Thursday, July 07, 2005

Third Flight

Dawn Patrol. 0700 departure. The visibility wasn't too good at 4 miles in haze. There were a few clouds pretty low, but nothing we couldn't work around.

The tower doesn't open until 7:30, so we just headed out to runway 4. I told the instructor that I didn't want to do any grass runways today, my thinking being that they're too forgiving and don't prepare me for the inevitable landing back at Bolton. He agreed to give it a try so we headed over to Madison County. The wind was almost dead calm, with just a little breeze from the east. We lined up for runway 9, but that was a bit of a problem. Turning into the sun really showed how hazy it was - it was darn near impossible to see the runway. As we turned final I was able to see it well enough to proceed.

We made three landings, and if I do say so myself, they were pretty good. The subsequent takeoffs were also really good. Next stop was Urbana-Grimes where we hoped to land and get breakfast. Urbana-Grimes is pretty close to a river, so it's always a little worse weather in the mornings than everywhere else, and today was no exception. We had to duck down under some pretty low clouds, find the runway again in the haze, and land. It all turned out well, and I made my first good 'wheel' landing. Up until then I had been doing 3-point landings. The difference is that a 3-point landing is at a full stall, theoretically landing on all 3 wheels at the same time. In a wheel landing, you hold the tail up as you roll out. The idea is that you have a bit more control from the rudder, and a bit better visibility. It was no big deal to do, and frankly, I didn't see any increased benefit to it at all.

We had a good breakfast and flew back to Bolton. I put the plane away and wondered how tough it was going to be to not fly again until Monday. The break in flying does give me a chance to do some work on the plane, though. I went home and got Hogarth and some supplies and headed back to the hangar.

I installed a plastic bin in the back behind the seats to carry little chocks, a screwdriver, and the control gust locks. I want to have that stuff with me, but I don't want it flopping around back there. I velcroed the bin to the carpet to hold it in place. I also taped actual size pictures of the Dynon instruments to the panel to get an idea of what they'd look like in the panel. Pretty nice!

So, no more flying until Monday. Bummer.

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