Your connection with the sky

Lesson 10: Stalls and Such

God do I love flying.  I got the opportunity to go up today despite a tight work schedule.  That is one thing I really love about flying at Westosha: their flexibility.  I talked to Dana last night about flying and he said that he would keep a slot open for me if I got the opportunity to go flying. I got to the airport, preflighted the plane, then returned to the flight office to brief on the days flight.  Today was all about stalls.  We focused on the most common situations where stalls occur: the traffic pattern.  We went over each type of stall and how to recover from them.  The first one is the approach to landing stall.  As the name suggests, this stall occurs when you’re approaching the runway (usually on final) and let your airspeed drop causing a stall.  The second stall we did was the departure stall.  This stall occurs on, none other, than the departure leg.  When a pilot pitches up to high on climb out (even with full power) they can stall the aircraft.  The last type of stall is an accelerated stall.  This is basically any type of stall (it can be either approach to landing, or departure stall) while turning.  Anyways, We departed runway 21 and headed North to practice some stalls.  We started out with approach to landing stalls.  To enter the stall, I simply kept pulling back literally until the plane couldn’t fly anymore.  This happens when the wings can’t lift the airplane anymore, causing the airplane (well it's nose more than anything) to drop.  To recover from this type of stall, you lower the nose to gain airspeed, apply full power, retract the flaps, and slowly pitch up (if you pitch up too fast, you could end up stalling the airplane again (we call this a secondary stall).  That’s all there is to it.  We did a few of those then moved on to departure stalls.  These really aren’t much different, other than the fact that you already have full power.  We simulated a takeoff in mid-air, then climbed out at our normal climbing speed (67 knots).  We then continued to pull up until stalling the plane, right as the nosed dropped, we would lower it a bit farther to gain airspeed, then once, gaining some airspeed, continue the climb.  After a few of those we moved on to accelerated stalls.  They were basically a stall while the wings were banked.  The recovery was same all the way through.  After completing the recovery, you level the wings and return to normal flight.  Like the others, we did a few of them to become proficient at them.  Generally speaking, they went fairly good.  During some of the recoveries, I had a tendency to drop one wing or another.  A quick correction with the rudder eliminated the dropping wing.  

After ensuring I knew what to do in the event of a stall, we moved on to simulated engine out procedures.  This is a little bit different then the emergency landings because you generally will have more altitude in an engine out emergency.  If you happened to loose your engine, there are two things you should do immediately: pitch the nose for 60 knots and pick and landing site.  After you have done those two things, you can try restarting the engine.  If that doesn’t work, you better be prepared to land.  after picking a place to land you fly directly to the upwind end of your landing site.  For example, if the wind is coming from the south, fly to the south side of the landing site.  Normally, you are going to have a lot of altitude to bleed off (that’s a good thing).  To bleed off that extra altitude, you perform 360 degree turns until you reach 1,500 feet above your landing site.  Each 360 will bleed off about 500 feet.  It was amazing how accurate that statement is; I got exactly 500 feet lower with one 360 degree turn.  It was actually kind of creepy.  Once your 1,500 feet above the site, pretend you have a runway and fly the standard traffic pattern.  We had already practiced engine out landings in the pattern so the landing wasn’t very difficult.  We didn’t actually land though, because we were overflying the private airstrip of one of Dana’s friends.  It was cool watching them on their snowmobiles from the air.  after our simulated engine out, we headed back to the airport to practice some more takeoffs and landings.  For some reason, my landings weren’t as great as I would like them to be.  I was actually disappointed with the quality of them.  A lot of my problems were coming from my approach.  I was setting up quite a wide traffic pattern and was flying a shallow final.  This was causing me to be too low and end up half way down the runway before landing.  After 6 or 7 landings, Dana gave some advice on shortening up the downwind and coming in at a steeper angle.  This helped out a lot.  Before I was only using 10 degrees.  Now I was using all 30 degrees and my landings were coming out a lot better than before.  They still weren’t like the landings at Galt, but that might be due to the setting sun or the small crosswind.  Even then, I wasn’t so happy with the landings.  Luckily none of them were horrible.  One landing would have been absolutely brutal had I not have gone around (I turned final way too late).  After a fairly nice greaser, we headed back to parking for debrief.  Talking to Dana made me feel a bit better.  He explained that everyone has an off days.  He also said that I was way ahead of the curve given my flight time.  Not only for the feel I have for the aircraft, but for my judgement while flying (he was pretty impressed that I declared a go-around without him saying anything).  I think I might just be a natural born pilot ) .  I put up another 1.4 hours in the logbook and 9 more landings.  I also got some very awesome news but I’ll tell you guys about that later.  Thanks for reading and happy Turkey Day.

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