Saturday, August 29, 2015

Flying Lesson #6 - Steep Turns And Stalls, Now With More Power!

Lesson 6 began at 8am this morning much like any other lesson.

I did the pre-flight on N73455 and everything looked good with oil at the right level and full tanks.

I started her up and she caught with no problems. I called Ground and got permission to taxi.

We began to taxi and ...ruh roh. I couldn't do a decent left turn even hammering on the left pedal and brake for all it was worth. Neither could the instructor. So, it wasn't just me.

It turns out we had no left brake.

The cylinder was cracked in a non-visible location and there was no brake fluid showing when I did the pre-flight inspection but after we got started to move there was no left brake at all.

So we cancelled the taxi, and brought the plane back to the start position.

The we signed out N755PR, the plane in which I did my intro flight.

Again, we did the pre-flight and I started her up, and after learning how the radios worked on this bird (they're configured differently from N73455) we got permission to taxi.

It may have just been mental, but this bird taxied like a smooth dream.

I called tower and got permission to take off and again, the takeoff was my best ever. I found I was a lot less tense than I had been on previous takeoffs, which certainly helped.

Then, we flew out to the practice area and climbed to 3,500 feet, again all was smooth as silk.

First, we did clearing turns and then did slow flight in the dirty configuration and I had quite a bit of fun doing it, including a turn to the right with the stall horn blaring. I successfully turned a full 180 degrees without losing altitude or causing a stall.

Next we did Power On Stalls.

A power on stall demonstrates the stall that can occur when you goof up on a go around or you take off from the runway with too high an angle of attack, leading to a stall at a very bad time indeed. Sean first demonstrated and noted that the break after such a stall was a lot more pronounced than during a power off stall.

It certainly was. The stall had a very pronounced drop and right wing dip. Recovery is simply getting the nose down to break the stall, leveling the wings, letting the speed build and then back to level flight.

Then it was my turn for doing the power on stall: Clearing turns done, Carb heat on, throttle lowered with the pitch held until takeoff speed is reached, then add power and pull back on the yoke so your feet are at the horizon and hold until you get a stall.

And Stall! Whoah! Feel that drop!

And recover.

We did that a few times and I had it down and Sean said I handled it very well indeed with good recoveries and minimal loss of altitude.

Then on to steep turns. Sean demonstrated 30, 45 and 60 degree steep turns. Then I did 30 and 45 degree turns to both left and right and again I had it nailed with both maintaining altitude and leveling off at the appropriate heading at the end of the turn. For some reason, with Papa Romeo the left steep turn is more difficult than the right steep turn and required a lot more left rudder on the left steep turn and not as much right rudder on the right steep turn which is just about the opposite of every other Cessna 172 out there. Weird but it worked.

After that we headed back to the airport and I handled the radio calls starting 10 miles out. It was starting to get rather traffic-y out there.

After our initial call we were instructed to first contact them when we reached 3 miles, which we did. Then we were instructed to turn wide to the south due to traffic. Then we were cleared in as number 2 to land and I got her lined up on runway 25R as instructed.

Right after I got her lined up on 27R and Sean had taken over for the landing, we got an instruction to quickly shift over to 27L as a helicopter was landing right by 27R. Sean handled it smoother than silk, and I must say it's fun to watch a pro who knows what he's doing and worthy of emulation.

So we got to land in tandem with a helicopter which was fun to watch, and after landing I called ground for taxi permission and took the bird back to the flight school.

That's 1.3 more flying hours in the log.

Sean stated I had nailed that lesson, which is a really great feeling and high praise indeed.

I may need to think about switching to Papa Romeo as my regular training bird, as everything was just on during this lesson. It may be luck. It might be my getting better with flying over time. It may be Papa Romeo. Or, it may be a combo of all three. Any opinions out there as to whether I should switch planes or not?

Next lesson: Introduction to Landings!


Old NFO said...

I'd say stick with what they assign. You need to build confidence you can fly any tail number, not rely on getting the 'one' bird...

juvat said...

I agree. All airplanes have there little quirks. It would be better to learn to deal with them now when your knowledge base is low. You may start habitually responding in a manner that is different from what you should do in all other craft. At that point you may have do something because you've always done it that way in N xxxx but in N yyyy there's a much different response.
Just a question, you've got 7 or 8 hours now and haven't landed yet?

Aaron said...

Old NFO: Sounds good. I get to choose among 3 different planes but I've already booked N73455 for quite a few more lessons and I'll see if the performance I had in PR yesterday carries over.

juvat: Good point and I agree with you both. I expect to do just as well going forward in 455 as in PR.

I haven't handled a landing yet. Landings start with Lesson 7 according to the syllabus so I'm pretty much on track and that's next.