Flight Lesson 19: Return to the skies

It’s been 3 weeks since my last flight lesson.  It sure does feel good to be back.

There were typical summer afternoon thunderstorms in the area.  We decided to head towards the direction the thunderstorms were coming in from (northwest) instead of to the training grounds up north so if things got dicey we would just turn around instead of being trapped by a weather front between CDW and the north.

Despite being away for such a long time, I felt like I did a good job of getting us to the training grounds near Lake Hopatcong (i.e. ATC communications, taxing, takeoff, avoiding Class B, pilotage, trimming, etc.).

When we arrived at Lake Hopatcong, we went over the basic maneuvers (power off and power on stalls).  My power off stalls were satisfactory so we quickly moved on to power on stalls.  This is where I ran into some trouble.  When I was pitching up for the stall, I used aileron to try to keep the wings level when I should have just kept the yoke neutral and used rudder to keep the plane coordinated.  After inducing the stall I need to quickly lower the nose, but also try not to lower it too far down (pitch to the horizon).

It was time to head back to CDW for some touch and go’s.  I did a good job of getting us back using the landmarks.  We were told by CDW tower to report Square Lake and enter the right downwind for runway 22.  Winds were a little tricky today (Variable at 6kts).  My upwind, crosswind, downwind, and base legs were fine.  My final approaches, not so good.  I wasn’t very well stabilized in that I was seldom aligned with the runway centerline and I was off with my aiming point and had to constantly adjust power to try to maintain the proper glide path.

Before the lesson, Tom stressed the importance of being calm and deliberate with my actions.  It isn’t a race to get things done quickly which is what leads to mistakes.  Small changes, small mistakes.  After the lesson, Tom had to reiterate those points again.  I was apparently giving off bad enough vibes such that if another instructor was flying with me, they may fear I would pull the mixture instead of the power.

Other than smoking a bowl (I’m joking FAA), I’m not sure what else to do other than try to fly on a regular basis and hope that increased familiarity with the plane and the maneuvers will lead me to act in a more deliberate and collected manner.