Lesson 6: S Turns, Turns Around a Point

Aircraft: C172 N13205

Flight  Time:  1.1 hours

Total Hours: 5.8

5 Degrees on Monday morning when I ride out for my 10:00 AM lesson. 205 is already outside when I get there, so I do my preflight in the cold while wearing all of my jackets. I even took an extra hat to wear, since the one I wear under my bike helmet is just not warm enough for standing around in near zero temperatures. I remove the insulated blanket on the cowling that helps keep the engine warm, remove the wing covers and brush the light dusting of snow off of the plane’s control surfaces. After gassing her up, we get in and start up.

I’m finally starting to get the hang of using the rudder pedals to steer while on the ground. It’s been a little hard to get used to, and I keep finding myself trying to steer with the yoke, which doesn’t do anything when the aircraft is moving at a slow taxi speed, except when faced with crosswinds. 

We get clearance for runway 7 and I perform the takeoff with pretty much no assistance- my best effort yet. I’m really starting to get this part down, and that’s inspiring in itself. We ascend and turn towards Ship Creek and head towards the practice area. Along the way, Mark points down at two moose who are hunkered down in the snow in a clearing at the edge of some trees. It’s a mama and her young. Mark takes control of the plane and drops lower so that we can circle above for a better look. The moose seem uninterested.

Today Mark shows me ‘S turns’ and ‘turns around a point,’ two maneuvers that are designed to help teach how to correct for wind drift while referencing points on the ground. After that, I take the flight controls and review slow flight, power on and power off stalls, and then at one point, Mark pulls the throttle all the way back to idle and says, “you’ve just lost an engine, what do you do.” I run through the procedures that he showed me last week. I pretty much have it down, but even in just a practice situation, I find myself trying to rush things, probably because it’s my first time.

When we fly back for touch and go’s, I really try to concentrate on the landing procedure. I previous lessons, I’ve been pulling up too much on the flare, which causes the plane to balloon up above the runway. This time I try to correct that and end up not pulling up enough. Mark pulls back hard on the yoke right at the end, but we still come down a little harder than we would have wanted to. Good thing that 205 has big tires. He assures me that this is normal and that I’m coming along just fine. I hope I do better next time.

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