Lesson 34
27 February
1.2 hours

We began at 0800 today.  This was an extra lesson, to let me practice some landings to see if I was ready for the pre-solo checkride.  Eight was the only time Adam had available.  It's not my finest hour, but I managed to wake up and get to the field on time.

The air was so still and cool that the airplane felt strange to me.  The engine seemed to sound different than it did yesterday.  We lifted off quickly and climbed out, the plane feeling as though it were flying through honey rather than air--so smooth and laminar.  There was only one slight bump, the whole flight.

We stayed in the pattern, and I did eight landings.  None was bad, and the last five or six went pretty well and smoothly, and eventually I began to get a better sense of when to round out the descent--higher than I had been doing it lately--to hold it there, letting it sink gradually, and finally flaring so that the wheels settled down without any protest.  Of course, with no wind, it was easier than in a strong crosswind.

Adam pulled one engine-out on me.  We were on downwind, but I was a bit wide that time.  He pulled the throttle.  I pitched for 60 knots and went through the checklist, simulating an attempt to restart the engine, while turning toward the runway.  But I stayed on downwind a bit long, while going through the checklist, and then didn't think we'd be able to make the runway.  To make it more complicated, there was a plane running up at the end of the taxiway, and I had to fly almost right over it.  We glided across the grass, getting lower and lower, and finally got through that left turn onto final with maybe 30 feet of air under us.  I felt Adam on the controls in that last turn, but I don't think he did much more than just make me feel a little more comfortable-- was just ready in case I screwed up.  A bit tense, that one was, but we landed smoothly. His main aims, that time, were to help me get a better sense of the power-off sink rate and the gliding distance, and especially of how it's best to fly the pattern close enough to the runway that you can get there if the engine should quit. That part of the lesson was certainly clear --and adrenergic! (Whoo! I've even learned the technical term for it.)

After we got back in the terminal, Adam arranged with Becky Luther to check me out on Monday.  She was very nice about prepping me for the event--explained what she'd want me to do, and all, trying to make me feel easy about it.  Well, we'll see what Monday brings.

[Later.] In trying to visualize the perfect check flight, I've realized that I've never made a crosswind landing with much of a wind from the right. They've all been with it from the left. That shouldn't be a problem--I hope-- but it does surprise me. Naturally, the wind Monday will be from 040 at 10, meaning that I'll have to use runway 33, which I dislike, and with a right crosswind blowing at the max for a student pilot.

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