So I became a licensed Private Pilot in December 2014. At the time I had around 62 hours in my log book. My instructor insisted I was ready to be a Private Pilot and pushed me out of the nest. I flew with an examiner and passed my oral exam and checkride with relative ease. The examiner was complimentary of my aviation skills and gave me very constructive criticism.
I’ve always been hesitant of doing stalls. I would break into a sweat when it was time to do stalls and this sentiment was echoed during my Biennial Flight Review this past December. I decided it was time to do something about it.
So I scheduled some stall refresher and spin training with a different flight instructor in a different airplane in a different city. Today I flew with Cyndy from Flight School of Greenville in Greenville, S.C. Work occasionally brings me here to Greenville and I had flown with Cyndy a couple of times before. As a “Cherokee Driver”, the Cessna 172 always feels a little foreign to me but I felt very comfortable by the end of the lesson today.
Cyndy and I went through the steps of slow flight, power off stalls, power off stalls in a bank, power on stalls (straight ahead and in a bank) and then we did a few spins. A few takeaways of some habits I have developed.
1. I grip the yoke and actually try too hard to keep the airplane under control. I don’t sit back and relax in the seat. I’m hunched forward in a little bit of a “panic” stance. Once I kicked back and relaxed I was much better.
2. I was focusing too much on the turn coordinator in slow flight and not paying enough attention to the entire airplane. Cyndy had me do a lot of flying just using my feet. The forgiving nature of the Cherokee has made me a little lazy on the rudders. Dancing on the rudders today make me feel much more comfortable with the airplane and what it’s doing in the air. I’ve always been comfortable but I don’t always listen to the airplane. I made good strides to “becoming one with your airplane” today.
3. I had developed a bad habit of not keeping back pressure on the yoke after landing, placing too much weight on the front gear. This is something that I absolutely need to stop and another one of my focuses in the near term.
I videotaped the flight and will be reviewing the video to review what I did and need to do and will be developing a checklist as part of my pre-flight before I even go to the airport.
Getting out of your comfort zone and garnering a new perspective from someone is an excellent away to look for bad habits and replace them with good ones and it’s always a great learning experience. I highly recommend this approach for anyone that feels they are in an aviation rut.
Today was a great day to fly!