Ground reference maneuvers

Today I flew with a new CFI, since John is still out of town for a couple days yet.  Jerome and I had to wait a while for the plane to return, during which time Jerome explained the ground reference maneuvers we’d be doing.  Jerome handled radios today, which was a bit of a relief.  I hadn’t been up in over 2 weeks, and I was definitely feeling it.

After a smooth takeoff on 32R we turned east toward the practice area past Traynor, IA.  Jerome demonstrated each of the maneuvers, then I tried my hand at them.  Pretty sloppy on the first couple attempts!  I was losing altitude (at times 300′ or more) and getting blown off center badly.  Once I got the airplane properly trimmed and set up, though, and figured out what I was doing wrong, I got a lot better.  The last pylon figure 8 was not too terrible — I was only off by about a hundred yards or so at the end, and we did have some winds to deal with.  By the time we were ready to head back I was feelign much more confident — and was also maintaining altitude within 50′ all the way around.

The plane has a non moving map GPS, so Jerome showed me how to use it to get the heading and distance back home.  We were cleared direct and did a straight in approach, something new for me.  I have to say that, aside from drifting off to the right of the center line, it was my best landing yet — I greased it in nice and smooth with the stall horn sounding the alarm the last foot or so, and got slowed down quickly enough to make the first taxiway.  All in all a very productive flight.