Checked Out!

By Lex, on February 14, 2009


Well, that was easier than I would have thought. Ended up calling a different IP that Mr. I Won’t Go Flying if the Wings are Dirty. Hizzoner was proud of the opportunity, so long as payment was made in cash. I’m quite sure this has nothing to do with an aerial underground economy. The two being ontologically exclusive. Opposites, like.

Never a brief, per se. Just you preflight whilst I go and fetch some paper towels.

It’s always fun when you get checked out in a new airplane, especially if it’s anything like complex. Constant speed props, fuel flow meters for leaning the engine out and cowl flaps turn those boxes red for your host, even if retractable gear are something of a yawn. Pre-start checklist: Cowl Flaps – Open. Jolly good.

How does one open the cowl flaps?

VFR departure to the west, a climb to 3.5 once north of the Class B airspace and some basic turns, reversals and stalls. Power on, power off and trim stall. Which I’d never done one of those before, but since there’s a fair amount of stabilator trim going on while performing level speed changes, a full-power go around without forward yoke to counter it will put you in an uphill attitude, going downhill. No real vices apart from a marked right wing drop at the stall break. If there was a stall horn installed (there was), I never heard it.

“Let’s go to Ramona for some touch-and-goes”, yer man said.

Ramona, right. Checking the VFR terminal area chart. Ramona **, yes. There it is. Good thing I’d brushed up on the Biennial Flight Review standards for last week’s abortion. ATIS on 132.025, Tower on 119.875, 1395 foot airport elevation, 5000 foot runway, left pattern. Wouldn’t it have been marvelous to have briefed all this prior to the flight?

It would.

Five landings, none of the particularly credible, none particularly loathesome. A lot of work in the pattern, GUMP (gas, undercarriage, mixture, prop) on downwind, ten degrees flaps on the turn to base, cowl flaps closed. Full throttle on the touch-and-go, landing gear up, flaps retract, cowl flaps open, manifold pressure to 25 inches, 2500 RPM, mixture to 13 gallons per hour. And then back to GUMP again, fuel selectors – both, gear – down, mixture – rich, props – full increase.

The Cardinal has excellent upward visibility for a high wing aircraft, Cessna pushed the wing well aft. Which, with the 200-HP engine up front, makes center of gravity calculations a more than a merely intellectual exercise. With two full-sized humans up front, a full fuel load and nobody in the trunk, offsetting weight is required in the baggage compartment to stay within forward CG limits.  In the landing pattern this means that flaring to land requires more than a mere adjustment of attitude to the landing configuration: As airspeed decays, increasing back pressure on the yoke is required to hold the nose off.

“Let’s go to Gillespie ** and get some more landings,” said himself. And your host, by now prepared for whimsies, had at least a rough idea that Gillespie was something south of our position.

Flying south from Ramona, Gillespie is obscured by “Rattlesnake Mountain,” so-named – according to my instructor – because so many pilots had been snake-bit trying to cut the corner on the approach. Do that with sun down, and your flight will terminate short of its destination.

A couple more landings there and it was a crosswind departure to the south to set up for an ILS arrival back to Montgomery. A bit of cautionary language about the use of cowl flaps on the way back – open when climbing, closed when descending – and we were safely on deck. An hour and a half later from chock-to-chock and I was checked out for both the C-177RG and the various C-172s (just remember to use carb heat on the normally aspirated Skyhawks, he said). Yes of course. Carb heat.

You’re good to go, he said. We’ll call this a flight review as well.

Yeah, right, I thought to myself. “Maybe an instrument refresher is order, just in case?”

Sure. Fifty dollars.

Cash, please.

** 09-01-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.


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1 Comment

Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Flying, SoCal

One response to “Checked Out!

  1. Pingback: Index – The Rest of Neptunus Lex | The Lexicans

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