the entire time and I had it all down rather nicely.
That's 6 landings and 1.7 more hours on the clock.