I had my fifth Citabria lesson this morning. Dave and I took N5032 up for an hour to practice some low flying ground reference exercises.
We went down to a field to the west of highway 101 and just south of an IBM complex and Dave asked me to fly a rectangular pattern at 1,000 feet following some roads. The first time around, he showed me the corner markers to use when making my turns. The point is to get used to flying in the traffic pattern and staying close to the runway. And if there's any significant wind, you get used to crabbing into the wind to maintain a straight ground track relative to the runway.
After a few circuits, he pulled the power and said "you just lost your engine! Where are you going to land?" I suggested a field roughly 3/4 a mile away, just ahead of us. He countered that suggestion with one we had just passed. To demonstrate, the took the controls did a base and then final turn, and slipped us down nice and low as if ready to land. Six feed off the ground, he put in full throttle and gave me back the plane.
I flew the rectangle a few more times and then we moved onto flying S turns across the road. He demonstrated a few and then I did 6 or 8 of them to get the hang of it. Finally, we did figure eight turns across a road. It's really just a variation on the S turns, so wasn't hard to pick up.
From there, we headed back up to UTC, picked up the ATIS, called the tower, and got a clearance for landing on runway 31 Left. I managed to land the plane nicely but didn't quite have the tail down. Dave told me to pull the stick all the way back, and we jumped back into the air a few feet when I did. Whoops. We should have let it slow down a bit.
Initially it seemed weird to be flying only 1,000 feet above the ground and going 100 miles per hour. But it didn't take too long before that seemed reasonable. Let's hope I manage to keep the fear of getting low that all my glider flying has bread into me!
For the next lesson, we're going to head down to Frazier Lake (just north of Hollister) and do some landing practice. That'll be fun. :-)
Posted by jzawodn at September 22, 2005 02:05 PM