Spicing things up a bit

So the club held a competition for practice forced landings.  I've won the club event a couple of times, so I thought I would make things interesting.  So, almost 9 years after the club acquired its Robin 2160 (aka Alpha A-160), I glided one back to landing.

Now, those of you who are pilots will know that PFLs are a pretty busy time in the cockpit, with a few drills to run through while you fly the plane to your chosen landing spot.  Try doing it in a plane you've only sat in once and are not familiar with.

My first impression of the Robin is that despite it only being a two seater it has more than enough room to cram fit my frame into reasonably comfortably. The seat cushions can be removed as they are cleverly velcroed in which gives you more room. 

We got airborne and climbed to our target altitude of 2500 where we would commence the PFL.  Despite it being fairly warm and quite humid, WJH was indicating over 1000fpm (and I am told it is the worst performer of the 3) as we climbed out of the circuit.

I was quietly told (thanks Peter!) to use 80knots for the glide speed so when the throttle was pulled I went to set a nose attitude for 80 knots and realized I had no idea what it was.  My instructor/judge told me that the one I guestimated was actually pretty much bang on, and the airspeed did indeed settle to show 80 knots.  The Robin 2160 has short stubby wings which makes it great for aerobatics, but the flipside is, it glides like a fridge.  I had selected my 1500 area and 1000 foot point, but as the altimeter was unwinding like a fan, I chose to fly directly to my 1000 foot point.  A good number of the drills went out the window because I was trying to glide a plane I had 0 hours in and although I was prepared mentally for it, actually doing it was something else entirely. 

I got one concession from the judge who said we were too close in (actually he pushed the stick to the right and made us bank away).  I lowered all the flaps on base but didn't get my airspeed right, we came in quite fast.  I knew previously that you don't need to flare a Robin like you do with a Cessna so when I rounded out I held WJH in what I thought was the straight and level attitude.  The answer was I only needed an extra couple of degrees nose up and we touched down neatly on the mains.

Instructor/judge Seb said I did quite well for my first ever attempt at a PFL in a Robin.  It was far from textbook but I made the field and we landed without too much drama.  The other competitors watching from the clubhouse said I looked quite good, if a little fast.

Seb must have taken pity on me because I managed to come first equal.

Would I get rated in the Robin?  I am not sure.  If I was going to pursue an Aerobatic rating, then yes absolutely.  But I'm still trying to get that aerobatic flight done.  We shall see...