2019-06-28 Pre-Solo Stage Check

This was a little bit of a wake-up call to me. As embarrassing it is to admit, I have 70 hours and still haven’t soloed. But, finally the stars are aligning correctly, and I’m ready to solo (I’m actually about ready for a checkride - my flight instruction has been weird). Only thing remaining was a check with another instructor to make sure I’m not a danger to myself and others.

I don’t remember the entire details of the flight (didn’t get around to writing this up until a few days after the flight), but these are what stand out to me:

  • When I transitioned to the sportcruiser, I made sure to redevelop a sight-picture needed to land safely, but I didn’t redevelop the sight-picture for other phases of flight - Vy, Vx, etc. Which led me to constantly readjust my pitch as a hunt for the correct airspeed.
  • For airplanes with control sticks, it’s much easier to control the plane when your hand is not at the top of the stick. Despite being where the trim & PTT buttons are, keep your hand lower on the stick except when using the radio or trimming the plane.
  • Apply trim when changing phases of flight.
  • Apparently, the Rotax 912 ULS likes to cruise at 5200 RPM, for cooling reasons.
  • When approaching a target altitude, lower the nose first, then reduce power.
  • For stalls, recovering is not so much as “push down”, as “let off the pressure”. Obviously, this assumes that you were trimmed for cruise flight, not for a stall.
  • My emergency procedures need work, massively.
    • This instructor made it painfully clear - to the point where I had trouble sleeping - that I needed to work on my emergency procedures. I feel this reflects negatively on the instructor, as there are ways to get this point across without causing me to lose sleep or otherwise feel like I’m a terrible pilot.
    • On my next flight with my regular instructor, this was all we did. 1.5 hobbs doing engine-out work. I now feel much better about this.

Overall, I did pass that stage check, but, obviously, I felt pretty terrible coming out of it.