Slow Flight and Stalls, Again

Slow flight and stalls, again. Arrragh. I’m still at the point where I know when I’m doing something wrong, but don’t have the muscle coordination to fix it quickly….or the proactive mindset to prevent the problem from starting in the first place.

The 150 didn’t have heat on it early enough (Fairbanks was in the 40s today), so I flew the nice, warm, just landed 152. The 152 is a bit harder to stall than the 150, but that’s no excuse. I need to work harder. Maybe start a routine at the gym so I can pull back further on the yoke. I always think I’ve got it as far back as I can, but the instructor can always make it go slightly further.

Today was the first time I was afraid of losing control in the plane. Nothing probably would have happened, but I still felt unsettled. So, we’re only supposed to do shallow turns in slow flight, yes? Overbanking, uncoordinated turning, and sloppy rudder work kept leading to ~25 degree turns. Mmm.

One more bit of fun: CFI3 did a preemptive steep left turn today to avoid crossing into the path of another plane. I made the mistake of looking down. I’m not afraid of heights, but the quickly spinning ground definitely woke me up šŸ˜‰ I can’t wait til I get to do these myself.


Takeoff: It started off okay because I actually taxied to the middle of the runway today. Oh joy! But when going to full power, I can’t keep going straight. Oy, my crosswind work during takeoff. We had the option to turn right over the airport but the instructor wanted to see if I could maintain the usual TRSA departure. Turns out I can’t with the wind. I had an ugly drift way off to the right. Apologies to the [probably worried] people in the tower.

Landing: CFI1 has let me do the most control work when landing. CFI3 tried today, but the crosswind was a bit strong for me to handle. I got to control the throttle [with prompting] on our usual long landing.

No wing covers needed today because there is snow and ice forcasted tonight. ‘We don’t want the covers to freeze to the wings.’ How can they tell that we won’t get the dreaded ice sheets on the wings sans covers? Aviation in cold weather is still a mystery to me.


Things to work on:

  • I still lose a lot of altitude in slow flight maneuvers before realizing I need to throttle in.
  • I constantly stare at the instruments instead of outside, leading to drifting headings.
  • Uncoordinated turns in slow flight equals zigzag headings when I try to fix things
  • I’m still having trouble staying level when pitching up for a power off stall
  • I’m not pitching up enough to induce a stall – we kinda just hang out in the sky forever.
  • Being too passive in turns. I do stuff really slowly but I can definitely act more forcefully.
  • Slowing down during taxi: use both feet! I could actually go pretty straight today, but always veered way off to the side when braking.
  • CFI3 told me that practicing taxiing on the simulator was probably a bad idea because it is so much harder than real life. I really, really want to be better at it though! And fast!
  • Parking the plane: need more practice using the 152’s new towbar



2 thoughts on “Slow Flight and Stalls, Again

  1. I can’t always have a full nose down stall in the 152, but if the altitude starts sinking it’s still a stall. But to get that full stall I’ve noticed you may want to abruptly pull at the last part of the stall, or definitely use the trim so you can pull back more with less effort.

    You’ll get the taxiing soon! I used to be terrible about over-correcting and thought every plane behind me was definitely making fun of me. My old instructor used to always say dance on the rudders and that helped me a lot. It helped me to think that every single movement on the rudder had to be the perfect input but going back and forth on each rudder helped me a lot more to keep it straight.

    You’ll love doing steep turns! They are my favorite maneuver!


  2. Is ‘dance on the rudders’ referring to going way softer/lighter on them?

    The lead CFI at the school seems to hold back from flat out saying ‘I’m taking too long to be proficient at stalls (ie, I need to finally learn it and stop wasting money)’ – I feel kinda bad it is taking so long… I’m just so terrible at it.

    The 150 always gets a nose down stall but is harder to keep from breaking hard right/left. Maybe I’ll just fly the 152 for this phase of training šŸ˜‰


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