Saturday, September 13, 2008

Eight is enough.

Night Flight

The weather last night was great, so I was able to fit in my first night flight. Jim, my new instructor, took me up in the venerable Warrior II and we went out to the practice area. The takeoff was unremarkable, because all you need to do is keep the plane centered and rotate at 55 knots. You don't really need to see the runway, just the lights.

So, we practiced all the usual manuevers - stalls, steep turns, recovering from unusual attitudes. The darkness made it more critical to watch certain instruments, as the horizon outside the airplane can be hard to see clearly at night. But, despite my rustiness, I managed to do the maneuvers ok and we headed back to the airport to grind out 8 landings.

And grind we did. I would have to say that my landings were actually pretty good. None of them were greasers, but all of them were well controlled if not perfectly smooth. I know there's a trick to smooth landings with the Warrior, but the plane really overreacts compared to the Cessna 152. Flare a bit and she likes to balloon - cut the power too soon and you drop like a rock. So, you have to use a lot of finesse with the yoke, but get this - the yoke is a lot stiffer than the 152.

When we were done with the landings (which took a lot longer because a helicopter was buzzing around the pattern too) I begged my CFI to endorse me for solo in the Warrior. He said "no problem" but I just looked at my logbook and he didn't do it. So I'll have to hound him next week to get it done.

I'll have to say that I am a bit frustrated right now, though. I've changed airplane types and instructors in the last few weeks, and almost simultaneously, so I feel like I'm really struggling again. In the 152 I was flying 2-3 times a week and my CFI never touched a control. Jim, the new CFI, is always touching them and worrying that I'm going to kill us all, it seems. It doesn't inspire confidence and I'll have to just trust myself, I guess. I'm not that far from my checkride so I'm just going to work through it and learn what I need to.

Next flight: Night Dual Cross Country

Google Earth Track Part 1: Night Flight
Google Earth Track Part 2: Night Flight
Logbook: Logshare


Steve said...

Hmm, sounds like you may be at the proverbial plateau in training. Not that changing airplanes and instructors is the best way to maintain continuity. It'll probably all come together soon, though.

I'm doing alright in the Cessna but it's still now feeling right on landings when it comes to the sight picture... I'm so used to sitting low in the Champ that I always think I'm about 3 feet higher than I am and don't flare soon enough. Good thing Cessna puts landing gear on those things that can make any pilot look good.

Night flight sounds awesome and I can't wait to do some myself... we had some gorgeous evenings last week and I was rather annoyed I spent them in the office instead of the sky!

Keith K. said...

Yeah, I just need to take the Warrior up without a CFI on board and get comfortable with the landings.

You'll have no problem with night flight, it's pretty easy and you can see traffic a lot better.

Jim said...

I wouldn't worry about Jim. I am sure that after he gets to know you a bit better his trust will grow quickly.