Saturday, October 9, 2010


So... flying is like Wack-a-Mole. You get one thing right and something else pops up. Last nights lesson was a Wack-a-Mole lesson. The mole is pitch, which is about the most important thing. The contributing factor was how I was holding the controls, which was impacted by trim.

In May, when I was doing pinch hitter training, I was holding the controls so tight my hands hurt at the end of the session. (I remeber the CFI telling me that left hand is for airspeed - pitch, right hand for altitude - throttle and flaps - and thinking "Yeah, right you'll get me to use only one hand on this thing.") Slowly I finally got to the point where I was able to relax enough to hold the controls only with my left hand. Apparently my definition of "relaxed" isn't the same as his definition of "relaxed". :)

Last lesson he kept mentioning how strong I am... no, not "you strong like ox" strong... as in he had to really work to correct the bad inputs I was doing. So while I had "relaxed" enough to do things with one hand, I still have a very tight grip on the controls and instead of using trim to set the correct pitch, I was just using strength to do it. Holding the controls so tight does one thing that is not so good (probably several things). It means when I turn my head, and I have this "death grip" on the controls, I change my input on the control unconsciously. Which is a bad thing, it sends the pitch of the plane to hell and then I'm not maintaining airspeed, which is critical in the pattern. I am getting a good (no such thing as good enough) picture of what each critical pitch is, but I'm blowing it by holding on to the controls too tight.

The way I fly the plane, I have to put alot of force into the controls to keep the right pitch because I don't trim well (or at all if I can get away with it). If there's one thing I've just not been able to "get" its trim. *sigh* Flight after flight, he says, "trim?" or "are you going to trim?" and I say "I'm fine." because I have the strength to hold the plane where I want it and I don't want to mess with trim :( Well, its time to mess with trim. But I don't want to.

"Which way should you trim right now?", "I have no f'ing idea!" I say. So we land, taxi and I get the trim lecture. I listen and understand, but I have so much trouble putting it into action. He came up with an interesting way to force it.

First we try a pattern where I'm not allowed to use more than my thumb and two fingers to hold the control, trim has to be used to help reduce the pressure on the yolk. That sorta worked, except I would manage to get my palm on the controls too.. had to, I wasn't trimming correctly.

Next time around the pattern he figured out a way that I couldn't use my strength to hold the pitch. I had to trim. I found out, with the right trim, I didn't have to hold so much pressure on the yolk (duh) and it made it easier to maintain the correct airspeed. So now all I have to do is dial in the trim. All I have to do.. Until the next mole pops up to be wacked.

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