What fun! The sky was cloudy today, and Adam wasn't sure if the ceiling would be high enough for any useful flying practice. We went up to check it out and found that near the field there were scattered clouds beginning at about 1500 feet MSL--puffy things, most not large and far enough apart for us to fly around among them, between, over, and under. I don't think we stayed strictly according to the regulations for VHR flying in Class E airspace above 1200 feet--that is, staying at least 1000 feet above, 500 feet below, and 2000 feet horizontally from clouds.
//// CHECK ON THAT ////
But it was such fun flying among the clouds. Adam said we were in heaven today.
By flying to the northwest we found that the clouds were higher, and eventually we got out to about 20 or 30 miles northwest. There we found lots of cleared land, with farm fields and a few houses--plenty of place for emergency landings, so of course Adam staged several "emergencies." On one of them I thought we might almost really land, as we got down to about 400 feet or lower.
So there were two fun things--flying among the clouds and close to the ground.
He also hsd me do a lot of steep turns--45 degrees of bank--on which I still had a little trouble keeping everything within limits, but not too bad. Then we did slow flight for a while, with several turns. Once I get into slow flight and get used to the mushy feel of the contnrols, it's fun, and there's time to look around at the scenery, even during a lesson.
I did some power off stalls, too, and we noticed that the plane didn't really want to stall. It just dropped the nose every time before stalling really hard. It may have been related to the air density; I noticed earlier that it kept changing speed and altitude as we flew in and out of the colder air near clouds. Whatever the cause, Adam tried to make it stall and found the same thing I did.
Back at the field there was some traffic to make things interesting. Adam wanted me to come in too high and try a forward slip, to get the feel of what it would have been like to set down on one of those fields where we were practicing--one that I would have been too high to reach without a slip. Well, because of the other traffic, I came in lower than he expected, but slipped anyway. It's always a weird feeling, slipping, as you lose altitude so fast and are canted over to the left but pointed to the right. I got it lined up with the runway all right, but flared out too high--dummy!--and floated up and down again. No hard bounce, but definitely not a smooth landing. Poured on the coal and took off again to try it again. The second time there was even more compllicated traffic, and I flared out too high again. Forgot to watch the glide slope lights because of the slipping, but that's probably just as well, as we weren't on the normal glide path anyway.
Next time it'll be power on stalls and ground reference maneubers--and probably some more "emergencies" to dea with. One will probably be a "power failure" at 700 feet on take off, and I'll have to haul it around 180 degrees and land downwind on the runway or in the grass alongside it. That'll be a kick, of course, but arduous, as well.
I'm having a great time burning adrenalin like mad!
Things I want to try soon:
60 degree banks.
entering and exiting forward slips to get the feel of it better.
Study those FARs!!!
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