Daily Pilot's Journal

Read the complete day-by-day flight log of an actual student pilot, from the first takeoff to the signing of his private pilot's license. Written promptly at the end of every flight, each entry is completely unedited - detailing the successes, failures, and mistakes we all encounter along this long road.
Day 3 - Mad Haze and S-Turns
Tuesday, 5/30/06 7:00am - Warm and calm but slightly hazy. Seems that winds bring visibility but lack of wind allows haze to form. Stan imparts his wisdom upon me: "You can't have everything".

Takeoff was smooth and holding the plane on course while climbing to altitude was a lot easier. As we got closer to the sound the fog grew thicker and thicker until I couldn't see anything in front of me. After passing the beach, I couldn't see anything left, right, or behind me either. For the first time I knew exactly what the saying 'flying blind' meant... and it was pretty scary. Without the horizon as a visual reference you quickly lose all sense of the plane's attitude. I couldn't tell if I was climbing or diving, or whether or not I was turning left or right. The attitude indicator became my only friend, and I concentrated on keeping the plane straight and level as Stan radioed Bridgeport to get the latest weather info.



Practiced slips for the first time and I didn't do too well at them. It seems unnatural to apply rudder opposite from the way you're turning, especially after training to use the rudder with your turns. I'm going to have to practice slips thoroughly though, because they'll help me with landing. Crosswinds require them.

After reviewing slow flight and a few stalls, Stan showed me S-turns on the beach. Got the hang of them pretty fast. We then picked out a tower and did turns about a point, which also seemed pretty easy. I noticed the aircraft moved a lot smoother through all my maneuvers than it had in the past, but I think the wind gets most of the credit for that. I brought the aircraft to 3,000ft and for the first time my ears popped. I guess that's where I'll start noticing the pressure so I'll have to keep an eye on that. Talked about the "Charlie" airspace over Islip airport, which I found out is the new term for ARSA (which explains why I couldn't find the term anywhere in the instruction books). Stan heard me use the word ARSA and chuckled that I was an 'old timer'.


When it was finally time to land I managed to pick the airport out relatively quickly. Paralleled the runway and realized Stan wasn't touching the controls. Verbally he guided me through the downwind and base legs of our approach, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well I seemed to be doing. I turned into the base leg and was lined up well with the runway except for being a bit high. After dropping altitude I quickly found myself over the asphalt and Stan still hadn't touched anything. But I screwed up at the last moment... I dropped the nose too much when I should've been easing back the yoke instead. To compensate for my height I increased throttle when I should've actually been cutting the throttle to idle and allowing the plane to touch the runway of it's own accord. Something I need to remember for next time, but I was damned happy I was able to do all three legs of our landing approach.

Flying hours today: 1.0       Total: 2.9

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