Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Flights 7-9: Pattern & More Pattern

Over the last few weeks, I've only been able to schedule smidgens of time. When you can only schedule 1 hour, preflight takes 15, and your left with 45minutes of TACH time, and about 40 minutes of ACTUAL flight time. It's even worse when your instructor gets back late.

Why are they so often late?
Tardiness is a personal pet peeve of mine. To me, it's hugely unfair to others to be late. It affects everyone, and often ripples through the day. Thus, I make sure I'm always on-time, and duely early often because of it. So why does a professional flight school think they don't need to be critical of this? I'm a customer first, and a student second. Especially now as I'm taking time off work to fit in. Even when I'm robbed of some of my time, I still make sure I make it back in relative good time before the next guy/gal. (To date, I've only been late once, and that was on a which I offered to make it up to my classmate in any way possible).

FBO Advice: Don't let people schedule planes & CFIs back to back!
Sounds simple right? Every flight has a pre-flight, and a post-flight briefing. This usually takes 20-30 minutes. Thus if the system forced a 30 gap between all reservations, IMHO this issue of tardiness would be less of an issue. Now, not only are you delayed when they arrive late, but further delayed because they still have to A)Process payment, B)Enter Hobbs & Tach into the system, C)Give a post-flight debriefing. What does YOUR FBO do?

Pattern, Pattern, and more Pattern:
Since the change of my instructors, and thus change of my pattern speeds/alt/etc. I haven't been spot on like I used to be. With the limited time we have, the next few lessons centered around the pattern and getting my landings down.

It has taken allot of practice but I'm finally comfortable, setting myself up well. The last flight we had a good 12k wind, nearly perfectly aligned with the runway. I kept forcing myself to wait on the flare, and with careful reference to the trees, hold it off. Suddenly there it was, like the golden goose, I finally greased it!! WOOT! Was it ability, was it luck? Time to go around and see for sure. Next go around, coming down with a slight crosswind, wing low into the wind...left tire smoothly contacted then right...YES! It felt weird, but it was still smooth! Next go around Rob kills the throttle, sim eng failure time. I pull back to set my 70k glide speed, shorten up my downwind, turn crosswind and I'm still high. This puppy has a 14:1 glide ratio, and it glides increadibly well. I'm on final, still high, so I put the flaps in as I know I can make the runway. My decent is picture perfect...the number is staying were it should be in my view, VSI stable at 400'/m...I come down, flare out, and another smooth (but not greased) landing ensues. "Excellent. Good Job" Rob declares.

Finally, I've got my site & groove back on landings, and feeling much more confident! At 11 Hours of flight time, with landings being nailed, soloing doesn't look to far away!

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