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Guest christianholmes

My real life flight training continued...

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I really want to keep a journal of my training, and I figure I might as well post it here for any of you current/future pilots/friends that would like to read it...So, Last weekend I made my first real landing- However, it was very, very controlled and my instructor helped a few times since there was some real wind.Yesterday, I was scheduled to fly at 1600 local, which is well before work is over, and on top of that I wasn't feeling the best. A bit of a sore throat, but no sinus pressure (no flying with that!). I had planned on cancelling, but cancelling this late they would charge a fee, so I figured what the ####- The sky was coming in, and 1600 didn't leave much daylight so I figured I'd get there and they'd send me home anyway. So I got there about 1545, and the FBO manager handed me the plane's chart- I'm not sure what to really call it, it's basically a kneeboard, but it doesn't have the knee straps, and it has a cover that folds over it. Anyway, it has the checklists, a form to fill out for flight time, the keys to the particular aircraft, and a checklist. I asked if knew if the instructor was definately coming and they said they were pretty sure, so I headed out. I still wasn't convinced I would be flying, but at least I'd get another preflight under my belt. So I do the walkaround(s) again (once with the lights on to check them, and the stall horn, and then with the battery off so we don't drain it, and doing everything else). I finish that, hop in the plane, and do a few basic things that I can get out of the way, like set the takeoff trim, altimeter, and directional gyro (heading indicator). Whoever last flew her didn't turn the transponder to standby- not a big deal, but they were responding to requests at an altitude of 14 feet so it's usually a good idea to set it to standby. I plug in my phones, open the window and just wait. And wait. And wait. I sat there for about 20 minutes with no sign of the instructor. By now I was fully convinced it was a no go- we only had about 20 minutes of daylight left, and the ceiling had come down quite a bit. I knew the ceiling wouldn't be a huge deal since we would just be doing pattern work, and the winds were favorable, but I still had doubts. Waiting wasn't boring however- I got to see a United Dash 8 come in, another (Delta?) plane I didn't recognize (bigger than a lear, but kind of looked like one), and a few brand new looking Cessna Citations (how sweet are those?). And flying or not, how fun is airplane spotting from an airplane, on the tarmac? So all of a sudden the instructor hops up on the wing and apologizes, saying he was inside and they didn't tell him I was here (thanks for that, FBO people). He says we're good to go, so continue with the checklists, give our clear prop shout out and start the engines, call the tower, get everything in order and off we go to runway 20. This was a new runway for me, and a different taxiway. Kind of neat since it took us through the rest of the east ramp and I got to check out some nice planes. I do the runup, switch to the left mag and ... SPUTTER SPUTTER COUGH CHOKE SPUTTER ... it's running like a hypochondriac with the flu. So the instructor gets all excited and says "No, I'm glad it's doing this- many people don't see a fouled mag until they're on their own and they usually just bring the airplane back". I'm thinking "How again is it good that the airplane I'm trusting my life with sounds like it's about to puke?". Easy enough- Crank the throttle (feet on the brakes HARD), and lean it out about 1/2 way- just until the RPMs drop slightly. Leave it running there about 30 seconds, reduce to 1000 RPM, and try the mag check again. It worked! Sounds great now, but still didn't give me the warm fuzzies- I don't have enough time to be "OK" with anything wrong other than my death-grip flying.So that was sorted out, I make the tower call for closed traffic ("New Haven tower, Warrior 8148 Lima ready for takeoff at runway two zero, closed traffic"). I knew we would be waiting a little bit however- there was a Caravan at the intersection just down the runway (I guess they figure they don't need the full runway). And there is something big and pretty on final. New Haven is a hub for smaller connecting flights for (I could be mistaken on this-) Delta and United. There are quite a few corporate jets here to. The Caravan was familiar to me- I met the guy in Madison (N04) a few months ago. Apparently he owns a small charter business. I hope in my next life I own a small charter business- that looks fun. The instructor points out to me that a few years ago, they would have both of us taxi into position and hold, then clear the plane in front, followed by me- but there was an incident where the plane behind started rolling and the hit the plane in front, so they don't do that anymore."48 Lima, Cleared for takeoff, make left traffic". "48 Lima, Cleared for takeoff". Away we go- As I rotate and begin climbing, I notice it's much smoother than the other day, but darker and more clouds. Make my left turn at 700 feet, hold 79 kts. Roll out on 110 (or therabouts), and drop the RPM to 2400 and level off at 1000 (field elevation is 14 feet). When we make the turn, we are just over the shore, so it's quite an easy visual reference point actually. I turn downwind, and all of a sudden I realize we are by no means 500 feet below the clouds- in fact, we are a bit obscured. Apparently this is OK though- Realistically there was nowhere else to go- below is houses and buildings, so it's smarter to stay higher than hug the deck. So about halfway down the runway (with it directly off the left wing). I drop the power to 1600 RPM, put in a notch of flaps, and hold my altitude until we hit 70 kts. Once we hit 70, just pitch to maintain speed. When the runway is 45 degrees off the wing, turn to base. This is actually right over I-95 so again, another easy visual reference. Put in another notch of flaps, with the plane stabilized, just wait to start the turn to final. Start a 20-30 degree bank, and try to roll out on the centerline. Put in the 3rd notch of flaps (full), and try to keep the landing blocks centered in a point on the windshield. 50 feet, start reducing power gradually to idle. Level the nose. 10 feet, pitch up and let it sink slightly. 5 feet. Hold the nose up. HOLD IT, HOLD IT. BWAHHHHHH!!!!!! Stall. Boom. Wheels down. Nice landing! I'm a friggin ace. Just give me a second to wipe the sweat off my eyelids. Flaps up a notch. Full throttle. Here we go again....5 Landings later, the sun was down, the runway (and car) lights were all on. Very pretty I guess- I had about 4 seconds to admire it all. I asked if we could call it a night- I need to let this sink in. He says that's fine, so we taxi back, park it, and head in. The only time the instructor is still really getting agressive with the controls on me is when we park- I guess it's ok if I get a little sloppy, but it's NOT okay if I clip somebody's wing pulling into the parking spot. That's ok- I'm learning the important things now- the others will fall in with time.So another awesome lesson- my favorite so far. Next time we're going to start working on emergency procedures. More sweating. maybe I'll hang a towel around my neck.

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