Touch and Go

I just got back from another hour or so just doing TnGs. By the time we called it a day I thought I was doing pretty well.  On the second-to-last one the instructor said he’d gotten on the controls only for the last couple of seconds, because he thought we were going to be short.  I told him, politely, that I had it and we’d have landed on the numbers…  which we would have had he not added power, which gave us a nice little float.  I’m getting to the point where it irritates me a little if he gets on the controls.  I’ve got it, if there’s a correction to be made I’ll make it.  Keep yer mitts off the yoke and pedals.

Anyway, the way he wants it done is WAY different than I have done it before, but it works.  Abeam the numbers reduce power, first notch of flaps… and from there on it’s all airspeed.  90 MPH on downwind, 85 on base, 80 on final.  Today we added 5 MPH to all three due to gusty winds.  As with Jerome (CFI #2), I ended up just managing position and airspeed.  This guy likes to come in steep, we are well above the VASI slope until we’re well over the fence and on very short final.  No problem, with full flaps the Cherokee will sink like a rock if you want it to.  I finally got the hang of “power for altitude/glide slope, pitch for airspeed”.  John (CFI #1) and Jerome both had the attitude of “set the throttle at xxx RPM and don’t touch it again until you’re over the runway”.  Today I used the throttle several times… and I finally quit trying to flare too early.  Over the threshold I’d level off and just let it sink, bleeding off airspeed until we were just above the surface, then use the yoke to set off the stall buzzer just as we touched down.  There’s a lot happening in about five seconds, but the mains set down nicely and the nose follows just a touch later.  Off the yoke, flaps up, check mixture and carb heat, line it up, full throttle and do it again.

Overall, despite the winds (15G23, I think it was) I feel like it was a pretty good day.  I know having that much variation in the wind on final gave me a lot of very valuable practice in managing speed and sink rate.  The wind was slightly off the runway centerline as well, so there was some crosswind component to deal with.  I still managed to keep the centerline at least between the mains… for the most part.