Rich's Quest For Flight

My father was a pilot. He died doing what he loved to do. It has been a goal of my life to become a pilot. Now I have chance to do so. Follow me as I pursue my dream.

Friday, April 14, 2006

KRYV 142218Z AUTO 30010G16KT 10SM CLR A2956 RMK AO2

It started off overcast today, with a few scattered showers. But as the day went on, everything cleared up and it got very warm for April. The winds were a bit stiff today, which would make for some fun boundary layer turbulence. I took off from work an hour early so that I could get this flight in before dinner.

I was on a trip this week, so I hadn't flown since Sunday, and I was just a little concerned. Would I be rusty? How natural would this come back? I got home from work and had just enough time to jump into a pair of shorts, grab a couple of snack bars, pick up the bag, and walk to the airport. Adam was out with another student when I arrived, so I had a seat, pulled out my maneuvers manual, and tried to get my head on. Soon, Adam got back, I pre-flighted 02E, and we were on our way. Right away I had difficulty taxiing, and for no good reason. I was all over the place. Turns out my foot placement had been too high on the rudder pedals, and a repositioning made it easier to steer. Quite frankly, if there was anything causing me any kind of grief during my experience thus far, it's been the rudder. Whether steering on the ground or flying in the air, the rudder turns out to be a rather stiff and mushy proposition. Feedback from input is not instantaneous, so one needs to develop some patience with it.

Once airborne, we turned north up toward Hustisford to our maneuver area. The clearing turns went fine, and the next order was steep turns. I knew we were going to do these, I knew what the standards were, I knew that I would need to apply back pressure and add throttle, and yet I still made a hash of it. I dropped close to 500', which is almost hard to do. I only had time to take a breath as I was directed to proceed straight to a steep turn to the right. I did better on that one, but the turn was still a bit too shallow at times. Perhaps the wind was playing games with me, too. As you turn through a circle, the direction of the wind (and its effects on the plane) is constantly changing. This clearly was going to take a lot of practice. But it was also a slap to the face, so to speak, and now my head was finally in the plane.

We next made our way over to Dodge County Airport (KUNU), near Juneau. New airfield, new runway, so we're going to go easy, right? We're going to use runway 26, so that means we're landing into a 35 to 45 degree quartering wind. In order to keep the pattern a rectangle, I need to fly the plane turned into wind. Which is fine, but I'm constantly making left turns. So the wind is always coming from a different place and I have to account for it. Which takes brain power. Which turned out to be not that difficult at all. Some farmer had a leaf pile burning (not a good idea on a windy day, btw) and it was providing a perfect wind gauge to help me figure the wind out. The first landing was a touch and go and we were back in the pattern. Next landing is a full stop landing, and this one wasn't so good as a puff of wind caused us to balloon a bit and land long. With 5000' of runway, there's plenty of real estate to work with, so no worries. As we leave the runway and taxi back for the next take off, Adam told me how John Deere likes to use the airport grounds as a test ground for their new mowers and such. He said it's quite the sight to see, platoons of mowers running around like the Shriners in their go karts.

Our next manuever was a short field takeoff, followed by a circuit and another full stop landing. Taxi back to the top of the runway, then we did a soft field takeoff. Both times I forgot to push the carb heat back in. More minor mental lapses. We headed back south toward Watertown, entered the pattern from the crosswind and came in to land for the last time today. Adam is really pleased with my progress. He says I'm a good 5 lessons ahead of the average student. He also told me not to beat myself up over mental mistakes.

My initial account of $1000 is about used up, so I'm bringing a check for $1500 with me next time. That means the quest so far has cost about $1280. While I was gone, the DVD Ground School came in from ASA, so I'll start looking at that. Time to put this one in the shed for the night. Next lesson on Sunday. Thanks for stopping by.


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