Today was another fine day for flying: 00000KT 10SM CLR.
The objective of today’s lesson is to keep on practicing maneuvers such as slow flight, power on stalls, and power off stalls. Instead of flying to the normal training grounds over Orange County, NY, we decided to save a little bit of time and practice over the grounds east of Greenwood Lake, which was a first for me.
N5253R wasn’t available since it was undergoing it’s 100 hour check. We flew in N811JD instead today. This change in aircraft would have an effect on my flight as I’ll soon discuss.
We departed runway 28 and I headed over to the practices grounds. Once arriving at the practice area, the first maneuver I demonstrated was slow flight which went pretty well.
Next up was power off and power on stalls. Although I did a decent enough job inducing and recovering from the stalls, I had poor directional control when I pulled the power at the beginning at the maneuver. Tom said that when power is pulled, the left turning tendency is replaced with a right turning tendency. Therefore, I need to compensate with left rudder to keep my heading straight. He also added that the most important instrument to keep an eye on during stall maneuvers is the inclinometer (ball in the tube) in the turn coordinator. Keeping the ball centered requires proper rudder control and will help prevent spins.
During one of the power on stalls, I gained a bunch of altitude. In order to get down fast I pulled out the power. However, the throttle friction was real loose and I end up pulling out the power really quickly, which caused the engine to backfire. Gentle with the power changes!
It was soon time to head back to CDW for some landing practice. Upon initial contact with the tower, we were told to enter the left downwind for runway 4. Interestingly enough, I heard the tower direct another airplane into the right downwind for runway 4. I thought the tower made a mistake but Tom mentioned that sometimes the tower directs simultaneous left and right traffic for a particular runway.
There was time for a single touch and go and a full stop landing. My first touch and go was okay, not great. I swung wide during my turn to final.
On the full stop circuit, Tom noticed I was going too fast just before I was making the turn to base. However, I thought I was properly trimmed for airspeed. A tribute to Tom’s skill as an instructor is that he knew what was wrong. He then asked me if I knew that the main arc of the airspeed indicator is in knots, not mph. I then looked at the units on the airspeed indicator and saw that it said knots and felt like an idiot. It turns out that unlike N811JD, N5253R (which I’ve done all my training in) has the main arc of the airspeed indicator in mph. I guess this is another lesson learned that I should familiarize myself with a new airplane better before flying it. This also means that I need to be familiar with the V speeds in knots in addition to mph.
On my final approach, I was very unstable and oscillating badly due to constant changes in power I kept on making in an effort to get on the right glide slope. Tom mentioned that when that happens, the first thing to do is level the wings and then adjust each parameter that is out of whack (i.e. altitude and airspeed) one at a time. If you’re not stabilized by the time you reach the field, then a go around is the correct thing to do.
On the ground, I mentioned to Tom that I didn’t fully understand an ATC communication I was listening to while performing the pre-landing checklist. He pointed out my tendency to verbalize the checklist out loud over the intercom which then makes it more difficult to listen to the competing voice of the tower. In the future, I’ll perform the checklist silently.