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Private Pilot Lesson #3 – First Landing in a Cessna 152


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Lesson #3: In Which Our Hero Lands A Plane ALL BY HIMSELF

A few friends have commented on the pure joy and enthusiasm dripping from both this blog and from me as a person for the past month. I won’t apologize! I say things that make me sound like a 5 year old, and I love it! I did it ALL BY MYSELF! I LANDED A PLANE!

The Lesson:

For this lesson, my CFI introduced me to a few ground reference maneuvers, to help me understand the effect of wind on the plane in the air. We flew some S-turns, which are exactly what they sound like. We picked a beach road at the southern practice area for the S-turns. We flew perpendicular to the road, and when over the road, 180 degree turn back towards the road, when over he road again, 180 degree turn in the other direction, so we were headed east down the beach, but in a series of S-shaped lines. Here’s an example from the Airplane Flying Handbook:

S-Turns

 

It was definitely a great exercise in compensating for wind. I had to bank much more steeply on the inshore side of the turn, to keep the wind from making that half of the S waaaaay too big.

We also did Turns Around A Point, another ground reference maneuver that helps you learn to compensate for wind in turns. It is, well, exactly what it sounds like…

TurnsAroundAPoint

 

Once again, light bulb moment here. Previously, I had just been pointing the airplane where I wanted it to go and it mostly complied. We were flying high enough that any drift didn’t really register for me. But when doing these turns at 800 feet, it really clicked.

Where does this practice come in handy? In the airport traffic pattern! If you don’t understand the effects of wind and drift during turns, you might blow through your turn to final, and be misaligned with the runway for landing. SPEAKING OF LANDINGS GUESS WHAT I DID SOME.

TrafficPattern

We headed back to FRG from the south practice area, and entered a left downwind for Runway 19. The instructor talked me through every step of the pattern and landing, but I still kept thinking “Is he really going to let me do this?”. But down, down, down we went, and other than his lightly following me on the controls, I did almost all the work. We touched down, then flaps up, carb heat cold, full power, and up we went again! My first touch-and-go landing!

We went around the pattern for another one. As usual, FRG was pretty busy, with a couple of planes in the pattern and a few others attempting to depart. I think someone didn’t depart fast enough (I never actually found out the reason), but while in short final, the tower called us “Cessna 7AD, go around.”. I don’t know if it was the urgency of the moment, or the years of reading/playing flight sims/etc, but I somehow had the reflex ready, and immediately pushed the carb heat in and the throttle to full power and started climbing away. My first go-around!

We went around the pattern three more times, and on our last landing (full-stop this time) as soon as we touched down I heard clapping. I looked over, and my instructor told me he hadn’t touched any of the controls that time, and that it was a really good landing.

Is there an emoji for puffing up your chest and being super proud of yourself?