The Taildragger Experience

7:50 PM Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Location:DVN
Weather:Forgot to copy
Runway in Use:33

So it has been quite a while since I posted anything, mostly because I haven't done anything fun related to aviation. But then...in July my plane finally arrived at KDVN. This plane has a special little place in my heart. It is the first plane I ever took a ride in (I was 2 months old). It is the plane I associate with flying. Way back in 1970 by Grandpa bought this plane. It is a 1964 Maule M-4. My Grandpa flew it and 3 of his sons flew it over the years. For the past 20 years my Uncle has been in possession of it and when he learned that I was getting my pilot's license he called me up and said, it's tradition, you should learn to fly it. So here I am, learning to fly a taildragger. I have barely 100 hours under my belt, which in the grand scheme of things in aviation, is not much. All of that time is in a Cherokee or warrior. Which I now know spoiled me rotten with their timid demeanor. I considered myself a pretty decent pilot, and I try to keep my skills sharp. However, my first trip in the maule humbled me greatly. And during my 4th hour of training, I was beyond humbled as I was introduced to the grass between the runway and taxiway. I made the mistake of not getting my aileron into the wind on rollout and it picked up my wing and I didn't maintain rudder control as I was fixing that error and off we went. Right through the grass. Thankfully it was a well placed mistake because the only thing damaged was my pride. Next trip up, I plan to show that plane I mean business. I still have 6 hours of mandatory training before I can solo anyway, so why not make the best of it. Hopefully a few more hours and I will be decently proficient. Duration of Flight:1.0
Total Flight Hours:109.2

Location: DVN
Weather: Beautiful but forgot to get the METAR
Runway in Use: 15

Well the last few months of my life have been crazy. In fact I couldn't tell you a single thing that happened in my life in the past two months other than the birth of my amazing daughter, Amelia. Her entrance into my life has changed everything and it is definitely for the better.

Well last night my wonderful husband took Amelia and I got a few hours to do whatever I wanted. Of course I choose to go flying. With the exception of a currency flight with an instructor about a month ago, I haven't done any flying since December. My recent currency flight went much better than I expected. I figured I would be extremely rusty but turns out all the knowledge was still in my head, who knew. Anyway last night I was able to go up solo. It was a bit warm/hazy/bumpy but I really enjoyed myself. There was a decent amount of traffic around the airport. Due to the haze I had a bit of trouble finding 874MA so I kept my distance until I knew he was clear. After that I did a straight in approach to 15. I have not done much in the way of straight in approaches and I find that it helps me be a better pilot because it helps me judge set-up easier than doing the typical pattern which is kind of automatic. After that I did 3 touch and goes. None of them my finest performance but since I have a total of 7 landings in the last 5.5 months I feel they were pretty good.

My husband and I have recently discussed me getting my instrument/commercial license. It is something that I really want to do, but I feel like I am too old to change careers, especially to one that could end with one visit to the doctor. I think I will at least do some instrument training over the next year and hopefully if it is meant to be, it will work out.

I am looking forward to more flying this summer and hopefully getting back into the swing of things.

Duration of Flight: .7
Total Flight Hours: 95.1

Passenger on Board

9:12 PM Monday, September 19, 2011

So this post isn't exactly aviation related, but I am pretty excited about it so I feel like the announcement belongs here. My husband and I are expecting our first child around March 26th. :) So for now I guess I am a passenger carrying vessel for the next 6 months :)

Long Overdue Practice Session

11:22 AM Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Location: KDVN Local
Weather: KDVN 071452Z AUTO 36009KT 10SM CLR 16/10 A3026 RMK AO2 SLP248 T01610100 51010 PWINO $
Runway in Use: 03

Time got away from me this summer and I haven't been up flying in almost 6 weeks. I didn't really have time to go today either but the longer I wait the less safe I feel. I know that I am a good pilot and if I just settle down and fly the plane everything goes smoothly, but I also have a bad habit of over thinking things and being extremely self critical.

Anyway, today went great. I went in just wanted to get some time in and enjoy the beautiful day. I took off on runway 3 and headed to the north climbing to 2500 feet. I leveled off and enjoyed some scenery. Everything looked beautiful this morning. The fields are green, the light was great and I was once again reminded of how amazing it is to be a pilot. I try to hold on to that feeling because someday I am sure I will think of it as common place to be up in the air floating around and it certainly isn't commonplace. Knowing that just a little over a 100 years ago people didn't even think it was possible to fly reminds me of what a miracle it really is to be up there.

I did a few ground reference maneuvers and flew over the wapsi river for a while. I turned back to the south and headed back to the airport to get in a few times around the pattern. I was very disappointed in my approaches last time I was up. This time my first approach was a bit messy because I was very close on downwind to avoid a plane departing on the the cross runway (33). But I extended my downwind a bit and got her stabilized and made a very nice landing. The next three were just as good, I even got a "very smooth" from 874MA while he was waiting to depart during one of my landings :)

Cross winds have been a bit of a nemesis for me during my time as a pilot. Today there were a few times where the wind was probably a bit closer to 33 and it was about 10kts most of the time I was up. I concentrated on lining the plane up and less on where and how much wind there was, what I found was that if I stop thinking so damn much about the wind that it really isn't that hard to get the correct crab in for landing :) Note to self, stop thinking so damn much!!!

Today was good, can't wait to do it again! Also, there will be some exciting news on the blog next week, be sure to stop back and read it!

Duration of Flight:.8
Total Flight Hours:92.0

Go Arounds and Pattern Practice

11:01 AM Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Location: KDVN Pattern
Weather: Winds Variable @ 5-7 kts
Runway in Use: 03

I have been trying to fit in a quick flight to practice some pattern work and go arounds lately and I finally got a chance on Friday. I had recently read an article about how more deaths and injuries occur during go arounds than during any other phase of flight. The theory the article went from was that people don't really practice go arounds and when one is needed they may make a crucial mistake that costs them their life. I talked to a few people at the airport about it and they agreed vehemently that go arounds are extremely dangerous when not performed correctly. One instructor stated that recently a student removed all his flaps at once when he applied full power for the go around. Given that removing those flaps also suddenly removes lift the instructor rightfully feared for his life. So after reading the article and hearing the story I have go arounds on my list of things to practice occasionally to make sure I am proficient in the instance that I need to use one.

My go arounds went well during practice. Full power, back pressure, climb, clean-up (slowly), do it again. No problem. The thing that didn't go well were my landings. I just couldn't get comfortable with my approach on Friday (guess it was a good thing I was practicing go arounds). All my approaches and landings were safe but not the pretty little chirps that I strive for. I have been over and over my practice session in my head and I think I can pinpoint it to my trim work. I wasn't getting it trimmed well so I was fighting the plane the whole way up and the whole way down. Which meant I was extremely unstable on approach which always leads to bad landings. Since this was a short practice session I might try to get up on a day in the next week or so and see if I can get a couple of good landings in.


Duration of Flight: .5hrs
Total Flight Hours:91.2 hrs