Sunday, June 10, 2007

Flight Lesson #7

Back on May 30th I had lesson number 7 with my primary instructor. The day was pretty mild except for some wind from 280 at about 7 knots. Everything started out pretty well until I reduced my cross wind inputs as I rotated the nose wheel off the runway.

At that point the left wheel picked up off of the ground and I skidded sideways a little just below takeoff speed. The plane picked up off of the ground and floated in ground effect for a little while as my instructor reminded me to lower the nose to gain speed before starting my climb.

After this little "event" the flight became more normal as we headed out to the practice area off Ketron Island. We started off with a power off stall that went pretty smoothly, did a couple power on stalls without trouble and jumped in to a couple of steep turns using the beautiful Mt. Rainier as an aiming point.

After doing the basics my instructor pulled the power and asked where I'd land. This wasn't a big deal as I had about 3,500 feet to figure it out. I trimmed for best glide and started looking for the little private strip in some guys backyard that's out there. I couldn't find it but I did line up pretty well on a large open area on one of the smaller islands near Anderson Island.

I recovered from the "emergency" and headed back to the field for an introduction to forward slips and a few touch and goes. This is where my problems began.

The idea and application of the forward slip wasn't an issue for me but the transition to landing fouled me up so bad that I don't really want to even log those landings. My pattern work seemed to be ok as my instructor never commented on being too wide or not making proper turns to base or final as in the past. I kicked the plane in to a slip and dropped my excess altitude like I should have but as I crossed the numbers I found myself fighting the wind and getting behind the plane. I reduced power but didn't account for the loss of down force on the elevator and let the nose drop. Pulling back a little too quickly to recover caused me to flare at about 25 feet above the runway and down we went. BOUNCE!!!

We did it again with much the same result and again with not enough pulling on the yoke from me but my instructor was quick to jump on the controls to save the nose wheel. At this point I'm really bad off and can't seem to do anything right and start getting frustrated. Once more around and everything looks fine, sinking a little fast as I cross the numbers and starting to drift to my right, I try to go around but my hand slips off the throttle and BANG the runway meets us.

My other lessons left me with a feeling of excitement but this one gave me a sense of dread. I will tackle these issues again on June 13th but this time I will be in command of that little plane and not feel like a passenger on the roller coaster from hell.

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