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A Lot of Right Rudder

Today my lesson is all about correctly use right rudder. I will break it down into 2 parts: power on stall and landing. I was actually aware of how and when to use the rudder. However, I was not executing them correct. But after the lesson today, I think I boosted my confidence.

Let’s talk about the easy part first.

The rudder use during landing is absolutely most critical. I lined up with runway center line with a crab angle on final, and realized the angle was too big, so I adjusted. I think I was holding the approach OK except too much flap right after turning final, which made me slow and I started descend fast. Having realized that I added a whole lot of power and much down trim so I made to the runway threshold marked with green lights. Then the challenge started. I was expecting a component of cross wind from the right, so I had a little bit of right aileron and left rudder, but noticing the nose is not straight, Bob asked me to push right rudder. Aware of I have to do that, I was still hesitated until I finally kicked a little, then my airplane drifted to the right. This taught me that do what is needed, don’t do what is expected.

Now moving to power-on stall. Much of my problem previously was, I think, not enough right rudder. I was afraid of using it even in the initial nose up stage, and as my nose drop and wings wobble, I got too scared to use right rudder so i released the rudder. But today I didn’t let my right foot up at all, and in fact I even pressed more after nose had dropped and wing tipped to the left. The correct response, and I did it correctly, was to kick right rudder to maintain directional control. Because when we reestablish climb attitude, left turning tendency was huge on the airplane. I think now I know what to expect in a power-on stall. My left wing will drop first, because of left turning tendency, so I must keep pressure on right rudder and increase pressure even more as stall develops fully.

More anticipating the stage check with Tom in 2 weeks time. Hope the weather and plane will be ready.

“I Still Don’t Get the Hang of 28″”Because You Are Hanging!”(NOV 5th)

This week we worked on landing in gusty conditions. The ATIS reported wind 300 at 8 gusting 10, so I thought it is a slight cross wind from my right when I am on runway 28. Having this mind set, I applied much left rudder. Then Bob asked me to apply some right rudder. As confused as you can imagine, I was not having a good landing.

The problem was this: “the wind aloft is different from the wind near ground”. When I applied a crab angle on short final, I was keeping me center lined. When I get close to the ground, near flare stage, I was drifting to the right of the center line. Even more confused now, because I clearly saw wind sock pointed to the right!!! Really lost about what I should do, I neutralized my aileron but maybe kept left rudder? Which resulted a left pointed nose? I couldn’t still really answer this question, so perhaps I should focus on the end of runway and know where my nose is in relation to the center.

The correct ways is to neutralize the aileron and rudder, wait for the wind to blow me back to center line then slip the airplane to land. We have to land with upwind wheel, to prevent side load from drifting, and we have to get make sure the rudder in opposite direction to straighten the nose. This is a fine art technique, which is very hard to master. I am still on my way.

Now the fun stuff. We just could not descend on final, because of headwind got blown uphill. We kept floating and floating, and appeared to be “very high” from the ground. But all of a sudden, we dropped very fast once we left the hill. The descend rate went up to 1000 ft/min. it’s not scary, but hard to manage when you have non-constant rate of descent. That’s why I said:” even after at least 4 times I landed on 28, I still don’t get the hang of it.”

Flying In the Rain

Prog Analysis predicted some bad weather coming our way. We thought maybe we could just get to the pattern and get some landing practices before rain hits here. If my landing were consistent we may even be able to get out of Caldwell and fly to Lincoln Park.

Good points:

Power management was good, had never added power on final to stretch approach;

Looked at the end of runway during transition, so touchdown was soft and minimized floating;

Kept nose rose after main wheel on the ground, to protect nose wheel;

Stayed on top of air speed;

Bad points:

When winds picked up, I got pushed a lot;

The wind shear also requires a higher air speed especially on final; which I wasn’t keeping a good job.


As we got up, the outlook to the north was not good. Around Wanaque, the clouds were low and the visibility was lower. The first couple runs were good. Then we started have to extend downwind to accommodate other traffic. On a few occasions, we were very high on the approach really had to push down to the runway. The purpose of this practice was to try to manage power, with only power reduction on final, so being high was acceptable. As we circling the pattern, the weather deteriorated fast.

3 laps after initial run, the dark clouds moved in fast and maybe 5 miles north of us. However, the wind near field stayed almost the same. So we kept going, even squeezed in a simulated engine loss to put the airplane on ground. One approach was too high, so we had to go around, and my procedure was accurate. Then it suddenly started to turn down.

First, I experienced heavy turbulence after abeaming 22. Had a lot of up-down push which I could do very little to fight back. Then on the next lap, besides turbulence, the wind direction changed from 240 to a tail wind. As I was on short final, a pilot landed earlier reported “nasty tail wind” to the tower. I was also high on approach with higher air speed —- go around. Tower then asked us if we would like to be switched to runway 4. We accepted the offer and started 180 degrees turn since we had the altitude (above 500 AGL I think) to do so. Bob took my power off, so the perspective looked like a power loss on departure. This was the time when I had a slow air speed and could potentially be pushed down hard by down draft.

Then it started to rain. With clear visibility, we were ok to keep going. It was not much a different feeling, except the wind from west made me drift to east of runway. We were able to manage flying normally and fight the gusts as we go around the pattern. The rain was not a big factor but Bob saw a lightning near Wanaque so we called the day.

Today’s lesson truly showed me how quickly weather can change and how much we needed to be prepared. On my way home I experienced heavy down pour and some hail, so that concludes my first weekend of training after break.


“There Is No Reverse, But You Can Go Backwards”

Today marks the first day of resuming training after a month and half. Much time were spent on review: slow flight, the stalls, and emergency procedure. However, the highlight must be “We are going backwards!”

Here is how it happened. After we practiced emergency procedure(more on that to come), we departed greenwood lake and climbed up to 4500 ft, where we knew from previous descending that the wind up there was really really strong. I set up a slow flight straight from climbing configuration by dumping flaps, take out power, which turned out was harder than I thought because I couldn’t operate on flaps and throttle at the same time. Then bob took it over and slowed us down to like 30 kts which I don’t understand how it was possible without stall the airplane (I guess we had lots of power?) But the story here is that because we have such a strong head wind, our ground speed is nearly ZERO! We were floating like a helicopter, and I glanced outside, and saw that we moved backwards as trees underneath moved forward. Bob then said “There is no reverse but you can go backwards”.

Now more serious stuff. I think I had a good run today given that I haven’t flown for a month and half since my parents were in town. We planed a couple times to bring them flying but each time the weather did not cooperate. So off runway 22 @ N we took off as a soft field take off practice. And normal procedure to the practice field, my pre-maneuver checklist LCGUMPPS was good, and clearing turn was done. The slow flight was still great like last time, but the first power-off stall recover was not so great. I let the speed built up too high, so we tried again and this time much better.

Still having little trouble with power-on  stall. It was the break that I have some trouble with. The ruder input too, i was not sure if I had enough or not. I will review and practice this more if we have chance.

Then we practiced lost procedure. Wasn’t aware that we were actually closer to Warwick, I turned to head to Greenwood Lake for the field. Given that we were almost at 5000 ft, we thought yeah maybe we can make it even though we were 8 miles away. However, headwind was giving us a huge problem and our ground speed was around 30-40 kts. The glide path got chopped short. With help of some power we stretched to make the runway and successfully landed on runway 24. I should have put in wind correction angle earlier since it was pushing me to the left of the runway. Was I right to wait I get to the runway center line and then crab? I got ask this question tomorrow.

Stalls at 5500 Ft (Sep 2)

Before Hurricane Hermine hit us, I did a quick flight to practice stalls.


  • Flying above the clouds, and practice stalls.
  • Rapid descending at 2000ft/min.

I stepped on someone on the radio once we switched from ATIS to Ground. I should have waited a moment before key in.

Up north we go from runway 4. Had too much right rudder, and I was way to the right of the runway. We cruised to the edge of Wanaque at 2500 ft then climbed to 3500. But at 3500 we were not 500 below clouds, so we kept climbing to 4500, still close to clouds, then we climbed up to 5500.

Setting up slow flight was like perfect. We stabilized at 50 kts, then we pulled out the power, established a 500 ft/min descend attitude. Because our airspeed was slow, once we raised the nose the stall warning horn went off. Seconds later, buffeting. Soon, my nose could not hold up attitude anymore. The procedure dictates immediately nose level, full power, flaps up, carb heat in, and stop flaps if we can (Bob demonstrated once when he fully retracted flaps without stopping at 10 degrees). The first goal is to build airspeed up to Vx or Vy, then keep the air speed there until we have positive climb before retract all flaps.

Once we have the procedure in place, everything became smooth and easy. After a few practices it was time to head back. Since we stayed near Wanaque/Greenwood Lake Airport area it wouldn’t take long to enter Class Bravo. As we head back southeast we had to descend 2000+ feet before the south shore of Wanaque. We pulled power idle, and idled to descend. Airspeed built up to almost 120 kts and descending rate was 2000ft/min. Unable to reach 3000 or lower before leaving Wanaque, we had to spiral 360.

The landing was mediocre. The approach to field could improve. I pulled power little bit too much after passing Lincoln Park. I should have kept 1700 RPM. The result was that I had a dip about 50 ft on downwind. The reaction was quickly nose up and some power. This reaction resulted a little bit fast, so we weren’t really descending past  abeam number. So the final was high.

A side note about Spin. In case we need to recover, the procedure is PARE: Power Idle, Aileron Neutral, Rudder opposite to spin, Elevator Neutral.


Getting the Hang of Flying in Ground Effect

We ran over to Morristown today and practiced soft-field landing.


  • Maneuver under ground effect was hard, pitch attitude and power coordination remains a challenge.

There were some cross-wind, but the visibility was good. I again had a fouling magneto, so we wasted some time clean it up while holding short on runway 23. Before take-off, I lowered flaps to 10 degrees so that I can practice soft-field take off. I held back pressure and lifted off at designated speed, while pushing down the nose, I accelerated underground effect. However, nose came up shortly as we flew down the runway. I pushed the yoke again right before we almost climbed out of ground-effect. I think next time we will trim a little down so that I will be able to hold the attitude easier.

After called Morristiown tower, I was expecting to fly straight in to runway 23. But they gave me an instruction to fly left downwind for runway 23 and report midfield. I did not fully pick up the instruction but with Bob’s help I understood that they want us to fly further upwind to space out traffic. The first landing was mediocre as I did not correct enough for the cross wind. 

After landing to the right of center line, I told myself that the next time I will try to land to the left of the center line. To do that, obviously I need a little more bank correction and with that, I actually almost kept center line. By the way, the final landing we did at Caldwell I kept center line well. I think it’s because it’s a narrower runway so I was forced to stay more vigilant.

More about ground effect maneuvers. As we came down to land, we had to pull back and add power. This was intentionally fly on the back side of power curve. I had a few good landings, but a some times I touched the ground before intended threshold. I was more hesitate to add more power, because I was afraid that we would climb out ground effect, then result in a hard landing. There were other times I felt aileron and rudder input was necessary so that I can make those changes close to ground to correct my attitude for crosswind landing.

Given that I have lot of good practices already, I will try to emphasis on these landing tips, and focus on flying the airplane next time.

Switches, Showers, Cross Winds

We were going to practice stalls, but thunderstorms were coming our way again. So it was a practice of cross wind and power management.

When taxining, we saw a Moony landed on 22, with the special backward tail. At run-up, we found a fouled magneto, the left ran very rough. To fix it, we ran up the power to 2000, then leaned the mixture to increase engine  temperature for a few minutes to melt the lead. Then the take off was not to the best standard as I forgot to putt left aileron, and lift off on the left wheel.

Our first circle was left pattern, which was a first time for me on 22. With different perspective it was an interesting experience. As we abeamed the number, there were some shower coming down. I tried not to pay too much attention and focus on my landing, but the as I tried the crab method, I didn’t have enough aileron input, so we had lot of side load.

Then on the go, we were switched to run way 10 for the rest of the training because of the wind. I was trying to keep power in for longer time, so that I would not have risk of falling behind power curve, but today, carrying some power was a good idea above the runway so that we will have some wind wash to make rudder effective. I did not understand for some reason I froze a couple times on the landing, especially during a few bounces, I remembered to keep my attitude, but I should also put some power in to soften the second touch down. And I think, some rest is a good idea now.

Patient to Learn Power Management

Last Sunday we could not fly out to practice stalls because of low clouds and possible development of thunderstorms. Instead, we practiced landing in the pattern. Bob wants me to focus on power management as I tend to lower the power way more out in the pattern.

The scenario was that on base I thought I was ok with altitude, and then I made a power change so I dropped altitude. And for some strange reasons during turns I always pull the yoke back, so I got slow. Therefore, I became low and slow. Then on final, I had to push in a lot of power to drag myself in to the runway. I was on the back side of power curve, which means I could not climb unless I push nose down to build airspeed. I would not have to do so if I did not pull back power earlier or if I kept my airspeed. The practice will be on smooth approach throughout the pattern.

With that objective, we went out to fly. Bob prescribed some power settings for me, but it is needs monitor and adjustment throughout the turns. Basically I learned that I better not change the power setting too much until absolutely needed the change, and I shouldn’t change the power too dramatically. With this in mind, I look forward to more practice next weekend.

Stage Check with Tom

I scheduled a stage check with Tom today. After yesterday’s frustrating review I wasn’t sure how well I would do today. I thought to myself, it’s not the end of the world if I screwed this up, but it’s more important to get some different perspectives.


  • Maneuvers were better than yesterday;
  • Emergency checklist wasn’t finished to the end (I will talk about later);
  • Landing was “dad gomn it”;
  • Needs more work on pilotage.

Right off the start, Tom pulled the control lock from my side pocket to the back, saying it won’t be able to poke my leg that way. Then he pushed my bag to his back and put his bag to my back. These were things I don’t usually do but a small chance could make things much easier and makes more sense.

Although I tapped my brake before the end of the hanger, Tom aggressively slowed down to almost a complete stop before the blind spot to look out for fuel trucks. He commented on the new stop sign for the other direction of traffic that it will not prevent accident but only assign blame after it, so it is still our job to slow down.

This morning the controller was talking on both frequencies, meaning we could hear him giving clearance to land or take off on ground frequency as well. After taking off, we climbed out fast and flat. And after the flight he told me that the fact that we set the trim at take-off mark does not guarantee it is at the correct position. So next time we need to look out to verify.

The outbound flight was eventless. We climbed up to 3500 ft after clearing Bravo. Tom didn’t seem like to have a preference of 2500 or 3500, so I went up to 3500 since I practiced at this altitude yesterday. I clearly performed pre-maneuver check list before clearing turns, but I gained almost 200 ft during clearing turn… So before entering slow flight I descended down to 3500 and started to slow down. This maneuver was nice, except maybe I can control my heading a little better during recover.

Then we tried to do power-off stall. As I slowed down my aircraft, I dumped the flaps all the way just like I did in slow flight. Tom had a word about it and says I was supposed to set up as we were landing, so we should slow down to 80 knots and lower 10 degrees of flap then 20 to set up the descend before raise the nose.

The power-on stall was more problematic because I left the carb heat out the entire recovery, causing me to lose about 25% of power from the engine and a longer time to climb. It is the same problem during go around as I pushed in the carb heat too slowly. The break on both stalls were not as clear as we would hoped to see, I have yet to make sure the break actually happens. Maybe I held back pressure too much?

Then we did steep turns, the maneuver I didn’t get to practice yesterday but should have the highest confidence. The altitude and heading were good, but the airspeed was lost about 35 knots. The second time, Tom asked me to pick something outside to aim at and add about 200 rpm as I roll in, which solved the speed problem!

The simulated engine failure was ok, as I rolled in my trim 4 times it was about 70 knots. Then I picked Sussex as my field over the golf course right underneath me. The checklist was ok, but unfinished, because I did not communicate and prepare for evacuation (D, E part in the checklist ABCDE). Tom also taught me how to secure the engine, as we want to protect the engine from burned down. We have to: throttle to idle, mixture cut-off, fuel off, magneto to off. That way we have supplied no fuel, no oxygen, and no spark to the engine which are necessary to start a fire. He also caught me on my mistake on the cycle magnetos, I wasn’t exactly sure on why do we cycle, nor do I understand if we should go to off position when cycling. The answer was not going to off, in case we shut off something was actually working.

On the way back, I wasn’t sure how far I was from the airport, but I know I was close. We were south of Wanaque and north of Booton, but I could already see Lincoln Park, so I was actually 5/6 miles from the field. Tower assigned left base for rwy 4 and report square lake. I lost again on where square lake was. Finally I started my landing after verifying the pre-landing checklist items. But since it was direct base without downwind leg, I did not put down flaps soon enough and had carried little more power little longer.  I thought I managed my airspeed, but Tom said it was varying about 10 knots. Ok, the most scary part was touchdown, I dived to the number at about 70+ and leveled off too late which lead to Tom pulling the yoke to prevent, not a nose-wheel but even a prop strike. I think I failed him on the landing part.

Next step I think I should be practicing landing consistently with more pilotage practices. Flying at 8 am was, good :) !






Review for Stage Check

Today’s weather was nice. After being denied by low ceiling for 3 appointments, I finally got to fly 811JD again.

Our goal today was to review maneuvers.

Highlights first:

  • Good take-off and landing;
  • Good radio communication;
  • Everything else needs brush-ups.

The pre maneuver (before clearing turns) check list is LCGUMPPS:

Lights, Carburetor Heat, Gas, Undercarriage, Mixture, Pump, Pressure, Seat Belt.

The emergency procedure is:


To get to best glide speed, Bob said 4 cranks of trim would do the trick to get to 70 knots. I shall try it next time.

To find the best field, we should not look too long. We need to make a decision fast and head over right away. Knowing the nearby airport is also important. If we are high, we can circle in the direction of traffic pattern and descend.

Checklist sequence:

Carb out, mixture rich, verify gas, check magneto individually.


Stall practices needs more brush-ups.

I need to hold nose up more for a cleaner break then recover.

I should not use aileron to correct direction but instead use rudder.

I should not be worried of the flaps coming up all the way; stopping it at 10 degrees would be nice but not necessary.

It was a little too much to swallow, beat my illusion of a nice stage check. Reasonably speaking, I haven’t being flying for a while due to weather constraints, and I haven’t practiced these maneuvers lately, but I have done better jobs in the past. That was why I wasn’t satisfied in my performance today. I will make these points memorized and going to the stage check tomorrow with Tom. Going to find out what he has to say.