I finally feel like I am getting the hang of a few things. Pre-flight, Run ups, Takeoffs, cruise, slow flight, turns… all seem to be clicking. I am holding speed an altitude decently, and feel like I am in command of the airplane.
In this lesson, we worked on a clearing turns, steep turns and stalls. Again, my steep turn to the left was spot on. I think I have that sight picture down. To the right…. not so much. I can’t seem to hold 45 degrees. I seem to only hold around 38 degrees.
This time we worked on stalls and keeping as much altitude as possible approaching the stall. The first time I exited, I lost around 700 ft…. NOT GOOD! Imagine if I was on approach for landing… pancakes anyone? The second time I attempted, I only lost around 200 ft which evidently is much better. The Cessna 152 seems to just mush stall for the most part. I haven’t felt a real clean break yet. I may not be pulling back enough… not sure.
Next we moved on to some pattern work. I wasn’t quite expecting that but I was ready for the challenge. Time to put together everything I have learned to this point, including, Rectangular ground reference maneuvers, approach speeds, slow flight…
First pattern entry…. I felt ready. We had incoming traffic on a long final so I was trying to locate him. Once located, he became my source of to line up my “Abeam the numbers” profile. Carb heat on, 10 degrees of flaps, RPM’s to 1500, site picture for descent. Once the runway was 45 degrees, clear left, turn left, drop to 20 degrees of flaps and hold the nose down because it wants to rise. Once re-established, get ready for turn to final. Once we turn final, time to shoot the numbers at 65 kts, using throttle to control our descent speed. Everything looked pretty good, as we touched down but I seemed to relieve back pressure too soon. Hmm… that is a big no no.
We taxi back to runway 3 and perform another run up. This time we take off but stay in the pattern. As I turned from crosswind to downwind, I didn’t setup for 70kts and blew past our pattern altitude. I get things back under control and notice that I am not flying parallel to the runway but slowly getting close. sigh…. the airplane is way ahead of me. The rest of the pattern went about as well. I turned to base too late which had me too low on final and I had to hold my 20 degree flaps until we were on final. Then I ballooned a little over the runway… too fast!!! Airspeed!!!! Pay attention!!
The last time around the pattern I felt like I was with the airplane a bit more. Nailed the pattern altitude, was configured… then… turn too late on base again. Once that happened I was flustered, as we got close to the runway, I was high… somehow. And to top it off, I rounded off too early even though my instructor was saying “Not Yet…. Not Yet…. Not Yet…” but I kept on rounding out and we were too high above the runway. This makes for an awkwardly sluggish mush all the way down to the ground.
As we taxi’d back, I commented on some of my frustrations to which she said that this is my first of many and will get better over time. I sure hope so. I was mentally exhausted. It is amazing how much concentrated concentration like that can drain you. As I tied down the aircraft, I had 45 minutes to grab something to eat because I had brilliantly scheduled my lesson before my 3 hour ground school class that starts at 7pm and ends at 10pm.
Even though I was exhausted and dissapointed with my performance I reminded myself…. “You got to fly a plane, how cool is that”.