Lesson Recap #14: September 14

1.0, 7 takeoffs and landings

One thing I feel like I’m doing better at is talking on the radio. I don’t know why, it’s not like the world ends if you get it wrong, but at first talking on the radio was nerve-wracking. Today I felt like I sounded less like a newb.


One thing I did on my preflight today was I almost skipped a step! I noticed it, corrected it, and then rechecked the checklist to make sure I didn’t miss anything else. (I hadn’t.) I used to put a post it on my checklist and slide it down to the section I was using, but I lost my post-it. I think I need to think of a better solution because I always have to relocate the section I need on the checklist after I do something, and it slows me down.


I did 7 takeoffs today. They were, for the most, good, except for 2 of them. On one, I used too much right rudder. I did this because I was thinking about how I often use too little right rudder on takeoff. Because of torque airplanes try to yaw to the left, you counteract this by using the right rudder. Well, I overdid it causing me to yaw to the right, thus looking like a drunk pilot on take-off. On another one of them I relaxed back pressure too soon so the tires kind of skimmed the ground. That felt pretty weird. Again, this was caused by me overcorrecting something, that is, the slightly too high angle of attack I had on part of my takeoffs the previous lesson. Ironically, my first take off was good, the second was “near perfect” (to quote Mr. King) and then I had some good takeoffs followed by these two frustrating ones.

I felt more confident today. I was scanning the instruments better on takeoff which is important because you want to notice engine problems on the ground with room to stop, and I timed things pretty well without being told what to do. Basically the “I’m-about-take-off-in-airplane-I-hope-I-don’t-screw-it-up” feeling was gone, replaced by an orderly progression of doing the right things (more or less without being told).


I did okay with this, although I’m still having the problem of climbing on the downwind leg part of the time. I need to maintain altitude more precisely as I crept up to 1500 or 1550 rather than 1450. I controlled my speed in the pattern well today.



My landings were alright and a few even good. Mr. King said he would take credit for two of them.One of my landings was a simulated emergency landing. I need to review the steps so I feel more confident.



Starting this blog!

Reviewing takeoffs and landings

Reviewing emergency checklists

Reviewing the math <sigh>

Studying and understanding the Pre-solo test info



Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge – “PHAK”

PHAK Compare.png

FAA Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge:

I was studying the FAA Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge downloaded from the FAA website in PDF format onto my iPad. But, since I work on the computer all day I get tired of staring at a screen. I had downloaded the 2008 version from the FAA website, but this has since been updated to the 2016 version. I decided to order the new version in print to motivate me to study more.

So, what’s the difference?

Are there significant differences between the 2008 and 2016 editions? Well, the first difference I noticed was the color of the cover. 2008 is blue, 2016, orange. The second thing I noticed was that the chapters are in a different order and some have been renamed. As I just got the book in the mail two days ago and am only reading chapter 2 I can’t give a full review, but here’s what I’ve got so far, and I’ll update as I keep reading.

Chapter 1 seems to be the same in both editions, whereas chapter 2 is different. In the 2008 edition we have Chapter 2 “Aircraft Structure,” but in the 2016 edition it’s “Aeronautical Decision Making.” I think that Chapter 2 in the 2008 edition has been renamed Aircraft Construction and moved to Chapter 3 in the 2016 edition. 2016’s Chapter 2 “Aeronautical Decision-Making” was Chapter 17 in the 2008 edition.

I ordered the ASA version of PHAK which is paperback and has color illustrations. In reading reviews on Amazon it seems some companies publish this book with black and white illustrations which I think would be less helpful. I also glanced at the Kindle edition while thinking “Why pay when you can get it for free?” electronically and noticed that the picture shown was from an earlier edition, so be careful what you buy. Again, why buy the Kindle edition when you can download it FOR FREE from the FAA? See the links at the bottom of the page for where to download the 2016 version for free, and the Amazon.com link to the one that I bought.

My conclusion thus far is that you’re probably fine reading the 2008, just make sure you know the differences about the student license and 3rd class medicals.

FAA Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge Chapter Comparison

Chapter 2008 2016
1 Introduction to Flying Introduction to Flying
2 Aircraft Structure Aeronautical Decision-Making
3 Principles of Flight Aircraft Construction
4 Aerodynamics of Flight Principles of Flight
5 Flight Controls Aerodynamics of Flight
6 Aircraft Systems Flight Controls
7 Flight Instruments Aircraft Systems
8 Flight Manuals and Other Documents Flight Instruments
9 Weight and Balance Flight Manuals and Other Documents
10 Aircraft Performance Weight and Balance
11 Weather Theory Aircraft Performance
12 Aviation Weather Services Weather Theory
13 Airport Operations Aviation Weather Services
14 Airspace Airport Operations
15 Navigation Airspace
16 Aeromedical Factors Navigation
17 Aeronautical Decision-Making Aeromedical Factors
Appendix Appendices
Glossary Glossary
Index Index

PHAK on FAA Website, FREE to download

ASA PHAK that I ordered

Lesson #13 Recap: Sept 10

1.0, 6 Takeoffs and Landings

We did 6 take offs and landings and remained in the pattern for my whole lesson today. My main issues were allowing the nose to pitch up too much just after leaving the runway on takeoff and climbing as I turned downwind in the pattern. It’s important not to let the nose pitch up because you don’t want to reach too high an angle of attack and stall, especially that close to the ground. I corrected that after my first two takeoffs though. The climbing while turning downwind is something I’m working on. I think that particular issue has to do with practice and muscle memory, because I *know* I don’t want to climb on that turn, now I just need to get the coordination down. My first approach for landing was too high, but after that, they were better.

Ground school wise I learned where to find some diagrams I need to be aware of and how to use them in the Pilot’s Operating Handbook for the 172N. It’s important to know how to do the math for maneuvering speeds at different weights, and how to determine takeoff and landing distances. When I have practiced this some and have a thorough grasp I will explain it here. I’m not very fond of or good at math so this is more challenging for me.

What I’m working on this week:

Understanding the math using the diagrams in the POH

Reviewing steps in Takeoffs and Landings

Studying and understanding the Pre-solo test info


Lesson #12, September 3, Recap

Saturday, September 3, 2016

1.0 hours


I called and got a weather briefing this morning. Apparently, the briefer thought Moontown is a hilarious name for an airport. The briefer said, “You should have ideal weather” and the weather was truly beautiful, and not as blazingly hot as it’s been the last few weeks. I REALLY need to study weather more, because the weather briefing is a bit overwhelming to me. It was great that this guy talked a little slower than the lady last week and seemed to have a sense of humor. I didn’t feel as clueless.


I did the preflight and then we took off.  I really need to add more right rudder and get more coordinated. I’m remembering the steps for take-offs and landings a bit better, especially take-offs. We are going to concentrate on those next lesson, so I should chair fly some this week to review/preview.


The first thing we worked on was slow flight. Again, I need to work on my coordination. Mr. King explained I should think of it as using small amounts of pressure on the yoke rather than actually moving the yoke. After he said that, I improved, it’s amazing how much thinking of something differently can affect how you do it! My main problem is that sometimes when I notice an unintended change in altitude or speed I try to correct it all at once rather than gradually.

My steep turns to the right were great, but to the left needs work as I lost more altitude than I should have. Again, I need to work on my coordination.

I did 3 power off stalls, which I feel like I am getting the hang of, and then 2 power on stalls after Mr. King demonstrated one. I haven’t worked on those as much, so they are not anywhere near automatic yet.


We also practiced a Simulated Engine Out and I really need to work more on memorizing the steps. Basically, you are trying to trade your excess speed for time and distance while you are deciding where to put the plane down. This time, when Mr. King said, “Your engine’s out, what’s the first thing you should do?” I did respond with carb heat on, rather than “cry” like I did the first time he asked me that which was several lessons ago, BEFORE we went over it. So, that was an improvement!

According to my checklist it’s: (1) Carb Heat on (2) mixture rich (3) fuel on both (4) check your mags (5) check if primer is in and locked (6) slow to 65 (best glide speed) (7) when on final and have it made, all flaps down, master switch off, open the door. (You open the door so if the plane gets bent up, you’re not pinned inside.)  You can find the information you need to practice this in the Pilot’s Operating Handbook for the plane you’re flying and ask your instructor.

I landed twice after taking off twice, so all in all, a good day! As the old saying does, takeoffs are optional, but landings are mandatory.

What I’m working on this week:

Weather Briefings – I need to understand exactly what they’re going to tell me and write it down in an organized way.

Steps in an Engine Out Situation-Familiarize myself with the steps and call them out so I learn them well.

Review/Preview Take-Offs and Landings-Just go over the steps and call them out/chair fly.