Citabria N1806G
Originally uploaded by jzawodn.

Today I flew N1806G (see aircraft) again with Dave. I hadn't flown this particular plane since my first lesson and am still not a fan of the heel brakes.

Our plan was to head down to Frazier Lake airport for some practice on the big grass runway there. However, it was "airport day" at Reid Hillview airport which meant the airport would be closed from 1:30pm to 2:15pm. Since our plane was needed by someone else at 2:00pm, we couldn't just stay out late. So we decided to cut our lesson short and head to South County airport instead.

We took off on runway 31 Left and I got us up to 2,500 feed and followed highway 101 down to South County. I overflew the field to get a good look at the windsock while Dave pointed out the two pattern entry points (one for right traffic on runway 32 and the other for left traffic on runway 14). The wind was favoring runway 32 and it was time to try my first landing there.

I cut the engine back to 1,500 RPM on the downwind leg and Dave told me to cut the power back to idle when we were abeam the numbers. I turned base at the overpass, and then final when lined up for the runway. The first landing was pretty good. Once on the ground and rolling, I gave it full power again and we headed back up for another.

At 1,000 feet, I turned crosswind and then downwind to go for another landing. This time a Cessna was in front of us and flying a really big pattern, so I extended to follow him in. I wasn't quite sure when to cut the power. I made a guess on final and floated toward the runway. A quarter mile out I realized I was going to come up about 50 feet short, gave it a bit of juice, and then proceeded to bounce the landing.


I hadn't flared enough and came down a bit too fast. Then I swerved a few times after applying full power (more right rudder!) but managed to make it off the ground before ending up in the grass. Upon reflection, I figured out what happened. On my second landing I had actually been thinking about what I was trying to do instead of just doing it.

Once back in the air, I headed to UTC, chatted with some glider pilots, got the ATIS, and called the tower for a landing clearance. The landing back at Reid Hillivew was a bit more professional.

For the next lesson, we're again planning to head down to Frazier Lake to land on the grass strip.

Posted by jzawodn at September 24, 2005 07:22 PM

Reader Comments
# Jeff said:

Was there any crosswind?

The time that I almost hit the grass I was approaching the runway wrong. I was banking the plane and holding opposite rudder but doing it "with the wind" instead of against the wind.

I was solo at the time and came to a full stop, grabbed my instructor and asked him what i was doing wrong... we did another touch and go and on final he noticed what I was doing wrong and ever since I've never had that "towards the grass problem".

Next time you're coming in on final, take a note of the way the wind is blowing... turn into the wind and hold opposite rudder every so slightly and I think you'll enjoy smoother landings (at least I did).

Then again, I've never cut the throttle back to idle coming in for a landing.

Good Luck!

on September 25, 2005 10:23 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

No crosswind. Just me over-ruddering things.

on September 25, 2005 10:31 AM
# Tim said:

As a fairly new owner of a Piper Cub, I am enjoying reading your experiences learning to fly a taildragger.

My own checkout in the Cub was fairly uneventful. When I got my signoff, I was sure I had this whole taildragger business figured out. Well, all it took was one slightly downwind landing and a wild adventure into the grass to make me realize how much I still had to learn. So, in case your instructor hasn't mentioned it enough, here it is again: never, ever, land downwind!

Fortunately, I now do most of my flying off of grass, which will forgive a multitude of sins on landing in addition to being a heck of a lot of fun.

Keep the stories coming!

on September 25, 2005 10:28 PM
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