Twelve years to the day

My log book shows my last fight before my big break was June 7, 1999. The entry after that is June 7, 2011. I started flying again twelve years to the day after my last flight. Is that significant? In the grand scheme, no. Personally, maybe it’s fate telling me to carry on where I left off. Well, enough analyzing. My objective is to document the path I take to getting current.

I have flown twice now (yesterday evening and this evening)

June 7, 2011

Summary

I had about an hour of ground instruction. The aircraft was a 1976 Cessna 172M. I had 1 hour of flight time and three landings.

The instructor did the walk around with me and we talked about each component in the cockpit. Most everything was familiar. The biggest difference was this model does not have flap detents. You move the flap handle down for about 3 seconds for 10 degrees of flaps then release the handle.
My taxiing was fine. A little zig zaggy but not too bad. I was still trying to steer with the yoke. I claimed I was correcting for the wind but the instructor caught me and said there was no wind, I was turning the yoke the wrong way and I always turned the yoke tin the direction I wanted to turn the airplane.

The takeoff wasn’t to bad. A little rushed as I aligned with the centerline before giving full power. Just after takeoff I did have thoughts that this would require more than I’m ready to commit myself too. I guess the good thing is, I became too busy for that thought impact me. Overall, the flight was not overwhelming but I was busy. I didn’t reach a comfort level enough to just trim the plane take my hand off. My turns were pretty good. We didn’t do anymore than about 30 degrees of bank. We did a few stalls. Power on stalls were pretty hard and I only got a bit of stall. My coordinated turn ball was all over the place and a wagged the tail the whole flight. One know for one of my landings, the instructor said it was all me. I belive that was true for all three landings.

In the end, it was a positive experience. I did feel like it was a lot of work but was pleased with myself. I told a few people about my flight the next day and was glad to talk about it.

June 8, 2011

Summary

Did steep bank turns, slow flight, a few stalls (power on and off), flew to an airport about 20 miles away (uncontrolled), and I navigated back to the home airport. This is my first time flying in this area. The only time I have seen this area from the air is in an airliner and it is much higher at that point. The aircraft I’m flying has a VOR but no DME and the GPS is out. Three landings (full stop and touch) and go at Rancho Murieta and one full stop at Placerville.

Today was exponentially better. I concluded between flights that I get the mechanics of what I need to do. I just need to get my sense of timing sequencing of events down. I easily flew hands off today. Well, much better than last night. I didn’t feel as rushed or stated better, I was ahead of the airplane better. Not where I should be but better. I’m taking a more aggressive approach to doing everything myself (not having the instructor make as many radio calls). The point is need to show I’m looking for a crutch. My landings are mostly me I think there was a slight bit of input but not much. Landings still need a lot of work. Frankly, that has always been the case for me. For a second flight, I am doing more than a new student would be doing. I had a feeling that I am committed to seeing this goal through.

I booked a plane for two times next week. I have to work on memorizing my procedures between now and then. After that it’s just practice to maintain better control of the airplane. I’ve always found flight instruction challenging. I have this guy chattering next to me about stuff I really need to pay attention to while I’m flying. Compared with just taking a trip, instruction is stressful. That has nothing to do with my instructor (every instructor I’ve had stressed me out a bit). It’s just part of the instruction process.

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