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.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

KRYV 231959Z AUTO 02011KT 10SM SCT042 BKN050 OVC060 A2991 RMK AO2
KRYV 232159Z AUTO 35008KT 10SM CLR A2992 RMK AO2
What a difference a couple of hours makes, eh? When I arrived at the airport, it was overcast and a breeze from 20 degrees. By the time we were finished, the wind shifted around to 350 and the skies were clear.

Last time we were together, I said my next lesson would be a ground lesson on Saturday. Well, I flubbed the day, but I was pleased to learn we would be going up. Recall that Tuesday's lesson didn't go so well for me, and I was really yearning to get back up and redeem myself. And redeem myself I did! It was a wonderful afternoon in the air. Never before has 1.7 hours gone by so fast.

I checked the plane out and did the preflight, and we were rolling to Runway 5 for takeoff. The pattern was clear, and we were rolling and on our way. In about 15 minutes, we were entering the pattern for Runway 2 of Dodge County Airport (KUNU).

KUNU 232119Z AUTO 36011G18KT 10SM SCT035 SCT049 BKN055 13/09 A2992 RMK AO2

Now the conditions here were slightly different. The winds were from due north. But even that's misleading, because for the hour or so that we were doing landings there, the winds continued to shift around to the extent that the first landing was crab left, and the last one was crab right. So the lesson there is, always watch the windsock. And if you don't do that, as long as you're paying attention to how you have to keep moving in the direction you want to go, you'll notice how you're having to point the airplane. It really isn't that hard. The landings overall went much better than Tuesday. Repetition is the key to everything. Practice, practice, practice. The most notable landing came when Adam cut the throttle while I was on the downwind leg. He asked me what my options were, and I start saying, "well, we can make that field, and that field and that field". I thought I was giving the right answers. Adam wrecks my smugness by suggesting that we can make the airport. D'oh! Foiled again. Pitch to the glide speed, see where I'm at in relation to the runway, and quickly determine that I can make it. Now it's a question of turning to final and making sure the runway is assured. Once it is, I start putting in flaps, pitch the plane down, and glide in for a smooth landing. Then, miraculously, the engine comes back and we're lifting off.

On the way back to Watertown, time for some maneuvers. For the first time, I am proud to announce, I did my steep turns to standard! That felt good. Real good. Slow maneuvers? No sweat. Full power stalls? Easy. This time, when we did low speed stalls, Adam had me execute a turn as the plane stalled. The recovery from my first turning stall was almost uneventful. The only difference is to make sure to level the wings. Everything else is the same.

We fly over Watertown airport and continue a short way to the south so that we can enter the pattern on the right downwind to Runway 5. This is the first time I've used Runway 5 since the very first lesson, so once again I'm landing on an unfamiliar runway. And a right traffic pattern is still hard to get used to. As a result, I rely on Adam for my turning cues as I set the plane up for landing. I'm a bit high once again as I turn final, but now I'm finding it more and more instinctive to reduce power while still maintaining pitch to lose altitude. I make the runway, the crab is a little off, and I glide a little far. But not as bad as any of the other first landings. It seems to be getting better, bit by bit, all the time. While my initial landings are still a bit high from final, I'm not having as hard a time trying to lose that altitude. My confidence is growing. Perhaps not as fast as I'd like. Then again, this is a long process.

The last landing was the best, and we taxi off the runway and head to the pumps. Since I didn't want to jinx myself in the air, I waited until we were at the ramp before I finally relaxed and expressed some good vibes. What a great day it was.

So it's back to work and back on the road again. Next lesson is Friday. My flight physical is scheduled for Friday, but there's a potential glitch. I called the doctor's office to let them know that I might be 15 minutes late, and the person on the other end informed me that a parent of the nurse was in bad health and that the visit could be postponed. So I need to cross my fingers and hope that we're still on when I land on Friday. If all goes well, I will show up for my lesson with my medical certificate and student pilot permit in hand. Then I'll be a pre-solo written test away from my first solo. Oh yeah, Adam makes that call. It's whenever he feels I'm ready. Now that I have a computer with a DVD drive, I can take the ASA Virtual Prep course with me. I will also continue to work on the pre-solo exam.

One last note. I found out that a classmate of my oldest son is starting his lessons soon, also with Adam. I will try to follow his progress.

That's it for now. Another episode of my Quest For Flight is in the can. See you all on Friday.


Add a comment