Touch-and-goes at sunset tonight. The air was so clear and the Alaska Range was beautiful. I did a set of 6 touch-and-goes with CFI3 tonight – got to do 3 before the runway lights came on, 3 after.
This was my second lesson on 20L (with a left base). I was nervous because I’ve done ~all my practice so far with a right base. When turning, I can’t see anything because the wing is in my way. Even knowing the runway heading, I find myself overwhelmed and can’t ever figure out a 90° turn (ahhhhh, you just subtract 9, but I’m too tense to do the math).
Turning to crosswind: I turned about 110 degrees every single time. I really just need to have my heading numbers in my head before the lesson.
Downwind: I had to correct my visual reference points because I kept angling in towards the runway. I think I’ve got it now. I’m glad the Carlson Center (ice rink) downtown is a distinctive green-blue.
Turning to final: was too early 3/6 times. I have this same problem with a right base too…. 2 times I had to wait to turn because of traffic on ski2 and those turns ended up being straight down the runway. I just need to learn to wait longer.
The first 2 ‘landings’ were flying about 1.5ft above the runway – and those were really awesome, if I do say so myself. Really centered, great altitude control.
Then 4 actual touch down landings. Today was the first time I was a bit crooked and slipped a bit across the pavement (I feel bad for taking a layer of rubber off the tires). At least my other landings were straight – although all were still about 2 feet off centerline.
The final 2 landings were the most frustrating (although not bad).
Landing 5: Had a harder time controlling my airspeed (was at the top of the white arc even with 20° of flaps) – it never happened before so I wasn’t sure what to do. Instructor told me to go with full flaps and it was really weird feeling the plane immediately slow down *so* much. But then I had to add soooo much power to keep from stalling.
Landing 6: 3 planes coming in at the same time. One coming in from the west to land on the ski strip, me flying north in my downwind leg for 20L, and a 737 from the north on straight in final for 20R. I was #2 and had to extend downwind way north – it was fun because I got to fly all the way over Fairbanks (which was a first for me) – but then the 737 was getting really close…. I made the turn too steep and had to angle really far right to line up on the runway. I also had 4 red on the PAPI which is always nerve-racking. CFI3 was really happy with the actual touchdown – I guess I should be too because it was nice and soft and I was able to get back on centerline really quickly…..but ah! 2 feet off!
I was asked today if I felt ready to solo. Ready to takeoff and fly the pattern? Yes. Ready to land? Sometimes. For example, landing 5 would have been a go-around if I had been alone in the plane. It is frustrating because it was a completely ‘savable’ landing – but I didn’t immediately know how.
My flight was the first since the 150’s leaky fuel tank was replaced. Hurray for being a guinea pig. I’m sad I didn’t check the fuel shutoff switch when I lowered the flaps in preflight. Ahh! Sorry CFI3, I always check it – I’m not sure why I didn’t today. It did explain why nothing came out of the fuel strainer, embarrassing. I got to add gas to the plane for the second time today (I’m ashamed to admit I finally figured out why we cannot fill the tanks up completely – instructor+student+16 gallons is approximately the 150’s max load, sheesh Christina…..). I feel that as we start moving into to colder weather, I’ll “get” the pleasure of fueling up a lot more. 😉