Skates97

Richard's Training Journey

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48 minutes ago, Skates97 said:

with the exception of stalls which I know I can do, I just don't like them. 

Go learn stalls, NOW!,,,Not how to do them,  thats too easy, not how to recover, thats easy too, IF you have altitude....

Learn what the plane starts to Feel like when you get near a stall,,,  This is the Most Important part!

Practice flying very near the stall so you Instinctively know how Close you are to F ing up your whole life!!

Learning stalls is really all about,,,  Never Stalling,,,  unless you really want to!!!

I learned stalls on purpose during my Discovery Flight!

I payed attention..

It saved four Lives one day in Feb. 1979!

 

(Forced, no gas, landing in a 400ft pasture, in a city)

Edited by mpg
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I agree with mpg.  Practice stalls until you DO enjoy them.  

With your instructor, at altitude, try flying in slow flight for an extended period, then pull on the yoke gently until the nose drops, release back pressure to get flying again, then resume slow flight.  Repeat.

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42 minutes ago, N1395W said:

I agree with mpg.  Practice stalls until you DO enjoy them.  

With your instructor, at altitude, try flying in slow flight for an extended period, then pull on the yoke gently until the nose drops, release back pressure to get flying again, then resume slow flight.  Repeat.

That's why I had stalls at the top of the list of things I want to work on, I need more repetition. 

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1 hour ago, Skates97 said:

That's why I had stalls at the top of the list of things I want to work on, I need more repetition. 

Go amd do some spins as well so if the worst does ever happen, you know what to do

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I can fly my Mooney at MCA for a long time, turning both ways, stall horn buzzing. But I still don't like stalls. When I have to (check rides, flight reviews, PPP, etc.), I do them. 

Didn't like stalls flying RC. Don't like stalls flying full scale. It's important to be able to recover from one, but I think it's more important to recognize the onset and be able to prevent the stall. Most accident stalls are in the pattern, and there's no recovery there . . .

Stay sharp, practice a couple of times, and you will stay check ride ready. 

Edited by Hank
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Maybe the plane you are flying is different then mine; But i was afraid of stalls because i always saw the nose drop on videos and thought that would happen; One time we went up to like 6000 ft and just stayed in the stall for 3000 ft down. just kept looking up at the sky. After that i was like.... this is nothing. then we did turning stalls and i thought the wing would drop, so i just kept it in the stall waiting for the wing to drop... Eventually the guy i was with said 'uh, are you going to recover? you are fully stalled', i was like 'really cause the wing didnt drop'. 'its not always going to drop,' i guess we were only at 10* and at that bank angle it wasnt enough. After that no fear of turning stalls.

Just stay coordinated and dont over react. 

 

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2 hours ago, Samurai Husky said:

Maybe the plane you are flying is different then mine; But i was afraid of stalls because i always saw the nose drop on videos and thought that would happen; One time we went up to like 6000 ft and just stayed in the stall for 3000 ft down. just kept looking up at the sky. After that i was like.... this is nothing. then we did turning stalls and i thought the wing would drop, so i just kept it in the stall waiting for the wing to drop... Eventually the guy i was with said 'uh, are you going to recover? you are fully stalled', i was like 'really cause the wing didnt drop'. 'its not always going to drop,' i guess we were only at 10* and at that bank angle it wasnt enough. After that no fear of turning stalls.

Just stay coordinated and dont over react. 

 

I  have to assume a Mooney will not be so docile.

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1 hour ago, Danb said:

I  have to assume a Mooney will not be so docile.

All depends on the rigging and how you fly it.

I did exactly what Sam Husky said in my first Mooney, an M20C that flew straight.  Basically it would mush-stall at about 1200-1500 feet per minute with the nose pointed toward the sky.

Everybody seems to think Mooneys have vicious stall characteristics- they really don't. Al Mooney was a brilliant designer.

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It really depends on which plane I am flying. The school has 4 Cherokee 140's and a Cherokee 180. One of the 140's has a Horton S.T.O.L. kit on it and that one doesn't do anything when you stall it out, just gets mushy and shakes like you are driving down a dirt road. In fact you can try to hold it in the stall and the nose will eventually try to fall back forward. The other planes each behave a little different, but they all like to drop the right wing just a little when the stall is fully developed. How much the right wing will drop depends on which plane it is but it is just a quick little dip, you push the yoke forward and then level the wings.

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I learnt to fly in a Piper Tomahawk and I think EVERYONE should learn stalls in this plane.  You never know which wing will drop so you are dancing on the rudder pedals almost to make sure you catch the incipient spin that happens the moment you stall. VERY GOOD training aircraft. 

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On August 30, 2016 at 11:12 PM, N1395W said:

All depends on the rigging and how you fly it.

I did exactly what Sam Husky said in my first Mooney, an M20C that flew straight.  Basically it would mush-stall at about 1200-1500 feet per minute with the nose pointed toward the sky.

Everybody seems to think Mooneys have vicious stall characteristics- they really don't. Al Mooney was a brilliant designer.

I don't think they stall badly at all, I've had three Mooneys and all of them were rather benign. But comparing  them to some other  planes(like my Cherokee) that basically won't or are difficult to stall was the reasoning for the comment, not that our birds are difficult to control in that flight config.

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Sam, looks like my check-ride might not happen until the beginning of October. today I didn't get my flight in with my CFI and I am out of town for a bit beginning next Saturday. Today was going to be the day to evaluate where I'm at and look to schedule the check-ride. Now I won't get that evaluation in until the 17th and by that point it will probably be too late to schedule it by the end of the month. We'll see. Anyway, here's my tale from today...

Some Days Are More Work and Less Play

Yesterday I received a call from the school that my CFI was sick and they needed to reschedule me. They gave me the option of flying with a different CFI, flying solo, or scheduling a different day. The plan was to go through maneuvers to see where I was in my preparations for my check ride which I can't do by myself, I didn't want to just practice landings again, and due to schedule conflicts I am not able to fly on the 10th. If I didn't fly today then it would be three weeks between flights, too long. I decided that it would be good to fly with a different instructor to have a new set of eyes on my flying and get a different perspective so I asked them to schedule it.

My original flight time was noon, which was to give time for the morning haze and clouds to burn off but they moved me up to 10am. When I left my house at 9:25am for the drive to the airport it was still overcast and not looking promising, but usually on the other side of the hills from my house it is clearer, today wasn't one of those days. The weather at CNO was variable winds, visibility 6 miles with haze, and overcast at 1,800'. That would be good enough to fly the pattern but that is about all. I met the new CFI and we talked about doing some real instrument time through the clouds to get up on top and work stalls and steep turns, but that would be a lot of time to only work on a couple things so we scrapped that idea.

We spent the next hour and a half just talking about flying which was great, I learned a lot from him. Finally we decided that it just wasn't going to happen today but that I would wait around to see if it cleared enough for me to at least get in some pattern work on my own (no sense paying the CFI to fly the pattern with me). The overcast had broken up but the minimum visibility that I am signed off for in my additional 90 day solo endorsement is 7 miles, soooo I had to wait for that one more mile of visibility. There I was, sitting in the lobby of the school, checking in every 10 minutes or so on the current conditions. Outside the overcast was completely gone and I could see the mountains 7 nm to the south and 11 nm to the north, but the weather still said 6 sm visibility. I checked Ontario 5 nm to the north, Corona 5 nm to the south, and Riverside 10 nm to the east and they all listed visibility of 10 sm but yet Chino still said 6 nm.

Finally about noon it updated to 7 sm visibility and I was good to go, I thought... I went out and did the pre-flight on the plane then asked one of the ground crew to pull it out of the hanger. I finished up the last few items on the checklist and was about to start it when a twin engine that is kept in one of the hangars along the row came around the corner at the end. No sense starting up the plane and paying to sit there so I waited until the twin it was put away in its hangar.

At last, everything was clear and I was ready to start the plane up. I started going down the start-up checklist, engaged the starter, the engine kicked over, the propeller started spinning, but something wasn't right. I went to back off the engine to 1000 rpm but it was rough and started to die so I put a little more throttle in and it started racing. Went to back it off a little again and the same thing happened. About this time the owner of the school and one of the mechanics were walking up from behind the right wing, I looked over and gave them a 'cut it?' motion and they shook their heads so I pulled the mixture to idle cut, let it die, turned off the mags, took the keys out and put them on top of the dash. (The school wants the keys there so there is no question the mags are off when someone is around the plane.)

The owner said it sounded like the plane was only firing on three cylinders. They opened the cowls and felt the cylinders and sure enough, one was cold. The mechanic pulled the plugs on that cylinder and one of them was bad, the insulator was broken. When the plane is started it is on just the left mag so only one of the two plugs in each cylinder is firing. I hadn't switched to both mags yet and because it was the plug connected to the left mag that was bad, the engine was only firing on three cylinders. The mechanic got a new plug to replace the bad one and installed both of them.

We started the plane up again but the owner still couldn't get it to idle smooth. After some more trouble shooting he determined that the primer was leaking a little but said to go fly it and they would fix that later. By this time there was another Cherokee from the school that had been pulled out in front of me and I was waiting on them to start up and go. They got their plane started and then the Apache that belongs to the school came around the end of hangar row returning from a flight. Sooo, I shut the engine down again and they pushed both myself and the other Cherokee back so they could put the Apache in the hangar to make room for us to leave.

I started the plane, again, and was finally taxiing on my way down the hangar row. I received my clearance and taxied out to a crowded run-up area. After a short wait one of the planes left but it was still crowded enough that the tower told a Cessna waiting on the taxi way that there was nobody behind him and he could do his run-up there on the taxi way. The run-up went well, I finished up my checklist, and after a short delay was given clearance and on my way down the runway and up in the air.

I will say right now I am not a fan of 'variable' winds. The winds were variable at 6 knots which means they were coming from anywhere and everywhere. I made my way around the traffic pattern following a different Cherokee, the whole time bouncing around and compensating for the changing wind directions. I turned final and realized, this doesn't feel right. With the flaps all the way deployed the lever was too close to my right knee and hitting my knee board. The throttle was right next to my knee (too close) and I had to rotate my right knee out to keep the yoke from hitting it. (Dang it, I had the seat one notch closer than normal. I had gone back and forth with where to have the seat on the ground before starting up the engine but just wasn't quite sure about the distance until I was up flying. It was the 'Am I too close, is this too far away to push the rudder pedals all the way in' debate. Once I was flying, I could tell it wasn't where I normally have it.)

I landed, it wasn't very pretty, brought the flaps back up, and pushed the throttle in for the touch-and-go. I thought 'The seat is just a little too close but I can still fly like this' except as I was climbing out it was really starting to annoy me. There was no way I was going to try and adjust it while flying, that's just asking for disaster, so the next time around after landing I exited the runway, came to a stop, and then adjusted the seat. With the seat finally in the right place I taxied back and waited for my clearance to take off again.

I made another trip around the pattern for a touch-and-go still bouncing around with the variable winds. It was another sub-par landing with the shifting winds causing me grief as I tried to stay lined up on the centerline and keeping my descent rate stable. I thought 'I'm just going to ask for a full stop next time around.' Then I reconsidered and told myself I would do one more touch-and-go just for the experience. I was on the downwind when the tower gave me my landing clearance.

Tower: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, you are number one, 26L, cleared for the option.
Me: "Number one, 26L, cleared for the option, 00Uniform, after this one can I get right traffic for a full stop landing on 26R?"
Tower: "00Uniform, we have your request."

I continued on the downwind and as I was turning base the tower got back to me.

Tower: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, on the go make left closed traffic."
Me: "On the go make left closed traffic, 00Uniform."

I guess they weren't going to get me into the right traffic pattern. I made the landing, put flaps up, throttle in and a little right rudder. I had just lifted off and was climbing out when the tower called again.

Tower: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, extend upwind, turn right crosswind at the power lines for 26R.
Me: "Extend upwind, make my right crosswind at the power lines for 26R,  00Uniform."

I continued the climb and had cleared the end of the runway but had not yet reached the power lines.

Tower: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, contact the tower on 118.5 and check in with your location." (They had the runways split on separate frequencies.)
Me: "Contacting tower on 118.5, 00Uniform." (Switch the radio frequency)
Me: "Chino tower, Cherokee 5800Uniform checking in, just departed 26L and extending upwind to the powerlines."
Tower: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, go ahead and make your right crosswind when able."
Me: "Beginning right crosswind turn now, 00Uniform."

I continued to get bounced around by the variable winds which now had some gusts to go along with the shifting directions. As I was passing about midfield I was given my landing clearance, number two following another plane on short final. I saw him landing, let the tower know I had him in sight, and then continued downwind, turned base, turned final, and again was fighting to stay on center-line with the winds pushing me around. Here the winds were coming from the right (as given by my effort to keep from drifting to the left). I managed to put the plane down about 20 feet to the left of the center-line (it's sometimes really nice to be landing on a 150' wide runway).

Some days it's a nice relaxing flight, and some days are a bit more work. Today was the latter.

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Sounds like you made the most if a really crappy start! It's good to practice in winds that you don't like, because when you travel, there's never a guarantee in what the wind will do at your destination.

I have made very few landings on 150' wide runways. Mostly I've been based where the runway is 75' wide, and often visit places that are either 75' or 50' wide. This afternoon, after a 2-hour flight away from ugly weather, I landed uphill on a rough 2770 x 30' runway, but thankfully the winds were pretty light (~6 knots). The narrowest place I've been was 2400 x 24' on a Flight .review--gotta watch those CFIs, they're sneaky like that!

Keep working it. You've made great progress. I was very antsy and pushing for my PPL checkride, but all that did was stress both my CFI and myself. Look how long you've been working on this . . . Look how long you've wanted this . . . Will an extra week or two really make a difference? Will you still have that great feeling when you are done and your little piece of plastic with Orville & Wilbur's pictures on it? At that time, you will decide what weather conditions are suitable to fly in, there are no endorsements from anyone. The responsibility is real. It hit me taking my wife out later the same day of my checkride, it was up to me to get us both safely back down.

Keep us posted! I like your writing style.

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Extra time won't make that much of a difference, I'll just be more prepared. I understand the 'my decision' on what to fly in. In fact one of the things I was talking about with the other CFI today was about different weather conditions. He had asked if I was going to pursue my IFR and I told him I planed on it in 2-3 years. He said the same thing I've heard from everyone else, getting your IFR will make you an all around better pilot, even in VFR conditions. I told him that I wanted to just get some time and that since I am not flying for work, just for fun and for faster visits to family in AZ, UT, and northern CA that there is no place I have to be that I can't put off for better weather. He asked me if today would be a go/no go day for me after I had my license. At that time the ceiling was 1,800 and visibility 6sm. I told him a no-go until the ceiling got higher or broken up. He was surprised by my answer but I told him again, if I was heading out I can't rely on staying under the clouds because they could be lower en-route, and I can always afford to wait. 

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Dont rush it. Luckily in cali we have good weather up through November, so we still have time.

I have a feeling my next attempt wont be until next week or so. but who know; my situation is so FUBAR that anything can happen.

I will be interested to hear your experience for the oral and the ride; From what i have gathered from reddit and other sites, it seems like i am just the unluckiest person in the world. 

 

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We have plenty of great days all year down here for flying. Good luck on your next try, I'm pulling for you. I won't be flying again until the 17th, going out of town for a little vacation. For those of you that golf, I am going to get to play the TPC at Las Colinas next week where they play the Byron Nelson Classic.

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Richard,

 

  First off, love the writings, keep up the great work.  

 

  I received my PPL in January of this year and on the very same day my CFI asked the same question about IFR training.  I told her much the same thing you told the CFI there, let me spread my wings a bit and enjoy flying for a year or two and I'll start my IFR.  Then I was going on a late evening, early night flight with my daughter, we took off just before a thunderstorm came through the area and we were able to watch it's progress until dusk was gone and night time was upon us.  I could then see on my ipad where the storm was when we were ready to head home, it was a non-issue by then.  As we neared the field I was noticing a patchy layer of mist over part of the city below and as luck would have it, right over our intended target for landing.  I could see the runway clear as day from directly over head but each time I would line up for final it would simply disappear, as I looked diagnaly through the mist it was too thick to make out anything on the field including the runway.  I tried approaches from both ends several times with each ending in a go-around right after turning final.  On about the fourth or fifth attempt my daughter said "I don't like this" and that was all I needed to hear to make the decision  and we deverted to a near by airport that was clear right up until about 10 minutes after we landed.  I decided right then and there that IFR training would start immediately, and it did.  I'm not saying that I will be any more bold or daring to land at my home field in those conditions because of the IFR training, but I will understand better how to use all the tools in the airplane to access the options that are presented.  Had I wasted another 10 minutes trying the fruitless attempts at landings at my home field that night, we would have had to look much further away for a diversion option.

 

  I'm currently in an IFR ground school and flying with my CFI at least once every couple of weeks for the practical training.  At my age (47) I'm glad I made the decision to pursue IFR now as I've had to re-learn how to learn again for my PPL and I can keep that up for my IFR(hopefully).  In any case, you're almost there and I just wanted to give you my scenario in case it presents food for thought.  I think IFR training (at least so far) presents a whole new list of complications, directions, and decision making opportunities, but in the end should make me (and you) better, safer pilots.  Again, keep up the great work, and whether you decide to pursue IFR sooner or later, happy flying!

 

Ron

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Ron,

Thank you for sharing your experience. One of the things that the other CFI that I was chatting with mentioned was what if I was flying down to San Diego at night, and some high clouds block the moon, and a little bit later I notice that the lights on the ground are gone because there were some thin low level clouds that I hadn't noticed before... Now what?

It has been a busy few years for me. There is a new opportunity at work so I finished up a Bachelor's in Accounting online through Colorado State, packing the last two years of the degree into 14 months. The last semester, having tested out of two classes, I pulled down 21 credit hours along with working full time. The plan was to start my flight training after finishing school but when my wife said in late May "Why don't you start now?" I thought "Sure, I can finish up the last 8 weeks of classes, work full time, and take flight lessons" so I jumped on it and began flying. I finished school the end of July and it has been nice to just focus on learning to fly since then.

As I said before, my current plan is to work on my IFR in 2-3 years, like you said to just enjoy flying for a few years and get some more time and experience under my belt. Buying a Mooney will require getting a complex endorsement and transition training. I want to learn to fly it and get comfortable with it. However, I'm guessing that long before the 2-3 years roll by I am going to get the itch to get started on my IFR and so it will begin. I like to always be learning, not that there won't be enough for me to learn just flying VFR after I get my PPL, but the instrument rating will present a new set of challenges that will be calling my name...

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I think what they meant....

enjoy VFR day flying and minimize the long cross countries over days...

Flying near dark and near bad weather leads to accidental flying in IMC.  Worse would be IMC after dark.

Some areas of the country are more stable weather wise.  Many Mooney pilots don't see IMC for months at a time.

Kudos to the young lady that spoke up!

If you intend to fly cross country at all times of the year, get the IR.  

It's like other education.  Sooner is better.

i waited a decade.  Cash was tight.  Looking back, I shouldn't have waited to get educated.

Being told to take my time getting educated made me feel comfortable that I was doing the right thing.  I could have done better...

Consider getting the IR if you intend to fly cross country over a couple days, often...

At least get some of the basics of flying in IMC.  It is inevitable, and the ability of turning 180° in the clouds can be extremely helpful.

Experience and education, they both have value.  Sooner is definitely better than later...

Sorry, I was standing on my soap box...:)

Best regards,

-a-

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FAA Knowledge Test - Passed

I'm continuing to march along and check off the requirements needed to take my check ride. This morning I took and passed my knowledge test.

I'm not a stranger to testing. I just finished up a BS in Accounting and tested out of three different classes on my way to finishing up the last two years of the degree in 14 months. The running joke was "C's equal degrees" although I was determined to do better than C's (who wants to be average). I managed to finish with a 3.91 (anything under a 95% was an A-). To test out of a class you just needed a 70% and it went into your transcript as a transfer credit (which didn't affect your GPA) and that was a good thing because I squeaked by the Accounting Information Systems class with a 70.68% on the test. So, I am well aware of the pressure of going into a big test. (Think of if you don't pass a test you will have to take an expensive 8 week class instead...)

The difference between getting my degree and taking the FAA Knowledge Test was that although only a 70% was needed, I was determined to do much better than that. Think about it, if I don't quite understand something about the accounting I can look it up or ask for help. If I get something wrong up in the air, well I might not be able to look it up, there will probably be nobody for me to ask for help, and the consequences are a little more severe. I have also been told that if you do very well on the Knowledge Test that it will make the Oral Exam during your check-ride easier. (Easier is better...)

I had a couple of different routes I could go to prepare for the test. I could study the book on my own and pay my CFI for ground school time, or I could sign up for one of the online ground schools. After I looked at the price of paying for ground school with my CFI and the cost of an online school I decided that it would be less expensive and more beneficial to do the online ground school (no disrespect to my CFI's knowledge or teaching prowess). I looked at all the different options and settled on Gold Seal Ground School with presentations by Russell Still. The lessons were good, the presentations often cheesy, and I could hear Russ' voice in my head as I would be reading the review materials after the lesson. The bottom line is that it was effective and kept me interested.

As I finished up studying last night I had no doubt that I would pass the test, the only question in my mind was if I would do better than 90% (which was the bar I had set for myself). The test itself is 60 multiple choice questions drawn from a huge bank of questions and you have 2 1/2 hours to complete it. Not to knock anyone that uses all the available time to take the test, but 2 1/2 hours is a loooonnnnggg time. Do the math, that's 2 1/2 minutes per question. Most of the questions are the type that you just read and answer which should take maybe 10-15 seconds each. Even the questions that require some kind of calculations shouldn't really take more than about a minute. You either know the answers or you don't.

I got to the testing center, located at a local flight school, and checked in with the proctor. I had with me my E6B (Whiz-wheel), a plotter, and a basic calculator. The testing center provided scratch paper, the testing supplement with all the charts etc..., a calculator, and a clear page protector with a dry erase marker so I could lay it over the pages in the book and mark on it. (If you are going to take your test, remember that in the front of the supplement there is a key with all the symbols and everything for sectionals which can be handy if you forgot one). The proctor got me set up at the computer and we went through the way the interface works. I began the test and many of the questions looked familiar. Some of them were identical to some I had seen and others were just asking the same thing as the practice questions I had done but in a little different way. There were only a couple questions that I wasn't really sure on so as I clicked the "Finished" button just over 30 minutes after starting the exam I felt pretty good. After completing a short survey my score came up on the screen, 88%... I could miss six questions and get my 90%, but I had missed seven. Rats...

Where did I go wrong? Well there were two questions I knew I was guessing on, two I over thought (the age old multiple choice strategy of your first answer is usually the right one and when you switch you are usually wrong, I switched my answers and was wrong), two I thought I had right (but didn't), and one that I just completely missed and can't believe I missed. That one question had to do with wind forecasts and I must have either been looking at the wrong row for location or column for altitude, either way there is no excuse for missing that one.

Still, 88% isn't bad, it's much better than the 70% required, but I was not pleased that a couple of easy questions that I shouldn't have missed kept me from my goal of scoring over 90%.

Edited by Skates97
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Congrats on the writen, I know a CFII who's saying is "Seven O and Go"of course that is not his attitude while instructing. While a 70 is passing I think most of us strive to be better. There was a Dr getting his IR and scored a 98 on his writen, he said that was unexceptable, took the test again and scored a 100.

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Pre-Phase Check Flight

I am getting close, which is very exciting. I took a look at my logbook and realized that I haven't flow maneuvers/stalls since July 3rd, 76 days and 25.1 hours of flying ago. My plan for today's flight was to work through all the maneuvers, some extra emphasis on stalls, and to get in some simulated instrument time as well.

I arrived at the airport and found my CFI sitting at his desk. I took a seat and pulled out my knowledge test result to show him. We talked about the questions that I had missed and then moved on to the plan for finishing up my training. He wanted to treat today's flight as a sort of 'modified phase check' where we would work through everything but unlike a normal phase check where he would just observe, today he would provide feedback for me during the flight. If everything went well we could schedule my actual phase check and he would let the school know I was ready to schedule my check-ride. I told him that sounded great, and that I wanted to spend a little extra time on stalls.

We went out to the plane and of course it was parked in back of two others that had to be moved first. It never seems to fail that when the planes are lined up or in the hangar, you need the one in back... My CFI started shuffling planes around while I did the pre-flight. About the time he was done moving planes I was done with the pre-flight. Everything looked good so we climbed in, I adjusted my seat (to the right place this time, I won't make the same mistake as my last flight), buckled my seat belt, and went through the checklist to start up the plane.

It was a quiet day at the airport, with the exception of the closure of runway 26L according to the ATIS information.

Me: "Chino ground, Cherokee 5800Uniform, at DuBois, requesting taxi runway 26R with informaiton Alpha."
Ground: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, taxi 26R via Mike, Delta, Alpha, cross runway 21."
Me: "Taxi 26R via Mike, Delta, Alpha, cross 21, 00Uniform."

With that I let off the brakes, nudged the throttle in and started rolling. We hadn't gone very far when Ground called back.

Ground: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, would you like to taxi via Papa, cross 21?"
Me: "We can, it doesn't make a difference."
Ground: "That's your choice, it is available."
(We were just approaching the turn to go between the hangers for Taxiway Papa which it is a little more direct, and you avoid the whole parking area around the tower and Flying Tigers.)
Me: "We'll take Papa"
Ground: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, taxi 26R via Papa, cross 21."
Me: "Taxi 26R via Papa, cross 21, 00Uniform."

We arrived at the run-up area and I continued on through my checklist. While taxiing my CFI had asked Ground why 26L was closed and they responded that there had been an "aircraft incident" and left it at that. Off in the distance we could see some activity towards the far end of 26L which must have been the "aircraft incident" that ground was referring to.

I had told my CFI that I wanted to do a soft field takeoff for the practice. I still have a hard time not popping up through ground effect when I first lift off. I suppose it is something in my brain that wants to keep climbing and not push the nose over immediately after lift off. I know I'm supposed to do it to stay in ground effect to build speed but my brain just doesn't seem to want to cooperate.

I set the flaps to the second notch, 25°, and started to roll out of the run-up area toward the hold short line for 26R.

Me: "If we were actually on a soft field I would not use brakes."
CFI: "You know if you wanted style points you could have monitored the tower and contacted them for clearance before rolling. Then you could just roll right onto the runway to take off."
(I hadn't contacted the tower yet, I usually do that as I stop at the hold short line)
Me: "Well I guess I won't get any style points..." (as I applied the brakes and stopped at the hold short line to call the tower)

The tower gave me my take off clearance and I rolled onto the runway holding back pressure on the yoke. As soon as I was lined up on the centerline I pushed the throttle all the way in and very quickly the nose wheel started to lift off, followed shortly by the mains. Once again, I didn't level off to build speed until I had gone right up out of ground effect...

Speed slowly came up, we gained positive rate of climb, and I took out the second notch of flaps. I waited for positive rate of climb again and took out the last notch of flaps. It was a warm day, 93°, and while the right tank was only up to the tabs (18 gallons), the left tank was full (25 gallons). The extra 7 gallons (42 lbs) combined with the warm weather and my CFI (weight undetermined) made the plane climb like a dog compared to when I flew by myself last time. Eventually we reached 1,100' and I began my turn towards the south east and the Lake Matthews practice area.

My CFI had me dial up the Paradise VOR and fly direct toward it just to see me use the Nav Radio. Once I was on the radial towards Paradise he had me change my heading towards Lake Matthews. We stayed at 2,500' until we crossed the 91 freeway and were out from underneath the 2,700' shelf of Ontario's airspace. The tower had given me a frequency change previously so I switched to the Lake Matthews frequency and made my radio call.

Me: "Lake Matthews traffic, red and white Cherokee, over the 91/15 interchange at 2,500', inbound for the lake, climbing 4,000'.

One other plane chimed in with their location practicing on the south side of the lake so we decided to stay west of the 15 freeway over Corona.

First on the list was steep turns. I pushed the throttle in and rolled into a 45° bank to the left (I like turning to the left more than the right so figured it was a good direction to start). I rolled out of the turn on my heading, pushed the yoke forward to compensate for the added lift of leveling off, and then rolled into a right bank. There is something about sitting in the left seat and being on the "top" of the turn going to the right as opposed to the "bottom" of the turn going to the left that causes me to shallow out my right turn. Today was no different and I waffled between 35°-45° of bank.

The last time I had flown steep turns I had it nailed, but as I said earlier, that was 76 days ago. He had me make another 180° turn to the right at 45° bank just to see me hold the bank angle and this time I kept it right at 45°.

Next up was power on stalls. I pulled the throttle and held the nose up to maintain altitude while letting the speed bleed off. Once I was down to about 65mph (rotation speed), I pushed the throttle all the way in and pulled back on the yoke. I eventually got the stall, the right wing dropped a bit, I stomped on the left rudder pedal and pushed the yoke forward for a nice recovery, wings level, same heading, very little altitude loss. My CFI had me try again, this time being a little more aggressive pulling back the yoke to stall it. The stall came quicker and recovery was the same. One more time for good luck and then we moved on to the next procedure, slow flight.

I pulled the throttle, flaps down to the third notch, 40°, and let the speed bleed off until I was down just below 50 mph. I wasn't paying enough attention to my altitude and lost about 200' before noticing and putting in more power to bring it back up to where I started. I flew some turns to different headings and he also had me do some climbs and descents. As I was flying around it still seemed odd that I was moving less than 50 mph without falling out of the sky. After flying around at about 115 mph just a few minutes ago, it felt like were weren't moving at all. I went through the recovery from slow flight before reversing the procedure to get ready for power off stalls.

With the plane in landing configuration I got into a stabilized descent, pulled the power, and then eased back on the yoke. When I say "eased back," it was very gentle. The result was that the stall finally came, but there was never a stall light. The airframe was shaking from the stall and the vertical speed indicator showed that we were definitely stalled,  but no stall light. I pushed in full throttle and climbed back up.

Me: "That was the stall, right?"
CFI: "Yeah."
Me: "There was never a stall light."
CFI: "I saw that, odd."

He told me to try again and this time be aggressive pulling the yoke back. I did as instructed and the stall came, accompanied by the stall light, the right wing started to drop, (not sure why it's always the right wing on that plane as I was still coordinated with the ball centered), left rudder and full power, wings level, and climbed back up for one more try. The third power-off stall went just like the second and I was feeling good about stalls.

I got back to cruise configuration, and he asked me how long it would take to get to French Valley Airport from where we were and how much gas would we burn. I pulled out my TAC from the side pocket of my knee-board which I had previously folded to the area we would be flying. (I learned the hard way quite a few flights back to have the map prepared for where I would be). There is a scale at the bottom so I stretched the fingers on my right hand across the map and then put them to the scale.

Me: "Looks like about 25 miles, that would take us 15 minutes at our current speed of 100mph and burn about 2.1 gallons of gas."

My CFI looked at me (I had rattled off the time and fuel burn quickly) and I pointed to the cheat sheet I had made and put on my knee-board. It has fuel burn values for cruise and climb as well as time en route for cruising at 100mph and 120mph. I figured that anything around those speeds I could guesstimate.

Cheat-Sheet-300x138.jpg
Cheat Sheet

I told him I had initially made it with the intention of memorizing the numbers, but then thought that I don't have to memorize everything and there was room at the bottom of my knee-board for it. He said he liked it and then wanted to pull up the distance on his iPad just to see how close I was. Foreflight on his iPad put French Valley 23 miles away.

Immediately following this discussion, there was of course an engine problem...

CFI: "Okay, you have an engine fire, what do you do?"
Me: "Immediately the fuel pump is off, switch the fuel selector off (I simulate those two actions), throttle closed (pull throttle all the way out), mixture to idle/cut off (simulate that action), and we are going to land just past the quarry in that flat area, there's nothing closer.
(This whole time I already had the plane in a dive headed for the field just past the quarry)
CFI: "What are you forgetting?"
Me: "Oh, change the transponder to 7700, broadcast 'mayday, mayday, mayday' on 121.5 and just before we land I need you to un-latch and open the door so that after we land it isn't jammed shut."

I continued in my dive, flaring out just a little as we passed the end of the quarry and I lined up my landing. When we were about 15' off the ground he said "Ok, that's good" and I went full power and started to climb back up.

We flew along the south side of Lake Matthews as I brought us up to 2,200' for the ground reference maneuvers. First was 'turns around a point' which I used the small island in the middle of the lake for. Turning to the left was perfect, turning to the right I spiraled in a little closer to the island but he said it was good enough. Next I did 's-turns' over a road on the north side of the lake and then we headed back to Chino Airport.

The ATIS on the way back stated that both 26R and 26L were in use, they must have cleared up whatever had 26L shut down. The tower had me enter left base for 26L, cleared for the option. The first landing was going to be a 'short field' landing and as I often do on those I was a little too high trying to pass over the imaginary 50' obstacle and we landed harder than I wanted to. I exited at the first taxi way and contacted ground to taxi back. As we were sitting at the hold short line I asked my CFI about the 50' obstacle.

Me: "So, how many airports actually have a 50' obstacle right at the end of the runway?"
CFI: "I don't think any do."
Me: "I can see some tall trees or a building somewhere a few hundred feet or so from the runway, but right at the end?"
CFI: "Well, what the owner of the school would like to see on a short field landing is to just come in on glideslope and plant it right on the numbers."
Me: "That makes sense to me, even if there is an obstacle as long as you are on or above glideslope you are going to clear it right?"
CFI: "Yep."

I tried another soft field takeoff and did a little better staying in ground effect after lifting off, but still not long enough. That needs more practice before my check ride. We came around for a touch-n-go and then received clearance for right traffic from the tower and a full stop on 26R. This one was 'supposed' to be a soft-field landing, but I carried too much speed, then let it bleed off too fast, and came down too hard... Yep, I need more practice.

We taxied back talking about the flight and he told me I was going to have an easy check ride. This coming Saturday I will have my phase check with a different instructor. My CFI is going to have the school check for the availability of the Examiners and get me scheduled. Somewhere between the phase check and check ride I will fly with my CFI at least one more time and we will focus on short-field and soft-field take offs and landings. I still need 0.5 hours of simulated IMC but that will be covered partially in my phase check and whatever is left over we can easily do on the next flight. I also need to set up a time to do a little ground school with him to run through some mock oral exams to be ready for that.

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Sounds like good progress, Richard! Reading your radio calls on the ground is a good refresher to me, I don't visit towered fields very often . . .

BUT where I got my license has trees on both ends; the calm wind runway the trees obscure the REILs and require leveling off until they appear, then descend; the other direction, the trees are close enough to cause a displaced threshold [out of view to the left]. So it happens. Same with the grass strip I visit at the beach, open on one end, tall trees hiding power lines at the other end. The power substation is just beside the runway. The fun part is losing sight of the runway flying downwind behind the ridge!

HTW 3.jpg

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