Today we had a nice 6 to 9 kt crosswind. I say nice because before I can solo, I need to get crosswind landings down.
After preflight, I had some time to burn before my instructor landed with her current student. I took in a gorgeous afternoon on the club deck and noticed something new coming up the runway. I really cool Pilatus painted up like a blue and red cartoon bird. The turbo charged engine sounded really cool and the take off was silky smooth. I would end up chasing this bird around the pattern but we have to get off the ground first.
So… we go.
Today we stayed in the pattern for the entire lesson. The plan was, crosswind landings / slips, some engine outs and a spiral descent over the runway. (If it was light on traffic).
First take off was fine, I could tell it was going to be tiring as I fought the crosswind and some turbulence. I crabbed into the wind making sure that I held runway heading, all the while looking for that Pilatus that was in the pattern. I spotted the blue bird (the Pilatus.. ), getting ready to turn base as I rolled out on downwind. I made sure to keep him in site as we came abeam so I could start my descent. First landing was ok, I crabbed as we came down and touched down but not feeling real confident. I was high and flared too high so we floated… been a while since I actually got some practice landing… that last flight was more of a hold on and ride.
As soon as we were down and under control, throttle up and back up chasing the blue bird. Next time around, as we were abeam the bird, “You lost your engine, what do you do?” I pitched for 60 kts, started turning toward the runway since it was best available…. that Pilatus was just now touching down. Everything went fine and as I was about 50 feet, we performed a go around as to not create a runway incursion. The Pilatus was still on his landing roll. Seemed to go ok.
Things went like this for the next couple of landings, and two more engine outs. I think I have a grasp of the A,B,C,D,E procedure and able to perform it without causing distractions from flying the plane. I am still having trouble slipping to land.
As I turn Final, I try to do this half slip half crab thing, (non committal) and lose airspeed and needed some help… I set the plane down hard on the runway. As we take off, I tell her “I feel like the plane is flying me and I am afraid of the rudder. I need to quit being as you say ‘Namby Pamby’ with the rudder.” She responds, “Let’s do one more so you can redeem yourself”.
Last landing, I turn Final and leave some right crab in for the wind. Then I kicked the left rudder hard to line up with the runway and dropped the right wing into the wind as I hold forward to keep airspeed from dropping. At the same time, I applied some throttle to counteract the increased descent rate. It felt really good and I was doing it. As I got to flare height it went a little sideways…. literally. As I came out of the slip, the nose went left because I still had my foot on the rudder… but we were right of centerline so I thought it was fine… except we were a little sideways but not bad. I go… “Ugh” but she says “Nice job on the slip couldn’t have done it better myself”. I, of course point out my sideways landing and she comments on that is how rubber comes off the tires. I took it in stride and felt pretty good over all about the slip and landing. It felt like it clicked and she thought so as well.
As I entered the club house to debrief, she said “Let me introduce you to ****, I want you to go up with him so he can do a check that precedes your pre solo checkout. I want him to put you through the paces before you do your pre-solo ride with the Chief Flight Instructor” Pretty awesome, that means I am getting close to that magical milestone. I’m a little excited, a little nervous, pretty hungry right now…. I do feel like I am ready to take the next step. Can’t wait until my next lesson
Here is a pic of the Pilatus, not the best and I wish they wouldn’t have departed to the South. I wanted to get a close up picture but, you get what you get. Still cool.
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