This lesson went pretty well, generally, even though I was tired at the end of a week of classes and a vexing problem with a colleague. I had a class until ten last evening, didn't get to sleep until about one, and got up at seven for a nine o'clock class. I would have cancelled if this had been a solo flight. But once in the air, the adrenaline kicked in and I soon found that my arms and legs were doing more or less what was needed.
Greenwood had me begin with a few loops this time, and they went well enough--because I remembered to freeze the stick until we were well around on the downline. Then there were a few slow rolls that also went pretty well. I managed to keep the nose close to a point on the horizon and to hold to the altitude okay. Four-point rolls were next--but today he said to begin inverted. Ack. I hadn't thought this one through since the last time he'd told me to do it, back in November, and it sure showed. I had to abort the first one when I just got all screwed up--verschimmeldt, in Pennsylvania Dutch.
Then it was a loop followed immediately with a slow roll. I did a couple of those passably.
That was all review. Then it was time to try some cuban-eights--or, rather to begin trying them, as he just had me do the first half, with a pause in between to get reoriented. The cuban eight is about 5/8ths of a loop. Then you establish a straight 45 degree downline--you're inverted at that point--and then roll upright. That sets you up to do it again, so that you're heading back the way you began, hopefully on the original heading and at the original altitude. I found it hard to get established on the 45-degree inverted downline--you're somewhat disoriented by that time--or I was. The hard part seemed to be getting in enough forward stick pressure to keep the nose up--to keep it from coming around in the rest of the loop. Normally in the loop you're feeling positive g's--about 4 or 5 in the initial and concluding pull ups. But to hold that inverted downline, you have to go to negative 1 g from the positive 2 or 3 g's you're pulling at the top of the loop. So it's a new sensation, and of course when you're trying to straighten out and hold that 45 degree downline, the ground fills up the view ahead, and you can't see the horizon, so it's hard to get oriented. Or at least it was for me. Maybe you can see the horizon periphally, but I couldn't get it today.
Finally it was time to head home. Back in the pattern, Greenwood took over, as usual. A C-172 was turning final, so Greenwood extended a long way--for him! He must have gone at least a quarter mile past the numbers before turning base. The 172 got down with us close behind. The 172 pilot, who evidently knows Greenwood well, announced that he was clear, but that was ten seconds before he reached the turn-off, and we were right behind him taxiing to the ramp. Interesting.
Our takeoff had been interesting, too. Greenwood taxiied out on
the midfield taxiway and just rolled right onto the runway, opened the
throttle, and we were off with plenty of runway remaining ahead.
As we were climbing out, we saw two other airplanes suddenly discover each
other when they were something like 200 feet apart vertically. One
of them pulled into a tight 360 and the other just kept on going on up
to what might well have been an awkward coincidence of aircraft.
That was also interesting.
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