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We left the pattern immediately and did a touch and go at Pickens for familiarization and then back to Cherokee to drop off Karen. She signed me off to go back to Pickens on my own and hopped out at the hold line. I took off and headed there. No problems at all, no other traffic, so I did a touch and go and flew back to Cherokee for an hour of touch and gos. I could see a little rust, especially since my first landing was aborted into a go-round, but it went away quickly. I dropped a couple of landings in and greased a few, but most could have been a little bit better. Turns to final could have been much better too.
was stronger than I anticipated and I sometimes ended up too far past
the final approach course, forcing me to turn back in. But overall,
a fun day and tiring, and I only ended it when it became too dark to
see the gauges clearly and I realized that I couldnt find the
switch to turn on the cockpit lights.
I climbed into 78T and after I got settled in and was going through the checklist, I realized that I had no real idea how to turn on the radio. Its been a long time since Ive been in Tango so it took me about 3 minutes to find it. For some reason the switch isnt attached to the radio itself, but far below it, on the center console underneath the panel. Oh well.
off and with all of the clouds still left over it was a bit bumpy, but
not too bad. A little breeze blowing south to contend with on my final
lineups and force me to anticipate my turns better. I stayed in the pattern
the whole time, but I wish I had departed out a few miles to practice
re-entering the pattern upwind and downwind. Maybe Ill do that
Thursday if I dont go to Pickens. Most of my landings were OK,
and even a few greasers. After one very bouncy touchdown, I decided
that I was getting too hot, tired and sloppy, so I made one more circuit
determined to concentrate totally and end the day with a smooth landing.
up to 2,500 and just flew around aimlessly and practiced a couple
of constant altitude 30 degree 360s. As the airspace around the airport
seemed pretty busy today, I kept my head on a swivel. Back into the
pattern, I started trying to keep the plane just off the runway and
in the flare as long as I could which really seemed to smooth out my
landings. More frequent touchdowns just as the stall horn is sounding.
As it turns out, they are more like soft field landings, but I really
enjoy the challenge.
down the runway configured for a soft field takeoff: 10 degree flaps
and nose high takeoff roll, the plane wants to fly at 40 knots. Ease
the nose down a bit after it leaves the ground to stay in ground effect
and build up the airspeed to best climb. Then across from the numbers
on downwind she pulled the power and had me slip all the way down to
the runway sideways at best glide and at the last second, kick the rudder
to align with the centerline, let the airspeed bleed off and touchdown.
As we taxied off the runway, she hopped out and said do it.
So I headed back up into the pattern, and as I turned from crosswind, a National Guard helicopter joined in the pattern for touch and gos in front of me. Karen called me and reminded me to watch for wake turbulence as I landed behind him. There was a little, but I think I landed beyond most of it. At least I tried to. All in all, a very fun day and lots of very good landings coupled with sharp pattern work.
Karen said I could head north toward Pickens and stay within reasonable distance of Cherokee. So I did a few touch and gos then headed out. Pickens is closed because of work to lengthen it to about 4,000. So I overflew it at 2,500 to have a look at the new asphalt and continued north a little further to push the envelope. When I turned back, I remembered to climb up to 3500 since I was now headed easterly. I eased back into the pattern at home for a couple of touch and gos, then turned back north again for a few flight maneuvers: a few Turns Around A Point and 45 degree steep turns at constant altitude. Turns Around A Point were better of the two maneuvers, but I thought they were passable since I havent had much practice in either. Back home once again to Cherokee for a few more touch and gos and then I called it a day.
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