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Cont... My Real life flight training

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Ok,So my last few lessons have been the routine pre-solo stuff- do some maneuvers, and then do a crapload of touch and gos- full flaps, no flaps, short approach, slips, etc. However, probably due to luck, I had not had to deal with much wind. Today changed that!When getting out of my car (behind the rather large FBO building) I could feel a pretty good... no make that strong wind. I could just see the windsock by the tower, and it was pegged horizontally. Maybe the FBO forgot to call and tell me my lesson was cancelled due to weather? As I went inside, I was half hoping that was the case...I say hi to the manager behind the desk as he's shuffling some papers. He looks up, and while I was hoping to see a look of dissappointment and a "Oh, you didn't get the message?", instead he says "The plane you're in hasn't flown today, so here's the clipboard- go preflight it now, and I'll tell your instructor you're here". Ok. 30 degrees, give or take an icecube. On the tarmac, the wind was pretty nasty. I had to really concentrate on the preflight, and took my time as this was the first flight of the day for this plane. Lucky I had gloves, but I was still freezing at the end. My instructor finally comes out about 10 minutes later. I had already barricaded myself in the plane with the door shut. Radios (analog dials) were tuned, DG set, altimeter set, xpnder on stby. I usually do that stuff beforehand so I can't screw up and accidentally ask ATIS for taxi clearance if you know what I mean.So, ATIS says that the wind is 15 knots, gusting to 22. Well, I have to disagree- it was more like 20 gusting to 30. My instructor agreed. We must have been at the end of the cycle for whiskey.The wind was out of 220, and the active was 20, so there was only a small crosswind component from the right. Takeoff was relatively uneventful- just give a little right aileron as you roll, and when you take off you will be pretty much tracking the centerline. I also noticed I didn't need quite as much right rudder since the weathervane effect from the crosswind turns you into it.We went five miles east, and I called the tower and told them we were clear of their airspace. They told me "116, frequency change approved, see ya". See ya? What is this Top Gun? I just said "116, Thanks". Maybe I should add "Smell ya later, Tower" next time. Or not :)After only a few steep turns, and stalls (and forgetting to do my clearing turns beforehand) we headed back to the airport. Even though I can't usually remember the actual steps to do these maneuvers, my instructor said I actually do them fine. So I won't worry about it, but at some point, I want to right all this stuff down. I HATE when he has to remind me. I told him my goal is to fly an entire flight without him saying anything. And then I added that my actually goal is to get him the #### out of my airplane. He laughed and said he wasn't offended, and wished his other students had that attitude. I like him, but he's not always going to be in the plane, and I want to make sure I can do everything on my own without being reminded.On the way back to the airport, we were talking about various things, like cruise altitudes and stuff, when all of a sudden, a Cherokee passed DIRECTLY below us- about 500 feet below. Neither one of us saw it- and I don't know if the other pilot saw us. It was good to see actually- About 5 minutes before that there was not a plane in the sky, so it really shows the importance of constantly scanning for traffic. I swore to myself I will never let another plane get in a mile of me without knowing it's there.So I called the tower at about 7 miles out, and told them we'd be coming in for some touch and gos. They told me to notify them when on a left base for 20. I noticed it starting to get bumpier on the way down. This is going to be interesting, if not fun. My instructor said we would try a flaps 2 landing since full flaps might be too much- the slower you go, the more prone to gusts, and quite frankly, the longer you are in the air. You just don't need that steep of a descent in this wind either.At about 500 feet when turning final is when it REALLY started getting bumpy. I got really nervous- How can I make small corrections when the plane is getting knocked into a 20 degree bank. So instead of guessing, or acting like I already knew- I just asked "Is it ok for me to really crank the controls to keep us level? I won't stall the wingtips or something will I?". He said "You're basically in a boxing match with the wind right now- do whatever you need to- small corrections if possible, but you need to keep the plane level and on course". So that was that- I had the ailerons and the rudder at the stops a couple of times, and I think I almost crushed the yoke I was squeezing so hard, but before I knew it, we glided over the threshold, and the gusts reduced significantly. I managed to put it down pretty gently, and dropped the flaps for another takeoff- but I hesitated since that was pretty intense and I wanted a few seconds to recover (the runway is more than long enough). At that moment I began to think "He's not saying anything- I think that was way too rough, or maybe I touched down too soon, or something". When all of a sudden I just hear "Wow...". I just blurted "was that OK?". He goes "That was PERFECT- absolutely perfect". Ok, now I'm happy, but I also realize that luck may be on my side today, and I have no where to go but down... So we do a few more, and after the third or so I think "ok, not luck- I got this". Well, on the fourth time, a good gust nailed us in the flare, and we floated up pretty high. I punched the throttle, and tried to gently bring it back down, but it was rough. I wasn't happy, but he actually said it was fine. I want all my landings to be perfect, but I guess that's just unrealistic. We did a few more, and they went fine- after the 7th, my shoulder started hurting from fighting the yoke (I hurt it playing volleyball when I was younger) so we made a full stop and called it a day...I'm glad for this day- I don't enjoy weather like that, but I refuse to be a fair weather pilot. I want to learn it all with the instructor right there.So on Saturday, we are going to go over my presolo test, and from there it won't be long...Now if only I can remember what those airport beacons mean... Steady green or flashing green is ok to land?

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Thanks for sharing Christian!Your detailed acounts make me feel like I'm right in the plane with you.Can't wait to read about your solo.JerryG

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I have some little comments here and there for what you are experiencing and to help you out. For tuning the radios and all that is good before start-up but do you do any radio testing during run-up or before taxi? Setting the DG before starting isn't the best thing to do since the gyro isn't up to it's rigid state. The gyro might precess and show you off by 5 degrees or more. While the DG isn't a required instrument for VFR it sounds like you want to take your rating further then VFR and it is good to start advanced aircraft control and setup early in your training. The DG is an item that is for the pre-taxi then run-up checklist.The weather vaneing is a dangerous thing to let your airplane do right after takeoff. You should keep the track of the runway straight down the airplane until more then 50 feet above the runway then you can release correction and let it go into the wind. The reason for the side slip into the wind is that if you encounter a shear a few feet off the ground you won't be coming back down to the runway at a crab angle and then experiencing a nasty ground loop or loss of directional control.As for the radio jargon you must be at a small airport. If they have approach or terminal radar then you don't call clear of the airspace they will know that and it will help free up the frequency for other aircraft.Knowing how to do the manuvers is something that you should have down right away. They are done not only to promote safety if you get into one of those demonstrated situations but to also help develop mental checklists for those time critical emergency situations. Read your text and fly the sim just how you would fly the real airplane. Flight sim although not perfectly accurate is almost as good as many of the certified ground based trainers. This will really be putting dollars and cents back in your pocket when you are prepared for each lesson. Practice in that kind of wind is good and it is great you were able to master it and demonstrate your skills quickly! Most people I've flown with on gusts that balloon them will lower the nose then try to reflare the aircraft instead of do what you did and add power. Those are some scary experiences with those pilots. For knowing the light gun signals and other airport markings or signs read the chapters in the FAR/AIM (if you have the ASA reprint version it has which FARs and sections of the AIM to read for Private Pilot) If you read through these you will easily have all the questions already answered when your oral time comes around.Great to hear the stories of a student pilot here, keep them coming!

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Thanks for the advice Chris! I don't 'test' the radios per se, but I guess I would never taxi without getting clearance from the tower first, so I would know if something was wrong right there.You are right about the DG! I noticed that I usually have to correct the after the runup anyway. I do that more because I'm excited and impatient :)Now both my instructors told me to hold the ailerons into the wind- what do you think about that? I understand what you are saying about a ground loop- from what I've heard the Warrior can handle a pretty big crab on landing, so maybe this is airplane specific? Certainly when I first started landing we hit the runway at some angles. My instructor warned me about pointing the nose back down. I probably have done that before, but luckily I've never had a REALLY bad landing, and I think I'm too good to do that now (not bragging- but I've landed about 40 times now- not a lot for an experienced pilot, but you don't remember what your first 40 landings as a student were like do you? :) )And yes, it's a fairly small airport. Class D, with a part-time tower. There are only 2 or 3 controllers that work there, (no radar) so I think they get comfy in their job. Alot of big important people fly in here (it's the airport the Pesident, and alot of other hot-shots come into since it's right near Yale university). But I bet the controllers are on different behavior for them. Steven Spielberg flew in the other day when I was there, but I wasn't in the plane yet, so I didn't hear the tower. I guess his daughter goes to Yale or something.As far as the manuevers- it's not the recover I don't get. I could easily get out of a stall (Approach stall- full throttle, bring the nose down, take out a notch of flaps, accelerate... blah blah....). The part I can't remember is how to get IN to a stall. I remember now because I just did it- 1500 RPM, hold alt, put in flaps, at 79 put in 2nd not of flaps, at 63 full flaps, and hold alt.... I'm flying this weekend- There 'may' be a chance he will solo me this weekend, but to be honest I think I will decline. He thinks I am ready, but I don't 'feel' ready you know? I want to get at least a few more hours first- may 4 or 5 more. I have the rest of my life to fly solo, I would rather have instruction until I feel I am ready...

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Ok I wrote out a huge reply last night and the forum decided not to post it grrrrr.>I don't 'test' the radios per>se, but I guess I would never taxi without getting clearance>from the tower first, so I would know if something was wrong>right there.What I mean about testing the radios is an assumption if you have two comms. Try the transmit and recieveing function on both of them. Call ground on comm 2 and then call tower on comm 1 then you know you can hear and transmit on both comms.>You are right about the DG! I noticed that I usually have to>correct the after the runup anyway. I do that more because>I'm excited and impatient :)I've been guilty about that a few times :) Some people though set gyros before start up and have grounded the airplane just because of a simple error. Even though the DG is not required for VFR it is a good habit to start learning for IFR training early.>Now both my instructors told me to hold the ailerons into the>wind- what do you think about that? I understand what you>are saying about a ground loop- from what I've heard the>Warrior can handle a pretty big crab on landing, so maybe this>is airplane specific? Certainly when I first started landing>we hit the runway at some angles. My instructor warned me>about pointing the nose back down. That is the correct way to takeoff and land but most people after rotating and losing the steering of the front gear allow the airplane to point into the wind causing a bad situation if they come back down. Tricycle gears are nice in having the CG infront of the pivot point ahead of the main gear but if the pendulum effect is to great it can cause a ground loop or a lack of directional control and that is when people take the jaunts off the runway. I probably have done that>before, but luckily I've never had a REALLY bad landing, and I>think I'm too good to do that now (not bragging- but I've>landed about 40 times now- not a lot for an experienced>pilot, but you don't remember what your first 40 landings as a>student were like do you? :) )You will have a bad landing when you least expect it. I was on a stage check for my commercial license in a Bonanza and the landings were the best I have ever done. I go out a few hours later to do some instrument practice and I have one of the harshest landings to date. It was one where all the worms were killed under the runway!>And yes, it's a fairly small airport. Class D, with a>part-time tower. There are only 2 or 3 controllers that work>there, (no radar) so I think they get comfy in their job. >Alot of big important people fly in here (it's the airport the>Pesident, and alot of other hot-shots come into since it's>right near Yale university). But I bet the controllers are on>different behavior for them. Steven Spielberg flew in the>other day when I was there, but I wasn't in the plane yet, so>I didn't hear the tower. I guess his daughter goes to Yale or>something.Ask the tower next time you are flying as to what they want you to report if at all out of their airspace. It always feels good to be a professional student pilot.>As far as the manuevers- it's not the recover I don't get. I>could easily get out of a stall (Approach stall- full>throttle, bring the nose down, take out a notch of flaps,>accelerate... blah blah....). The part I can't remember is>how to get IN to a stall. I remember now because I just did>it- 1500 RPM, hold alt, put in flaps, at 79 put in 2nd not of>flaps, at 63 full flaps, and hold alt.... Even the setup for the manuvers are just as important as the recovery. It is all to get those time critical emergency procedures in your mind. >I'm flying this weekend- There 'may' be a chance he will solo>me this weekend, but to be honest I think I will decline. He>thinks I am ready, but I don't 'feel' ready you know? I want>to get at least a few more hours first- may 4 or 5 more. I>have the rest of my life to fly solo, I would rather have>instruction until I feel I am ready...4 or 5 hours is quite a bit you seem to know what you are doing. I bet you can go up for a few touch and goes and then make your instructor take a hike back to the FBO. Good Luck! :)

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Really exciting story,I actually felt like I was in there with you.

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