Last week I took another lesson with Dave. It was a pretty short lesson as we over-primed 1JD and, despite our best efforts, it wouldn’t start. So we took one of the Piper Cherokees instead and rushed out to Greenwood Lake. Once there we set up for a landing while avoiding another airplane which was in the left pattern (even though it says RP6 on the chart meaning when you are landing on runway 6 you take right pattern). We told him and then flew the pattern. On final I was a little fast so Dave took the airplane and went around. On our second go Dave exited the pattern because another plane entered the pattern and he didn’t trust their judgment after the left pattern ordeal. So we just did some steep turns, then navigated to a lake, and tracked the Sparta VOR outbound back to CDW.
Today I went up with Tom and since we saw some suspicious-looking weather on the radar we decided to stay in the pattern and practice crosswinds. The first thing I learned was to check whether the bolts on the ailerons are old style or new and if they’re new to check if there are loops sticking out of the top (the old ones have wire wrapped around the bolt whereas the new ones have this loop). I also relearned tho check the pushrod in the aileron for proper movement (I forgot today). On startup I learned to first try with no primer, then if it doesn’t start (which it didn’t) turn off the master then hit it with as little primer as possible (we did two shots) and see if it starts – it did. The reason for this was that it is a lot easier to put in more primer than get rid of it. I then learned on startup that the stock checklist is not all-encompassing and Tom had to remind me to pull up the flaps and lean the mixture right after checking to see if the engine had started up properly (rpms, oil pressure/temp, etc). We then taxied (having to avoid a helicopter and a turboprop) and taxied to runway 4. We did our run-up and took off. While in the pattern I learned to use visual queues to keep altitude airspeed and heading (because unlike instruments they can’t lie) – for altitude and airspeed I should keep 2000 RPMs on downwind, 1700 RPMs and 10 degrees flaps when abeam the numbers, then 1500 RPMs and 20 degrees on base and 30-40 degrees/throttle as necessary on final. While doing all this I should keep the dashboard 3 fingers below the horizon in level flight (downwind) and 4 fingers below when descending after abeam the numbers. I also learned to look for a visual queue on the wingtip and then put that right on the nose when turning to make perfect 90 degree turns. For the touchdown Tom told me to try to keep the airplane in the air as long as possible to make a better landing. Towards the end of the lesson we did 3 simulated engine failure landings – he pulled the throttle towards the end of the downwind leg and I had to first maintain best glide speed, then turn towards the runway immediately and dump all the flaps once the runway was made to make it down. He gave me the advice that it’s better to crash at the end of the runway (with some brakes having been applied) then stalling before you even touched down so I should always make sure I have the runway made before touching down. He also said after the lesson that it was always better to put the plane down under control then to crash in a stall trying to make a better landing spot.