Saturday, July 19, 2008
Wear and Tear
I had a tough lesson on Friday. We did six take offs and landings. The first four were, well, terrible. After the fourth bad landing (with a couple that Jimmy had to intervene in), we pulled off onto the taxiway and I threw up my hands. I said "Jimmy I'm getting worse - I'm forgetting things in the pattern and my landings are not improving. I need to just clear my mind a bit." Jimmy of course was as cool as a cucumber and just said "I'll fly the next one completely. You just watch and try to relax."
So, that's what I did. And the funny thing is, his pattern was just like mine. His approach was a bit more polished, but I just took a step back and watched him flare and land. That's when it hit me: the landing is just a mirror image of the takeoff. My takeoffs are rock solid - straight down the runway. You see, the problem I've been having is losing positional control at the flare, so I've never really been able to concentrate on getting the flare right.
Pattern #6. Everything looks tight. Glide slope: red above white (approach is alright!). Speed is right on target. Wind starts moving me around, I make small corrections and keep my approach as clean as possible. I crossed the threshold, pull out power SLOOOWLY, nose starts to drift, and I made a slight rudder correction. I started my flare, the airplane was nice and straight, THUMP! It was a nice, straight landing. A deeper flare would have made it smoother, but everything finally clicked. We're going to keep doing landing practice until all the landings are good and non-assisted, but next lesson is starting to look promising. Updates to follow.