Thursday, April 5, 2012

6th lesson: worst pilot ever

Okay, so I've skipped some lessons and now I don't really remember them. I need to sit down and debrief my lessons here before the next one. Oh well.

So today's lesson was put off an hour due to low clouds and when we finally took off the clouds were still low but scattered. It was awesome to see the various rain showers in all directions. We flew right under a cloud bank and I remember telling my instructor how much I loved flying. Looking up and seeing nothing but clouds was amazing.

But I'm moving ahead of myself. We gassed up the Cub and I taxiied us to the the run-up area. Did I used to think taxiing was hard? It's quite easy now but I'm sure will be a bit more challenging with a strong wind.

After the run-up checklist I took a deep breath as I knew the takeoff was coming. I always take a deep breath, make my traffic call, turn on to the runway and then force myself to put the throttle all the way in. I don't know why but I get it about 3/4 way forward and then freeze. Maybe because I know with full power, I really need to dance on the rudder pedals and I have almost run off the runway several times over-correcting.

However, today was different. I pushed the throttle all the way forward and danced down the runway to a perfect takeoff. Seriously, I was on the center line, added right rudder and climbed at the perfect attitude. My instructor yelled "wohoo!".

I should have known it could only go downhill from there. We flew over to KMMV again to practice landings. Something I have been looking forward too. Besides a helicopter, we were the only ones in the pattern. I made the traffic calls and kept forgetting the runway number. Oops.

We did several landings with my instructor walking me through the process and helping out. I did okay but I wasn't fully in charge of the landing. I would fly a pretty stable pattern until final where all of a sudden I was all over with airspeed and had trouble lining up with the center line. And this with winds calm!

A storm was quickly moving in to MMV so we headed over to Aurora (UAO) to practice more landings, all stop and go's. This is where my head exploded. I used the GPS to get us there and entered the pattern. The first landing was okay but when climbing out I turned crosswind so horribly that it wasn't a rectangular course but rather like a triangle! I did this twice in a row. How embarrassing.

I was so focused on airspeed and pitch and looking for traffic that I would let something else slide. Like I only had room enough in my brain for so much. I was drifting from the airport on downwind or drifting to the airport on downwind. Sometimes on base I would lose the airport (how is that even possible). 

Sometimes I would overshoot final, undershoot final, come in too fast, too high, too low, too slow. Ugh. Every time was something different to work on. 

Then I finally flew a perfect pattern, pulled carb heat at the right time, reduced the throttle abeam the numbers, lowered the flaps (and remembered to pitch down at the same time), turned a perfect base and turned a perfect, gentle final while keeping the airspeed perfect.

I was lined with with the centerline and then 'boom', a gust of wind blew me to the left. Darn! So by the time I corrected for that we were there and preparing to land. 

This landing was laughable. I thought I had everything right and then just my mains touched. What I thought was a perfect greaser was not. I pulled back and up we went again. Oh no. Down we came again. Bounce. Up we went a little and down we came again. I had the stick all the way back to keep that tail down and then stopped on the runway. I cleaned up the airplane and then pushed the stick all the way forward to get the tail off so we could just cruise down the runway and practice staying on the center line using the rudder. 

Then when the end of the runway was in sight, I pulled up and the little Cub climbed. And then we would start over.

I was getting pretty tired by this time so we headed back and flew the pattern at Twin Oaks. The runway was noticeably shorter so I didn't have a ton of time to set up for the landing. The landing was okay (with help of course) considering the wind had picked up (left quartering tailwind). 

By the time I taxiied off and parked, I felt defeated. It was a challenging lesson and I didn't feel I made any progress. Which I know is nonsense. My instructor told me I did great and she purposely overwhelmed me a bit to stretch me. I'm glad and am now looking forward to the next lesson.

Date: 4/05/2012
Hobbs time: 1.8
Instructor time: 1.8

Total time toward ppl: 8.4

1 comment:

  1. Taxiing and takeoff seem easy at fist glance; steer with your feet, push the throttle in, back pressure, etc, and you're off, but there's a lot of very small thongs that happen in that time. Congratulations on that achievement!

    Like taxi and take off, the process of patterns and landing will become more natural, and that full brain feeling will move on to another phase, like simulated instrument, til that becomes more natural.

    One of the many lessons in learning to fly is embarrassment. Everyone flying has been there, but very soon the achievements will outnumber the embarrassments.