S-turns and Dutch Rolls

After sweating like a big dog last Tuesday afternoon, I decided during the summer months that unless I have to, I’m done with 4 o’clock, 100 degree flying days.  Did you know that there is no air conditioning in most of the single engine planes? Well at least not from what I hear and the trainers certainly don’t have it.  They add too much weight and drain on the systems.  You could have wrung me out like a dish rag after I landed.  I didn’t even notice it while I was flying, and I’m not so sure I didn’t have some dehydration going on afterwards.

Morning flight


Today’s lesson is about learning to maneuver the aircraft and controlling it so that I can move it where I want it to go in a specific pattern, using not only aileron deflection but rudder work too for smoother turns.

We picked a long highway and I lined up perpendicular to it and practiced S-turns over it.  The goal was to cross the road, and after each tight turn get the airplane coordinated back straight and level as I made my way across the highway each time.  We continued on till the road curved.  There was a slight crosswind that I had to work against and feel how much aileron and rudder I needed to get the plane lined back up.  I did steeper banks than I have done previously.

Robert had me practice “Dutch Rolls” to really get a good feel for using the ailerons and the rudders in conjunction with each other.  I’m tipping one wing down by moving the yoke and pressing the rudder simultaneously and immediately turning the yoke to the other side and pressing the rudder to the opposite side as well.  I’m rolling this plane back and forth, wingtip to wingtip like a seesaw in the air.  I’m certain that if anyone saw this going on from the ground that it looked like we were in trouble.  It felt amazing, like a ride at an amusement park.

Have you heard me say that I love flying yet? I do. I love the feel of the plane moving through the air, banking it right or left, watching the clouds moving across the sky. The cars below are following winding roads, and all I think about is how amazing everything looks from way up here.

Next control lesson is to practice making a turn on point, we picked a lone tree out in a field and I kept it in my sights by tipping my wing low on the inside. I’m trying to keep a tight pattern around it and circle it from the air. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t making circles, more like ovals but I got the idea of how to keep an eye on it, scan my instrument panel, watch for traffic and make a turn all at the same time.  Now that was some work since this is only my third lesson, but it was fun too.

I started working the radio communications today a little.  I can tell this is going to take some time but I’m pretty sure I’ll get that down too.  Who you’re talking to, who you are, where you are and what your intentions are is how it’s supposed to go.  At least I think that’s how it goes…hmmm.

It was a beautiful morning for flying, much cooler than an afternoon flight.  I enjoyed the crisp quietness of the air today.  I can hardly imagine a better way to spend my morning.


  1. check out that and listen to all the near real-time com’s. Its fun!

  2. bridget johnson

    Awesome job your my idol….

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