Aircraft: C172 N52654
Flight Time: 1.3 hours
Total Hours: 38
Today was the first time that my wife Amy went flying with me. She felt that it would help to have an instructor in the plane during her first time up with me, so she came along for the lesson. She wandered around on the tarmac while I was doing my preflight and then pretty much just sat in the back seat and enjoyed the view during the entire flight. The visibility was great, and we could even see Mt. Redoubt erupting with a huge cloud of steam and ash across the Cook Inlet. It was nice not have to worry about whether she was feeling comfortable, which could have made me even more uncomfortable and possibly added unneeded pressure during my lesson.
Overall, it was a good experience for both of us and it was helpful for me to learn how to deal with a passenger in the plane and know what and how to communicate with them, especially if things were to go wrong. Mark reiterated the need for the pilot to remain calm no matter what happens and portray confidence during the entire flight. After all, passengers may not always know what to expect and what is normal or not normal, so it’s up to the pilot to set the tone.
Since I’m working towards my checkride, Mark had me fly some headings, climbs and descents to make sure my tolerances were right in line with what I’d need to get my license. Next he pulled the throttle all the way out and had me go through the emergency landing without power procedure. It had been a few weeks since I last practiced this, and I did fine, but recognize that I need to keep reviewing this so that it becomes second nature. I spent a little too much time fiddling with the trim and so Mark advised me to scan all the necessary components while I’m doing this, since my attention is focused down there anyway during that step.
Next we went over to Birchwood, where Mark had me practice short field takeoffs and landings. I got a good feel for what I still need to work on, which is landings at airfields other than Merrill. I’m so used to flying the Merrill pattern and landing there, and not nearly as used to landing at smaller, non tower strips that don’t have the same visual references as what I’m used to, like the Anchorage city streets. My patterns weren’t perfect, and I struggled with a couple of my landings, but definitely got better during the third and fourth tries.
I struggled a bit on our final landing at Merrill, partly due to a crosswind. I let the airspeed get a bit too low and then bounced too much. I realized that one thing I don’t always do is look at the windsock as I’m coming in on final. I think I tend to listen to the ATIS and then not pay very much attention to the best visual cue that the runway has to offer.
So, when I’m on final approach, remember to LOOK AT THE WINDSOCK!! Again, look at the windsock.
Regarding the landings, I scheduled for later this week with Mark so that we can go get in some real short and soft field practice on the gravel runway over at Goose Bay. Should be very educational.
In the meantime, remember to look at the windsock.