Hopefully helpful writings of a career minded pilot, working through the ratings in a Part 61 school while still managing to eat and find time to sleep and work.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

lazy eights...think i've got it now

lazy eights have been dogging me since the start of my commercial rating. the last 45 degrees of each turn have been slow and my perception of that segment has been a 5-10 degree bank, NO rate of turn, and a sharp descent.

today that changed - somewhat anyway. i've been rereading the chapters on basic aerodynamics from the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge  (and just realizing that I have an older edition with not such nice graphics as those up there now!) in preparation for my CFI certification looming this winter. As I was doing my turns in the 8's all the stuff I have been reading was fresh in my mind, particularly lift, and it's changes in banks to wings level and the changing airspeed throughout the maneuver. I still find myself wanting to kick the plane over to the 180 degree point, and instead of doing so, find myself leaning in my seat at the end! anyway, i managed to figure out the magic number for Arrow N813ND : 19" of manifold pressure and 2400 RPM. I started with 18" and ended up 200 feet low, but the maneuver was nice and smooth. 19" did the trick! In addition, this guy's method of doing them has simplified the maneuver 10-fold. I've paraphrased the import part below, but give the whole page a read through. there's some good stuff on there:

All in all the first 90 degrees of the maneuver required very little control inputs on my part. After rolling into the initial 5 degrees of bank all I needed to do was to control the pitch attitude with back pressure on the yoke while keeping the ailerons and rudders neutral and the airplane basically did the rest for me.
As I allowed the airplane to return to a level pitch attitude at the 90-degree point and relatively close to the clean configuration stall speed the nose of the airplane sliced sideways through the horizon and into a descending pitch attitude without any significant intervention on the flight controls by me.
The second half of the 180-degree turn was somewhat more challenging as I was required to use the controls more actively to reduce the bank angle and controlling the pitch attitude throughout the descending portion of the turn.

and to make the flight sweeter - my chandelles were ending with some nice wing buffets - but no stall. I think I might just be a commercial pilot afterall.

250-260 hours and counting...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

in the system

today i took my first cross country flight as an instrument rated pilot filing IFR. i went to see my folks up in VT, expecting a nice VFR ride, but the early morning fog in KLEB had hung around longer than expected. it was 100 broken when i departed KBED, but expected to lift, so I filed IFR, KBED - CON - KLEB. My clearance was radar vectors to MHT, then direct at 6000. The plane i was in was N6910J, one of the older warriors, but still legal for IFR flight - well, just barely anyway. The DG precessed a good deal, and VOR2 was 3 degrees off, but all within limits for IFR flight. the VFR GPS left much to be desired as well. besides these however, it was VFR the entire way. as I got close to MHT I was given a direct vector of 340 to KLEB. approaching KLEB the tower was reporting 300 scattered on and off as the fog was lifting. as i got close, a plane in front of me got in on the visual 25, and i could see the airport in plain view with only a few puffs here and there in the area. i cancelled IFR and made the smoothest landing I've had in a while into rwy 36 since I was used to that approach. here's the plot:


and some pics:

everything in it's right place

the fog over NH/VT up ahead

On the way back, I decided to file IFR again, despite beautiful VFR weather. I like it, and it's simpler to a degree than flight following, but that's a topic for another post. instrument rated pilots know what i'm talking about :) I filed for 7000 to make sure that weird fear of heights i had in the tomahawk a year back was gone. my clearance was one i didn't expect - cleared to bedford via the 167 radial of LEB, then BASUU, then direct. I read back and went to work on the map figuring out where BASUU was, and plugged it into the fisher-price GPS. (re: regulations - technically it is only for reference and i am required to use my OBS's to find the fix) once all that was squared away i was off.

BASUU turns out is right between Bedford and Lebanon, next to Manchester. After only a few minutes at 7000 i was directed to 5000 then 4000. Bedford in sight, I was directed to the visual runway 5 - an approach I have never made at that airport despite flying out of there for almost 3 years! The pattern was a mess, the controller mistook me for another warrior and put me on a parallel approach with a cirrus who had to break off. i felt bad, but i was only following orders! they also had traffic landing on a crossing runway, 11, so i landed in the first 6-700 feet of the runway (light trainers, yeah!) and had to accelerate off to the first taxiway, E, to facilitate the folks behind me.

Here's the plot for the trip home:


All in all, a great flight. 2.5 hours on the hobbs...the part 61 $$$-suck continues...

on the way home at 7000 - laconia is under there somewhere.

looking west at 7000 on the way home