Lesson 119
15 August 1999
.9 hours
Tailwheel Lesson 4

This was another 0900 lesson, and when I left home at 8, the PTB AWOS was reporting better than 6 miles visibility and broken clouds at 1500 feet.  By the time I reached the airport the clouds were down to 300 feet, so we sat around.  And sat around.  There were about 6 or 8 other guys there shooting the bull and, being inexperienced I mostly just listened.  Finally near noon the clouds were up about 1500 feet and we decided to fly.

I felt a lot more in tune with the airplane today and managed to fly decent patterns most of the time.  (Wasn't bad yesterday, but it took me a while to get the feel of it.)  Climb at 70 mph.  Turn crosswind at 600 feet and level off at 1000.  Fly the downwind leg at 80 and the approach at 70 or 65 or 60.  I tried all three to get the feel.

Carmine seemed to think I was doing okay on three-point and wheel landings, and today when he pulled the throttle at about 20 feet on takeoff I didn't overcontrol the way I did once yesterday.  (Actually, I just pretty much held the stick still and watched to see what the Citabria wanted to do.  It dropped its nose to just the right glide angle and landed.)

In each of these lessons I've been getting a lot of practice in slipping--no flaps, after all.  Today, however, I got some really good practice.  Several times Carmine pulled the throttle on downwind, just before we get to the cross runway, which at that point is the only good choice for landing.  But we were always high for it, so I slipped and turned final in one grand sweep--great fun! and good experience for me.  One time today I had the stick all the way over and full right rudder.  If I'd tried that solo I might have wondered what would happen--but of course the Citabria just flew along sideways without seeming to complain.

Carmine said now we need a day with a good stiff, gusty crosswind.

What a contrast Carmine is to Adam (my primary instructor)!  Adam is quiet, calm, careful, deliberate.  I never once felt him on the controls unless he told me beforehand.  Carmine sort of gives off sparks most of the time.  He's always in the middle of things, grabs the controls and bangs them around without saying anything at all, and several times I've felt I was wrestling with him.  Oddly, though, he seems to see at least as far ahead as Adam does--or did, back when I was his first student.  Carmine is cocky, does things quickly, flies the pattern with sharp turns--jerky ones, really, although perfectly coordinated.  And he likes to push himself and the airplane. Adam, on the other hand, is always smooth and gentle, and seems almost timid by comparison.  (He's not timid, however.)  He's always calm and patient.  I suspect that Carmine might intimidate a beginner, although he doesn't have that effect on me at all.  I'm enjoying his energy.

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