Friday, September 28, 2018

Flying - Lighter Winds Are More Conducive to Learning

So today was Day 2 in the Piper Dakota checkout experience.

The weather while overcast was high enough for good VFR conditions around Pontiac and the Instructor announced we would be doing pattern as my landings in the Dakota needed to be better to get checked out.

Winds varied from 360 all the way to 280 at 4-9 knots with very few gusts, and it was a much nicer day for flying.

So I performed the preflight, no issues except it needed 2 quarts of oil.

Then on to the taxi and run-up which I did perfectly, including running the constant speed prop through its paces.

A nice takeoff, a good time around the pattern and down for an ok landing but I was fast and did a nice float while the speed bled off.

We chatted a bit about getting the power settings down.

In short, at pattern altitude reduce the manifold pressure to 1800 and then once abeam the numbers reduce the RPMs to 1800 and keep it around there all the way to the flare.

Following that made it all much better. If you're at pattern altitude and 100 knots on downwind you're in a good position for a decent landing. Much faster than that and you can't slow the plane enough in time to make for a good landing and you should go around.

Following that, I really hit my stride.

The pattern got a bit busy and tower asked us to keep the base in close.

The instructor then had me reduce to 1500 RPM and turn early instead of over the Golf dome, he said - "Aim for the nursing home over there". A bemused pause followed.

That probably wasn't the best word choice, and it was pretty funny at the time.

So I avoided any contact with the nursing home and turned in a tight base and made an excellent landing.

Then we went up and did it again, and again.

There was fun with a very extended downwind, where another plane in front of us in the pattern plane didn't hear a call to turn base and he headed way, way downwind, and we were stuck following him until the tower had us turn back in and then he came in second once his radio got sorted out.

Then we were following a student pilot that flew a B-52 pattern.

Then working with a helicopter also flying in the pattern, not to mention lots of jets coming in on 27L.

The Dakota is very stable to fly and once I had the speed and settings down it landed like it was on rails - very predictable and it made for excellent stable approaches.

Then we terminated as a storm was coming in and we put the plane back in the hangar and wiped it down.

Lots of fun and he's ready to sign me off as he said I have the handling for the plane now. I felt a heckuva lot better flying it and really got the handle on it. Certainly better to learn a new plane in calmer conditions.

I just need .6 more to meet the requirements. So I think we'll do a lunch cross-country to Jackson or maybe Lansing and then come back after lunch and it'll be done.

2.3 and 15 landings, .6 to go for the endorsement and checkout clearance.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Do a late lunch and I'll pick you up and we'll go to Lansing Brewing Co. I get off at 2 Monday through Wednesday.