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XXX Flight: 2012-0615-1 in N12556 (Penny) for $
KCNI - KCNI (flying time 1:17)
Flight Notes:
Yanek and I are finally off to do some landing work. He suggested slow flight along the way; that's an excellent idea. (David Thorburn-Gundlach)

(180)
From KCNI (Cherokee County Municipal Airport) 2012-06-15 23:38:39 to KCNI (Cherokee County Municipal Airport) 2012-06-16 00:55:01 [01:17:00] with 6 day and 0 night landings.
David Thorburn-Gundlach (pilot-L) / Yanek Martinson (safety) /
Leg Notes:
First, go back to basics. I was so worried about the upcoming ride that I let myself get distracted, going back and forth, not really paying attention to the checklist and working through the preflight methodically and in order. NO NO! Settled down eventually, but good grief you'd think I'd finally be past that, ya know?
Even more interesting, there was a fair bit of traffic for 23 -- even though the wind very much favored 05! Wassup wit' dat? Had one person in the pattern, and I asked if he would mind switching around to 5 -- and the gal holding short on 23 announced her presence, so up we taxied. It was only a 3-5kt tail component, so not a huge deal, but weird nonetheless. Even more fun, though, was the announcement from the guy a mile off of 5 an opening. I had just missed his departure on 5 before lighting up our radios, which then says that all of that 23 traffic just decided to switch from 5. No idea why they would...
Anyway, we finally got up just as everybody parked or left, so my first was a cross over the field and landing on 05. That wasn't bad, but I let myself get messed up by the midfield overflight and downwind insertion and didn't like how I landed. Yanek noted, however, 'This is how you land when you are RUSTY? You must be really great when you are in practice!' :-) Call it maybe an 8.0.
Then it was time to go and do some slow flight. We climbed up to about 4000ft and got to work. After slowing down to about 60mph and putting in 20 degrees, I started the rudder work. We got down to about 45 and even 40 and things were pretty comfortable, but I was still using too much aileron in the dance. Tried going with *just* rudder pedals (and flying without hands for 10 minutes is WEIRD :-) Yes that mostly worked, and kicking a bit mostly does stop the turn, but there were times when I really didn't want to put in that much opposite rudder and had to tweak the yoke. I think the next step is to get together with someone spin-rated and really try it with the ailerons firmly level and see just how far we can go.
It was time to stop when the oil gauge got close to the hot edge, so I ran a nice glide back to the airport to cross over -- this time I wasn't going to just turn onto downwind, thank you! -- and settle into the pattern. By now our lady friend was back in the air, but she was on 5 with us, so we were all doing the sensible thing. Well, all except maybe one... I'd figure it was my fault, but Yanek confirmed that we hadn't heard anything until a fellow called in 'I am entering left downwind for 5, are you receiving me?' -- as I was just about to enter the downwind leg! Holy crap but that was good for another heart attack. Sure enough, he was right there next to us, having come straight in from behind our left quarter, so I just pulled a circle to the right to give him plenty of room even though he was going faster than we were.
FINALLY we get to settle down to landing, and the other half of the work began. We ran so many that I lost count :-) and the details blur together, but I definitely know that 1) I want to nail down a good descent rate (maybe 300fpm instead of 500fpm?) from the numbers so that I don't bottom out at the turn to final and have to limp in for the last quarter mile, and 2) I gotta nail down my centerline alignment and control in general, as departures were mostly OK, but approaches always needed some scoot work. Settling things down, though, was generally good; there certainly were no crazy gyrations like on my last ride with Laura. Proof that one has good and bad days, no?
(David Thorburn-Gundlach)
Safety:
- Before the next flight with a valued human in the right seat, if you haven't installed the inertial reel, at least put friction tape on the existing mechanism [Done! :-DTG]
Slow flight:
- Practise maintaining and setting heading, altitude, descent rate with hands entirely off ailerons
- Slower, closer to stall. Minimum controllable airspeed.
Landings:
- When abeam the numbers, first reduce power, then initial rough trim (usually one turn up), then set flaps, then fine-tune trim for desired airspeed and power for glideslope/descent rate
- Centerline, centerline, centerline. If even a little off, correct immediately and maintain.
- If you find yourself leveling off too high, correct for it, don't just wait for aispeed to bleed off while still too high. Makes for a rough touchdown. Add a bit of power, reduce backpressure a bit, to descend controllably to just above the runway. Then level off again by taking out power and pulling back on the elevators. Be on hairtrigger for immediate go-around if this isn't working out.
- If the runway is long enough, roll out in a relaxed manner until it's comfortable to turn off onto a taxiway. Better to have a longer taxi back than to stress the gear.
(Yanek Martinson)