Second flight, this time we had a little bit of wind. Not much, around 7-8 kts, but enough that I needed to pay attention to my ailerons during taxi. Also on takeoff, this was the first time that I need to hold aileron into the wind as we started our takeoff roll. This is where I think that my mental cup overflow-ith. Not to mention we have a blackhawk inbound straight ahead. I have seen all of the videos of what happens when a light GA aircraft flies through the rotor wash of a helicopter. Never ends well for the airplane. For some reason, I had reservations but my instructor radio’d to make sure they knew we were getting ready to take off head to head, and they replied they would adjust their course for us. Ok here we go, Heels to the floor … check, eyes to the end of the runway … check, aileron into the wind .. check, slowly coming up to full throttle … check, on centerline … err crap I’m left, right, left. My instructor telling me “Slow corrections”. I got it back on centerline then realized that I haven’t pulled back on the yoke to get the nose light, my instructor is doing this now. We are in the air and straight… now I am back on my game and crabbing to the right to stay on centerline of the runway. we are crabbing about 10-15 degrees into the wind and when I look behind us… still on centerline.. sweet! Last time I got compliments on my takeoff, this time… even though she never said it, I blew it a bit. It was only my second take off but I had higher expectations of myself. I have read that you will hit points where you have absorbed so much information that you can’t absorb anymore at a given point, I think I experienced a little bit of this.
We climb out Vy 65 kts and it is a little bumpy this time but not bad just more of an annoyance when trying to hold heading, speed, and altitude. We go through the four fundamentals of flight, straight and level cruise, ascending turns, descending turns, and cruise decent. Then we are off to find a square field. We line up on down wind of a closed airfield that just happened to be the field that my instructor solo’d at. Pretty cool. Then I hear, “Where is the wind and what is it doing to you?” I point the direction of the wind and say I need to crab a little into the wind to stay straight on downwind leg. Then I hear, ” When you feel you are half a mile away on 45 degree, clear left and make a level turn”. I look over my shoulder and the end of the runway is 45 so I say ” Clearing left, making a level turn, adding a little rudder, keeping the horizon cutting through the cowling.” then I hear “you know you are half a mile away when the runway is halfway up the wingstrut. Is it?” uh, crap.
So we go through this again at each turn of the rectangle and every time on the one turn from downwind to base, I am too close, what the hell! Every other turn I am keeping the runway half a mile or halfway up my wingstrut. Then finally I realize what is happening. the end of the runway has some trees that are starting to overgrow and when I am at 45 degrees, what I think is the end of the runway is actually about 1000 feet down. Ok so on the final attempt I nail all 4 sides. At this point, we head back to the airfield. My instructor seems to be concerned because there is an aztec milling about. Once we were in the patter on downwind, we hear the aztec drop in the pattern behind us. Aztec’s are much faster then us. At this point I reach the second point of overload. Abeam the numbers my instructor, accelerates our checklist before I can read it and starts dropping flaps. We then turn for a very short base and final. At this point I realize, there isn’t going to be much of a lesson on landing because my already 10 steps behind. at this point we are a little high so she says “I’m going to slip us down a bit” at that point she dips the wing and kicks the rudder and we slide down quickly. It was pretty cool. I have read about it but never experienced the sensory of it. We touch down and get off the runway in time for the aztec to just touchdown.
As we taxi’d back, she asked if I had any questions/comments. I told her how I felt about takeoff and landing and that I wished I was able to do a little more of the landing. She explained that part of being a pilot is also being a good neighbor and that Aztec was much faster than us so we were trying to be considerate. Cool to me, so far Pilots have shown to be a special bread. Especially when it comes to helping each other out. Can’t wait until the next lesson.