Today was a really short lesson, all about finishing up my club annual . I need to finished up before my instructor heads out of town for vacation. This way, I can get in some cross country flights with a safety pilot. This will help met get some of my last IFR requirements out of the way.
In the previous few lessons, we took care of a lot of the items on the club annual. After looking over the checklist, we found that I really only needed emergency engine out testing. With weather coming in, I decided we could just go do those real quick and let my instructors other students start a little earlier.
We were going to stay in the pattern, so I was mentally prepared to have the engine “Fail” at any moment. There was quite a bit of traffic at the airfield at the time, so I was able to predict, with some accuracy, when the engine failure would come. That and my instructor giving me some really good hints as to what, when and where.
For the first maneuver, I was instructed to climb to 2000 and we performed a spiral down engine out maneuver over the numbers. I have done this once in the past during my private pre-solo check with the chief flight instructor. I did a little better then than I did this time. My instructor said “pick a spot” and fumbled around a bit but went with the numbers as to what I would aim for. I am pretty sure he was setting me up for the big lesson on the next attempt.
As I descended down lower and lower, I decided that we couldn’t make another 360 and we would go for it. I should have extended the downwind on that last turn a bit to set up for a more natural approach to the threshold but instead I dropped full flaps and tried to slip down. Now you have to understand, when I started this, I was already over the landing point that I said I was aiming for. Do you think I could make that spot? ha, …. no. I am not even sure I could have made the end of the 6000′ runway but we decided to go around before trying.
Now the cool part. This time we went up to pattern altitude and performed a power-off 180 accuracy landing. A maneuver that you learn during your commercial training (Which is coming up after my IFR). This maneuver involved pulling the throttle downwind abeam your touchdown aim point, in our case the 1000 ft markers. When you turn base, you judge your height (too high? too low?) and you can use S turns in order to better lose altitude until you are right on target.
We performed this maneuver two times and hit the 1000 ft marker both times. Before this, I only had a few tools in my bag, judging distance on the downwind, flaps and slips. By adding S turns, you can use the bank as a way to lose some lift. This allows you to better control distance between you and the touchdown point.
It was a great lesson in energy management and a really cool peek into my future training.
Next on my list is knocking out about 20 hours or cross country and simulated instrument time. I am planning some long cross country flights with a safety pilot to try and get some significant hours. Should be a lot of fun.
The check ride is coming soon and honestly, I have had so much fun that am not sure I want it to end, lol. However, my instructor is awesome and we are already talking about the commercial so there will be more fun to be had!
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