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Archived Posts for May 2015

24
May 15
Sun

Baumé

After eyeing this place for the last 6 years, I finally bit the bullet and visited Baumé in Palo Alto last week. I posted my review on Medium.

  7:52pm  •  Food  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

The Restaurant at Meadowood

We had the opportunity to visit The Restaurant at Meadowood up in Napa a couple months ago. I posted my review on Medium.

  7:51pm  •  Food  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
22
May 15
Fri

Cancelled Flight

No flight today (Thursday 5/22). On my preflight inspection, I discovered a big chip in the propeller of 824LB, so that was that and we returned to the club to issue a grounding squawk.

We instead covered the pre-solo written test materials and a single engine checkout form that my flying club requires to be completed before first solo. At least it was a step towards solo!

No lessons until Sunday next week as I’m heading to Japan for a week.

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Flight 19: PAO-PAO

7.00am Tuesday 5/19 (1.0 hours) – 824LB

Today was a good day for landings. Much better than Sunday, which was pretty shite. John wants to use the next lesson to head out to refresh maneuvers. Getting close to the first solo flight now.

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Flight 18: PAO-PAO

9.00am Sunday 5/17 (1.0 hours) – 824LB

More landing practice. It’s been a case of two steps forward, one step back. Today was the step back. For some reason the worse days tend to be on the Sundays, and the better days are the early hours of weekday mornings – which is kind of weird because I’m so not a morning person. Flaring was all over the place for some reason and it wasn’t clicking like it did for the last two lessons.

There were a few interesting moments in the pattern when the tower momentarily ‘lost the flick’ of what was going on and spooked a bunch of people out. Interestingly, I totally stumbled across an awesome video shot by the student pilot of another Cessna 172 SP that was flying the pattern with us that day (N501SC), and it turns out that I was flying in the slot in front of him for a few circuits.

On one of the circuits I even got a critique of my flying from him as we were both on a long final and he was watching me from behind. We were high (definitely two white VASI lights), and we were also flying the full length of final at 65 knots for separation. Despite my unstabilized approach, I thought the video was pretty cool:

“Ok, I don’t see where is our traffic.”
“He’s way too high.”
“Oh he’s… eh.”
“And he’s flying, I don’t think he’s landing.”
“I think so, I think they’re coming in from the high side.”
“He’s climbing! … He’s gonna go around. … I don’t think they’re attempting to land.”
Number one, cleared for the option 31, 4 Lima Bravo.
“Maybe they’re doing a short field landing where you purposely come in a bit steeper.” (Alas, we were not!)

I find that listening to the comms takes up a huge amount of my mental bandwidth and if I tune it in and there’s a lot of comms traffic (as there was during downwind), I get sloppy with the flying, and of course if I tune it out, I miss radio calls (which you can hear when tower calls me number 1 and John had to jump in to respond – we had already been cleared as number 3 so I wasn’t listening for a further clearance call). You can hear both instructors (John and Mark) also jumping in during the periods of confusion during crosswind and downwind.

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16
May 15
Sat

Flight 17: PAO-PAO

7.00am Friday 5/15 (1.0 hours) – 824LB

Second day with a few decent landings to start off with, but I seem to get worse the more I do in a row. Fatigue?

John introduced me to power off landings today as well. They are basically short approaches simulating an engine failure when you’re roughly abeam the numbers on downwind. Some differences to a normal landing:

  • The turn to base is done sooner (accounting for wind). Flaps are kept up, pitch for best glide speed and trim.
  • The turn through base and final can be less squared and more rounded (cutting the corners, so to speak)
  • By the time you reach final and aiming at the numbers, you can be coming in at a slight angle instead of straight in.
  • Flaps full only when landing is assured.
  • If too high, need to slip to lose altitude without picking up too much additional speed
  • If you come in too fast, you’ll need more runway (obviously)

Slipping is a bit of a weird sensation that I’ll need to get used to.

  1:36pm  •  Travel  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Flight 16: PAO-PAO

6.30am Wednesday 5/13 (1.1 hours) – 824LB

Missed last Sunday’s lessons due to thunderstorms at DFW, through which I was transiting. After boarding the plane, we were notified of a ground stop due to thunderstorms in the vicinity. No personnel could work out in the open while there was lightning nearby, so basically we couldn’t load catering, luggage, or refuel. I was listening to DFW Ground and Tower on my iPhone’s LiveATC app for the hour or so we were delayed (which caused me to misconnect) and the usually busy frequencies were eerily quiet.

I also pushed Tuesday’s lesson to Wednesday because work was holding an early all hands to welcome in Zander as Exec Chairman.

Today, the landings finally clicked, like John said they would. First three landings of the day were good. Then the next few were not so good. But I know now what I need to look out for – not rounding out too soon, and not flaring too late when I sense the aircraft dropping, and then not flaring too quickly when I sense the aircraft dropping.

  1:28pm  •  Travel  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
7
May 15
Thu

Flight 15: PAO-PAO

7.00am Thursday 5/7 (1.2 hours) – 824LB – Winds 4kts – Skattered clouds at 1500′

The club just got three new planes – two of them are C172SPs with G1000s, so that will make scheduling a plane easier. They also had to get a new cash register drawer to store the new keys. When you check out a plane on the computer, the drawer automatically pops open so you can fish out the key, but today it wouldn’t give it up so I was left twiddling my thumbs for 20 minutes until someone came along and helped.

We had to cancel Tuesday’s lesson because John had a flat car battery and couldn’t make it up on time. Despite my protestations, John decided to comp this lesson because of the last minute cancellation. He’s really a stand-up guy. (Also, I better not cancel last minute myself and expect a hall pass either.)

As for the lesson, it was take off and landing practice today. First time taking off on runway 13. Then the winds changed and we switched back to 31.

Still having trouble nailing the flare.

  9:20pm  •  Travel  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
4
May 15
Mon

Flight 14: PAO-PAO

9.30am Sunday 5/3 (1.1 hours) – 824LB – Winds 4kts – Skattered clouds at 1500′ – Visibility 6 SM – 14°C

Landing pattern practice. The landing flare is still giving me a bit of problems. Gradually figuring out the right rudder and aileron inputs for the round-out but suffering from pilot-induced oscillations. I need to:

  • Apply left rudder in the round out to counteract the right-turning tendency due to p-factor
  • Apply ailerons to stop any lateral drift
  • Stop jiggling the yoke and let the airplane settle if it oscillates
  • Flare to level and wait for the plane to settle before flaring smoothly up to landing attitude
  11:25pm  •  Travel  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 


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