I had my second Citabria lesson this afternoon. Dave and I took N5032 up for an hour on this nice sunny Saturday.
Takeoff was normal, except that I really need to use more right rudder at that high power setting. We made a downwind departure to the south. At 4,500 Dave had me practice a few more steep turns. When I demonstrated that I could do the turns wihout gaining or loosing more than 40-50 feet of altitude, he was happy and moved us on to some stalls. We did power on and power off, both turning and straight ahead. He also asked me to stall the plane with the power at idle, keep the stick all the way back, and then just fly with the rudder. That was an interesting experience. The plane flopped around quite a bit and I thought for sure it was going to spin, but it never happened.
That was really just good foreshadowing, since we worked on spins next. Unlike the gliders I've spun, the Citabria spins rather quickly and doesn't require and forward stick pressure during recovery. I believe we did a total of three spins, one to the left and two to the right.
With that out of the way, he showed me what happens if you try a full power on stall and never let up on the stick. In that situation, the plane goes all sorts of crazy but never gets out of hand.
We concluded our fun over the hills with a demonstration of a loop. I was surprised to learn that he used a loop entry speed of 140 miles per hour. Considering what we can get away with in a glider, that seemed a bit high.
After that we headed back to the airport. It was fun to try judging how quickly I needed to descend so that we'd get back at the right altitude. A few miles out, Dave asked me to bring the power back to idle. I did but soon realized we wouldn't quite make the runway (probably 200 feet short). That's apparently second nature from all my glider landings. We gave it a little juice a bout a mile out so that we'd clear the fence and setup to land.
Over the runway I tried to get the plane slowed down and into a landing attitude. I just pretended it was a big glider that liked to be stalled on landing. It worked pretty well. I stalled about two feet too high so we landed harder than I'd like, but it wasn't a "hard" landing by any stretch of imagination.
After we taxied back to the tie-down spot, I asked how much of the landing was him and how much was me (I've noticed him on the controls a few times but wasn't sure if he was helping on landing or just following along). He said it was basically me and that I had the landing mostly figured out--at least for landing with a slight headwind.
Next time we fly he wants to do a few more spins and give me a spin endorsement. Heh. I guess we're not doing things in the "normal" order for a new student, but it's all the same to me. At some point I'm sure we'll worry about more mundane things like radio communication and landings. :-)
Posted by jzawodn at September 10, 2005 07:05 PM