Monday, November 17, 2008

Back in the Saddle!

There are many ways one can do in light of a bad experience. Some choose to avoid anything remotely related to it. Others choose to learn from it and get right back in the saddle. I'm usually the later, at least once I've analyzed it enough. (See previous blog as to what happened that flight).

I've since taken a detailed course on the G1000 systems, beyond the "how to use" that I was given in training. Even more strange, was this information was available on a CD-course at the FBO! Why didn't the CFI mention it? Armed with that knowledge, I would have realized the G1000 errors all spewed from the ACD section, and the AHRS (pitoh systems) where fine. At that point I probably would have been less stressed and simply performed the re-set of the system, which may have brought it all back on line. Lessoned learned.
Still, my confidence in my abilities were still shaken. I was anxious to regain that and my spirits. So instead of jumping back in a DA-40, I opted for my 'ol friend 223DC. As I appreciate CRM more and more, I asked Emil if he cared to come along! He looked and smiled, and I didn't even need to hear his reply.

We arrived at the airport 15 min early, as I often do. The plane was gone...uh oh..what now! Ah but no worries, the instructor took it up for a brief demo flight. As I waited, checked the weather again, and little had changed. Still light winds and clear skies. We went out to the DA40, and I explained in more detail how the control surfaces control the airplane. The 20 arrived shortly thereafter.

We preflighted and waited for fuel. I was still a little aprehensive about how my landing performance would be. Last time it was nothing close to smooth in the 40 with all my nerves on end. Had I lost my landing art? Today I found my worries unfounded. It was pretty busy, for PGV anyway, with two other planes coming in. We kept a good eye on them as we left terra firma. I went through all the pattern steps with Emil, which actually helped calm me greatly. I was nailing my airspeeds and altitudes with little thought. My first landing ended up being right on and smooth. Yes, I hadn't lost it after all! Relieved, I did two more landings, with only one with a bit more float than I like, but still smooth.

We took off to take in the Greenville sights. We headed west, drivin' the 264 beltline at 2000'. As we neared the exit, I prepped for nice and quick steep turn! With a smooth and quick command she banked through and I began to smile. I was finding my love again. It had left me for a week, but with open wings it took me back in. We flew all over the city, laughing at those stuck in traffic below. We were free. Our last fly over would be the ECU stadium. I kept my airspeed a little higher and preceeded to give Emil his first 60° bank experience. "Whoa, your pullin' it!" Yes, 2G's in fact. As we entered it Emil took the pic above. Ah classic.

With a grin on my face we headed back to kiss terra firma. As I did, I had one more manuever to put Emil through. I turned base sooner to be high, so I could perform a slip. I know the first time a CFI did this to me, It was freaky! Instead of looking through the nose to the ground, your looking out the side and pointed to the ground. He freaked for a second, and grabbed the panel cover as we slipped on down. "OMG" as we neared the runway and I pulled out of the slip..."don't do that again!" heh heh no problem.

Today would be a mere 0.7 hour flight, but I was in glee. It was a fun flight that brought back my confidence and love for flight...and I didn't even leave the area. Flight around Greenville $86, Smile & pride on my face, Priceless.

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