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, June 04, 2006

KRYV 050055Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR 21/11 A3000 RMK AO2

Around about 5:30 p.m., after we got back from the Brewers game, I got a phone call on my cell phone from Adam. He was letting me know that another instructor (Andy) would be flying with me. A pre-solo checkride, if you will. I kind of half expected this, and I felt pretty good about it. Why not send your student up with another instructor to get a second opinion? And with the winds totally calm, it should be a snap, right?

Andy was waiting for me when I walked into the FBO. I had checked the weather at home, so I laid some of that knowledge on him, just to show I was prepared and in the right frame of mind. He told me that we'll go up, walk through the basic maneuvers, then come back to Watertown for a few landings. He also said he doesn't plan on touching any controls.

We take off Runway 11 and head north. As it would happen, Adam was in another plane in the area, and we actually exchanged communications to make sure we weren't going to be in each other's way. So, Andy had me go through the motions. The steep turns went great, the slow flight clean and dirty. No major issues. I felt sharp. A bit of a hiccup during the power-on stall. My lack of a strong right foot on the rudder caused the plane to slip to the left; the first time that has happened to me. But now I knew why. Adam had a tendency to help me in situations like that; he would put in the rudder for me. But Andy stayed off the rudder. I was on my own. Andy had me do it again, this time I stomped the rudder and the plane stayed straight into the stall.

We headed back to Watertown, and on the way he pulled my power. I went through the checklist, then he made me sweat. He didn't let me recover until we were less than 500' from the ground. I had the field lined up pretty good though. He tried a couple of other mind games, like changing the ADF frequency so that the needle was pointing away from Watertown. So I enter the pattern, still no wind, I should really grease these landings. Alas, right rudder would be my downfall. First landing I came over the threshold right at 65 kts, but I was crooked, and by the time I straightened out I was right of the centerline. Bobble number 1. Now I'm finally getting nervous. I put the throttle in before raising flaps; a mental error. Then, on the downwind leg, Andy pulls power, then tells me this is a soft field. I did fine to get the plane around on final and over the threshold, but then my brain fried. I concentrated more on the soft field landing then on just landing. After all, it was an emergency. So while I was trying to keep the nose up, I flared early and stalled the damn thing. The last five feet were straight down. DAMN! Then I rushed to clean the plane up to take off, and I was squirelly on the runway and it was all wrong. Andy tried to settle me by saying that we landed and that was the important part. But I was shaken. We went around one more time, and I made a reasonably good landing, but the damage was done. I still had work to do. It just seems everything is great until the last 10 feet.

Once we were parked, we went inside and Andy debriefed me. Good comments for the most part, and the obvious issues with landings. He did have some different takes on establishing good sight pictures of the runway that I will put to use. And now I know much better just how much rudder I need. Adam came in after he was done with his student and asked if I was ready. And the answer was: almost. Somehow I have to shake this yoke so that I can solo and then move on with the next phases. And it's all I can think about. I'll try not to psyche myself out.


Add a comment