Practice, Practice and Practice!  :)


The Lazy 8ís have really come together, now. Iím looking forward to being able to show John (my CFII), what all the practice has produced. Next solo maneuvers session (Monday) Iím going to do some Lazy 8ís but also revisit the steep spirals and work on keeping the Ďballí centered and maintaining airspeed to a steady 65 knots with a 5 knot variance. Time allows I will also probably get some eights-on-pylons, Monday, as well.

John and I had a dual session in the Arrow yesterday, working on the specialty landings/takeoffs (i.e., short-field, soft-field take-offs and landings) which will also include spot landings. In this exercise, the DPE (designated pilot examiner) will ask me to pick a spot on the runway, announce it to her and then I must land within 100 feet of the spot. I will also need to do some 180 degree power-off descents (simulating an engine failure on takeoff) to a landing. Yesterday, John and I, only got ONE landing in, together, because the manifold pressure gauge started giving erroneous indications and Ďfreezingí on readings. The problem presented itself when I was on downwind and John reminded me to throttle down to 21 inches of manifold pressure. I looked at the gauge and told him I couldnít do it. At first he was confused by my response until he looked at the manifold pressure gauge. While the engine was definitely increasing and retarding power output based on movement of the throttle lever, the readings continually reflected 15 inches of manifold pressure (which was clearly in error). So John said, ďthatís it weíre done for the dayĒ.  So, John told me to make a short-field approach and landing which I did (and had a Ďdecentí landing in the Arrow III).  After landing, while I was tying down the plane and getting my stuff out, John went over to the maintenance hangar to have a chat with a mechanic.

Though I believe John when he says Iíll be ready for the checkride for the portion that Iíll have to do in the Arrow, I canít help wishing some of the things like spot landings and the 180 degree power-off to a landing was being done in a plane I have more hours in, like the Cessnas. Iím sure it will all just be fine for the Arrow portion. In all fairness I have a few weeks till the checkride which should be more than enough time to get the polish on the Piper Arrow III (the complex aircraft part of the ride). Since Lori mentioned that emergencies would be covered Iím thinking of burning an audio CD of me reading the various system emergency procedures that I can listen to continually whenever Iím in the car.

Iím feeling pretty darned good about all the maneuvers now (which is not to say that there arenít things I will be trying to improve on). Sometime next week, I want to get in my remaining 5 night takeoffs and landings at a towered airport (which will be RHV). Since my wife is headed off for New Jersey to visit with her family on August 5th in the morning, Iíll likely get my night landings Ďiní that same day, during the evening. I have to have 10 solo night takeoffs and landings at a towered airport as one of the prerequisites to taking the checkride (so the sooner I get them out of the way, the better). Thankfully, the Ďnight portioní can be done after civil twilight and qualify for the prerequisite, so it doesnít have to be Ďpitch blackí to qualify for nighttime.

Since our dual session in the Arrow got cut short, yesterday, John asked if we could do an extra Arrow session next week, depending on what my next Wednesday dual lesson in the Arrow looks like. John said that if the landings are looking good we may just keep to the schedule of seeing him in the Arrow the following week and skip having the Ďmake-upí session.

Well thatís about all I have to say for now, Iíll end this letter here.

Thanks for reading!  Make it a great week! Remember to send extra positive thoughts my way on August 18th at 12 noon for my checkride <<<<<GRIN>>>>>>.

Good Flights!

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