Sunday evening turned out to be a very exciting lesson for me. However, it didn’t start out that way. My first trip around the pattern felt great, and everything was lining up for a perfect landing. I got the plane all the way down and ballooned it, pushed in the throttle for more power and got it on the ground after correcting it. I was so disappointed with my landing, but tried to shake it off so that it wouldn’t affect me on the next landing attempt.
Back in the pattern and around I go, a perfect set up again, coming across the trees and it’s looking great. Go for the landing and ballooned it again…ugh…what is up with me tonight? I added power, corrected it and got it down on the runway. This time, I was really frustrated. Okay, so what am I doing wrong here? I asked my instructor what is it he’s seeing me do wrong. I appear to be stopping midpoint of my round-out and then pulling back too fast to compensate which is inducing the balloon. Okay, mental note for correction on the round-out. Some days, it just feels like I’m never going to get it all together and keep it there.
The next go round, I was, of course, distracted trying to analyze what I was doing wrong and how to correct it so as not to balloon on the third landing. I got a little too close to the runway, had to make a heading correction to adjust, got my first notch of flaps on, forgot to trim, was a little late turning for base leg and I’m too high. I have to adjust my speed, get it trimmed, get my flaps on, radio and turn for final. Well, this one is really not setting up very pretty. I slip it down to get lower but maintain my speed, get it across the trees and go for the landing. This time was a great landing, no ballooning and it’s on the ground. I’m thinking to myself, what is up? A really bad approach and a good landing. Why can’t I get a great approach and a great landing together tonight?
Robert did say that if I wasn’t ballooning it myself and practicing recovering from it that he would have to induce it anyway for training. So, I guess I should look at it like I’m doing myself a favor but somehow it just doesn’t feel that way.
I did improve on getting it all together for the rest of the landings tonight. At one point I was climbing out of a takeoff and turning on cross wind, Robert pulled the power and tells me to make an emergency landing. I lower the nose and he points me to turning it back to where I took off as he makes the announcement that we are doing an emergency landing on runway three five. I set my flaps and watch my pitch and start lining it up with the runway. I have plenty of altitude and I’m lined up good. I focus to go for the landing and he instructs me to do a go-around. I push in the throttle for full power, pull back on the yoke and put the plane back to 2 notches of flaps instead of 3. We are climbing again, no problem clearing the trees and I’m making my way back into the pattern. Well, that went better than I thought. You can watch the video of it at the below link.
Now we are going in the wrong direction for the pattern this evening, so I make a midfield crossing to get back in the pattern for landing on runway one seven. I come around and line up for my final landing of the evening across the trees, drop it down and make the best landing of the day! Now that’s the way to finish a training session! Robert pats me on the back and we are hootin’ and hollerin’ in the cockpit. We are both excited about the way training went today. He said that was great especially after all the pressure of doing the emergency landing, go around and having to get back in the pattern.
I know this session did not start out as well as I would have liked for it to, but things did get better and I got some great practice for recovering from problems that I may encounter in the future. I’m glad that even under pressure, I was able to keep it together and do what I needed to do to get the plane landed. Practice is what makes it all come together.