This morning the weather was very nice. There was a bit of fog early in the day, but it went away by the time we got up in the air.

I arrived about 15 minutes before Gene to take care of the weather check and preflight without having to pay him. We wasted no time in getting started once that was done.

I went through all the usual stuff to get out to the runway and mentioned that we hadn’t talked about taking off. He said, “Yeah, I’ve just been letting you do it.” So, we spent a few seconds talking about it and I rolled on out to runway 3, set the heading indicator to 3, full throttle, back pressure on the elevator. We got to 60+ knots before we left the ground; too fast, so I should’ve pulled back more a bit earlier. 55 knots is when we should be in the air. He explained that pulling back a little from the beginning is something he just does. If you pull back just the right amount, the plane will leave the ground at the right speed. He likes to try to get it right… as a bit of a game to see if he can.

We climbed out at 65 knots as always, but I drifted a little to the right of the runway. No big deal given it was my second take off and there is no parallel runway. From my readings, it’s challenging (but important) for student pilots to keep in line with the runway after takeoff, especially with a crosswind. Practice, practice.

I started out with some turn practice since we had a good horizon. I held the turns long enough to get an idea of what the horizon looks like at a given bank to maintain altitude. I did that long enough on one turn to make a 360 and we hit our own wake turbulence that caused a bit of a bounce. It’s a small plane, so it doesn’t create much.

We spend the remaining time working on Vmc. There was a particular exercise we went through to demonstrate just how slow the airplane could go and still be controllable. I don’t recall the exact steps, but it went something like this: We started with a normal climb at 65 knots. Then, we pulled back to climb more, reduced power, added flaps; first 10, then 20, then 30 degrees (full), and gradually slowed down to just before stall speed with full flaps (about 40 knots). The goal at this point was to set the power as needed to maintain level flight with full flaps at 40 knots. We were leaning waaaay back during this, so it was impossible to see directly in front. The stall buzzer was also going off during the exercise.

It was fascinating to see just how slow we could go and still be flying. Gene decided at one point to stall it. We left the power alone and just pulled back the elevators as far as they would go. We must’ve held it for a full minute before the plane finally stalled. Suddenly, the nose dropped as the plane began to “fall out of the sky”, at which point we let off the back pressure and it quickly regained enough airspeed over the wings to start flying again. It all happened quickly (a few seconds) from stall to recovery, but what a feeling.

I finished the day with another approach to downwind for runway 3 and a much better pattern job than before. I took it all the way to final, lined up properly and everything, before Gene took over the landing. Not sure when we’ll get into landings, but I’m looking forward to it.

An uneventful taxi back to the ramp and 1.1 more hours added to my logbook.