Lesson 2: Don’t fight the plane.

Today’s flying lesson was one chock full of experience. Last week we did the walk around together, this morning he held the book while I did most of the work, prepping myself for when I have to do the preflight inspection alone.
I taxi the plane to the end of the A (pronounced Alpha) Hangars and Skip requests for  N3521Q to take off. I taxi to runway 05 from the hangars, and we are number four to take off. In front of me are three other planes waiting for that paved road that allows you to go anywhere. I wonder how many of those are doing flying lessons, and which ones are crossing the state for that morning’s adventure.

The Tower tells us that we are cleared for take off, and I taxi the plane on to the runway, and Skip says “A Hollywood take off: Lights, camera, Action”. On his mark I smoothly apply full power and we start down the runway. In a Cessna 172, a pilot is to start pulling back on the control wheel at 55 knots. I waited until the plane had about 70 knots of speed. As soon as I pulled back on the stick the plane just jumped into the air. Skip tells me that’s ok, we had a little extra airspeed. From my first lesson I remember to make sure the nose doesn’t get too high, this requires to push the control wheel forward, shouldn’t be too complicated. But there I was, pushing as hard as I could, trying to keep the nose wheel down as the plane climbed to our altitude. I would get the nose where I wanted it, and as soon as I let go, up it goes, it was a roller coaster ride, up and down up and down.
Skip makes a few comments about my struggle with the plane, wondering why I’m having so much trouble. He said the first lesson I did great on take off. I asked him how much of that lesson he flew on climb out, he said none, just like today.
After what felt like a lifetime, it probably wasn’t even one whole minute, Skip comes to the rescue, and as soon as he touches the control wheel  he realizes that the plane is trimmed way to high.
Trim, with the proper power setting, allows you to set the plane in an attitude that you want without your hands needing to be on the control wheel. This plane was set for the plane pointing pretty much straight up! As soon as he fixes it I relax my grip on the control wheel.
A quick flashback reminds me that I set the trim at the start of the runway. Oops.
I knew about trim, I knew it’s purpose, but now I know that it should be my firend not my foe.

We turn towards the northwest and he shows me the boundary of the practice area.  Interestingly he tells me that he wants me to keep west of I-75, the reason? There is a group of radio towers that extend to 1519 ft in the air. “Those could ruin your day” We do some climbs, and turns, and practice coming back to straight and level flight at the right time. He asks if I see them, and instantly they appear right in front of me.

Landing:
We come in from the west over Pine Island and then Cape Coral to land at runway 05 and the wind is pushing us pretty hard. Skip lets me know that this crosswind landing lesson is happening a lot sooner than he expected. During a crosswind landing a pilot needs to apply rudder, that allows you to point the nose to the runway. I read about it before. But actually seeing the plane swing towards the runway was pretty exciting. During our approach Skip requests to land, ATC responds, and we have to confirm, he nudges towards me, and I say my first words over the radio  ”321 Quebec, cleared to land” The only problem is that our plane is 3521Q, the controller doesn’t correct me, and I didn’t realize until after finding my recording on liveatc.net that I made the flub.

Listen to my debut here: 1st radio call 321Q (wrong plane name)
We land safely and I wipe the sweat from my brow, it was a challenging second flight, but after telling the story countless times to family and friends, everyone noticed that I always had a smile on my face.

A general idea of where I flew today

A general idea of where I flew today in N3521Q

Just the numbers:

Hours Today:
Total: 0.9
Dual: 0.9
Solo: 0.0
Landings: 1
———
Total Hours: 1.6
Total Dual: 1.6
Total Solo: 0.0
Landings: 3

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2 Responses to Lesson 2: Don’t fight the plane.

  1. Pete says:

    It makes me neverous just reading about it

  2. Steve says:

    Sounds like you’re doing pretty good. Don’t sweat it – you’ll get a feel for the controls after a few more lessons are under your belt. And remember that trim is your friend. Not having to use much force on the controls is the way to go!

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