Today was an upgrade of sorts. We flew a Piper Archer which is a bump in space and in horsepower. It is equipped for a/c, but the a/c wasn’t blowing cold air today. End result, I was a sweaty mess.
This morning, we worked on ground reference maneuvers. Basically, we identified objects on the ground and used them as reference points for maneuvers. We started by flying in circles.
It seems like a simple thing to find a point on the ground and fly around it, but the wind really complicates matters. We had winds of 20+ mph today, so it was challenging. But I did ok for the first time. I had a little trouble maintaining altitude and I’m pretty sure my circle looked more like an egg, but the instructor was pleased.
After that, we did some S-Turns over a linear object. The wind really makes it difficult to keep the turning radius consistent, but I managed to do ok here too. After we did that, we did a little cross-country over to the airport at Brenham. On the way, we passed near the glider club and I got to see a few of them in flight. Neat. What was supposed to be a touch and go at Brenham turned into a full stop. My instructor was having some digestive issues and had to take a break. :)
After we left Brenham, my time was up, so we made a beeline back to our home airport.
We met again in the early evening. This would be my fourth flight, second instructor, and third plane of the weekend. This time around, we took out the Piper Warrior (see a theme here?).
The plan for the day was to practice touch-and-goes and flying in the pattern. The winds were fairly high and out of the west/southwest, 10 to 20 degrees cross to the runway. That made for some challenging landings! But I managed to get the hang of using cross-controls to point the plane straight down the runway while dealing with the wind. My instructor was quite pleased. We wrapped up the day by scaring up a flock of birds right at the beginning of the runway and having to go around to avoid a bird strike, then with me hitting a nearly perfect landing. A perfect end to a perfect day.
Next time we’ll be working on radios! Hope your Aviation Day was as good as mine!