Well, it's only been a few days since my last lesson, but I went flying again today. We started out doing normal traffic patterns and normal approaches. I did better than last time and actually had a few that were pretty good. I was relatively stable on my altitude and speed (tended to be a bit low at 70 instead of 75, but pretty close) and only got off my speed once on my turn to base/final.
Now for the new stuff
O.k . Shallow approaches are similar to normal approach (in my perception) except that you start your descent earlier and descend at a much slower rate. For me, the sight picture is about an inch or two above the compass (i.e. landing spot will be about 1-2 inches above the compass level on the windshield when I start descending).
The speed seems to bleed of fairly slow and at the end you're tracking fairly close to the ground at a bit faster rate than you do in a normal approach (I really need to pay attention next time to see if this is actually the case or if it just felt that way). We did this a couple of times and then went on to running landings. However, I need to do several more to make sure I have the feel and visuals set in my mind for how a shallow approach is supposed to be. The main item that stands out from this lesson is start a bit earlier than normal and keep the rate of descent minimal (100fpm or so).
O.k. Setup for a normal approach and then, at the end, as you're skimming just above the ground, help it down a bit with the collective (just a touch;like you're setting down from a hover). Then, once down, put the collective all the way down and maintain heading and ground track with pedals and cyclic. As you slow to a stop, raise the collective just a little to reduce stress on the tail-cone as the aircraft stops (I believe that this keeps the stop from being jerky since, by adding power, you're actually adding a bit of forward thrust with the cyclic forward).
The trickiest part for me is the touch of forward cyclic you need just as you're skimming along the ground before touchdown so the front of the skids make contact first.
I did two of these with very little assistance (just a light touch on the controls the first time and my CFI only felt along on the controls the second time). It was really fun and I want to do a ton more to get better at them. However, I don't know if I want to pay for all the skid brakes I'd likely wear out
Next Time. . .
Next time we're going to run through shallow apps and running landings again and then. . . .
AUTOs!!!!!! I am VERY excited
So, Sunday I will be doing my first autos and cannot be more psyched! I'll post another entry after the lesson (or on Monday since I have class until 8pm).