Tuesday, May 17th was the first day of my flight training this week. Things didn’t go exactly as planned: I was hoping to start training on Sunday, but since the weather wouldn’t cooperate, we could not start until Tuesday. I hear this is how it is when you are not instrument rated.
My dad and I arrived at Crest Airpark in Kent, WA at 10:45 AM and met up with Mark Hilsen, my flight instructor, who is also a United Airlines Boeing 777 Captain. First up, the day started with a 45 minute lesson covering aerodynamics, stalls, and psychology of flying and fear. We went over a debriefing of the day ahead and did an external walk-around of our 39 year-old Cessna 172, N series. After the walk-around, Mark and I got in the cockpit and taxied to the end of runway 33. We did our before takeoff checklists and I made the radio call saying that we were departing.
I performed the takeoff and we climbed up to 3,500 feet, our cruising altitude. We flew south passed Enumclaw to an area called the “Southeastern Practice Area” (SEPA). Once in the SEPA we practiced slow flight at 40 knots and full-on stalls. It is a bit nerve wracking the first few times, because you keep pulling the nose up with no power until the aircraft recovers itself and goes into a slight dive. But after a few times, I got used to it.
We then practiced doing pattern approach, flare maneuver, and go-arounds, at 3,500ft! I’d fly parallel to one of the many roads in the world below, slow down, put flaps 10, turn 90°, put flaps 20, and turn once again for final approach and put flaps 30. Then, just as I flare, Mark would call “Truck on the runway, go-around!” We did about four of these and then headed back to Crest. I performed the landing, and of course ballooned. Ballooning is when you flare too early and GAIN altitude, rather than LOSING altitude.
We went and had lunch and came back to Crest to do some instrument flying. I flew a whole 20 minutes without looking outside, just looking at my instruments, then flew back to Crest and we concluded a long day. I added 2 more flight hours to my log book yesterday, which now reads 5!
Friday looks like the next time we will fly, if the weather cooperates, so stay tuned for more!