It’s starting to come together for me. At least for slow flight and power on and off stalls. With Lesson 5, I accomplished these under my “own power.” I even successfully radioed in each of the maneuvers so others in Charlie South practice area, located to the west of KRVB, would know where we were (BTW: the interactive Comm1M VFR Radio Simulator CD-Rom from Sporty’s has definitely helped me be more comfortable).
But wow, what a difference it was to practice 30-degree turns and then 45-degree turns! When we practiced the 30-degree turns last time out, I could pretty much keep the airplane from losing/gaining altitude. Not so much with the 45ers this time. It felt like we were almost on a rollercoaster the first run at it, I’m not proud to say. The feeling generated by the increased load factor and increase/decrease in pitch was quite noticeable and somewhat disconcerting. But it was also an alert to level out. When the “ride” set in, I reacted by going to the instruments to get back to level flight instead of “keeping my head out of the cockpit” said Seth, and watching what was happening outside the airplane such as the relative position of the horizon to the nose. The second set of turns was a little better, but still needed work. I wanted to keep practicing but we were running out of time if we were going to get some landings in.
As last time, things got a little hectic, to say the least, coming into KVRB. [This seems to be the norm, I’m discovering. After all, a flight training school is based here. But it’s even more so this day, a Sunday, with students trying to make up for lost time in the air. Normally closed on Sundays, the school has had to stay open seven days a week due to this winter’s inclement weather.] We radioed in our approach once we were over 95 and were told to hold off from entering the Class D airspace. A few minutes later, we got the go ahead to proceed for 29L. We were on the downwind leg when tower asked us to change to 29R but to hold off due to traffic coming straight in from the east. And it turned out that our original clearance for 29L had been usurped by a HUGE military helicopter leaving the airport. I glanced over my left shoulder and it was turning final to head out over 29L. One last show, I guess. Needles to say, Seth had taken the controls. We maintained pattern altitude and kept heading east (the view of the intercoastal and ocean was beautiful!) until the incoming traffic passed us and was out of our way enough to head in on an extended final. Positioned between these two aircraft was exciting and watching that huge helicopter speed out was awesome — and the intrigue heightened when it communicated it would be on a discreet frequency! I’m glad Seth had taken over. Watching it all unfold in front of me gave me a chance to see how such situations are handled. However, it also humbled me as far as the earlier feeling that I had made headway with radio communications. And it served as yet another reminder that flying is an intense multilayered, multitasking activity not like much else.