Today I went up for my first solo flight in a 182. That's the high performance aircraft I was signed off in last week. I have to admit, I was very nervous at first. My first time flying a high performance plane by myself after only four training flights, but I trust my CFI's judgement and know he won't sign someone off unless he is sure they can do it. That includes me.
I got into the plane to start it up and my nerves calmed immediately as I went through the process. There is something soothing about going through those pre-taxi and run-up checklists. They focus me and calm me and I become all about the business at hand. I took off and climbed up to 5500 ft, flew down to Hollister, turned towards the coastline and then started my descent for Watsonville. This plane was definitely much faster than the 172's I'm used to flying.
I managed the manifold pressure and mixture on the descent, remembered to put the prop full on final, did a great pattern and landed beautifully. I was on the centerline, light on the mains, round out and power reduction synchronized perfectly. It would have brought a tear to my CFI's eye. I smiled broadly and taxied off the runway, remembered to open the cowl flaps and taxied back to take off and head back to RHV.
I returned to RHV. Having no problem with the complexities of high performanceness. I am starting to get a feel for the types of adjustments that can be made to pitch, power and flaps to make the plane do what I want it to do on final. My landing there wasn't quite so great. I landed flat *sigh* ... it is so hard to make myself not do the landing attitude that I know works for a 172 at that airport. I'm confident I will overcome that habit. My CFI told me something very important, a new skill I'll have to learn. He said to I will need to learn to put the sight pictures and flying techniques for different types of planes into separate boxes and bring out the right box depending on the plane. Right now my 172 box is a bit mixed with my 182 box. With practice I'll get there though. Its one of the things I'll have to learn how to do if I want to become a professional pilot.
Friday I'll be going up with a safety pilot to keep my instrument skills sharp in the trusty old 172. I wonder what flying the 182 will do to my 172 flying ? Hopefully I can put the 182 skills into a box and use the 172 skills right.