It’s been a minute since I last posted. I started flying right seat to get a feel for things then nearly stopped flying and started working on all the ground material for my CFI. I meet with my instructor weekly along with another student and we are taking it slow. We are nearly through all of the ground material so decided to climb back into the right seat and see if I can get checked out.
As a note, the flying club that I am training at requires a special checkout and sign off by the chief flight instructor for any member to be able to fly right seat. The Chief flight instructor gave my instructor the nod to sign off on my checkout, so up we go!
Nothing fancy today, the plan was to go up in the plane and fly all of the required maneuvers needed for the checkout and for me to try and talk/teach my way through each maneuver.
First takeoff was normal and we departed the pattern to the west in order to get to the practice area. I climbed up to 3000 all while talking through What, how and why of each step. From the crosswind altitude to lowering the nose every so often to scan for traffic. My instructor told me to start wherever so I decided on steep turns. Performed a clearing turn and espoused the reasons why we do this then executed a steep left turn. I fumbled my way through the explanation during the turn. After the left turn, back to the right. They went well, all things considered, hit my wake both times.
Next up, slow flight. I decided to start with slow flight clean talking through the how and why. I mumbled around a bit to explain why. Note to self, need to be more prepared on the why for each maneuver. After slow flight clean, went on to slow flight dirty. Performed some standard rate turns, all was good. From here, went into an approach stall. I screwed up the setup and after some advice from the instructor, I reset my throttle an attitude for 65 knot descent, like I was landing then pulled the throttle holding the nose just above the horizon. Better technique than how I started. Cleaned up the airplane and performed a departure stall. Slowed the airplane down to around 75 kts, then gently pulled the nose back to about 25 degrees with full power. Not the greatest break on the stall but passable.
After going through a stall series, performed an engine out maneuver. Airspeed 68 (Best Glide speed), Best place to land (Grass strip about a mile away), Checklist (fuel on both, fuel shutoff valve in, mixture rich, fuel pump on etc.), Declare emergency on frequency or 121.5 transponder 7700.
I’m going to be real, I started this maneuver as a real mess. I tried to go directly in and do a crapy 360 about half a mile from the runway and was still too high. My instructor gave me some advice on the setup (duh, I know this stuff, truly do but my head was in the way), I glided to a nice downwind and ended up 1000 ft above the surface right abeam touchdown. In perfect power off 180 configuration. I performed the turn a little too early, probably antsy about how close we were to the ground already for this simulated emergency. Or my head was in the way again. Either way, would have been close, would have needed to slip.
After that, we did a few commercial maneuvers, lazy 8’s and chandelles. I did ok on the lazy 8’s, Chandelles were messy.
Finally, we headed back for some landings. First landing was a normal one, pretty decent, best from the right seat so far. Taxi’d back for a short field take off and landing for this go around. It was ok, I was short of my landing spot. I was in my head a bit about the site picture and lost the glide path a bit. Next, soft field takeoff and landing. I think the take off was really good, the landing was way too hard but kept the nose off the ground…. mostly.
The last trip around we did a power off 180. I didn’t do too bad, I landed a little left of the center line and slightly side loaded. I realized this time around, I was landing crooked because I was going out of my way to line up the runway centerline with some rivets on the cowling that were too far left of my site picture. This had me crabbing the aircraft slightly right and adjusting by using a little left aileron. At about 30 feet above the runway, it finally hit me and I let go of some right rudder but no the the aileron correction which had me slide a little left of the centerline.
Overall, my instructor said I did well…. better than I was giving myself credit for. And he said he felt comfortable signing me off to now fly solo in the right seat. A bit of a confidence boost and I do feel better about flying from the right side. I just need to clean up my landings and cleanup my maneuvers a bit and i’m golden. I keep telling myself, it will come, if it was easy we wouldn’t need to practice!