Wednesday, June 01, 2016

The 152 and the Tomahawk

Well, I haven’t taken the time to write in a while. Life just has habit of taking all that extra time I used to have to sit down and write. These days, I’ll take a bit of downtime at work to start the entry and then I’ll send it home to finish it and load it up, usually after everyone has gone to bed.

 My last real entry spoke about my dual flight time in the Diamond. Well, since then, I have decided to try and finish up my PPL.  Both of my girls both really like to fly and that has given me the push I need to get in there and finish it up. I have re-taken my ground school, but don’t feel like I retained enough to take the written yet, so I’m studying when I can and I’ll take the test when I'm ready. There is really no rush to get it completed and since the test changes in a couple weeks, I’ll probably wait until the test prep changes also to get it right.  Until then, I’m still flying.

 Back in April, I was able to get a half hour in a Cessna 152. Although I have flown in high-winged aircraft on many occasions, I had never left seated one before. This was a fun .5 hour and it was my first flight with Gene, who is my instructor until he leaves to join Delta in July. During the flight, Gene got to see what I knew and after a couple of turns, he had me going in and doing pattern work. I was able to get 3 touch and go’s and 1 full stop landing in that quick time. He was impressed with my piloting and said we should have no problems getting me to solo in the Tomahawk after a few hours.  Dad was there on the ground and he said the landings all looked good.

Fast forward to 22 May 2016. Gene and I go up in the Tomahawk for our first hour in that together. I made sure to let him know I was nowhere near as comfortable in the “Tommy” as I was in the 152. Although, that was my first flight in the 152 and I have quite a few hours in the Tomahawk. We took off and shot 3 touch and go’s right off the bat. Although not great by any stretch of the imagination, I was able to get three somewhat decent landings and the plane was able to take back off after one of them. We then climbed to 3000 and did some steep turns, slow flight, slow flight turns, power on stalls, power off stalls and one engine out emergency landing simulation to a farmer’s field. I had no issues with the tasks and was even to stall it twice without completely dropping a wing. He even stated that when people do as well as I do in the cockpit, he can get a bit bored at times. We then went back to the pattern for 4 more landings. The first three were, again, somewhat decent and the as we were taking off for the last time, he said, “Let’s make this one a full stop and be done for the day.” I told him since he told me it was last one of the day, I’ll probably screw it up. Not on purpose, but it normally happens. Crosswind, downwind, base and final all went as planned. As I started to round out for my flare, I ended up being a few feet lower than I thought (knowing how high I am off the runway is an issue I need to figure out ASAP) the wheels hit and we bounced pretty hard. The plane bounced and hit the tarmac and again, bounced. But, as soon as it bounced this time, I also got hit with a quick crosswind that totally fucked me up. As Gene started reaching for the yoke, I also pushed in the throttle and then thought better of it and pulled it back out again, which totally fucked up Gene.  He was able to get control and keep us on the ground. But, after that landing, he straight up earned his pay for that hour.  After we left the runway, he said, “You made me work for that one. Oh, and I think your Dad is over there and saw that landing.”  Well, shit.. The only thing I could come back with was, “Are you still bored??” :)  During the debrief, we need to work on how far I am above the runway and if I start to bounce in the future, either full throttle and take off or leave the throttle out and get it down. The throttle in-out really could have ruined our day.  All in all, other than that last landing, which wasn't much more than a controlled crash without damage to the airplane, it was a good hour. I feel better in the Tomahawk than I have in the past and I actually feel like I can get the hang of this airplane.

After I parked the airplane in the hanger, I was sitting in there decompressing with Dad and we talked about the last landing. His words of wisdom: “I want to you have a landing like that every once in a while to keep you from getting complacent about your skills.”  Point Taken.
Until next time..

Picture 1 is the 152 I flew and picture 2 is my view of the Tomahawk while decompressing in the hanger after that botched landing.

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