Stranded In The Southland

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sweating The Practical

I went up last Friday to practice landings in the pattern -- the weather was too lousy to go further -- and then had a lesson with H. on Saturday. Unfortunately, H. didn't seem too happy with my attempts at a short field landing. I kind of wish he'd noticed this a bit sooner, like, say, before we scheduled the checkride. But, hey, I guess I just gotta practice.

When landing, it's important to point the aircraft down enough that you aren't going to run out of speed and drop out of the sky, and up enough that you don't gain too much speed. You want to land at 1.3 times the stall speed, which is around 85 mph for the Cherokee I fly. When flying with H., I'd just been pointing the plane towards the ground and letting it go; as I posted about earlier, on some of my practice sessions, I'd been paying a bit more attention to the speed.

Sunday, I went out and tried to pay attention to the speed, but wound up with a bunch of lousy landings. This morning I went up again, and seem to have gotten a lot closer. I ended up the day with a couple of pretty decent short field landings, so perhaps I can do 'em up right for H. when I fly with him again Friday.

(It was an interesting day, though, between the rookie controller having me do two 360 degree turns for spacing in the same downwind, and nearly nailing a hawk, with the kind of effects on my attempt at landing that you might imagine.)