Lesson 25 - Friday April 30th
Touch and Go
"Touch and Go" does not refer to the high risks involved in today's lesson, but rather the type of landing practice we did. Basically you just land, and then immediately take of again, without getting off the runway. You touch (down) and go.
Tanya did not actually tell me we would be doing touch and go, and for the first landing, I made what I thought was a reasonable effort, and felt quite safely on the ground when Tanya said "Full power, let's go!", and I get confused and thought for a moment that we were doing a go-around (aborting the landing), but eventually figure it out.
To do a touch-and-go, you have to get clearance from Tower, either for a touch and go, or for "the option", where you can do either a touch and go, or a "full stop" (where you get off the runway and stop, after landing).
We did about twelve landings, you can fit in twice as many this way, so it a great way to practice. It was also not very busy, although we did get pulled out of pattern once to avoid a jet rear-ending us, but generally we would just go straight round the pattern, turning base at the 405.
We even did a couple of short approaches at the request of Tower, although Tanya handled the details of those. Fun stuff, you basically are turning steeply and descending all the way to the runway. Tanya counted those as instruction in simulated engine failure landings.
I felt my landings improve incrementally. However, I still don't feel like they are particularly good. I've done 25 hours so far, and it's about time I was ready to solo. Tanya has told me to get my renter's insurance sorted out, so it's probably imminent.
I think I grip the controls too firm. It's really a fairly light touch when rounding out, and my death grip is probably preventing me from feeling this. I'm going to try a lighter grip on Sunday.
Conversely I've been feeling very little connection with the rudder. I read somewhere a recommendation that you press firmly on the rudder pedals with BOTH feet when landing. Now this sounds like a good idea, as it will give me a positive connection with the rudder, and should hopefully allow me to make smoother adjustments. Right now I tend to forget what I'm doing with he rudder, or end up stomping on it, swinging the plane around.
Tanya says we might fly to Van Nuys on Sunday, and I should try to figure out how to get there. Meaning what air-space we traverse, and who to talk to on the trip there and back. Should be interesting, and probably somewhat nerve-wracking.
(c) 2004 Mick West