Learning the Approach: Touch and Go

Dale and me in front of the N9883G

On Friday, December 24th, I logged 1.2 hours, and spent quite a bit of time chatting with Dale about life and flying. Good way to spend xmas eve.

We began in the classroom going over collision avoidance info, and talked about pattern entry. What to think about at each part of the approach. When to think about you’re going to have to do next. We were supposed to work with crosswind landings that day, but the wind was light. Yes, it was a gorgeous day!

He sent me out for preflight inspection on my own and I went over my little checklist and walked around the plane and touched and checked everything. Felt confident in knowing what I was doing – what I was looking for. Hardest thing to find was the damn rag for checking the oil! And I still don’t feel comfortable climbing up to check the gas level. This week, I’m going to do that. I am.

Dale comes out to the plane and says “shimmy dampener”, and I realize it’s the only thing I didn’t check. Where was he watching me from? Eerie. Good.

We’re in the N9883G and she’s all mine. Pre-flight, start, taxi. I’m on the radio, and I’m fine with it. Saratoga Traffic, this is 9883G on the ground at North American, taxiing to runway 23. Yay! No giggling!

I felt like a stupid fool while taxiing – it still doesn’t feel like I’m doing things right. Have to understand the rudder pedals better. Have to feel them better. Got me off to a bad start that day. That and my mind flip flopping the instrument readings. I do something off and then I think “I am stupid”, and then I correct. I need to let go of the “I am stupid” piece so that I can REACT when I need to correct. Not berate myself. Oy.

First takeoff is a little wiggly as I’m not confident on the rudder. The rest was smooth and beautiful. Dale must have felt my frustration with myself and immediately started giving me positive feedback. Boosted me right back. That’s good instruction.

Lesson of the day was slow flight and coordinated turns again. 30 degree turns at faster speeds and 15 degree turns at slower speeds. Level turns. Lots of them. Back and forth. Getting an idea for what the horizon should look like. I felt a part of the plane. And the view that day was spectacular. Dale took the time to encourage me and let me know I’m doing very well.

Still need to keep an eye on my altitude. I like to climb, I do.

After quite a few turns back and forth, and a nice pop over my lake (it was gorgeous – made me want to skate on it!), we headed back in to start our approach. In on the 45, downwind, final, and then down. Held on through the landing, let Dale take most of it, and then we’re back up in the air! Love the touch and go! Back up and in the pattern and in on the 45, downwind, final and then touching down again.

Taxiing back to the hangar she’s all mine again. Feeling stupid again trying to drive the plane instead of fly the thing on the ground. Yes, this will come to me. Sooner than later, I hope! Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Captain Glickman says “you’re not stupid, you’re learning”. Yes, I’m learning. And loving every bit of it.

This week, the lesson is slow flight and stall entries and recoveries. Did someone say stall? Oh, lord help me! Good news, Dale has agreed to let me video my lessons. I want to be able to refer back to them, and share them with you, of course!

Happy landings!

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2 Comments

Filed under Flights, Lessons

2 responses to “Learning the Approach: Touch and Go

  1. Roger Ameden

    Wow, great job Phylise. Sounds like you’re as “stupid, stupid, stupid” as the rest of the human race (or less so actually). Love your blog – I get to ride along vicariously. Everything you thought was a problem, I could feel and see myself doing the same in 1971.

    I hope you have the video running for stalls – I love teaching stalls, not because they are in themself fun (like spins are), but because you’ll suddenly realize that you can fly a fully stalled airplane, because you are a pilot!

    Keep the blog coming.

  2. Thank you so much, Roger! Your encouragement means the world to me!

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