29R - Nothing but blue skies...

He's airborn!

Weather: KBJC 071155Z 33010KT 25SM SCT150 BKN250 19/13 A3002

Another beautiful day in the air. The flight started off wonderfully as I had full control of the plane from it’s parking spot at the school to until we were cruising. As this was my first unassisted take-off, it felt pretty good. It’s nice to know you can fly a plane all by yourself if you had to, (we’ll get to that landing part later.) I did some quick flying with the “foggles” on. They are just glasses that obscure the windows, leaving only the instruments visible. Basic instrument flying wasn’t difficult, but it wasn’t as fun as getting to look around and it’s definitely a different kind of flying. Fortunately that was quick and I got to get into the good part of the lesson, some more slow flight and some stalls.

Stalling an airplane has a very bad connotation to me. It has always sounded dangerous and something that should only be practiced under extreme supervision, so I was very interested to see what this lesson was going to be about. Turns out, stalling the airplane in the conditions I was flying is actually pretty difficult in the first place, and a lot easier to recover from that I thought (at least a basic stall.) So power-on and off stalls complete, it was time for me to head back to the airport. Time to land the plane.

I felt comfortable flying the approach before I got into the pattern and flew the entrance and downwind well. The base leg was a bit off (not quite sure what went wrong, it felt good) and set me up for a rough final. I think I came into final a bit high and wide. I should have gotten lined up with the center of the runway first, and then dealt with my altitude and airspeed, but I was trying to fix everything at once and the path of my plane probably looked like a corkscrew as I brought it in. With about 100 yards to go, my instructor took the controls and brought it in for a hard landing. The landing wasn’t that hard by my standards (I’m sure I can do worse), but was by hers. I think she probably could have landed better given the flight path, but I definitely have to take my share of the credit for setting us for a less than perfect approach.

Next time I’ll work on taking the controls for the duration of the flight. We still have some work to do on the landings. Let’s not introduce a crosswind just yet.


  1. Rob said...

    Hey Pete, congrats on the takeoff! I must say, I'm a bit surprised to hear you flying with the Foggles on your third lesson. My very best instructors all preached visual flying at the beginning -- learning the proper sight picture out the window, the sound of the air, and other cues to develop an ingrained feel for the plane in its various flight regimes. In fact, when I went for my tailwheel instruction, my friend disabled the ASI and forced me to fly entire patterns (to landings) without an airspeed indicator (this was after I had my private and my friend still felt I relied on the instruments too much).

    I'm sure she was just introducing the panel to you, but do take my comments to heart; get that sight picture dialed in, it really helps you, especially as you start learning to land.

    Have fun!  

  2. Rob said...

    Pete, what aircraft are you flying?  

  3. Pete said...

    I have to agree about flying IFR when I'm really there to learn VFR. It's really only about 5 minutes at most, but I see your point. It looks like in the syllabus from here on out, there is about 5 minutes of IFR flying each lesson. It's interesting to get a feel and understanding for that kind of flying, but where I really need the skills, is the visual flying. Plus, in my book so far, visual flying is way more fun than instrument.

    As for the aircraft, I'm flying the beautiful 4978G. A mint condition 1980 C172N. It's actually in really good condition and doesn't seem to have any quirks or problems. I did notice some throttle slip today as I finished up my flight, so I had to make constant adjustments to that, but it just helps me remember to keep a hand on the throttle when I'm flying, so I guess that's good.  


No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.