Monday, July 31, 2017

Flying Lesson #143 - More Checkride Prep

Yesterday was a beautiful day to go flying.

Winds were calm, cloud layer only starting around 6,000 feet, both main runways open (18/36 is still closed) and life is good. Flying with Ray today and he says it will be a practice checkride.

So I taxi up and do a soft field takeoff to the Northwest and get a check-ride shakeout.

I navigate towards Linden and then we divert away towards the North-East-ish so we stay out of Flint's Class C and then start some maneuvering.

I do slow flight, and apparently the examiners now want you to slowly settle into slow flight at 2,000 RPM and hold altitude until the speed slowly bleeds off rather than cutting it to 1,500 RPM and quickly dropping the flaps in while maintaining altitude as the speed quickly bleeds off. This makes it feel like it is taking forever to get into slow flight.

I then do power off and power on stalls. On the Power on stall, the plane does not want to stall, especially when done how the examiner will want it - full power once you hit 60 knots. You practically have to get an Archer standing on its tail to stall in that configuration and that tends to lead to a snap roll of the pane onto its back and into a stall-spin which is not happy making. Basically, as soon as you add power you need to yank the yoke back for all that it is worth while keeping the wings level and right rudder in and try to get it to stall before you've gone vertical.

Then we did turns around a point, climbed back up and he yanked the throttle on me for an engine out forced landing practice, which went well and I did all the required steps and would have made it into the landing field etc.

Then we climbed back up and he did something an examiner has recently one to another student: "I smell smoke and there's a fire under the instrument panel."

So, a simulated electrical fire then.

Simulate turning off the master switch, telling passenger to grab the fire extinguisher and smother then flames, drop the nose, reduce power so I don't red line (or yellow line) the plane and dive for an emergency landing spot. What fun.

Declaring that we survived that, I get to navigate us back to Pontiac sans GPS which I do ok by first climbing and then finding Oxford (it has a really nice beach with very blue water that stands out nicely from any other lake around - I'm talking really,, really bright blue) and thence heading back to Pontiac from there.

Tower wants me on an angling right base for 27R and the instructor wants a short field landing. So I setup for a short field and all is well, get to my touchdown point still going great and just about to touch and a heat wave off the runway balloons us up nicely. So I just hold the angle and land once the plane settles.

Before you ask, it's not just me - every plane is ballooning right by that spot - a Citabria, a Cirrus, a Cessna, an Aviat Husky, everyone is getting that same ballooning updraft just before touchdown on the runway.

We do some short and soft field takeoffs and landings. On one particular landing, the wind without any prior notice kicks up to 10 knots from 350 as we're landing - "Oh, that's why you landed left of center on that one". Then the wind goes away as if it was never there. Nice.

Anyways, not a bad lesson, landings were all good, takeoffs were fine and the stuff in between worked out well enough. I apparently need to hold my heading better while doing slow flight and stalls, but other than that it was quite good.

1.3 and 4 landings.

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