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Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by birdus, Nov 18, 2019.
Thanks for the encouraging and humorous post. Very motivational.
At first doing most anything in a tailwheel airplane on the ground will make you think you are a total klutz, but hang in there. The reward is worth the effort.
You're earning it, my friend; you said what you planned to do and you are doing it! Does the Luscombe have an electric system? Just wondered how you start it (solo). I'm sure I'm not the only one that would love to see some pics of your bird. Glad that you're with us, and keep up the good work.
Some do and some don't. Mine does. It's an 8E. Some of the earlier ones (which tend to be fabric) don't.
Lesson #3 — 1 hour (4.1 total)
Went up again this afternoon. We chatted beforehand about a few things I'm going to need to know, such as airspace, and about the AIM and FAR and parts 91 and 61. I'm familiar with all that, but certainly have a lot of studying and learning to do. I'm going through the Sporty's Private Pilot course. I actually studied and passed the written probably 15 years ago, but of course that long since expired. So, I'm studying again. I really like the practice questions/tests that Sporty's has. That's really helping a lot and I think will be the best thing to prepare me for the written test.
I let my instructor know that those high-speed taxis were a little more excitement than I wanted, and he said he just wanted me to know how quickly a tail dragger can get sideways. Mission accomplished!!!
I made my first radio call for the takeoff. The instructor did the first takeoff and I followed along on the pedals. He didn't move them much at all. So, I'm pretty sure I caused all the excitement the other day. It probably would've been less exciting if I'd kept my feet on the floor. After we were at several hundred feet, I took over climbing straight ahead, and then proceeded with a climbing turn. We then flew to the practice area. I was tending to dip the right wing on climb out, so I need to work on that. Needed a bit more left stick and right rudder, apparently. We did more 90 and 360 degree turns, both shallow and steep. I did a little better maintaining altitude on the right hand turns. We also flew square patterns as I tried to keep a specific distance from various roads. Then we did turns around a point. That was much trickier. I enjoyed it, but it was a challenge. I tried to adjust my bank angle to keep a constant radius, but did just so so. I kept our altitude quite well, though.
At one point in the middle of all this, he pulled the throttle and said we lost our engine, what do you do? I immediately said "look for a place to land" and pointed at some big fields straight ahead. I then corrected myself and said "pitch for best glide" and did that. Don't remember if I trimmed. Then I started talking about maneuvering around to the right to set up along the length of the field. He pointed out that there was a small grass strip over to the left. In reality, I never ever would've seen it, so I don't feel too bad about that. He had me maneuver to get lined up on the runway, although I didn't understand quite what he wanted, so he took the stick. We did a 360 and got pretty close to lined up on final before he added throttle and gave it back to me. I made a climbing turn to the right to get us back up to altitude. That was probably from only a couple hundred feet. Kind of exciting.
Towards the end of the flight, he pointed out another grass strip (Flying H Ranch, WN42, 2400ft x 75ft) and had me maneuver for the downwind. I didn't quite get the entry right, although I wasn't really sure which way we were going to land, so I won't kick myself for that. He guided me through bringing the throttle back and when to turn base. I trimmed and kept airspeed roughly where he wanted it. I got us lined up pretty well down the tiny runway, and brought us down. As we were maybe within 50 to 100 feet of the ground, I detected that the longitudinal axis of the plane wasn't lined up, and so I fed in some rudder. I was pretty proud of myself for that. He kept talking me through it and I brought us down and presumably landed. Well, we definitely landed. Presumably I'm the one that did it. He said I did most of the rudder work, but I'm not sure I believe him. He taxied back and I set the trim for takeoff. Then, I took off. Again, I don't know how much rudder was me, but he seemed to be having me do the work, so I don't know. I lifted us off. I was thinking our airspeed might be a bit low, and so I eased off the pressure (fear of stall) and the mains touched again. He made certain I knew that I should be pulling back, and so I did, and we climbed up and away. Airspeed was okay.
At that point, we flew back to Thun Field and entered the 45 to the downwind, but runway 17 this time instead of 35 (which is the one we landed on the other day), so another new experience for me, with new landmarks to watch out for. This time, I didn't tell him to take the controls. He's brave. His intent was for me to land again, and I did. My airspeed was a little high on base and final, and so I adjusted, but need to work on that. Reduce throttle and pull back. Far from a greaser, but I didn't break the plane. I wasn't pulling back enough and he really wants that stick planted in my belly when we touch down. Full stall at the moment we touch. Easy for him to say! Need to practice (duh). After we were on the ground, he was telling me to keep it straight, but I actually kind of thought he was on the pedals. I need to quit thinking he has the plane when he doesn't. I've done that more than once now. That's probably somewhat important.
Anyhoo, I feel better about today's flight than Friday's, although most of Friday was just fine. That crazy high-speed taxi just stands out in my mind. I truly don't know how much of the landings were me today, but I am at least getting some more experience and hopefully that will truly turn into "just me" in the not-too-distant future.
Jay-Dub: Sounds like he's moving you along quickly (and you're keeping-up beautifully), If I were you I'd make sure to wear a shirt that I wouldn't mind having the tail cut off (an old tradition for first solo)...especially the closer you get to 8 hrs. Just sayin'. You're doing great.
There are definitely two sides to the moving-along-quickly coin. I want to be challenged and learn quickly, but I also feel like I'm barely keeping up. Just on the edge. It's hard for me to imagine soloing right now. Thanks again for the encouragement.
Jay-Dub: You gotta believe (way down in you) that you can do this. I think all good flying is fraught with the feeling of "barely keeping up." You gotta push yourself, man, and consider yourself blessed to have the seasoned instructor you have. My encouragement is genuine; the mystery of flying has all to do with laying it on the line and asking if I have the hands, feet, and enough ass in my pants to get this done! You're cut from the right cloth; don't doubt yourself -- rack this up.
Bobanna is right - - you ARE cut from the right cloth! Your big sister is way proud of you!!
Good on you for tackling PPL in a Luscombe! I have about 100 hours in an 8A and did my tailwheel endorsement in the same airplane. The instructor let me sit in the left seat from the start even though I was a fairly low time pilot with no tailwheel time because I guess he felt good about me. He did have one thing to say to me though and that was "I don't have brakes on my side so don't fuk up!" Obviously, not appropriate for a beginning student.
So enjoy the Luscombe! It'll make you a much better pilot than if you learned in a Cessna. And check-out Tailwheel Town when you feel ready for more advanced work down the road.
Ha, ha! Thanks favorite sister! Hey! I'm your first post!
Welcome to the club! You will learn a lot with the Luscombe. High-speed taxi is worth practicing - that's essentially what you're doing with a wheel landing. Keep the updates coming.
More about how the instructor feels about himself, IMO. Not wrong either way, but it’s very seldom about the student.
I remember when you were flying and posting about the Luscombe in about 2011. I was getting a handle on my 140 at the time and your videos were inspirational to me. Glad to see you’re still around and encouraging a new Luscombe driver.
The write up was good and it sounds like you’re getting good instruction. Make sure you feel good with your emergency landings before you solo. There will be a few times when you might wonder why you’re doing this, but press on. You’re doing great!
Way to go @birdus ! I'm enjoying reading about your lessons, and its bringing back memories! I personally like the "no syllabus" type of training (as it was how I was trained, both PPL and IR) and I got my PPL and IR in the absolute minimum hours, so I don't think it is a disadvantage if it is done right.
Oh, and I should add that I got my tailwheel endorsement AFTER I got my PPL, and I remember thinking that at first it seemed IMPOSSIBLE, or like the instructor was using magic, to keep the plane straight. So by getting it done with the PPL; think how much farther along your landing/ground game will be!
Yes, I have heard more than one instructor say that a student starting from scratch in a taildragger will solo in about the same amount of time as if they were in a tricycle. Retro training in a taildragger after getting lazy feet in a tricycle will take longer.
Thank you. Regrettably, the owner felt there were some issues with that airplane that made it a better option for him to part it out than to deal with the issues. Personally, I thought the airplane was fine. Anyway, he has another 8A that he's putting together and hopefully we'll be flying that one soon. Or at least what I will, he doesn't fly. He just likes to restore them.
Lesson #4 — .9 hours (5 total)
Today's lesson began with a good chat about traffic patterns and about what we would be practicing during the flight—Dutch Rolls, power-on stalls, power-off stalls, and power-off descents. I expressed my desire to find a big grass strip and fly 50 patterns—and I emphasized I wasn't exaggerating—doing 50 landings and 50 takeoffs. Oh, and let's please not have a road right next to the runway with a house on the other side. The reply I received was that the grass strip we went into on the last flight was actually pretty good sized and there's always going to be roads, houses, and other things nearby. That was slightly deflating, but he assured me there'd be lots of practice, not only onto grass, but also onto dirt, and, of course, asphalt.
After talking about how we'd depart, we got in the plane and I taxied us to the run-up area where we got ready to go. After going through the CIGARS acronym, I taxied us up to the hold-short line where he applied the brakes and I made the radio call. "Pierce County Traffic, Luscombe 1813-Kilo, taking off runway 35, climbing departure to the south, Pierce County." I may not have gotten it quite right, but it's only my second call. However, after 2 calls, I don't believe radio work will be a problem. I'll certainly need to practice announcing on my feet, though.
Another plane announced that he was turning base, and I told my instructor that I wasn't comfortable hurrying and maybe we should wait. He said we could be waiting all day. I still couldn't see the other plane in front of my wing, so I applied throttle and began moving toward the runway. Of course, right about then, the other plane appeared. I got us lined up pretty quickly when I heard "I hope that plane that just taxied out onto the runway is going to get moving" or something to that effect. I hadn't dilly dallied and I didn't. I applied full power, kept the nose pretty straight, got the tail up, and then promptly began swerving back and forth across the runway (a bit of panic at work, I believe). Even though I know better, I think it's intuitive to move the stick back and forth to steer. The instructor told me that's what I was doing, although I didn't know it at the time. It was somewhat exciting, but we got off and up, and began climbing out over the runway to the north (runway 35). Probably when we were over the numbers, another plane appeared directly off to our left. I pointed that direction and said "the other guy went around." The instructor said he was probably ****ed and I said I think he could've landed. The other guy didn't make a radio call of going around and the instructor said he should've been off to our right, not our left.
So, we turned crosswind, then base, and I continued to climb up to 2,500 (up from a field elevation of around 500), and then head south to the practice area. I stared off with a series of Dutch Rolls. For the most part, coordinated flight seems relatively easy to me. Move the stick? Step on the pedal. I know there are a few instances where I'm not coordinated, but I usually sense it. Sometimes, the instructor points it out.
We did some shallow turns, some steep turns, 90, 180, and 360, and I kept working on maintaining my altitude, not nearly always successfully. On occasion, I'm way out of whack. More often than not, though, I think I'm keeping it within 100 of the target. The instructor wants me to do better than that though, and he puts it in no uncertain terms. I'm perfectly happy to try and keep it much closer than within 100 feet. Need more practice.
Over just a few seconds, my instructor's voice faded until I couldn't hear it. I surmised that the 9-volt battery in the cheapo intercom system that the plane came with might be toast. I asked the instructor to fly the plane and I reached over and removed from the left door pocket a battery which I had placed there for just this purpose. I removed the battery from the intercom and put the new one in. Bam! Intercom was back!
He told me to bring the power back to 1,500 and let the airspeed come back to 70 mph, then come back to idle and descend while turning, holding the airspeed at 70 mph. After we got down to 70 mph, I pulled carb heat, then throttle. I held airspeed pretty good, and turned while descending. After we were as low as he wanted us, I pushed the throttle back in. Nothing happened. I thought that was odd. I pulled it back out, thinking maybe I had pushed it in too quickly and it just hadn't caught up yet. Of course, in reality, it should've caught up during the few seconds the throttle was in. I pushed it in again. Nothing. Nothing but ice, that is. A few seconds later, the engine RPMs (I've always thought that should be RsPM) increased to what I would've expected in the first place. I proceeded to push the carb heat back in, and we climbed back up to altitude. Crystal clear day and very chilly. No visible moisture in the air, but it would seem it was there. That was interesting. Got my attention. My instructor later told me it had gotten his, too.
After flying around some more, the radio died again. We both fiddled with it quite a bit. I kept reminding myself to fly the plane. I've come to the clear understanding that this instructor is always expecting me to fly the plane. If we're within a hair's breadth of death, he'll save us, but otherwise, it's up to me. So, I kept flying. He was getting radio reception, but I never could hear anything for the remainder of the flight (and due to lack of use, my noise cancelling kept shutting off, so I had to keep turning my headset back on if I wanted noise cancelling—just another distraction). We ended up going back to the field prematurely, but I certainly wasn't comfortable flying without being able to communicate with my instructor. He later told me when he learned to fly, they didn't even have radios, or they had a hand-held mic with a speaker and just yelled back and forth. He learned to fly when he was 16. That was 67 years ago. Apparently, he was able to use the radio, so he made the calls.
He told me we needed to be at 2,000 feet when we're over the Boeing plant, and pointed to a group of large buildings. I descended from 3,000 to 2,000. Not a perfect descent, but I got us there (okay, a couple hundred feet past there, but then got us back up). At another point a little farther on, I turned right 90 degrees, got us down to pattern altitude, and entered the downwind on a 45. I'm still trying to remember when to use which throttle setting to get us down to which speed during which part of the pattern, but, in any event, I got us on final, although I had to make a few lateral adjustments to line us up. When we were maybe a quarter mile out, he said we were low—I didn't really know, although when he pointed to the PAPI and there were 4 reds, I said "Oh, yeah!"—so I increased the throttle just a bit for just a bit, then brought it back, then, shortly thereafter, to pulled it to idle.
As we got closer to the ground, I craned my neck and forced myself to look as far down the runway as possible. I slowly pulled back on the stick. As I thought we were about to touch down, I pulled back more. In actuality, too much. We began climbing, not difficult to sense. I though, "Oh, crap. Now I'm going to stall it and drop it in." I eased off the pressure, and we came in a little bit hard, but not too bad. Still struggling to keep it straight, the instructor hopped on the pedals some. As we slowed down, it became just me on the pedals. After showing my wife the video of me zigzagging all over the runway, she said "I thought you were a pilot, not a fish." Yeah, hilarious.
I'm starting to see what he's up to. Power-on stalls, power-off stalls, descending turns at 70 mph, and so on. I know that this will, at some point, lead to the solo. Before that, however, I'm going to fly my instructor's 140 from the left seat. He'll have brakes on the right, and I can get a feel for sitting on the left and driving with my left hand. After that, I'll fly my Luscombe from the left seat. I wanted to solo by 5 hours. Now I realize what an absurd idea that was. Frankly, I'm not in that big a hurry anymore. He's says I'm timid, and I know it. It was way easier in my head!
Turns out the intercom quit working because one of the leads to its battery broke. We discovered this after on the ground. His side, however, kept working through the radio so he could announce our positions in the pattern. I simply couldn't hear anything, and I guess he couldn't hear me.
Mt. Rainier was, as always, absolutely stunning today. I can't wait for the day when I'm actually able to enjoy it from the plane.
Well it sounds like you are having fun while learning.
Don't worry too much about the swerving. Asphalt is a lot less forgiving on a taildragger than grass and, imo, a lot less fun to fly on and off than grass too. These little airplanes were meant to fly off grass strips in the country. The swerving will go away quickly with a bit more experience, a lot of it is keeping the plane lined up using peripheral cues.
The only downside to owning and flying a taildragger is you will be shunned and ridiculed in the future if you ever think about buying a nosewheel airplane.
Thanks for the encouraging and hilarious post!
I like your instructor, as it sounds like you're learning fast, all the while, he's pushing you. For that first takeoff, it would be easy to wait out a plane in the pattern, and some here might be critical that he didn't have you wait, but seems to me that: a) he knows your limitations, and b) it worked out just fine. Later in the lesson, when you encountered complications, he had you keep flying (as you will HAVE to do once you're out on your own). Good stuff!
I think you and your instructor are on the right path. And by the way, just showing up for a PPL checkride in a Luscombe lends you a lot of street cred. I’ll be following vicariously along!
Jay, I was the same initially and got the EXACT same comment from my CFI. Corrected by verbalizing everything and NOT asking him anything unless absolutely necessary. He liked it because all flow-checklist items were verbal and he knew what was rattling around my cranium. I liked it because it avoided your departure scenario of "should I stay or should I go", and the back and forth leads to ****ing off someone on final that wants WAY more room than necessary to land. It hard not to fall into asking the CFI what they want next. Corrected by review on the ground as far as setting up maneuvers for later in the air ...
Flying out of KPLU? Come on down to KOLM and let me know in advance. I'd love to meet you.
Cool! As soon as I can fly without crashing on takeoff or landing, I'll come down! (i.e., not yet)
I've been down there multiple times before, both to the airshow and to visit the museum. I've got some pictures and videos from both.
Corsair Walkaround @ 2018 Olypmic Airshow
Kaman HH-43 Huskie Walkaround and Flight @ 2018 Olypmic Airshow
Olympic Airshow (combined with the Arlington Fly-in)
I agree no syllabus training can work well if done right. In reality the instructor probably has syllabus in his head he just hasn't written it down and will tell you what you need when you need it.
If you want to make sure you are progressing as quickly as possible always ask your instructor what you will be work on next time, if he doesn't tell you. Then you can read and study up on the things you know you are going to be doing, especially new things.
I tend to use a hybrid approach to the syllabus, I usually start off with a syllabus for about the 1st 1/2 of the training, the second half is more customized to the students weaker areas and meeting the FAR/ACS requirements with the conditions and equipment available.
I know a pilot who showed up for a 709 ride with a C-120, she went out and did a couple takeoffs and landing prior the meeting with the inspector. The inspector showed up early and watched her do the take-offs and landings. He signed off her checkride without ever flying with her in the 120. She was done, before she thought she had started.
I did my private checkride in my Cessna 140. The DPE was known for being tough, but he had a Cessna 140 himself and had seen mine when it was in an avionics shop on his field and really wanted to fly in it. He was VERY LARGE and very old. After a successful oral exam he said if he could get in the plane he would fly with me. I thought he wasn’t going to make it, but with both my instructor and myself he made it. Don’t get me wrong. He put me through the paces, but my instructor made comments that he thought the DPE who he had known for years approached me differently because I was in a taildragger.
I think it does indeed bring some credibility showin up in a taildragger.
My instructor's plane is a 140. Sometime soon, we're going to do a couple hours in it, with me in the left seat, just so I can get a feel for being on the left and for using my left hand. He'll have brakes on the right, unlike the Luscombe. After he's convinced I won't kill us, we'll go back into the Luscombe with me on the left. He'll be giving up his brakes. Yikes! I'm glad he's trying to hold me to a high standard. If the DPE bestows extra cred on me (even if only in their own mind), that's cool. Mainly, though, I just really want to end up a master of the plane. Right now, that seems like a long way off, almost impossible. We'll see how it goes.
From what I have heard, a Luscombe is more challenging on the ground than a 140. I expect that you will find the 140 to be a pussycat, depending on which model it is. In 1948, they moved the main gear forward 3 inches which made I more docile.
I hope your instructor is not using the brakes on roll out when landing except when you let it get out of shape. If your learning by just letting it roll out, then learning the brakes later will probably work. It sounds like you have an instructor that know what he’s doing, so you’ll be good. Has he said anything about whether or not you can do the checkride without brakes on both sides?
When I learned to fly in my Luscombe, I flew from the first lesson in the left seat with the instructor on the right having no brakes. We did fly from a very large, wide runway, and my first lesson was an hour of taxing with simulated ground loop recovery.
He uses brakes only to save our bacon. Otherwise, no brakes. We use them only occasionally during taxi.
He hasn't commented about the checkride, but I researched it before and it seems legit.
If we had started out this way, there's no question in my mind I would've crashed the plane (i.e., ground looped it to destruction).
Lesson #5 — 1 hour (6 total)
After today's lesson, I feel as if there is hope. I almost enjoyed it. We simply did seven laps around the pattern. I did all seven takeoffs and all but the first landing.
Gene: "Today, we're just going to stay in the pattern."
Me: "Great. I feel like one landing a week isn't giving me the chance to really improve. I've heard, though, that grass strips are more forgiving." (hoping out of fear that we'll go to a grass strip somewhere)
Gene: "Well, all the grass strips around here are private and we can't do 10 landings at someone's private strip." (he knows many of the owners, so we could land there, but it wouldn't be respectful to do a bunch of landings and takeoffs)
Me: "And anyway, I don't think you care that landing on concrete is more difficult."
Gene: "No. I don't care."
I may not always enjoy it, but I'm glad Gene is a bit hard-nosed.
While the takeoffs and landings are what stand out in my mind, there was a lot going on, as least for my feeble brain: radio work throughout the pattern (we moved the switch onto my stick and I did all the talking), climb out at the right speed, trim, turn crosswind at the right altitude, turn downwind on time, reduce throttle once at 1,500 feet, trim, carb heat at midfield, reduce throttle abeam the numbers, trim, maintain altitude until airspeed drops to 70, then start descending, turn base once at a 45 to the threshold, turn final at the right time (at which time my altitude should be 1,000), maintain 70 mph on final and make sure I've got 2 reds and 2 greens on the PAPI, and so on, making radio calls all the while. By the way, part way through the hour, I decided I wasn't quite happy with what I think are takeoff trim marks on the trim position indicator. After that, I gave it a bit more nose-up trim prior to each takeoff. I think I liked that better.
A few of the takeoffs were a bit of a wild ride, but, on a few others, I managed to keep the plane more or less down the middle. After my wild ride during the first high-speed taxi in an earlier lesson, I wasn't sure I could do it. I might actually be starting to get the hang of it. On the other hand, on one of the takeoffs—one of the wild ones—after getting off the ground, we were basically flying in a slip. My brain was overloaded and I didn't really know what I was doing. I gave it a little too much forward stick on most of the takeoffs, but on the last one, I got it just about right and the plane flew itself off without my fiddling too much. I wouldn't say I've got it, but I definitely saw improvement today, and now I can actually imagine being able to use the rudder to keep the plane on the line. I can imagine a time when I'll be able to make the plane do what I want.
Landings were a similar scenario: the practice is helping, but I'm not consistent. Apparently, I was drifting on one, and the ol' aft CG tried to do a number on us. The instructor hopped on the rudder pedals and helped out. The biggest challenge was flaring the right amount at the right time, not too early, but before hitting pavement. My tendency was pretty consistently to pull back just a bit too much as the wheels were approaching the ground, causing a balloon. A few cattywampus landings were had. The final landing of the day, however, was sort of interesting. When the wheels were about to touch down, I performed my typical balloon.
Gene: "Hold it off now, don't let it land, don't let it land. Oop! Don't let...oop!"
I'm pretty sure the instructor thought I was going to stall after we ballooned several feet into the air. He consistently exercises great restraint, letting me do my worst before touching anything. I added a bit of power for just a second, as he reached for the stick. I held an appropriate attitude to let us down gently on all three wheels. He never touched the stick. He had an impressed look on his face (from video).
And after we were down, he said "Stick back."
He keeps saying that. He won't let me forget it. After we're stalled and down, keep the stick in my gut. I think the reason is greatly increased directional control from the tail wheel.
Gene: "Okay. Good correction!"
Me: "I almost saved it, didn't I."
Gene: "You did save it! I didn't touch it!
In a way, that was a good landing to end on. It wasn't pretty, but it ended up okay.
Based, I think, on some of my brain freeze moments, our next session will begin away from the airport, as I need to practice the basics some more (I'm sure I still need to work on flying coordinated, too.). Then back to the pattern for more takeoffs and landings. He said he thinks I'll be in the left seat after the next flight. We'll see.
You have a good instructor and you’re flying often. Just keep doing it and keep paying attention. You’ll be done before you know it. I’m thoroughly enjoying your write ups.
You will occasionally be surprised how you are dealt with as a tailwheel pilot. There will be nosewheel pilots that will tell you all about how it really means nothing and there will be others that will give you a little more respect because of it. The biggest benefit I have had from it was really surprising. When I bought my Mooney with zero complex time, my successful tailwheel time gave me lower insurance rates. I can’t remember the term for it, but I enjoyed the savings.
I used a blank column in my log book for logging TW time and then later started using another blank column for logging complex time. Start a TW column now, and later on if you fly other than TW, you will have an easy record when you fill out your insurance currency sheets.
Sounds like you're doing great!
I know many people trim for each flight condition and in aircraft with heavier control pressures it's a must, but I prefer to trim for cruise and not touch it otherwise (only adjusting for CG changes due to fuel burn or passenger weight). That way, I can feel through stick pressure exactly what the plane is doing. I've never flown a Luscombe, but I'd imagine it's not too different from other similar aircraft.
Sorry to disagree, but regardless of what I’m flying if I’m trimmed close I can fly with more precision which I see as a good thing. I find trim to be most important on a long cruise and on approach.
For a student I think it’s very important to keep it trimmed when possible.
So far, I feel like keeping it trimmed helps to reduce my workload (even though I know I'm not having to deal with much right now) and keep the plane closer to target altitudes and speeds without having to work at it as much. I certainly might change how I do it as I gain experience.