keep smiling (and flying)...

Lesson Two - August 8, 2013

Ascent and descend is the objective for this lesson with the recap of previous lesson, straight and level. There were many aspects the same in regards to the morning lesson in relation to checking the plane but now it had in be done in somewhat of an orderly manner.

The walk around or preflight check: a general overview of whole aircraft – walking from a start point and circling the whole airplane, checking for loose or missing screws/rivets; checking for movement in moveable parts such as flaps, elevator, rudder, aerilions; making sure the moveable parts are secured to the airplane; lights aren’t damaged; propeller and spinner are undamaged; tyres are inflated; brakes attached to wheel machinery; nose gear is attached and moves freely; antennas attached; general appearance looks ok, no visible debris or leaks; removal of pitot cover, tie downs or locks; checking of oil and fuel levels.

Fuel was added and it was MOGAS and was filled by a portable drum system. This is done purely for costs as AVGAS was around $0.70 dearer per litre. But it was time consuming dragging out the drums and changing drums and this was hand pumped. So I wonder overall how much cheaper it actually was. 

Then it’s a matter of filing in the necessary paperwork for the flight and doing pre/after start checks etc. Again due to the westerly wind it was a takeoff from runway 25.

Flying Monster up in the air in Tecnam Eaglet P92 24-7600
Flying monster aka little miss naughty wearing her Peltor aviation headset

Again it was to the training area above Bribie Island and extending to the lower part of Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast. We did a very brief “briefing” of what was going to be happening in this lesson.

I learnt how to climb to 4500ft at 110kts (in bumpy air again!).

Turns that were made were considered gentle and these seemed ok. Steeper turns were quite uncomfortable and I feel this is because I sit under the windscreen and close to the stick as well as my headset hitting the side pillar. This wouldn’t happen in gentler turns.

I have realised quite quickly that aviation is full of abbreviations and jargon.

PAT: Power, Attitude and Trim

P: mixture rich, increase to climb power, balance with rudder

A: raise nose to climb attitude, allow airspeed to reduce and settle, adjust attitude to achieve desired speed by checking air speed indicator

T: set trim

Sounds as simple as 1-2-3. But when you learning in an unfamiliar vehicle and it bumpy, I tended to be more concerned in staying relatively upright and not off to the side. So to climb, I had to make sure it was all clear around me, in other words no other to aircraft or obstructions to avoid. That’s clear right, left, above, and below, then look forward to proceed with the climb. Then I “PAT” and when at my desired height I bank or lower the nose. I learnt to maintain my airspeed by adjusting my attitude. To maintain my climb was to keep my wings level with the ailerons, keep the balance ball centered with some rudder and using my attitude in relation to my airspeed. Also to keep a lookout for other aircraft/attitude by doing this approximately every 500ft (bank or lowering the nose). There’s a lot to concentrate on and sweaty palms are being commonplace for me. Trim is still being mastered, but instructor has a thing about it.

APPT: Attitude, Pause, Power, Trim

A: gradually lowering the nose to low cruise speed attitude and monitoring altimeter

P: pause, allow airspeed to increase to cruise speed and monitor air speed indicator

P: at cruise speed, reduce to cruise power

T: set trim

This is to level out of the climb. Look Out - P.A.T – Look Out - A.P.P.T – Look Out

There is several types of descent that were taught… powered, glide, use of flaps and how to control the rate of descent. P.A.T is used again.

For my powered descent: prior to my descent, it was the full look around for obstacles and other aircraft and to recall what power setting I’m on. The commencement of the descent its P.A.T but I reduce my power, maintain attitude and balance, select attitude and adjust the airspeed and trim. Maintaining the descent by keeping an lookout and banking if needed, keep my wings level by using the ailerons and rudder to balance the little ball on the dash, maintain my speed with attitude. Keep an eye on instruments. To level out the descent, P (cruise). A (straight and level).T and to go around, P (set climb).A (attitude climb).T

Attitude is mentioned a lot and what is it? It’s the position of the nose in relation to the horizon. It can be high, low, titled left or right.                      

I couldn’t understand why we used 15% flap when at 65kts on straight and level. I feel it was too slow down and to extend the time in the air as this was done for the majority of the way back to the airfield. It just didn’t seem to make sense with the rest of lesson.