Flight training under way

The mornings have been very cold, but blue skies anyway! Me posing with the C152.

The mornings have been very cold, but blue skies anyway! Me posing with the C152.

This was the week we all had been waiting for. We started the flight training phase of the PPL training. Regarding the schedule, if all goes well (concerning the weather), we should have our PPL licenses by July. That would be great also because then we would have a month off before school continues in Pori in August. Wouldn’t mind having a summer holiday!

On Monday we had the open book exam on the Cessna 152 handbook and a lesson about insurances concerning our training and the aircraft. In the afternoon we got familiar with the Cessnas and did the pre-flight inspections and sat in the plane and went through all the instruments.

Like I wrote earlier this week, Tuesday was the first day of actual flying. The first flight demonstrated the effects of main controls, elevator, ailerons and rudder, around the three axis respectively, lateral, longitudinal and vertical. The objectives were to observe airplane’s nose and wing attitude relative to horizon during manuevers, effects of flaps, airspeed and power on controls as well as build up habits on controlling the plane’s attitude and flight path according to external visual cues. I noticed I wanted to look at the instruments way more than I was supposed to.

Aleksi measuring the fuel in the tanks.

Aleksi measuring the fuel in the tanks.

On Wednesday morning we had an exam on Flight Performance and Planning. We have now done ten exams in just under six weeks. Trafi’s (the authority) exams await in the near future. Hopefully they happen soon so that the theory is still relatively fresh in my mind.

Wednesday afternoon it was time for another flight “Straight and level”. The objectives were to learn to visually control balanced straight and level flight with different power settings and understand the relationship between airspeed, attitude and rudder use during maneuvers. I flew the plane at constant airspeed, near unstable airspeed, constant airspeed in landing configuration, decelerated and accelerated, and the aim was to keep the straight and level flight at all times. On this flight I also handled the radios for the first time. I did pretty well on the way to the training area, but on the way back I felt like I had my hands (and brain) full and stammered a bit. But still was understood I presume!

Our plane for this week.

Our plane for this week. Pretty isn’t it?

On Thursday our teacher had other students to attend to and me and Aleksi had a day off. It was nice though. The days are pretty long now that everything is new and it still takes time to get the plane ready and do the paperwork before and after flights. A little break was in order.

On Friday we had two flights. This is how our days are going to be usually, two flights each per day. On the first flight I did medium turns, that is up to 30 degrees angle of bank. I first did turns changing direction 90 degrees, then couple of 360 degree turns left and right and then an eight, making a 360 first right and then left back to back. The aim was to keep a constant altitude and keep the plane in balance while turning. While doing a medium turn you have to add just a little backpressure on the control column to keep the airplane’s nose from dropping and therefore losing altitude. This is because for the plane to keep its’ altitude the lift must equal plane’s weight (L=W). When the lift vector is inclined while turning, the vertical component of lift no longer supports the plane’s weight. To maintain a constant altitude, the total lift vector must be increased so that the vertical component equals the weight. And this is done by pulling back the control column.

The second flight on Friday constituted of climbs and climbing turns. The aim was to practise climb at speeds for best angle of climb, best rate of climb and cruise climb. For C152 respectively 55 knots, 67 knots and 70-80 knots. The teacher told me to for example turn heading 330 and climb to 2000 feet. When you’re turning in a high wing plane like a C152 the wing blocks your view pretty much completely to the direction you’re turning to. It is very important to check for traffic before starting the turn. Also when climbing, you can’t see much of what is in front of you and it is good to level the nose every 500 feet to check for traffic.

The radio communication is starting to flow, on Friday I think I did well all the way. I also started doing all the checklists during flight. It all takes up a lot of capacity at this point, flying the plane at the same time, but it’ll all fall into place in time. Parts of the checklists have to be memorized because in certain phases of flight there is no time to dig up the checklist to read the items. This weekend I have had time to study the checklists and extended checklists and I’m hoping tomorrow I will do fairly well with them. It looks like it’s going to be four days of flying next week and then Easter holiday!

Pushing the plane to the parking spot.

Aleksi and teacher pushing the plane to the parking spot.

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4 responses to “Flight training under way

  1. Looks cold! I have to stop complaining about the lingering “winter” (50F) in New Jersey! I still haven’t memorized the checklists, I’m just better at knowing when I should already be thinking about, grabbing for, and giving myself time to go thru the appropriate checklist.

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