more hood work

Today was a bit cooler than Monday, around 80F instead of 90+. He had me do a short-field take-off, and I think I was up in about 700 feet or so. The one thing he caught me at was that I wasn't checking the gauges before releasing the brakes.

Tim is starting to transition from "instructor" to "examiner" on these trips. For this one, he had me put on the hood at 500 feet, and we headed out to the practice area. We practiced holding a heading and controlling airspeed. He then had me take off my hood, and he said, "you're out of the clouds, but your day just got worse: your engine is out," and he pulled the power.

I trimmed for best glide, and looked around. In front and to the left was Hampton, which is a grass strip. I had no idea where I was, so I'm glad that Tim took over making the calls as we approached, though, really, I do need the real-world practice in making those position reports. I was way too high, so I made a standard-rate turn to the right, and came out exactly in position to land. I was on a decent approach (as best I could tell), but Tim "helped" the landing.

Tim did criticize my maneuver. I shouldn't be turning away from the field, even if I can make it come out ok. Instead, I should head right for it, and then circle my way down.

We taxied around, with a Cub landing behind us, and got into a position to take off again, this time with a real soft field. I made my calls, and he had me go through the pattern once. The first time we came around, I was way too high, so I just went around again. The second time, I was much better, though perhaps a little low. I landed cleanly, though.

Then I taxied back and took off again, and the hood went back on. We went east, and then south, and practiced some stalls. One started falling towards a spin, but I got the nose down, kicked the opposite rudder hard, and got back out. Then the hood came off again, and he said, "engine out." After trimming to best glide and running through a slightly better (though still flawed) mock restart procedure, I looked around, and I said, "I know where I am here; that's Plum Island up ahead." I headed towards it, and started slipping to lose the altitude I needed to lose.

Tim didn't quite like that, and I was perhaps still a bit too high. He took the controls and did a 45-to-60 degree bank in a circle to lose a bunch of altitude. He gave it back to me, and I landed without much trouble. I made the calls, taxied back, and did a short-field take-off. This one turned out quite nice.

Then the hood went back on, and we headed back to Lawrence. On the way, he had me do unusual attitude recovery. He said that the traditional way to do this is to have the student close his eyes, then the instructor does something crazy, and the student tries to fix it afterwards. He said that this is just unrealistic; nobody's going to do that to you in real life. In real life, you're going to get distracted while you're in the clouds -- maybe talking to ATC -- and _you_ are going to mess up the plane's attitude.

So the procedure was that I closed my eyes, and he called out a series of maneuvers for me to perform. First a standard-rate turn to the right. Then a turn to the left. Then a climbing turn to the left. Then leveling out. He had me open my eyes, and I looked at the instruments. The airspeed was stable, and the wings were tilted a bit. I fixed that, and then said, "uh, it looks like I'm done." He said he was a little disappointed, because I didn't get nearly as messed up during the eyes-out part as I should have. Oh well!

We went back to Lawrence under the hood, and he had me take the hood off in the downwind. He wanted me to do a power-off accuracy landing, and hit the 500' mark. I did ok on making the approach without power, but I was long on the landing because I tried to keep it too tight. I don't have that judgment yet -- I haven't practiced power-off much.

I'm on the schedule for next Friday. I plan to do a solo cross-country if the weather holds. Right now, they're calling for poor weather, but that always changes. This is the last required item on the list. I need to do a good bit of practice, and maybe some more prep time, but the requirements are just about done.

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