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what am I getting into?

I sometimes think this dog is too old to learn new tricks.

Had another instrument training lesson with Aaron today, and man, did he kick my butt. Unusual attitude recovery, a lot of what he called "Pattern A, Pattern B", and a localizer backcourse approach (I hate those since the needle is both oversensitive and points the wrong way, so it's extra brain and physical effort to keep it centered). Plus his usual precision, precision, precision in the pattern.

He did teach me a really neat way to fly the pattern, though, that helped me a lot. I must remember that, and practice it.

After 1.5 hours, I was exhausted and sweaty, and my brain was only sort of working. I can't remember if this was this difficult the last time I started instrument training, 14 years ago, or if it's harder now because I'm older. He said I was doing pretty well, which I appreciated, so I can't tell if I'm just being too hard on myself or what.

Oh, thing-I'd-never-heard-before of the day from Aaron: Never execute the postlanding checklist until clear of the runway. His reason was that as long as the plane is on the runway, you never know what might happen that might make you need to get airborne again in a hurry.

It's just a flying day today: I have to preside over a flying club meeting at 7 tonight. Whee. I'm going to try to be good and print agendas ahead of time. Meetings go better with printed agendas. But well, I'm lazy.

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( 4 comments — Comment )
planegirl
Jul. 26th, 2002 09:45 am (UTC)
hold up
I'm sure you're just being hard on yourself, and doing a fine job of it. What was the neat pattern flying technique?
Flight club meetings... whoop whoop! Ours is actually pretty cool, but printing out flyers and agendas, I agree, is a pain.
szasz
Jul. 26th, 2002 11:01 am (UTC)
Re: hold up

Thanks, encouragement is something I need, for sure.

He said this would work in any plane, and he's good enough that I guess I believe him, but it's a little hard to swallow. But it worked like a charm in an Archer:

Rotate as usual but climb out with the nose on the horizon, not at Vy. This gives you better visibility and also means less of a trim adjustment when you get to altitude. In the Archer, this worked out to about 82 kts while Vy is 76 kts.

Turn crosswind at 500 AGL but not until beyond the end of the departure runway. You'll be rolling out on downwind just about at pattern altitude, so you can pitch down to level at the same time.

Reduce power to get straight-and-level at pattern speed, which in the Archer is 90 kts, an easy trim from 82, you see.

Midfield, pop in the first notch of flaps, pitch forward to hold altitude, and retrim. This will start the airspeed down.

Abeam the numbers, reduce power by 200rpm to get a 300fpm descent started. Ideally, you won't touch the throttle again until the flare.

When your touchdown point is over your shoulder, turn base, and add the second notch of flaps. Retrim for the 300fpm descent. Turn final, and if you've worked it right, you should be right on the descent profile, with the VASI's white-over-red.

Retrim as necessary to keep on the descent, and when landing is assured, add full flaps and retrim again. This should get you down to the proper final approach speed (70 kts in the Archer). Add rudder for crosswind correction as needed, and then opposite aileron to remain aligned with the runway centerline.

Over the runway threshold, slowly reduce power, flare and land.

I did three of these, and airspeeds and altitudes worked out perfectly every time. Note that the procedure involves a lot of trimming, and only two power setting changes. Aaron's point was that the fewer things you change at one time, the easier it is to keep things under control.

Since all I ever fly is Archers, and you fly, what, several different things, right? I'd be interested to hear if there's any truth in his assertion that this works in any plane. I assume you'd have to translate rpm's to inches on a constant-speed prop.

planegirl
Jul. 26th, 2002 09:12 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU
wow, that was a generous and detailed post!! Thanks. I'll give it a shot. I am wary to climb out above Vy for this reason: with the most gain in altitude for a given period of time, if your engine quites 1 minute after departure you will maybe have 600' with which to troubleshoot instead of say the 400'-500' gained by climbing at a faster speed (less angle off attack for power available, and less than optimal lift produced). However, I am tempted because I'm having a hard time holding centerline from the right seat during short-field Takeoffs at slower Vx speed, and it would all be easy if I could see something in front of me other than white cowling. But the students at my particular flight school are taught to climb out at Vx when doing short field operations, so i must learn to do it too. Is this making sense?
I want to go try your approach to landing techniqu! It sounds complex in words, but is probably easier in practice.
Have a great weekend!
By the way, I am flying mostly Cessna 152's and 172's with an occasional flightin a C-172 RG (complex) and then for fun and when the bank account allows I'll fly the twin engine Piper Seminole.
szasz
Aug. 1st, 2002 11:30 pm (UTC)
Re: THANK YOU

You're very welcome... and I don't get to talk with other pilots much about flying.

Yes, what you said makes sense. I wonder about that tactic of always climbing at Vy in order to get the maximum altitude in the shortest amount of time in the event of an engine failure on climbout. I don't know what the terrain around your home field is, but here in the midwest the airport is surrounded by flat crop fields, so the thing we always practice for an engine out on climbout is "pitch over to Vg and land straight ahead, sidestepping for obstacles as needed." That's just as "easy" to do with 400' of altitude to work with as 600'. So it might be more critical to climb at Vy (or Vx) at some airports than others.

I also think the ability to see everything straight ahead is an improvement in safety. I'm trying to remember how a C152 behaves on climb, but an Archer climbing at Vy with only one or two people in it is really nose-high. So much so that even though you're getting a lot of altitude quickly, you really can't see much of what is going on in front of you.

Finally, the climb profile at Vy is such that losing an engine on climbout is likely to leave you still over the airport, so the "180 and return-to-field" maneuver can't work. But that's a dicey, advanced technique anyway, and we're really talking about a time-distance tradeoff, which in this argument might be six of one and a half-dozen of the other.

Obviously, one climbs at Vx on a short field takeoff in order to get obstacle clearance, but I'm not sure this particular "boilerplate" procedure would work without significant modifications when doing high-performance climbouts and short-field landings.

( 4 comments — Comment )

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