Dominion Aviation requires an annual flight review for airplane renters, and today was it for me. Since I had to do an hour of dual for the annual, I decided to get into the FAA's Wings program, which requires three flight hours and a safety seminar, and which also satisfies the requirements for the biennial flight review. I don't care about acquiring the little token wings; but I get the benefits of the additional review (i.e., training) and the BFI for about the same time and money, spread out over a year's time--and without the pressure of the single BFI experience (i.e., ordeal (I know it isn't supposed to be an ordeal, but I'll bet that's how it would feel to me all the same)).
So Adam, my primary flight instructor, agreed to go up with me today. Before starting the engine, we sat in the airplane and talked over what I'd need to do--mostly things he figured I hadn't done lately: Soft field take off, steep turns, slow flight, power-off and power-on stalls,engine out, short field and no flaps landings. Although I'd expected these maneuvers, Adam still found a few lapses in my memory, mainly getting the airspeeds exactly right. I usually round the odd ones--to 75 kts, for example, instead of 73 for the best rate of climb, and 70 instead of 69 for the best angle of climb. And that's pretty much how the flight went. I did everything okay--but tended to round things a bit, and Adam held me to the exact maneuvers. It was a good lesson.
There were scattered clouds at about 2500 feet today. We went
up through a hole, up to 4000 feet to get above them. And so I gained
a clearer understanding of "scattered." I probably would have thought
they were "broken" if I'd been alone and would have stayed below them.
But once we were above these clouds, I could always see the ground, not
always directly below us, but with enough holes between clouds to feel
comfortable and oriented all the time. So that was another good lesson.
And of course it was fun to fly up and down between the puffy white clouds.
Coming down, I slipped from 4000 down to 2500 feet, with the right rudder
pedal to the floor, and we dropped down at better than 2000 fpm.
I always enjoy slipping like that--and the sudden flying feeling
when straightening out again.
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