Flaring that landing

It was great to get out flying Sunday night after just under a two week hiatus due to poor flying weather.  It’s either been extremely windy and cloudy with thunderstorms looming in the distance, raining, or extremely hot and calling for thunderstorms at some point in the area with heat and storm warnings.  That said last night’s flying weather was perfect and it was great to get out flying again!

I made the best of it since it was Sunday getting out their before 5PM.  I got in four solid flights with a duration approximating 8 minutes each.  I could have potentially got in more; however, my mentor thought it best to call it a night as doing to many flights in an evening can lead to becoming complacent and making mistakes especially since I’m still learning.

My takeoffs were nice and smooth.  While in the air I basically flew whatever pattern or direction I felt as I was always the only plane up in the air.  Their were a couple other guys at the field but they mostly flew helis, one took up a plane here and their.  Having planes and helis in the air at the same time is not a good thing due to the different flying dynamics and catching a blade to the plane would shred it to pieces!  In general terms the patterns I flew in various directions were boxes, figure eights, fly by’s (fairly low) down the middle of the runway,  and just random course changes.

What I really wanted to work on this time around was my landing flare, which is the phase when the aircraft is still airborne and goes down to land with the purpose of touching down on the main landing gear first.  Since my aircraft has a tricycle set up my main landing gear is the two wheels further back on the fuselage and not the single nose wheel.  On my third landing of the night I still came in a little to hot so even though I flared the aircraft when it touched down the plane ‘bounced’ causing it to become temporarily airborne again before touching down a second time getting all three wheels safely back on the ground to coast to a stop.  I need to make sure that when coming in for a landing their is absolutely no throttle applied and that I gave enough glide time to take away airspeed so that the aircraft settles nicely to the ground.  Note that with my current aircraft I am able to do this; however, on my next plane (Sig 4 Star 60) that’ll be a tail dragger you do need to come in with some throttle applied.

On my last flight of the night when manoeuvring to land I decreased my altitude sufficiently while going out far enough beyond the runway, then banked to come across the top of the runway, levelled out flying perpendicular to the runway, waited until I was beyond the middle width of the runway before turning back down the runway.  Once lined up with the runway coming in at this point I cut the throttle and make minor adjustments with the controls to keep my plane as close to the middle of the runway as possible letting it glide down on its own.  Once I’m inches from the ground I pull back on the elevator to flare the aircraft causing the main gear to touchdown first followed by the nose wheel.

I was on a high after those flights.  It was a lot of fun, both flying and visiting with the guys.  Talking with Peter he mentioned I’ll be building my first plane at his place so I’m hoping this remains the case.  It is nice as I was concerned about space to build in my spare room and can cross that bridge when I get their. Peter also mentioned my third plane will be a gas powered amphibian, more specifically a seamaster, so that I’ll be able to eventually get into the float flys too.  That’s a ways away yet though, so time to back up and keep learning and improving with my Kadet LT 40.

The weather didn’t cooperate last night and forecasted somewhat promising today so we’ll see.

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