Lesson 12. Circuits 1pm Sunday 12 September 2004

Well the lesson might be the same, but new things were still happening. New instructor, Sue Bull, a lovely lady and a great instructor. I think she will be a great help in ironing out the bugs in my flying which she commented in agreement with Greg that I am quite advanced in my progress for someone with such low hours. The second new thing was that I was going to be in total charge of the landings and the third was that we would do touch and goes. My dumb moment (well I guess there had to be one) was that I started the aircraft without strapping myself in (Sue said it was good that I noticed it early before she had to say anything). Radio calls, run up and lineup checks went OK. Take off went smoothly. My mike played up the entire trip and I was cutting in and out when I was speaking to her, but fortunately the Tower could hear me fine, but I spoke louder just in case.

The circuits went fairly well as far as the flying went (only missed a couple of things like pulling the carb heat on the downwind leg), Sue also complimented me on my approach judgement and use of the right controls to get us back onto the correct approach. The landings, well, they need work yes but Sue reassured me that it is simply a matter of practise. The touch and goes were another problem. I was finding it difficult to maintain tracking and simultaneously lift the flaps back to 10 degrees. Sue through all of this was so calm and only once did she step in and even then it was to ease back on the controls and then she handed it back to me. On the second circuit I nailed the approach only to balloon by pulling back too hard on the controls and we started to climb (Sue said later that wasn’t that bad because I didn’t overcorrect by pushing the nose over) I stopped moving the control column and we drifted down the runway at 10 feet until our airspeed dropped and I had to start pulling back to arrest the sink.

I think it was the 4th or 5th circuit (I think we got in about 7 or 8) that after a shakey approach a little too shallow so I put some throttle in to maintain our airspeed and as it happened we needed it right up to the threshold because I had let us get too low. Then when I pulled the throttle we sunk and I was not quite fast enough back on the controls (well that’s what I thought at the time) and Sue told me to bring the controls back back back so I did and we touched down right on the stall warning. Woohoo!! The rest of the circuits I was not quite there on the landing part but Sue said as we taxied back that she was happy with my performance in the lesson and that landings were a matter of developing your senses to detect and therefore control the rate of sink close to the ground. Because each landing is different you must adjust your technique for each landing. Once you have done it a few times she assured me that I would pick it up. I really hope she is right because right now I don't think I will ever get it.