While I'm only at 3 hours of logged flight time, I'm feeling better and a little more smooth. Still I thought I might be more improved, after all a plane darn near flies itself! I'm still feeling "behind" the airplane, that is more reactionary. That was especially true today, as the winds were very gusty. Still I'm letting myself enjoy the view more as I'm far more relaxed. The flying experience is increadible when your the one doing the flying. The view out of the Diamond's canopy is awesome. If the weather is good, you can peer down on one's town in awe.
I told Jeff I thought I was ready to handle my own preflight check. I went around, explaining what I was doing and why. I had made up my own checklist, built from the POH, but with a better (IMHO) flow. My buddy Mike forgot his front chalks too the other day (very embarrassing) so It's on my list twice! After the lengthy go around, Jeff congratulated me, and said I did a good inspection and didn't miss anything "whew". From then on out, preflight was all me :) Ahhh progress...
Taxiing is far easier now, and it's a thrill to happily wave to USAir aircraft pilots as I pass by! There is a certain feeling of victory, knowing your in control, and not stuck having to go through the paranoid security screening. I still think it's strange to steer with one's feet though!! These things are began to feel like simple basics, with take-off's almost *gasp* becoming routine! I'm sticking to the centerline, and have become stable in my climb. Even the minor adjustment to compensate for flap retraction. Still, even when you THINK your doing better, murphey loves to throw ya curves to quickly kill any ego, and send you back into humility.
Imagine flying right up into the sky at 5000', and it almost seems like your going straight up (much less in reality). The aircraft is slowing down, the stall horn sounds, giving warning of immenent loss of lift unless corrected. Now imagine, instead of backing of, you keep going into a full stall. When stalled, the plane stops "flying" per say and begins to drop due to loss of lift. Ever been on a free-fall ride...heh heh..this one is the same. Your rear lifts off the seat and the plane's nose drops. The part I had the most difficult time with, is noticing when we were in actual stall. The buffeting would occur, but still not in stall. Sometimes the nose would immediately drop, sometimes it felt like falling backward. I end up going by the VSI, and when you see your loosing altitude, your stalled. Coordination, was also tuff at first, as it required ALLOT of rudder AND more extreme control movements to stay on heading. The controls felt so MUSHY, and was very odd & scary feeling.
Up to this point we'd do the normal full power and pull out slowly, only loosing 100' in the process. Now, those who read the previous e-mail story, knows my instructor Jeff doesn't stop there. We repeat a power-on stall when he orders "OK now full Left Rudder", which was opposite of the right rudder I had in. Woosh there we go diving down into a spin. Nothing but ground below me, and we're spinning...one turn, two turns...Jeff has control and we immediatly come out of the spin. Speed picks up and he pulls back the airplane to level. OMG that was completly...wow...still can't describe it. We only loose 1000' in the process! Spins are one of the worst stalls possible. (Actually the worst is a flat spin, or inverted flat spin...recal Top Gun) Now I don't want this to scare anyone, as these trainers are designed to recover even with no input from the pilot. We review the proceedure, for correcting a spin, and he says "do you want to try?" Oh heck yeah! (NOTE: FAA does not require actual spin training, just be shown and taught the proceedure, only in commercial category must you be able to perform it). So here we go again....stall...and....full left rudder... OMG I really felt it go over that time! PAREP (Power out, Aeilerons nuetralized, Rudder (opposite), Elevator forward to pick up speed, then add power and pull back to arrest decent. ) Wow... Jeff said I pulled back a little too soon, but I get worred when speed gets past Va! I did one more after that, and did much better. Wow, that was fun! Still, It's all part of training and I feel much better knowing how to safely recover from such things.
First Foggled IFR Training:
Not enough you say? Well what do you do when the instructor gives you these weird glasses, which cover up your eyesite enough to keep you from seeing outside the plane? Weee, welcome to IFR (Instrument Flight Rating) training! It's supposed to simulate flying in clouds or poor wheather conditions. After 30 minutes I had found the flying by instruments alone to be a weird sensation. Flying wasn't a problem, as this is the way flight sim is, however, flight sims don't give you weird sensory input! You have to almost ignore your extra-sensory input as it's just going to confuse and lie to you. Just pan and scan the flight instruments and trust them.
After removing the foggles, he said "Ok, now determine where you are" Yay for 21st century GPS technology! On the small hud it says I'm 10 miles SE of KPGV. "Well, I looks like I'm right over the town of Washington..." right on. "Take her down" Jeff called. Awesome, my first landing at a totally new airport for the first time. To think, soon I'll be flying into Kitty Hawk, Elizabeth City, Fayetteville, and of course Wilmington. (Your town may be next muahhahahha).
We head back to the airport...see the next blog for the continuation!!
To this day, this lesson has been the most memorable!