A very large part of strengthening one’s airmanship is rooted in decision-making. Decisions are often made long before a pilot enters an aircraft.
I was scheduled in the 172 this morning for two hours of stall training and spin- and stall-recovery. I left home this morning at 8am and had a bad gut feeling when the overcast skies had failed to burn off. By the time I was approaching Bergstrom, a thick black patch of cloud hung over the horizon. Just around the corner from General Aviation, George rang my phone. I knew we weren’t going to be flying.
Not only were the clouds too low, there was a chance of thunderstorms throughout the area. The conditions just weren’t right for practicing stalls. I was disappointed.
On the brighter side, not flying today gave me more time with my reading chapters. I’ve spent a lot of time the last week visualizing stalls and stall recoveries — releasing back pressure on the controls, slowly throttling up to full, and offsetting propellor torque with a healthy push of right rudder. The Airplane Flying Handbook provides informative, concise information on stalls and stall recoveries.
To make up for the time I missed in the cockpit I spent two hours on the simulator. I recreated conditions we typically fly in, and practiced standard rate turns during ascent and descent, and also did a few stall recoveries. One of the many assets of the 172 is its ability to recover from stalls. The 172 will buffet, and the controls will get very sloppy while entering the stall. If the pilot executes the proper steps, the plane while slide right into a normal attitude and speed, with a functional angle of attack on the wings. Failing to execute properly, of course, can result in a spin.
My reading list has expanded to include Paul E Illman’s The Pilot’s Radio Communications Handbook. The text explores common communication failures, managing transponders, and radio failure procedures.
I’m working on getting a two hour slot in the 172 later this week, weather permitting. Even while grounded, though, there’s plenty of reading to do.