Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lesson #90 - Real MCA Again And More Landings

I drove out to Crosswinds to get in another Lesson with Don.

After the preflight, moving the aircraft out of the hangar (hangars are nice in general and theirs is damn nice in particular containing many lovely aircraft, btw) and getting fuel we were ready to go. Starting up the Skyhawk SP is kinda different but it does start very nicely. That is once you have the startup sequence, which involves pulling the mixture control fully out at start and putting it in only after then engine catches - which is really counter-intuitive after flying a 172M, down and understood.

We departed to the northeast as Don wanted me to work on minimum controllable airspeed and controlling the plane at MCA.

Unlike the ACS standards, Don wanted the stall horn blaring. This threw me as for the test I've been trying to unlearn going to true MCA and instead to keep above the stall horn as required in the new ACS standards.

He was pretty demanding in regards to keeping the airplane right at the starting altitude, keeping it on heading or to the heading he wanted to go to and to keep it coordinated. In short I need to be a lot more aggressive with the rudder and be ready to feed in power as various air masses and gusts moved the plane up and down. I'll say it was harder than I thought it would be, I felt really off at the start and it took me awhile to "get it", but got better at it, and I learned a lot.

Then we did some landings and while most were good, two were sucky - one had a gust shift on final that I didn't respond to well enough so we did a go-round, which I am rather good at. We also had a sucky bouncer as we did come in a bit fast due to the gusts and at a setting of 20 degree flaps so I need to work on that too including bounce recovery. Overall a pretty good lesson, with a great takeaway that if you trim the plane perfectly on the downwind, you probably won't need to re-trim it on base or final.

After the lesson, Don and a CFI-candidate kindly let me sit in on a weather theory session for the CFI-candidate.

It was very helpful as Don really knows his stuff and it certainly bolstered an area for the oral exam that I'm not as strong in as I would like to be. I think I gained enough in that session combined with my prior study of it to weather that area of the oral exam with flying colors.

We then had a fun conversation with Don, the CFI-candidate and another CFI. It was interesting listening to their stories - the CFI-candidate is a former 82nd Airborne paratrooper and some of his drop stories are rather riveting, including the time they got mis-dropped into a Walmart parking lot in full combat drop regallia. The CFI recounted her chamber ride to find out her hypoxia symptoms which was pretty neat to hear - in short with hypoxia for her and she found out first she'll get a headache but then she'll feel real happy but be pretty much incapable of doing anything helpful right up to the point of going unconscious. Don also talked about his CFI checkride back in the day which was interesting to hear as well. Apparently its not very often that you can truthfully tell a DPE in a nice way that they suck at lazy eights.

Lots of laughs and useful informal learning from some very good CFIs and a CFI-candidate who I expect will become a great CFI.

That's another 1.2 and 5 landings

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