The afternoon weather on Wednesday allowed me to get into an airplane for an hour, and I used the time to fly around the pattern at Twin Oaks Airpark and practice and work on improving some flying skills, some that I feel a little weak on and others that are relatively new to me. In addition, I needed to practice some maneuvers on my own that I had only performed with my instructor up until now. I'm approaching the end of my private pilot flight training (or so I am told), and now is the time to refine some of these core flying skills.
I've only recently been introduced to short- and soft-field takeoffs and landings, so practicing those was one of my goals. I did a couple of each, and the short-field ops were pretty solid for me. The soft-field takeoffs were a little more challenging, getting into ground effect and staying there before climbing. The plane just wants to get of the ground and I really have to hold it down, and on the Twin Oaks runway, which slopes downhill slightly as you roll down the runway, it's a little extra challenging.
My landings on Wednesday were a lot less spectacular than I wanted. Some days I'm "on," and other days a little less so. On all but one landing I didn't quite get the timing of the flare worked out, and I really need to figure out what I'm doing wrong. I believe it's a combination of flaring slightly too soon and pulling back a little too much (and a lack of patience in letting the airplane run out of airspeed), but really what I need to do is get back out there and just fly a bunch of landings. I am hoping to get a chance to do that on Thursday afternoon.
Another thing I did Wednesday was fly some simulated engine-out landings. In the past I've only done that with my instructor in the airplane, but after my last flight with him, Kelly had directed me to practice those on my own. I did engine-out drills from the pattern as well as one from 2500 feet directly above the field, which required me to fly in a circle over the airport so I could reduce my altitude, then enter the pattern in the downwind leg and fly to an engine-out landing, which went well. All in all, I was happy with my engine failure drills.
A couple of things I didn't get to work on, because the cloud ceiling was a little to low throughout the region for me to get sufficient altitude, are stalls (and stall recovery) and steep turns. So, I hope to get to work some more on those if I'm able to fly on Thursday.
I've been studying for the written knowledge exam (which is actually computer-based), and I need to get that done sometime in the next week or so. I'm balancing that with some consulting-related work, so it's taking a little longer than I'd planned, but I'm getting there.
I shot video of Wednesday's flying but I haven't had a chance to look at it yet. If there's anything on there that I decide I want to post (most of the landings were not exactly sources of pride for me, heheh), I'll add it here at a later date.