Second Day in the Arrow II

September 16, 2005

Today was my second flight day in the Arrow II (the temporary replacement for the Arrow III which is awaiting receipt and installation of a replacement engine).

In order to maximize my trip to Reid-Hillview, I booked the Cessna 172 for some solo practice on maneuvers around 11 AM, two hours before my session in the Arrow II (with John, my CFI).  Maneuvers went well; though the Lazy-8's were a little off on the first try, but by the second and third effort they were looking fairly good.  Pretty much did almost everything in the Cessna 172; Lazy-8's, Chandelles, Steep Turns, Steep Spirals to a Point, turns-on-pylons.  Overall, everything looking okay! :0)

Took a peek at my watch and saw that it was time to head back to Reid-Hillview for my dual-session with John in the Arrow II.  Headed back, landed, tied-down got the pouch for the next plane (John, did ask me if I needed to take a quick break first and I told him 'thanks' but I was doing fine).

For the most part the session in the Arrow II went quite well.  I performed the soft-field takeoff (is okay, but could use some polish), short-field take-offs and landings.  At one point John had me demonstrate a 180 degree power-off landing on a point.  The first one went exceptionally well.  John, generously complemented me on a job well-done.  I told him I'd feel better accepting the kudos, if I did pretty much the same thing again; that way I knew it wasn't 'dumb luck'. <grin>.

Well, we got cleared for another short-approach, power-to-idle and I landed it well within the chosen touchdown point.  Okay,,, I guess I was pretty good after all! :0)

Before this session, John had mentioned to me that we should do a little airwork in the Arrow II, so I called tower and got cleared for a downwind departure and we were off to the practice area.  Once in the practice area, John had me try some power-on and power-off stalls in the aircraft, just to get a feel for its' stall characteristics.  Did a few other things and headed back to Reid-Hillview.

Overall, the day went well; though when John asked me about some particulars in the formula on the coefficient of lift my eyes started to 'glaze' over <grin>.  So, I told him I'd go over that before the checkride although part of me is thinking this might have been a case of getting more into the minutiae of aerodynamics which would likely be quite beyond the scope of the Commercial checkride oral exam.  John, confirmed my 'suspicions' and told me that although, it was probably not a question that would be in the commercial oral exam that I would definitely need to understand such aspects for the day I took the flight instructor oral exam,,, down the road.  Even still, I'm going to include his question in my area of study for next week's checkride.

Saturday evening, since my wife is going to be doing a 'Spaghetti Dinner Night' at my stepson's grammar school I'm planning on getting in a handful of night takeoffs and landings (no more than a half hour in a Cessna 152) to add to my logbook.  Though I'm going to total my 'flying pennies, Saturday morning to make sure everything is in order - after all I have the checkride fee (almost $500 - it's a little higher because I'm doing the Commercial Checkride in two planes) and the recent plane rental time and the rental time for the checkride.  I still think, despite the slightly higher checkride fee (about an extra $125) that I still saved in the long-run by learning and practicing the maneuvers in a less costly plane (the C-172 compared to the Arrow III) as opposed to doing all the practice in the Arrow.  I think it also worked well in another respect; the Arrow kept going in and out of maintenance so if it had been my sole plane for practice; competition would have been fierce between the other Commercial students.  The owner of my FBO is still working out the details of what he is going to be renting the Arrow II out to us for (i.e., he's working on an adjusted price from the other FBO).  The other FBO rents out their Arrow II for about $135 or so, the owner of our FBO, wanted a lower rate (by comparison an Arrow III at Nice Air ((My FBO)) goes for about $110/hour (with the new fuel price increases).  So, the owner told me to just log the hours in the Hobbs log and he would let me (and the others) know what the rental rate worked out to be.  I feel fairly confident that he will try to be most fair about the pricing; especially since the reason that our training/checkrides suffered delays was due to the Arrow III having to be pulled-off the flight line to get that replacement engine.  If you'll recall, checkride number two that was cancelled was due to the latter situation.

So, I think I should get at least the same rate as the Arrow III (which I think is generous at that, since the Arrow II is a less capable plane, performance-wise, than the Arrow III), if not lower.  If it is a few bucks higher I won't protest, much, but any higher and I will need to tactfully point out that the checkride cancellation (number two, that is) already caused me to incur additional costs in staying prepped for the next checkride date, because of the delay.

Five days away,,, I'm going to get plenty of rest, study through Monday and then Tuesday I won't do anything preparation at all related to the checkride (I discovered, long ago, that ((at least for me)) studying to the 'last minute' tends to be counterproductive).  I sure wish I had more time in the Arrow II,,, but then again, adapting to it's subtle and not-so-subtle differences wasn't too big an issue, I should be fine.  I also wish that the cabin door wasn't so finicky at the top latching mechanism (my CFI had the door latch open during one of our flights in the pattern - a non-issue,,, even though he was holding it,,, since it wouldn't have opened much on it's own, anyways).  Though my instructor says it is a perfectly reasonable thing to give council to your checkride examiner on how to latch a particular plane's door, properly (that is; I'd hate to have my third checkride cancelled because of an uncooperative door latch <argh>).

Oh well, I'm sure everything will work out just fine.  I can't begin to tell you how much I want to pass my Commercial checkride and get it out of the way so that I can finally move on to the flight instructor training.

Good Flights!


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