Switched Thu lesson to Wed because tomorrow’s forecast looks terrible. Today a quiet morning (wind wise). Flying wise however:
We do a simulated engine failure on takeoff on Providence’s long runway. Tower got all twitchy when we ask for a long enough time slot on the runway to start a takeoff and then abort it with a simulated engine failure. They let in a jet on long final rather than scoot us out ahead of it and then tell us the runway is all ours “at OUR discretion”. I start a normal take off. Now it doesn’t matter that I know this is going to happen – when the instructor pulls the power at 150ft the plane lurches and it is all happening REALLY fast. I point down. I do simulate switches off but miss the fuel cut off. A small gust throws us in a right crab and I’m stamping on the rudder at touch down to square her. It is a flaps up landing and fast and I stand on the brakes per the book and then pull hard back for aerodynamic braking. A little scrappy. “We lived” says the instructor.
Then we go off for real – to the driveway in the woods 15 miles away known as Richmond Airport. 30ft wide by 2000ft and change long. The visibility is perfect. I use the GPS and track the VOR and it still doesn’t appear between the trees till I am on top of it at 3,000ft a half mile out. I tell Providence we are there and they release us. I call an entry to the pattern and fly a full upwind, cross, down, base and final to get a good look. The strip is so small I keep having to check the altimeter to be sure I am not high in the pattern. Slight right cross wind. Irrelevant once you are down in the trees. My first one is a big pattern – plenty of time and I get her down without intervention. I forget to raise the flaps the instant she lands to get weight on the wheels so the brakes work better – but it was so short field that half the runway is left. I taxi back along the runway (no taxiways). Then we have to sit because another plane joins the pattern. This could screw up the day. But it is a local coming home – he waltzes in over the trees and lands and taxis to park. Shortfield out – for very real – there is a ridge of trees at the end of the runway. My second one I fly a huge pattern to give myself lots of time. I get her in – again without the instructor. “Tighten it up” he says “Really sink her in from high” so I do. It is “amusing” – this is a tough one for the instructor. I’m supposed to sink her in at flaps 30 and 57 knots and I’m more like 60 a lot of the time so a bit hot and flat. But if I slow to 57 then the instructor gets understandably nervous I might slow to 55 or slower and he is breathing down my neck a little. Fast means flat and there is that very real tree under the right wingtip. “Go left a bit then come back” – this all in the last 500ft to the runway and about 60ft up. I’m supposed to sink in over the tree – not have to fly around it. But I get the third one. We Vx climb out and I’m better on centerline as I do this time. I fly a pattern.
Very early on the fourth final I know I am high and fast and will land long on the runway. I call the go around but the instructor says – “no keep sinking so you see it”. So I do sink her hard in – practicing for the 57 knot sink. I am midfield and ask – “Now can I go around?” as I do. The fifth one – I don’t even get close and on the climb out we are out of time – we head back to Providence. It is hard to pick a spot on the freeway called runway 34 but I put her somewhere near centerline.
It is all about the speed control……