We did more circuits with touch-and-go's, however it didn't go very well, even though I kind of felt OK about it: my instructor was clear, and of course he was right.
I made many mistakes, mostly due to lack of attention I think:
- During the walk-around I skipped the check of one of the static (though I realised and checked)
- I was clumsy with my headphone and seat-belt
- I turned the strobe light "on" but it was already on so I turned it off ...
- During take-off at some point I gave "left rudder" - which is the complete opposite
- During a landing I forgot to put out full flaps
- Instructor took over radio announcing, as he noticed a had a little trouble focusing
- During take-off I neglected to keep the nose steady on the horizon, taking me out of the white speed-zone while my flaps were out
- Didn't fully pull the throttle to idle, getting me high in the approach
- Instead of following the after-landing checklist I almost just turned off the key like I was in a car (hmmm?)
- During leveling off on landing, when I pulled up the plane a little too high I pushed the stick forward too aggresivly, which is dangerous - I do this all the time and it's a reflex I need to get rid of
On top of that, there are some habbits I'm trying to get rid off:
- I always fly slightly banked to the right for some reason
- I don't check enough if I'm flying "coordinated"
- When I'm landing and I pull the plane a little too high, I aggressivly push the stick forward - this is a bad reflex
- I must pull the throttle to idle (really idle)
Last flight, I was wiggling the stick waaay too much during landing. I did improve on that! So there's a plus.
At the end of our run in the final landing I did manage to control my stick pushing habbit.
Fatigue and distractions
One of the checks one should do before flying (I'M SAFE) is "Fatigue" (the F of SAFE).
I think this was the main reason for the clumsy mistakes: I was up at 5 AM, drove to work early, drove home at noon and worked up to a little bit before a left to the airfield. Note that driving to and from work is a 200 km drive.
Furthermore, I was away with work for a week. So there was a whole week without practice. I also didn't mentally prepare as much for the flight as last times.
All of this led me to make mistakes on things that should be routine.
In my defence, the weather wasn't great. Just before we took off a strong "Cb" cloud (Cumulonimbus) passed over the airfield. And during the flight another one was behind us.
There was some cross-wind (about 12 kts) and quite some turbulence. I'm sure an experienced pilot would be fine, but for me it was quite a challenge.
It was interesting to fly in a little more cross wind. The cross-wind leg during take-off was super fast, while the base-leg seemed to take forever.
I had to fly "sideways" to get where I need to be. In other words the nose doesn't (and shouldn't) point in the direction you are going.
Points to improve
So coming back to the flight, there are a few things I need to think about:
- Go through all routine checks multiple times in my head
- DON'T PUSH THE STICK DOWN during landing
- Don't fly slightly banked to the right
- Check "the ball" to ensure a coordinated flight
- After taking off, try to keep the nose steady and the path straight (hold on to the right rudder more)
- Pay attention to give a little right rudder just before landing, as needed
I shouldn't do this on a day when I've gone to the office.
Skipping a week has an impact, especially if you neglect to practice procedures.
I did improve on the thing I thought about most of the time (not wiggling the stick as much during landing).
I need to mentally prepare more next time.
1 hour flight time: € 96
1 hour instructor: € 30