Flying Lesson # 4 – Stalls

February 5, 2012

I entered Gil Layt’s Flying School excited about today’s lesson, Stalls.

Like usual, the lesson started with an hour of theory. We went through what a stall is and how to recover – Basically, a stall is a reduction in the lift coefficient generated by the wings as the angle of attack increases. This usually occurs when the critical angle of attack of the wing is exceeded. We focused on two types of stalls; a powered stall and a power off stall.

After the theory lesson, we headed out to the plane (VH-UGF again) where Robert got me to instruct him on how to conduct the external and internal pre-flight checks to test my knowledge. Apparently, now that he is happy that I can do it without supervision, I’ll be doing these checks by myself from now on.

We jumped into the plane, went through the internal checks (of which I’m feeling a lot more confident with now) and taxied out to the Runway. Half way out, Robert told me I would be taking off by my self today. Awesome!! After obtaining clearance, I taxied on to the runway and slowly applied full power. The rudder pedals are a lot more effective at higher speeds and the amount of input required is a lot less than when taxiing. I powered down the runway for what seemed like an eternity, until I reached the correct speed, pulled back on the controls and off we went. Apparently, you need to maintain backward pressure on the controls to stop you from heading back toward the bitumen, I now understand why. I think Robert will need stress leave after this lesson.

We headed out to the training area to practise the stalls. Once clear of the Archerfield control area, we headed to 3000 feet (enough height for when I stuff things up and we start hurdling towards earth). On the way up, I had the opportunity to consolidate my climbing and turning skills.

Robert first showed me a power off stall. Basically, power to idle – pitch the nose up until stall – power to full and nose down to recover. My first attempt was perfect, no altitude lost. Next, Robert showed me a powered stall, this was a little bit scary. At 2100 RPM, pitching up to stall causes the wing to drop violently, recovery at this point requires NO AILERON input, nose down – power on and a fair bit of rudder. I failed at this! My wing dropped, I pitched down and powered on, which is good, except I forgot to bring the nose back up! In a rollercoaster, holy crap moment, the front windscreen was filled with the ground. Robert recovered the stall with a concerned look on his face while saying “I haven’t done that for a while”. Trust me!

After trying a few more, I finally got the hang of it. Robert was happy to continue without further revision. We called it a day and headed back to Archerfield.

Next lesson, Circuits. YAY!

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