Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Landing strut stress test.
We had a nice, long, hot flight today. The temp was topping 88 degrees and the air conditioner in the Cessna 152 wasn't...uh...installed. Our goal for this lesson was to review everything I've learned, as I have a stage check coming up very soon. I did pretty well in everything but I got a bad start with my S-turn, started late and didn't watch altitude, so my instructor let me try it again. I also got to do more "hood" work, or instrument flight, and although it's hard, and I tend to climb a bit steep, I didn't stall and I was able to do everything Jimmy asked me to do with the hood on.
So, then I got to do three full stop / taxi back landings. This means I land as normal, and taxi back to the runway for a normal take off.
The first landing, well what can I say, was very good. I was able to adjust for the 15 knot gusts (slight crosswind but mostly on the nose). The rudder was my friend and I ended up perfectly aligned and in a perfect flare. That's a great feeling, making a landing like that in challenging conditions. Unfortunately, I didn't quit while I was ahead.
Let me preface my summaries of landings two and three by saying this: my approaches are generally pretty good. I'm getting the hang of the forward slip and keeping the plane straight. But, with these gusts, sometimes all the factors pile up and I make the ugliest damned landings you could imagine. At this point I'll just say there was bouncing and ballooning and crabbing and leave it at that. The important part is I got the plane down both times with no damage and no injury. But I'm going to practice until all my landings have more in common with landing #1 than #2 and #3.
From here, we go to written test prep (next lesson), and then a stage check which is to make sure I have the skills needed for solo flight. At that point, Jimmy will determine what I need to improve or practice before endorsing me for solo flight. I'm seeing landing practice in my future.
And, on a side note, this is the most fun I've had, uh, ever.