May 27, 2004

Valuable Lesson

My tenth lesson barely made it in before the storms. For the past few weeks I have been forced to monitor the weather reports frequently to decide whether I would be able to fly. Tonight, I arrived at the airport before my instructor so I conducted the pre-flight checklist and weather analysis. After reviewing the weather, I felt most comfortable staying near the airport. When my CFI arrived she agreed. So we passed on plans to review my experiences with ground reference maneuvers and stalls that would have required us to fly away from the airport and decided to stay within the pattern and work on landings.

In this lesson we worked with some slips. A slip is defined by the Jeppessen Manuals as "A flight condition in which the rate of turn is too slow for the angle of bank." In a slip the ailerons and the rudder go opposite directions, causing the plane to slip partially sideways through the air. The plane slides partially sideways through the air and the drag of the side of the plane allows the plane to lose more altitude in a short distance. This is great if you are slightly high on approach. I thought it was a fun maneuver and a good learning experience.

Additionally, my CFI put me in an engine failure condition while having a tailwind on my downwind leg while in the pattern. The tailwind kept the plane moving at a quick pace. But when I turned to base and final without an engine and flying into the wind, I lost significant speed. The plane began to lose altitude and had the engine actually been dead, I would not have made it to the runway. This was an extremely important lesson; I learned that if I were to lose an engine while in the pattern with a tailwind I should turn early to ensure I can make the runway. If I overshoot the runway and land halfway down the runway that is fine. Much better than landing short and landing the plane on the patio of the Watson Brother's Pub Patio. I love that the so much of the training is centered on safety maneuvers!

I return to flying tomorrow night. Weather permitting, I will review all my learnings then take my written pre-solo exam. Wish me luck!

Posted by at May 27, 2004 11:53 PM
Comments

Doing my first slip was exciting. It's like pushing the feeling of being one with the airplane. FYI: I'm also working towards my PPL. I just soloed a few weeks ago and am currently studing for the written.

Keep up the great blog! =)

Posted by: Richard Caetano at May 28, 2004 12:53 AM | Reply

Thanks for stopping in Richard. I agree with you on the slip. It really is a neat feeling that is hard to explain. Best of luck on your PPL, keep me posted on your progress.

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