Another one in the logbook

Today’s flight was again in the slightly newer Cherokee Flight Liner. This time John sent me out to do the preflight, which was uneventful other than a couple of minor issues. The nose gear strut was low again, and we have a stall warning light but no horn. I tried out my new kneeboard and a nice little communication sheet (from Sporty’s) that helps me remember all of the clearance, ground, towe, and departure/approach stuff. I did all of the radio work during taxi & takeoff, and did it reasonably well. We took off from a different direction this time — 32R instead of 14L. Climb and departure were smooth and uneventful.

We did slow flight; I made a smooth 360 turn at MCAS with the stall warning light nagging at me the whole way around. Altitude hold wasn’t perfect, but I did’t lose more than about 150 feet. From there we did power on and power off stalls, then headed to BTA (using the sectional to determine pattern altitude and CTAF) for some T&G. Or we would have, except that it was getting late and someone had the plane scheduled, so after one landing we high-tailed it back to OMA. ATC had us do some maneuvering to stay out of the way of departing and arriving traffic, and I got a little turned around and had to think hard about which way we were heading and which way the runway ran. We covered that with the sectional after we lended. John handled the radios on the way in while I flew, and while I wouldn’t call the landing a “greaser” it was a lot better than the rather abrupt flop I had subjected the poor plane to at BTA a few minutes earlier.

All in all I felt a lot more at ease during most phases of the flight than ever. My takeoffs are a lot better, with almost no wandering off the centerline. I’ll need some more practice with stalls just to make the recovery smooth and automatic. Landings are getting better, I just need to work on timing the flare better. The first landing today was a little abrupt, I flared too early and dropped in from a foot or so up. Hey, maybe I can get the main gear struts to match the nose. But I was happy that coming into OMA I was able to make corections to get and keep us on the glide path, while staying aligned with the runway centerline.