Sunday, 18 August 2013

Is that it?

I was both looking forward to and dreading today’s lesson. I haven’t flown for a couple of weeks and was desperate to get back behind the controls. It’s been beautiful flying weather and I’ve had to put up with hearing someone else flying JES.

I was mildly apprehensive though because I knew that we were going to be revisiting slow flight and stalls. I do not like those, one bit, as I may have mentioned a few thousand times before. I think it came across a little in the pre-flight briefing. I’m so easy to read, when I start exhaling loudly and laughing nervously, then yeah I’m a little out of my comfort zone. Bob was quick to reassure “It’ll be so different now; you know what you’re doing. The plane will feel different, you’ll do fine.”
I decided to put it to the back of my mind and concentrate on getting the flight out to Claremont right, proving that I haven’t picked up any bad habits since my last trips out there solo and just consolidating my navigation skills. That bit went quite well, I kept up a reasonable commentary, letting Bob know what I was planning. Reassuring him that I was comfortably ahead of the plane.

Eventually we scoped out our little corner of the sky and I carried out my HASEL* checks and started getting us into slow flight. Initially I wasn’t sure I could recall the sequence of actions needed, power back first then flaps, I think? I overcooked it a little, heading more to a stall than slow flight but got her stabilised at roughly 5 knots above stall speed, the stall horn bleating intermittently.
Bob looked on slightly bemused as I simultaneously added power to stop the descent and argued with the stall horn; “yeah yeah! Screech screech screech!”

I added the power, following Bob’s advice to not be too timid with it. A good 500 rpm stopped any height loss. I took stock of my surroundings. I was at the correct speed, not losing any height with the stall horn cutting in and out. I looked over at Bob, slightly confused, “Is that it?” I asked.
“Yes, you’re in slow flight, try a turn to the left please”

So I did, gently, keeping in some rudder to coordinate “What the hell was I getting stressed about?” I ask, perhaps Bob, perhaps the world in general.
I honestly have no idea. It was fine, seriously fine. The mere sound of the stall horn used to send my heart rate sky high, now I find it a minor nuisance noise.

The plane does exactly what I want it to do and exactly what I expect it to do. No surprises, no stress, no hassles. I may be convinced that I can do these things solo.
No sweat.

*More on what those are in another post

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