|Vents above my head & in front of mike|
Even in flight, the heat from the sun creating a greenhouse effect in the cabin cannot be overcome by directing the air vents full blast at my face (probably another reason my eyes are bloodshot). You get to know people pretty well in that small cockpit – and their, uh, “essence” even better. By the end of the day no one cares what you smell like. After a flight I often look like something the cat dragged in, and depending on the day’s flying I may even feel it!
Looking back at my blog and logbook, I see that I last posted after flying by myself - for the first time in ages. The next day I flew again by myself and practiced some maneuvers again. I tried to push my envelope just a little further. A few more stalls, some more slow flight, etc. I figure that if I keep pushing on the edge of my comfort zone I just have to make it bigger…. It seems to be working.
The next day I was back with the instructor at Calhoun Air Center, Eric. We had just about an hour before the plane was needed for something else, so we just went up and did Power Off 180s. This is a maneuver simulating a power failure so the pilot can learn to fly the airplane with the power at idle on the downwind (we don’t exactly turn the engine OFF, at least not on purpose) to become comfortable with the glide ratio of the airplane. Yes, an airplane can glide to safety if the engine should quit. A good rule of thumb in many airplanes is 2 miles for every 1000 feet of altitude. For example, if you’re 4,000 ft AGL (above ground level), you can likely glide for 8 miles. That is, if you immediately adjust your airspeed to the Best Glide Speed (to give you the longest RANGE over the ground), you are likely to be able to travel up to 8 miles. You also have to consider the wind (darnit, you have to consider the wind’s effects on everything when you’re flying!) and other factors. Like if there’s a suitable place to put the airplane down within 8 miles. Because eventually it’s going to come down. As they say, “Takeoffs are optional, but landings are mandatory.” I’ll get back to that in a later post….
|Target the "Aiming Point Markings" or 1000ft markers|
Amazingly enough, practicing this maneuver also greatly helped my landings. Remember how I said I always landed flat? Well, finally, in trying to streeeetch out my landing, I got that round out started higher and kept pitching that nose up to help me fly it on out. Eureka, I think she’s got it!
CFI Note: The Aviation Instructor's Handbook calls this "Transfer of Learning," the ability to apply knowledge or procedures learned in one context to new contexts. A "positive transfer" occurs when the learning of skill A helps to learn skill B.