One chapter closes, another one opens

Today I took my Maximum All Up Weight (MAUW) check in the Cessna 172. In a kind of anti-climactic way, it's the last piece of formal training I will receive in the 172 (since they don't do spin or slip training in that type). Not that its a sad day, just a kind of wierd feeling that I've done all the formal lessons I need to do in that type.

My usual steed WAM was booked, so I took JGP instead. With full fuel tanks, myself, instructor Dave and passenger Jonathan (congrats on the PPL), I still needed 40kg of water ballast to reach MAUW. We packed two 20 litre bottles of water in the rear seat of JGP and secured them as best we could. Then we all piled in and off we went. My mind must have gone to mush because I forgot all sorts of things I wouldn't normally. After muddling through a runup we lined up on Grass 18 and were waiting for wake turbulence from a departing Saab to dissipate before we tookoff. Dave wanted a max performance takeoff so after we got clearance, I put my feet firmly on the brakes and pushed in the throttle to the stop. As per usual, JGPs power outdid its brakes and after a quick glance to confirm we had sufficient power available for take off I stepped off the brakes and away we went.

Normally JGP would be airborne after 150 metres or so but I wisely kept the nose wheel on the ground till 50 knots was indicated and raised it. The plane got airborne at about 60 knots and sat in ground effect till the airspeed came up to 70. Dave told me to raise the nose and away we went. We had a slight crosswind to contend with and that made the climbout a little tricky but I got a handle on it and trimmed for an 80 knot climb. We made a left turn at 500 AGL and headed out east to the training area for some turns and stalls.

Once clear of the control area I climbed to 3000 feet and could definitely see the reduced climb performance JGP had with all that weight. I did a right hand medium turn to clear and Dave said he wanted me to make it a steep turn so I opened the throttle 100rpm and rolled tighter. Man the controls were heavy and so was the G loading. We did another right hand one which wasn't as bad and then a left hand one. Dave made me to a couple of emergency steep turns (simply a steep turn with a fast roll in) and they went without drama. Then onto the stalls. He said he was happy just to see a basic stall recovering from the onset. I gave it a shot and recovered, then Dave took control and showed me how to recover using power and a slightly higher nose attitude so that height loss was minimal. I might go up sometime alone and try it myself. It certainly is a good way to recover from a stall without scaring your passengers. Then we returned to Hamilton for a couple of circuits. The first one was a normal one which I made a slight hash of but was otherwise OK, the second was a glide approach. We were cleared onto the seal but we were coming up too fast on the plane ahead so Dave requested a change of runway and I turned onto the grass runway. I thought we were going to have to abort the glide approach and make it a powered approach but it became apparent we had some altitude to play with so I said I was going to make it a glide approach with no flaps since I wasn't certain we'd make it to the threshold at that point. So I effectively performed a flapless glide approach at all up weight with a crosswind landing. If that seems like a mouthful, the plane was certainly a handful, but I put her down on the runway and off we went. Dave said the last one would be a precision approach. I didn't pick my landing points downwind like I should but I did them on base (not good but better late than never). I had a 200 AGL decision altitude. When we got there I was on centerline but my speed was slightly slow, I made a decision to continue with the landing. I estimated we used 350 metres of the runway to stop in, not bad but cutting it a little fine. Then it was back to the Aero Club and have the last endorsement in my logbook completed.

So ended my formal training in the Cessna 172.

I have booked two lessons in the Piper Cherokee Archer for next weekend to begin my type rating. So begins the next chapter in making this kiwi fly.


Aaron Martin said…
At first I thought it was strange that you had to do a MAUW check, as I thought that since you had done your flight test in a 172 that you would automatically have the type rating as well, but then I realised that my flight test was in a Tomahawk, and the examiner made me fill the tanks so that my flight test would start off at MAUW, so thats why I never had to do a seperate MAUW check in the Tomahawk.
I am in the process of doing a rating in ZK-DQV, the clubs Piper Arrow at the moment, which is great fun having all that extra power and more knobs and levers to play with!
Perhaps one day we can get a few PPLs and take a plane away for a shared flight to as many airfields in one day as we can?
Euan Kilgour said…
Heh, that trip sounds like a lot of fun. I'd suggest taking JGP because it can get into and out of more fields than an Archer can. As for the Arrow, my trip in the back of DOK proved that the less levers and knobs to play with, the less I have to worry about/keep an eye on/forget to set properly.