Flying Lessons

Preparing for the Check Ride

Lesson 34: Practice

Friday, April 16th, 2004
Take off BFI, fly to Bremmerton, return BFI
Cessna 150, 6Landing, 1.4 hours

I've been away in Utah for 4 weeks and feel a little nervous flying by myself for the first time. I'm flying the older 150 which I find to be a sweeter flying airplane. I practice a bunch of things and do fairly well, except for the last landing on which I bounce several times. Afterwards I wrote this to Aurel, who is also taking flying lessons:

My flight last week went fairly well. Felt a little rusty, but in the
check list we trust.

Landings were pretty good, except for my last one back at Boeing field.
On my 3rd bounce there (bounce is really too strong, they were more like
skips, but there were three) I thought about the difficulty with
landings. It is not really cross wind that is the problem, it's
turbulence. Any steady wind is easily compensated for. There is plenty
of time on final to stabilize for a steady wind condition. But when the
wind kicks up, especially around Boeing Field which is in a valley, the
wind is not steady. First it is left, then right, then slow and I'm
sinking. I have to be constantly adjusting. Left aileron, right,
power, nose up or down, rudder to keep alignment. Since I soon want to
fly tail draggers the runway alignment is crucial.

On that landing I remember drifting left THEN right, all when just 5 ft
above the ground. That is a lot to notice and adjust for. Power pitch,
and bank all have to be coordinated. I'm getting better. At first the
whole landing seemed to happen in compressed time. Now the time scale
on final through flare feels expanded. That is, it feels like there is
plenty of time to notice what is happening and adjust. But once I flare
I feel like things happen too quickly for me to react to.

Part of this is just practicing a physical skill until it's wired into
my brain. I don't have the reflexes to respond yet. Another part is
figuring out the right responses. I still reflexively level the wings
before touchdown. Finally, I don't believe there is much time. Early
on the airplane seemed to drop in anytime I pulled the nose too high in
flare. I think that I could expand the time by holding the plane just
off the runway until full stall. I've managed that a few times and
there is more time there, I just don't fully believe it so I give it up
at the end.

It's just the last 5 ft, but they are important to get right.

Lesson 35: Drills with Deane

Wednesday, April 21th, 2004
Take off BFI, Drills over Shillshole, return BFI
Cessna 150, 1 Landing, 0.9 hours

I meet for my first lesson with Dean in 5 weeks. I'm a little nervous about this too - it's been a while since he's seen me fly, what if he is horrified?

It is time to get me ready for the check ride. On the ground we go over what I need to have prepared and some of the skills I'll need to drill. I feel like there is still a lot that I don't know.

In the air Deane has me practice stalls, instrument flight, and one recovery from unusual attitude. I can do these fairly well, but not flawlessly. For example, after recovery from nose up unusual attitude I correctly gave full power, but then let the nose drop too far and was on my way to building up excess speed when Deane pointed it out. I would have noticed this eventually (pretty soon really), but that delay is, well, a sign that I'm still learning and don't pick up on the important sensory input and don't check the right instruments.

FAA Knowledge Test

Friday, April 23rd, 2004

After intensive study for the past week I take the FAA knowledge test. I've been using an on-line practice test. On the many 40 question trial tests I took I usually got 85% to 92% right. The day before I review subjects that I am less familiar with. I figure that I know at least 90% of the material and have a mistake rate of about 2%, which should get me a passing score.

On my first pass through I mark any question where I had any doubt. When I have all questions answered I count them up and find that I should get at least 85% right. I could stop here, but since the check ride pilot is going to look at my score on this test there is value in having a high score. I review all questions. In the end there are really only 5 that I'm unsure about. Good enough.

Clicking the "finished" button is difficult. I know that this is going to commit me AND that I'll immediately be told how I did.


That's great. Here are the questions I missed:

3254: Altimeter setting is the value to which the barometric pressure scale of the altimeter is set so the altimeter indicates

I chose "calibrated altitude at field elevation" and the correct answer is "true altitude at field elevation". I dithered between these two, uncertain. I know there is some scaling error in altimeters: what it is calibrated to show is not necessarily the actual altitude. That is true, but it's not called "calibrated", a concept that is only applied to the airspeed indicator. AC 61-23C, Chapter 3 says "it will indicate true altitude at ground level". This leaves me to believe that at higher elevations it may be off due to scaling error.

3671: What is the maximum amount of fuel that may be aboard the airplane on take of if it is loaded as follows?

I made a mistake adding two numbers and got the wrong answer. I only had one of these problems and am glad of that. They are not hard - just time consuming with plenty of opportunity for error.

3516: (Refer to Figure 19, area B) What type of weather is occurring in the radar return?

I believe that I chose "continuous rain" which my book shows to be the correct answer. This is the only Radar Summary question I remember having, I remember checking the correct answer, so I don't know what happened here..

And that leaves the 4 other questions that I was uncertain about but guessed correctly.


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Page last modified:  Aug 20 03:23 2008  by  Tom Unger