Tuesday, February 25, 2014

First Flight Lessons

First Flight Lesson Checklist:

Cost: $170.81
Total Spent: $1175.80 (10 Hour Block, Log Book, Ground School)
Hours Logged: 1.5
Total Hours: 2.1

Flying Art
Flying Art
Flying is easy, landing is hard! For my first lesson I think I was presented with a bit more then the average student. We started off with pre-flight checks and taxiing procedures; then on to climbs, descents, straight and level, turns, a bit of instruments and radio communication. These were all fairly easy and enjoyable; I slowly learned coordinated turns and eventually was able to keep a steady altitude and bank. All of these procedures were at slow enough paced to get a solid understanding and started to build a natural feel of the controls. After about 45 minutes we decided to head back to the airport for some pattern work. This is where things got difficult.

Flying in the traffic pattern was a bit overwhelming the first few times through. Although I had read the text of the traffic pattern and understood the basics nothing could prepare me for the pace. The most important lesson I learned about flying the pattern is keeping a rhythm. You want to follow certain cues and divide the steps into sections. On the third try I felt more comfortable with the pace and was able to prompt myself and stay ahead of the airplane.

When you stay ahead of the plane you will have given yourself enough time to line up for a proper landing. Unfortunately we were landing with a cross wind. Although I was feeling more and more comfortable with the plane at higher speed and altitude, landing at slower speeds brought me back to square one. I knew I had to turn the ailerons into the wind and the rudder the opposite direction in order to stay aligned with the runway but I was having a hard time coordinating inputs which are not yet natural to me.

Next time I will be sure to spend more time on rudder control.

Cessna Flight School
Cessna Flight School
All of our landings were rough, some more then others. Reviewing the video it appears that I need to initiate my flair sooner and more smoothly, along with maintaining my alignment with the runway by using better aileron and rudder control. I am hoping that slow flight will give me a better understanding of the input needed.

Since we were landing in a cross wind we also were taking off in the cross wind. Initially I was having a hard time keeping the ailerons into the wind. I had assumed that I needed to level the ailerons as speed increased in order to avoid uneven lift. As you can see in the video this assumption lead to some interesting take offs. On my last take-offs I realized that the plane will almost naturally level the ailerons as the plane begins to lift nearly proportional to the amount needed.

This brought me back to an important point Nick made earlier in the flight. He mentioned that my grip should be light on the controls and I should make smooth inputs. This forces you to work with the aircraft which not only puts less stress on the plane but allows for better feedback on the controls. If I had done this initially I think my take-offs would have been much smoother.

After five take-offs and landings we headed back to the hanger and debriefed about the flight. Next lesson we are going to focus on steep turns, S-turns, turns around a point, slow flight, and power on/off stalls.
GoPro Hero3 Quadcopter DJI Phantom UAD Drone
GoPro Hero3 Quadcopter DJI Phantom UAD Drone

✈ GoPro® HERO3 - Quadcopter DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone ✈

Be sure to check out how it goes!
  1. Introduction Flight School
  2. Introductory Flight School
  3. Ground School and Pre-Flight Checks 
  4. First Flight Lessons

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