Lesson 9: Landing the Airplane

Aircraft: C172 N52654

Flight  Time:  1.0 hours

Total Hours: 9.3

A breakthrough lesson for me today, I’m finally getting a feel for landing the airplane! We did 10 more touch and go’s, and aside from one go around, I performed really well and brought 654 down safely and relatively softly each time. Mark still helped me out with advice and tips as we flew around the pattern each time, but for the most part, he kept his hands off of the yoke during just about all of the landings.

I’d spent quite a bit of time during the past couple of days visualizing what I knew I needed to do, and running through the procedure over and over in my head. It must have helped, because whereas last lesson, I really struggled with controlling my airspeed through the turns to base and final, which had me coming in too fast, this time I did a solid job of keeping my speed and rate of descent where they needed to be. Also, I seem to be getting a good feel for the level off and flare.

There was one exciting moment, though, when we came in for our final landing and full stop. After touchdown, I applied the brakes, but things felt a little off. We weren’t really stopping, because the airplane was skidding on the ice. I let off and pumped them gently until we were able to slow down and exit from the runway. Yet another experience of learning to fly in the wintertime in Alaska.

Overall, I felt calm and totally in control, even during the times when my approach or flare wasn’t as good as it could have been. My confidence seems to have grown considerably and I could tell that my general airplane handling skills are quickly becoming very comfortable.

We’ll see what Mark has in store for me next time…!

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