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December 15, 2018

Flight Lesson #3

Lesson 3 today. First flight in two weeks. Last weekend the weather was bad both day.

Today was a longer lesson; 1.4 hours from engine start to shut down. I was with my instructor Steve Hurst for about 3 hours in total.

Today's accomplishments:

  • Applied for my student pilot's license. I'll get a card from the government in a few weeks.

  • Didn't freak out when Steve managed to cut his finger badly. I found a first aid kit. (Three, actually, but only one had bandaids.)

  • I did the initial call to ground to get our clearance to leave the ramp. I had to rehearse it like 3 times: "Cessna November 73924 at the Skybound ramp with information Tango; we're VFR to the North." CFI copied down the information from ground and did the readback of the information. One thing at a time.

  • Flying up above the cloud layer which was about 4,000'. We're allowed to fly above clouds so long as we can get back down without going through a cloud. We made it up to about 6,000'. (Altitude at PDK is 998', so that's around 5,000' AGL - above ground level.)

  • Lots of turns again. Left, right, 180, 360, climbing turns, descending turns. I'm doing better with direction, but doing not quite as good with altitude. That tends to drift 100-200 feet off if I'm not paying attention. I'm getting better as I go along.

  • Slow flight. Normal cruise speed is something over 110 knots, or about 126mph. In slow flight we were down between 55-65 knots, or 63-75mph with our flaps fully extended. When we were up around 6000, he pulled throttle back to idle and we were gliding down. It was so much quieter at idle! We flew around for quite a while in slow flight. You need to move the controls further when the plane is slower, and the plane tended to mush around a bit more.

My favorite part: my CFI pointed out 400, and said "Let's follow that back towards the field." I found it much easier fly just trying to follow the road. I'm pretty sure we flew right over Avalon in Alpharetta, so right near work. Then we aimed for the King and Queen buildings. We were around 2800' the whole way down.

Steve called the tower and got our clearance - straight in to runway 21R. We turned towards the east and descended towards pattern altitude - 2000'. Steve adjusted the throttles and trim to get us into the right glide. He had me turn towards the runway. He took over the landing, but I got reasonable close - maybe less than a mile? Wow. Wow.

I taxied back. You steer the airplane on the ground with rudder pedals at your feet, not with the yoke. At some point Steve was going to have me call ground for taxi instructions, but that point I was just .. well, see above. Wow. Wow.

At some point when we went into slow flight I told Steve "I'm having a lot more fun this time." And I was. My biggest problem so far is getting a little too focused on each thing and not being aware of all of what's going on. That will come with time as I don't have to concentrate on just controlling the aircraft.

I still can't believe I'm doing this. Trippy! (Forgive me, I'm a 70s kid.)