Lesson 3: Climbing and Descending Turns, More Touch and Go’s

Aircraft: C172 N52654

Flight  Time:  1 hour

Total Hours: 2.6

It was a beautiful, clear, cold morning yesterday, so I called over to the airport and scheduled for a noon lesson with Mark. By the time twelve o’clock rolled around, though, a cloud ceiling begun to build up at 9,000 feet. 

I reviewed with Mark what I had learned in my last lesson, and then he sent me off to do the preflight check on ‘654’ by myself. I’ve been running through the checklist quite a bit on the simulator at home, so I’m getting pretty comfortable with this procedure. I’m also getting to know the airplane better each time. When the preflight was done, we pulled her out of the hanger, fueled up and started the engine.

Today was the first time that I’ve started doing the radio calls. I tuned to the ATIS frequency and listened to the recorded voice give me the the sky and wind conditions, temperature and dewpoint, altimeter setting, and runway info. I then called up Merrill Ground, verified that I had obtained the ATIS info and requested permission to taxi to runway 7. I’m still getting used to the controls, so I wouldn’t say that I stayed perfectly on the centerline, but I got us to the edge of runway, where we did our final check before takeoff.

Mark assisted and advised me through the takeoff, but for the most part, I was pilot in command and controlled the plane as we climbed off of the runway and up into the sky. There was considerably more wind up high than on the ground, and so it was a bit of a challenge for me to keep the plane straight and level.

We flew to the practice area where Mark demonstrated cruise descents and descents involving configuration changes (use of flaps). He had me perform some turns, climbing turns and descending turns. I struggled a bit with the trim control and had a much harder time holding my altitude, but part of that was the wind.

On our way back to Merrill, I called the tower and indicated our approach, and then Mark instructed me through three touch and go’s before our final landing. I did most of the flying through them, with Mark helping to make corrections, and even though it was definitely a challenging and mentally taxing lesson, I’m sure that I’ll be even more proficient next time. Steering a vehicle through three dimensions of space is a brand new thing for me, and it will just take more time to get comfortable with learning to control the aircraft.

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