|29. Soft/Short Fields|
This was a very interesting and mind-taxing lesson. We did short field, and soft field landings and take offs. The soft field take offs were cool...balancing the plane on the main gear as we trundled down the runway was awesome. Landings were also fun, landing on the main gear - and staying there. Bruce demonstrated how you can stay at 1500 RPM on the main gear and even taxi down the runway on roll-out indefinitely...
The short field take offs were easy enough, but the landings...yuk. I had big problems there. Using the yoke to keep airspeed and adjusting altitude with RPM I found difficult...I kept wanting to pull the nose up! and of course, when at 60 MPH with full flaps, pulling the nose up isn't too smart. On approach to our runway 17, there is a telegraph wire with an orange warning ball on it about several hundred yards out. On two occasions, I even got slightly below the darn thing...not good. I found my problem was that I was turning early from base, so I was having to adjust the flight path in order to get on target. These corrections were of course eating up altitude.
I finally managed to do a couple of good ones. What didn't help was the fact that we had a hefty crosswind, so I was having to multi-task big time...radio calls/traffic/airspeed/flaps/RPM/on target?/crossing controls for x-wind....a lot going on. Although part of the lesson was ugly, it was great exposure.