Maneuver review / test prep

Today I was hoping to get in some instrument training. I’m almost two hours short of the requirements. Gene said it was a little too bumpy, so we reviewed some maneuvers instead.

It was mostly clear; a little hazy with about 15 miles visibility.

We started with slow flight, steep turns, and stalls. It went mostly well, though I could’ve done better with the stalls. Gene refreshed my memory on a few things, like full rudder deflection initially, followed by only enough to keep the same heading. I tended to be light on the rudder, enough to gradually stop it, not stop it asap.

We tried something new today that is actually part of the practical test, but Gene has said the examiner has never asked anyone to do it as far as he knows. It’s a ground reference maneuver called S-turns. You pick a straight something along the ground; a road, power lines, whatever, and make an S over it to create what would look like a dollar sign ($). The purpose is to demonstrate awareness of wind direction and adjustment of bank angle to account for the wind. Too steep of a turn on the upwind and you get pushed back over the road; too shallow a bank on downwind and you get blown away from it. It requires constant adjustment, while going 95 knots, 600-800 feet above the ground. It went pretty well, actually. Even though it probably won’t be on my practical test, Gene said it was something worth practicing to get better at wind correction and ground reference maneuvering in general.

We headed back to the pattern for some takeoff and landing practice. We started with a normal, but no-flap landing. It’s not hard, it just looks and feels different because the flaps aren’t helping keep the airspeed down.

On my first short field approach, as I pulled the power, we lost airspeed and Gene mentioned that I didn’t push forward to counter the power loss to maintain airspeed. “Ah ha!”, I thought. I had been having a problem slowing too much just before round out and it never hit me as to why. Just that one comment was all I needed. Subsequent landings were much better.

My soft field approach came with a compliment from Gene about great airspeed control. Soft field landings require a little power until touchdown, so I hadn’t had the same airspeed problem.

On our last landing, Gene pulled the power about midfield downwind for a simulated power out emergency. I slowed and flew downwind a little further. Turned base and final and ended up pretty high, but with a lot of runway in front of me. A full forward slip brought us down quickly and my full-flap power out landing was smooth.

1.3 hours later brings me to 59.7 total.