Lesson 5. Medium Turns 9.30am 14 August 2004

Well the weather didn’t look promising, but when I rang the Aero Club to confirm no one was home. So I braved the drive out to the airport. The cloud cover definitely looked to be breaking up but I waited it out. Ryan was up flying with another student so I had a water and sat in their comfy pilot lounge. The fact he was up flying boded well for us, and indeed when we had the briefing (which by now I had memorized) the weather had cleared enough for me to do the pre-flight. I gave good old ETA a fairly good going over, noting to Ryan that oil appeared to be leaking from the left nose wheel steering piston. He said that it was more likely oil leaking from the engine overnight dripping out but complimented me on my check. He also said that the axe has gone missing when I asked where it was. Good to see that I am making progress on the checks.

The takeoff was crap. I have found out that once the plane is airborne you still need to add right rudder because the aircraft will still yaw to the left. The climb was a little bumpy but eventually I got it trimmed out more or less into an 80 knot climb (I still need a lot of work on my control co-ordination as I was to find out later). Once clear I got to report clear (the first airborne first). Then it was level off at 1500 feet, which I got done at just under 1600. Then it was time for the first turn. First the checks (reference point – these turns were to be 180 degree turns, lookout – check from opposite side through to direction you want to turn – remember to lift the wing for a look) then ease the aircraft into the turn – remember to add back pressure or the aircraft will descend. Damn that was awful. The first to the right was better. Remember the scan, lookout, attitude, then confirm what you see with what the instruments are saying (the slip ball seemed to be rather inaccurate because the it was showing that I wasn’t putting in enough rudder but the plane seemed to be well established in the turn. Then I did a real no no. I must make a note to ask how I did it but it showed me that I am not quite yet used to feeling how the aircraft responds to control inputs (that will come with experience I guess). I put us into a left turn, but I think I did three things, one – not enough back pressure, two – too much left rudder, three – letting the aircraft overbank. Ryan said that I had put us into a diving spiral so he took control and righted us. Then he gave me a demo of control co-ordination and told me to relax a bit more. The last two turns I did were bang on because of something Ryan said, “Establish the turn with aileron and rudder, then feed in back pressure once the aircraft is in the turn.” All too soon it was time to head back. The fun was not over, as there were other aircraft around. I spotted the twin engine passenger plane on final from about 5 miles out and noted it. Ryan complimented me and seemed to relax a bit. We flew down to 1400 indicated and went over Mystery Creek before turning to final (I recalled the downwind checks perfectly). Ryan then took over for the landing as the runway was quite slippery and had some rather large puddles in it, which we had to avoid. Getting us onto the taxiway, I then did the post landing checks and taxied us back to the aeroclub. Another lesson over. Next lesson? Climbing and Descending turns. Should be interesting.