Had to do another checkout flight with Andrew before going solo in the practice area. We set it up for this morning at 8 am. I arrived early (never know what the traffic is going to be like so I leave early just in case) and got a plane, did the walk around and got a transponder code. I was hoping to get WZN, but there was a note saying to save hours for this weekend (Fly Day) so I got stuck with JZP.
The only reason I don’t like JZP is because the airspeed indicator has the outside units as MPH and the smaller inside units as KTS and it screws me up. Andrew told me a little trick today though, basically if you want a speed of 70 KTS (optimal climb speed) in any of the 150s at the club, then just get the needle to the 3 o’clock position and it should be around 70 KTS. Great tip!
Anyways, we got the plane turned around (note to self: don’t sit on the tail to turn the plane around, not good!) and jumped inside and started it up. Got the clearance to taxi over and do my run-up. As part of the run-up you have to set the power to a specified RPM and we noticed (Andrew more than me, although I did notice too) that even though I set it at 1700, it seemed to be slowly declining. When it came time to do the carb heat check, guess what?! After a few seconds of being on, the power shot up a couple of hundred RPM. This was my first experience with carb icing! No worries, left the carb heat on and melted the ice. Kind of nice to have experienced it on the ground rather than in the air though. :)
For take off, Andrew decided that we’d do a short field take off. Brakes on, full power. Let go of the brakes, and when the airspeed gets up to the white arc, lift off the runway and stay in ground effect by keeping the nose down. After we get up enough airspeed to do a regular climb, lift the nose up and climb. I didn’t really notice, but apparently we didn’t use much runway. :)
We headed out towards the practice area and Andrew got me to put the hood on so I could practice some instrument flying. We were headed over to the Quebec side of the practice area since I haven’t spent much time over there. On our way, Andrew got me to take off the hood for a minute to show me the clouds. We were actually flying over top of some clouds. He asked me if that was ok, to which I replied, “As long as we’re 500 feet vertically from them and can see the ground.” I was right for the most part, but the clouds can’t be covering more than 50% of the sky.
Once in the practice area, Andrew asked me to do a stall with 40% of flaps and 1500 RPM. Sure…pulled out the carb heat, dropped the power, dropped down the flaps and started to wait for it.
“You’re not going to do it right now are you?”
“Well I was going to.”
“What about your HASEL check?”
“Shit…sorry about that.”
So, full power, pulled up some flaps (to 20 degrees) and did my HASEL check. Then pulled out the carb heat, dropped the power, dropped down the flaps to 40 degrees again. When I heard the stall horn, I pulled back on the control column. We got a pretty good wing drop so I compensated with opposite rudder. Andrew had mentioned that since we were at full flaps that the rudder may not be effective enough and that I may have to pull up some flaps. That didn’t happen but duely noted. Anyways, on the recovery I pushed the nose down a bit too far, gotta work on that. Also, after the flight, Andrew suggested I not pull back on the controls to make the stall happen, just set up a pitch attitude that I know will eventually cause a stall and wait for it.
After the stall, we headed east over the Gatineau hills. Andrew pointed out a bunch of stuff over that way, like the Prime Minister’s summer residence and this place (can’t remember the name) where they sunk an airplane for scuba diving. Incidentally they also do bungee jumping at the same place. He also pointed out a little landing strip, and I stress little. He asked me if I wanted to do a touch and go there, to which I naturally said sure. He laughed and told me it was a strip for model airplanes! Nice!
I forgot to mention, we also discussed forced approaches in an area like the Gatineau Hills where there is seemingly nothing but trees. Same basic principles, full flaps for reduced speed, and just skim the tops of the trees to slow yourself down further. Eventually (and hopefully) the plane will come to rest in the tops of the trees, or, if it does fall down through, it likely wont fall quickly due to the wings hitting the branches, etc.
And speaking of forced approaches, after just passing by the mini air strip, Andrew got me to pull the engine and do a forced approach. I was a bit at a loss for where to go. I started to go through RRSP, but realized I didn’t really have time for it. Basically I trimmed for 60 KTS, went through the restart procedure, turned back towards the mini airstrip and dropped down 40 degrees of flaps. No Mayday call, no passenger briefing. We likely wouldn’t have stopped before going off the end of the mini runway but we should have lost enough speed before hitting the trees that it wouldn’t have been that bad.
After that we started to head back. Andrew got me to put the hood back on so I could get more instrument practice. I have a hell of a time holding a heading when I’m under the hood. I have a tendency to turn left and I can’t seem to fight it. Frustrating as hell.
For landing today we practiced a soft field landing. 40 degrees of flaps and try to keep the plane off the runway as long as possible. Well…this was not my best landing, to say the least. I flared late, (I haden’t landed in like a week! ;) ) and kind of bounced a bit, then I lost my cross wind controls and got blown over to the left…it wasn’t pretty. Andrew suggested that anytime I’m flying with an instructor from now on that I ask to do a speciality landing. Good plan.
After all that, Andrew still signed me out to go solo in the practice area. Sweet! I’ve got a booking on Sunday and one on Tuesday. If all goes well, I’ll have the first 2 hours of my solo time done and then I’ve booked some time with Brad for Wednesday before Ground school.
All in all, a pretty great way to start a Friday. I really enjoyed flying with Andrew again. He’s so laid back it’s unbelievable. It seems like nothing scares this guy! When you do something wrong (like when I did the stall and pushed the nose down too much) he doesn’t freak out, he just sits there and then says, “Maybe next time you’ll want to try it this way…” I’m pretty sure this is what Andrew was meant to be doing in life. :)