Blaine Transue, June 6th, 2012
June 6th, 2012: Wheel Landings at Napa County Airport
So just to throw me for a loop I'm sure, while I was just barely starting to get the hang of 3 wheel "tail" landings and flying around new airspace at Petaluma Municipal Airport, my instructor decided it was time to have me learn wheel landings. Wheel landings are basically the opposite of tail landings, instead of coming in near the ground and flaring up and dropping softly to the ground, the idea is to come in with more speed, fly along the ground and plaster the landing gear onto the ground while keeping the tail high as you roll out at a much higher speed down the runway eventually bringing the tail down as you slow down. At least, that's the theory, and I sound good saying it, but I had a hell of a time doing it. I actually thought I was going to be good at this right off the bat as to me, it just seems like a more reasonable way to land, but no matter how bad I wanted it, I just couldn't pull it off, which was ultimately pretty disappointing. For the most part my glide in was good, as well as my positioning on the runway and my landing point, but it seemed that each time I got just ready to put the wheels down I would pull too far back on the stick and start to flare, coming down with a thud and a bounce in an erratic 3 wheel landing instead which inevitably ended up in a forced takeoff and go around. The good news is, I got really proficient at recovering from my botched landings and getting immediately back in the air, the bad news of course, is that out of 10 attempts, only 2 were successful. Read More >>
Blaine Transue, June 3rd, 2012
Checked the weather today and could see that we were going to have rain tomorrow so thought I'd just run out to Skypark and see if Travis was flying today. Turns out there was a 5 o'clock slot open so I jumped on it.
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Blaine Transue, June 1st, 2012
My CFI, Travis, ran me through fueling the Citabria today so I'm now all checked out on pumping gas. Once we were all fueled up it was time for take offs and landings…lots of them. I have to say, I can't get enough of these. Probably a little hard on the tires and landing gear, but I could do them for hours. Read More >>
Blaine Transue, May 31st, 2012
May 31st, 2012: Emergency Engine Failure (practice)
Emergency engine failure practice today. Ok, now this is cool. Take the plane up to 3000 feet and pretend like your engine just failed, cut the power all the way back and run through the emergency checklist. The idea is to get through the whole thing as fast as you can while keeping your cool, keeping situational awareness and control of the plane while targeting an appropriate emergency landing field. According to my instructor, you want to get through the whole process in a 500 foot descent. Not something you want to get cocky about, but I think I nailed it on both attempts, of course, it didn't hurt that the flying conditions were about as perfect as you could hope for at the time, the engine didn't really fail, and I had him sitting behind me. Read More >>
Kristen Seaman, May 29th, 2012
It seems only natural to start this post with something cheesy like: “It was a day like any other day…” or “I had no idea when I woke up that morning I would…” and then drag the story out for a few more paragraphs before reaching my point. But, let’s cut to the chase because I know why you’re here. So here you go, folks--I SOLOED!!! It was awesome, unforgettable, and monumental. In a nutshell, it was everything I dreamed it to be.
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Blaine Transue, May 25th, 2012
The week between flights, from Thursday to Thursday seemed like a month. Having had the day I had yesterday and being overall disappointed with my flying I was really looking forward to today. Read More >>
Blaine Transue, May 24th, 2012
May 24th, 2012: Time for some Humble Pie
Today was super gusty, I'm guessing a good 14 - 18 knot wind and super choppy. Practiced a few wheel down high speed taxis to prepare for landing practice. On the first one I failed to get the stick to the left soon enough and that caused the left wing to come up and off the ground. Fortunately I kept the plane straight in the process but I totally botched getting the wing down fast enough. My first instinct was to kick in some rudder which was completely wrong and only succeeded in making the whole thing messier. The 2nd time around everything felt pretty good…a little wobbly down the runway as I thought about what I did wrong the first time around, but all in all it wasn't bad. I managed to keep the wings level at least and get the plane down the runway. Read More >>
Blaine Transue, May 17th, 2012
May 17th, 2012: Ground Reference Maneuvers
I flew later in the day today, 6 - 7pm actually. By 6pm this time of year in Sonoma the wind really picks up, and today was no exception, so I knew it was going to be challenging…and exciting. Today was ground maneuver day, that's when you reach a certain altitude, stay there, and practice maneuvers…well, over the ground.
I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to actually take off today. It was pretty windy on the ground, and since the idea was to practice the maneuvers, and not the take off, my CFI took the controls and got us off the runway but they were right back in my hands by the time we were 200 feet or so in the air. The takeoff wasn't as tricky as we thought it might have been, but since most flying accidents actually happen on takeoff and landing, these aren't things you take chances with. Read More >>
Blaine Transue, May 16th, 2012
May 16th, 2012: Slip and Slide
Ok, today was just awesome. I added the cushion back to the seat today which gave me a little better lift and a lot better view, although it did take me a bit to get used to how my feet rested on the rudder pedals. After a few minutes, I didn't even notice and everything seemed a lot more comfortable. We ran through a few more high speed taxis, 2 tail down and 2 tail up. I was fine on the tail down taxis, although I got a little squirly on the first tail up taxi when I neglected to hold left aileron which caused the plane to get tossed around when I hit some cross wind on the runway. I have to remember to both hold "stick" in the right position for the wind, as well as holding some right rudder to compensate for the lift on the wing, in this case, the left wing. When I got hit by the gust it actually lifted the left wing and left wheel off the ground so I was taxiing on one wheel and trying to recover. It was a little freaky for sure as I had no idea what the proper course of recovery was, so I just guessed my way through it…and of course, guessed about half wrong. I did manage to recover, but it wasn't pretty. On the second pass I held "stick" both back and left, and held proper right rudder, and it was amazing what a difference it made. The wing stayed down and the plane stayed straight.
The next run was actually a take off run, which means, well, at the end you just keep going and start flying. Totally unbelievable, I made a nice taxi down the runway, at 60mph pulled the stick back, held some left back stick, right rudder and took off. My first unassisted take off! What a beautiful thing. I was pretty apprehensive thinking through the process at home, and even during the first 2 taxi runs today, but once you know you're going to do it, you have little choice but to make it happen. The taxi run was smooth and straight, the attitude of the plane was stable and level and off we went. Fantastic. Read More >>
Blaine Transue, May 14th, 2012
May 14th, 2012: High Speed Taxi's
High speed taxi practice today. 3 of each, tail low and tail high. High speed taxing is all about take offs and landings because, of course, that's what you're doing, driving a plane really fast. The whole idea is to get really good at this under all sorts of conditions, i.e, headwinds, tailwinds, crosswinds etc. I have to say, I did okay. I'm getting more accustomed to moving the plane around on the ground, getting it in and out of the hanger area and out for the run up. I'm getting more comfortable with the run up as well, and by my next lesson, I think I should be able to do this unassisted. Read More >>