Friday, January 6, 2012

Power on Stall and Slow Flight

November 20, 2011
Paine Field
Cessna 152
1.1 hours, 2 landings

I remember this flight quite clearly. Perhaps, the only day I dreaded going up. I knew we were going to do stalls because my CFI had told me to read up on them. And read up on them I did, obsessively. A stall could turn into a spin. Get into a spin and don’t get out of it in time you could crash. I read every little detail. If a wing drops, let the nose drop and apply opposite rudder. Be careful not to apply the same rudder though! You’ll put yourself into the spin faster. Be careful about getting yourself out of a stall because you can easily put yourself into a secondary stall and have the same issues all over again! Would my CFI be able to get us out of one if I messed up? I didn’t help myself by reading up on those stalls because soon I was taken to statistics, which let’s face it, those things never make you feel better.  But hey, if I was going to die, at least it would be by something I loved. So, I walked into that flight school and preflighted that plane like a champ. Who me afraid of stalls?! Never! Okay, that’s a lie. I was terrified, and my CFI knew it. He kept telling me I’d be fine. As if that was any help. Will we be fine if the right wing drops and I freeze up then impulsively kick the right rudder in and send us into a spin? No Mr. CFI, no we will certainly not be okay!

This was another one of those days where I can’t even remember taxiing or take off. My mind was on the stalls I would be performing soon. I kept going over the procedures in my head. Two types of stalls, power on and power off. First thing first, once up to a sufficient altitude do clearing turns, 90 degree to the left, then back around to the right. When everything was clear, it was time to start the power on stall.

I really think my CFI was out to get me that day or something because he had me doing god knows how many stalls (okay it wasn’t that many, but still! One was enough!). I remember that I did so many I felt sick to my stomach. After all you bring the nose of the airplane up till it drops and when it drops it’s almost like a rollercoaster ride. Up and down, up and down, up and down. Then to top it off I distinctly remember after a certain point him saying, “this will be the last one”. But was it?! Of course not, he made me do two more after that! Sheesh. What a jerk. Not really, I know he was just trying to make me comfortable with stalls, and hey! It worked! Stalls weren’t so bad after all. If I slowly brought the nose up, little by little, and focused on keeping my wings level, once the stall hits the chances of a wing dropping was lower than if I went in uncoordinated(obvious, I know, but when you’re up there things are more confusing than you’d know). I don’t remember how many power on stalls we did, but at no point did the wing ever drop to the point where my pulse raced. Later on in my training however, I had more wings drop to where it did race. I partly wonder if my instructor was just trying to get me more comfortable with it and wouldn’t allow the wing to drop too much? I should ask him sometime.

We also did some slow flight which in the end I disliked more than stalls. The controls are so sloppy it’s ridiculous! And no matter how hard I tried the damn plane wouldn’t stop turning once it started. I wanted to kick the stupid thing. I remember my instructor saying the whole time, “small corrections, small corrections”. Okay, I get it, small fricken corrections, as the plane spun past its point yet again. I was frustrated. Not soon enough my CFI ended the slow flight and had me fly us back to the airport to do my first touch and go landing. Now let me tell you, I was horrible at landing. That poor plane! I can’t imagine how they can withstand all the abuse us student pilots put them through!

Total cost invested thus far: $899

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