So today was absolutely freaking AWESOME. Double block and no time pressure, sun and moderating winds. Went down to Quonset for the cross winds of 12 knots on the beam of the 7500ft runway 34. My personal limit is set at 7 and the plane is demonstrated to 14. The controller kept offering us runway 23 but my instructor was adamant about me nailing cross winds and kept me on 34. Did a couple of slip approaches and then got told to fly the runway centerline at 1ft off the concrete in a flared slow flight configuration and not touch down. “Centerline and 1ft”. If my instructor said it once he must have said it 50 times today as I drifted back and forth and porpoised along the center line. After using up 4,500ft I was to go around with the remaining 3,000ft and treat it like a cross wind take off. On the first run I got the picture, on the second I started to dial it in and got it locked in and pretty straight. On the third it was quite gusty and I had to really work it and porpoised around a bit – it wasn’t quite as good. On the fourth it was sweet. Then he had me on touch and goes. One thing I got about the crab versus cross controlled slip approach was – test the slip at the start of final, then crab your way down because it is easier and then turn into the slip just before flare. I really had to work it for four landings. Then I called a break.
The weather was gorgeous but a little gusty and over my cross wind limit so I was gently let down about probably not soloing again today. I knew EXACTLY where he was coming from, said so. “I’m pretty close to dealing with this – but absolutely respect the decision” (which I did). I then re-iterated what I had learned so far and where I felt we could work on it in the next block. Out we went and did more cross wind touch and goes – the controller offering that 23 was really optimal headwind now. We stuck to the tougher 34…… Three more and I got told to take the instructor into the FBO. The wind had eased a little.
“Right – go have fun and pick me up at 12:30″, “Pattern or the training area – or both – your call”, “Have fun”. Off he went for coffee. I fired up, got a clearance to the Newport Training Area, taxied out, ran up, got cleared out of Quonset and headed off to Newport. I called Providence for flight following and climbed up to 3,500ft. Top of climb workflow. Got to the training area. Full rich for maneuvering, clearing turns to check my tail. Then a series of four power on stalls took me from 3,500ft to 5,000ft. On one I was a little aggressive and swooped up (instead of a “mushing” up) – the nose dropped quite a bit. Two steep right turns at 5,000ft – I was pretty locked in on the second one. Then rolled for two steep left turns – nicely locked in. Providence were calling other aircraft with vectors but leaving me alone. I even heard the school Deputy Chief Instructor calling “looking for the traffic” – while she looked for me and Providence vectored her under me. Then two sequences flying into slow flight configuration at 5,500ft, stalls from slow flight and recovery. I then flew the plane in standard rate turns in slow flight configuration, hanging on the prop on the edge of a stall. The needle on the ASI wasn’t even registering, the stall warning was screaming and I gently flew her round. I fully expected to stall as I crossed the turbulence of my own wake but though I bumped around – I still carried on flying – gently rolled into a left standard turn and made another 360. As I rolled out I deliberately stalled her and recovered her. Time was getting on and I was being blown towards New Bedford’s airspace – so I started back to Quonset and added in two more power on stalls at 6,000ft on the way home. Called into Providence for clearance for Quonset, got vectored to there and started down. I got the weather and then was handed off to Quonset for landing. Set up for another one of those cross wind landings. Let’s say it was on centerline, in the correct flare and just a HAIR fast so I ballooned very slightly and had to fly her down again. But thanks to that centerline exercise earlier in the morning I kept it together and she touched down rather nicely. In to the FBO to pick up my instructor. then with 30 mins left, fire up, Quonset weather, Providence weather, Quonset clearance, run up, go, cleared into Providence airspace, vector for landing, a rather poor RIGHT (as opposed to all the left’s I’d done all day) cross wind landing and into the school to finish off.
Procedure points to be worked on – Top of descent workflow – on my solo I got my lights wrong. I was lit up, legal but not optimal.
Hand off to Providence Arrival to Tower. Remember to tell Tower what leg of the pattern Arrival left me on.
Smack me later – it was still a GREAT lesson