May 11, 2004

We Are Going to Do What?

When I arrived at Queen City Flight Training today my Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) reviewed the lesson plan for today. First off, we were slated to review what I learned the week before. In that lesson I experimented with the radios and learned about traffic patterns. Then my CFI reviewed the new maneuvers we would work on, including power-off stalls.

I knew stalls were coming up eventually in my training. But when I heard I'd be doing them tonight, I have to admit that my stomach turned a bit, though I don't think it was loud enough for her to hear. Until this week I had a complete misconception of a stall, thinking it was an out-of-control nose dive towards the ground that the pilot wrestled with before pulling up just prior to becoming a pancake.

Knowing that stalls were coming up in my training I did some reading about safe slow flight than how to transition into a stall. A stall is a rapid loss of lift caused by the separation of airflow from the wing's surface brought on by exceeding the critical angle of attack. According to my training book, Guided Flight Discovery - Private Pilot by Jeppesen, a "Power-off stalls are practiced to simulate the conditions and aircraft configuration you will most likely encounter during a normal landing approach."

Once we climbed out of Lunken airspace to a safe practice altitude of about 3,000 feet we started flying at slow speeds, 45 knots compared to our typical 70-100 knots. We had the plane in landing configuration with 30 degrees of flap, throttle out and carb heat on. Then after a demonstration I lowered the power and began to pull back on the yoke. The nose was rising and the speed dropping and the controls became slushy. Next, the stall warning started to whine as the plane continued to slow and pitch up. I announced to the cabin "stall is imminent" and the stall began, the nose dropped and we began to lose altitude - I immediatly pushed in full power followed by pushing carb heat in (off) and raised flaps to 20 degrees. A second later the plane responded and we began to level off. We only lost about 50 - 100 feet.

We completed a few more successful stalls which were much easier than I had expected and I think I actaully enjoyed it.

The other exciting part of today's lesson was that I handled almost all radio communications. My first attempt at using the radios the week before was less than stellar. But this time I felt much more comfotable and realized the tower is there to help and understands I am still learning the radios.

As we returned to Lunken we did two touch and gos then did a final full stop landing that I completed on my own. I admit it was a little bouncy but the passengers did not seem to complain.

I fly next on Thursday night.

Posted by at May 11, 2004 9:16 PM

Who were your passengers?

Posted by: Jimmy at May 12, 2004 4:37 PM | Reply

The only passenger onboard was my CFI. The C-152 only has room for one passenger and about 100 pounds of baggage. I was kind of kidding with the comment. Though, in reality altough bumpy my CFI seemed to think it was alright for one of my first attempts.

Holy Cow! JimmyTheCubs Fan this is a pro-Cubs blog. Cubs fans are always welcome, thanks for posting.

Posted by: Todd at May 12, 2004 5:44 PM | Reply

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