Tale of two lessons. . . Hours 26 and 27
O.k. I'm starting to get the feeling that I'm a bit slow to solo. I understand that this is probably because of the fact that I've only been flying 2 times a week (sometimes less) and I still have a tendency to be tense when I'm flying which limits my ability to learn a whole lot during that period.
However, I've decided that, budget be damned (not really) I'm going to start flying 3 times a week now. So, I flew yesterday and today (and will fly again on Sunday - one of my normal days).
As it turns out, 3 times a week may be the ticket.
Yesterday was pretty crummy. I was very tense, I hadn't slept well and I was all over the place. I did one good normal approach out of 4 and really didn't improve much in my autos (if at all). I had trouble maintaining speed and altitude in the pattern and was waaaaay twitchy on plain old hovering. I did do some slope landings (my first) and they were so-so. My right arm hurt after the lesson
Fast-forward to today. . . not tense. Still a bit nervous after yesterday's performance, but I had gotten some good sleep and was ready to go.
On pick-up I pulled a bit too much power and got a reminder to watch that and ease off a bit. Ugh, I thought, "Here I go again". Fortunately, things got better from there.
We started on normal approaches first time through the pattern. I lined it up, little descent started with collective and then, after starting to descend, a bit of aft cyclic to level the ship. I rode it in for a pretty good angle and speed. Seemed simple compared to how I was fighting it yesterday. We did one more turn through the pattern to a normal approach and that one was just as good as the last. Cool.
Next we moved on to re-visit quick-stops (been a few lessons since I'd done them and never with my new CFI). Slight alignment needed between what I had learned previously and what my new CFI likes to see. Before I had only done quick-stops from air-taxi (establish 45' and 45kts for about 5 secs and then go into a quick-stop). My current CFI likes to go into them from a normal take-off right after hitting 45kts and the slight bump of the cyclic to climb. So, we worked out the specifics and then I started doing it that way.
First several times I was rushing it and putting in aft cyclic prior to decreasing power. That meant I ballooned up on the flare and got a really pronounced flare attitude (since I was starting a bit nose up anyway). After a few times where I learned a quick stop isn't necessarily as quick as I thought (less aggressive on the controls) I started doing those pretty good (I was also putting in too much aft cyclic at 45kts and, although I would climb quickly at first, I would lose my forward speed and my overall rate of climb would suffer - fixing this also helped my normal take-offs).
Now on to the good stuff - autos. The first couple I did as bad as ever. However after, once again, I figured out that I didn't have to be so aggressive with the controls (lower, not drop, the collective with right pedal down in sync, roll-off and hold the throttle off while keeping the nose slightly down, raise the collective to keep RPMs in green and then lower it a bit to keep them from dropping too much -after that, it's mainly about keeping a 65kt attitude and periodic checks of A/S, RPM, and trim). I also needed to be a bit more gentle with my flare and watch the RPMs only during the flare and level the ship at about 109% and roll-on the throttle as the RPMs start to drop - don't wait too long - looking outside so I can coordinate the left pedal needed as I bring in power. Sheesh.
Believe it or not, I was actually doing better at the end. I still need work on it a bit, but it was a big improvement from before.
Now, next lesson is going to be reviewing autos some more, slope landings again (maybe one or two quick-stops just to make sure I have them solid) and then . . . hover-autos!!!!
Yep, definitely looking forward to 3 times a week.
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