Seeking sanity check on my training status

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Doug F, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I suspect this may help. My pattern work has gotten much better since I started; the landing falls apart over the runway. I'll make a conscious effort to find a spot to watch after round-out.

    Thanks also for the LSA vs 172 description. The Skycatcher is, by definition, light so it's going to be affected by everything more than a larger aircraft. It's nice to know that the affect is pretty large. I've seen several descriptions that say LSAs make you a better stick and rudder pilot and was never exactly sure what that meant; I'm betting that this is the issue. Hmmm...maybe I will be ready for a carrier landing...
     
  2. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    When I first stared riding bikes back in '76, I had no idea there was this thing called counter-steering so my corning skills were pretty bad. I also had no idea how to tell a passenger to ride with me so taking my wife out was always way too exciting, especially since she'd lean left when we turned right...my fault all of it but she just gave up on riding with me.
    Fast forward to '05, I'm reentering after 10 years off and take the state/MSF intro course. Counter-steering was a holy revelation! Damn, so many wasted years of bad control. I also learned how to tell passengers to work with me on corners. We eventually moved up to a Spyder and riding double is a nice day out. The Ninjas (500 -> 650 -> 300) have been for me. Loved the power of the 650 but the 300 is just a wicked fun bike on the back roads.
    16 wives??? Ummm no...just no...
     
  3. rtk11

    rtk11 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Doug F, not sure if you've seen/heard of Rod Machado, but I used his books as a supplement to my ground school. He has a video that may help you with your landing (and explaining how to monitor location on the runway when your sight picture is filled with blue sky.).



    In terms of motorcycles, great that you learned the counter steering concept. A lot of folks just lean and hope that they'll have enough turn/steering to enter into a turn. Countersteer works great for getting you into/through a turn and leaned over, but must be balanced with power.

    In a similar vein, knowing how to side slip is really helpful. It requires rudder and aileron, and you must watch speed to ensure you don't stall as you're in a high drag configuration, but you'll descend quickly and, with practice, you can pick the point where your mains will land.

    In terms of small displacement bikes... I too have found the joys of riding a smaller bike. A lot of fun, and small/light enough to pick up on trails if I had to.
     
  4. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have not. Thanks for the pointer. I'll watch the vid in a bit.

    I've done 2 forward slips and man do they feel weird! And not very pretty either but I get the idea of how it relates to alignment. I'll be doing more as I progress. Side slips on approach are not something we've been doing. Once I'm down after round out, I know my CFI wants me doing side slips when there's a cross wind but that is one of the things I have not yet mastered; it goes back my sight picture and not 'seeing' that I'm being pushed across the runway by the wind so I'm not reacting.

    Our motorcycle instructor introduced counter steer but you can't do it very much at low speeds. I wasn't sure I fully had the idea so I spent some time making sure I understood the mechanics. On a ride home one day I set up in the left wheel track on a long, straight, dry highway with no traffic and lots of runoff on the edges. Pushed right...and the bike snapped into the right wheel track. No wishing the lean would work, no mushy control, no wobble...left wheel track, push, boom, right wheel track. I swear I heard the angels sing. On my ride to work, I had a nice 180, uphill ramp onto the interstate. Pre-counter steer I was lucky to get out of the ramp at 40 mph and that was pretty loosey goosey. Post-counter steer, and with no weight shift...I hit the apex at about 50 and left that ramp at nearly 70 and had total control...wheeee hoooo! What a feeling! Someday before I'm too old to get on a bike I'm going to do a track day and see if I can get a knee down.
     
  5. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    The older I get, the faster the bikes I buy. I figure that with each year that goes past, the less of my life I'm putting at risk.
     
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  6. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Right!!!

    I've always wondered that with old people who drive slow, it's like you ain't got no time for that, you're going to be dead soon, nows the time to drive fast and take chances!
     
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  7. eman1200

    eman1200 Final Approach

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    Doug F, meet brick wall. Brick wall, Doug F.

    We have all encountered a brick wall in one form or another during training (and after, too). I almost quit training because of my brick wall (landings). Then one day my cfi said 'ok ur soloing today' and that was that.

    I also agree with taking a break instead of flying more.

    I know you say you're a numbers guy. But Mother Nature ain't got no numbers for you so while a foundation of your approach and landings are based on numbers, they will almost always be different.

    You 'might' pick up a tip or two here, but the message should be 'this is normal' and 'keep at it, it will eventually come to you'.
     
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  8. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    F slow...drive it like it's a rental!
     
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  9. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You'll do fine here :)
     
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  10. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    I've been looking for an airplane tshirt that says "Fly it like you rented it!"
     
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  11. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    As you wish.

    Or maybe this
     
  12. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Or have one made the way you want it.
     
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  13. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    Nah, it's gotta be "rented" to get the full effect the next time I rent a plane for a couple of hours.
     
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  14. HAPPYDAN

    HAPPYDAN Pre-Flight

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    Hey, Doug. I feel your pain. Now 66, started 3 years ago, 90+ hours in 4 different Skycatchers, 7 different instructors. Same problems landing that plane. It's inherent to that model. Many CFIs won't train in it. The bonus: once you figure it out, other planes seem easy. The secret for me was slow flight (here it comes...). Get up to a good safe altitude, add carb heat, pull the throttle, try to hold altitude with back pressure. Add flaps. Try to hit 40 and hold, full flaps, hold altitude, nose high. Add power to hold altitude, keep pitching up to hold 40. Gentle bank turns, left and right. Try this before returning to land. Also, if you're like me, Touch and Go was bad and pointless. Too much added stress. Taxi back, checklist, then take off was more productive. On final approach, 60, no more. And rather than full flaps, try just 2 notches for better control, and don't be afraid to use slips (cross-control on final - Yikes!), the Skycatcher does them well in all configurations.
     
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  15. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    HappyDan, thank you. I'm actually do pretty well with slow flight including turns (ascending, descending, and holding altitude); not perfect but pretty good. We generally keep the speed around 50 unless I'm setting up for stall practice. It might be interesting to see how I can do at the 40 knot level.

    Landings sound close to what I do now except I'll tend to be a bit too high on short final and either at 70 knots (upsets me) or 50 (upsets my CFI, something about not wanting to die...). I only use full flaps when I'm trying for a short field or soft field landing (which need a looooot of work).

    Also good to know that the Catcher is a bit of a challenge; nothing like starting something in a complicated plane! I'm actually good with that; I tend to jump in over my head on most projects so this one fits me well. When I'm done, 747 here I come!
    Re Touch and Go, as a student, I'm not allowed to do them when flying solo but can when I'm with my CFI. If I remember to trim after take off, they're generally not too bad most of the time.

    Good to know there are other old farts learning/learned on the Catcher. I'll just keep on keepin on!
     
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  16. Volitation

    Volitation Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Doug, I'm 58 and working on my check ride prep. My instructor has told me, repeatedly, that I overthink things, and I had similar problems, and while I looked for every "tip" I could find, I couldn't seem to 'get' it. The thing that helped the most was , of all things, going out one night for the 10 night landings. Having the visual inputs reduced seemed to simplify everything down to feeling what the AC was wanting to do. I didn't at all like the idea of landing at night while I wasn't happy with what I was doing during the day, but found I enjoyed them. I'm not sure how to apply this to LS, maybe someone more experienced has an idea?

    The other thing that helped was solo time, and going off to a near by airport to work on landings by myself. Some are still better than others, but I became confident that I can do it. I'm going this afternoon for stall, ground reference, and landing practice and will do a couple of more sessions like that while finishing up the prep. And every time I go, I'm a little more confident.

    Hang in there!
     
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  17. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    58? You whippersnapper! Git off'n my lawn!

    Thank you for your reply. The Skycatcher is rated for night flight but Sport Pilots are day only. It is likely that when I go for my check ride, my CFI will either have to fly me there or home depending on whether we're doing the flight early or late.

    Solo I can do once my CFI is OK with me again. I'm hoping that my next 2 week intense training will get me over the hump and back to doing more solo flights and, hopefully, at any other airport. All of my solo work has been within sight of my CFI.

    Thanks again.
     
  18. Volitation

    Volitation Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm the last person to try to give advice, and I get it about Sport being day only. I think the thing for me at night was we were on something like a 150 x 10000 runway, and since it was at night, there weren't many familiar visual cues close to the ground. So, I had to trust what I was feeling, instead of second guessing what I feel vs. what see vs. what I think think I should be doing. (i.e. Overthinking!) The other thing was that once I flared, and I had such a different sight picture, I finally started to learn (and feel) how much back elevator pressure I needed.

    After that night, I finally started to trust myself, and while sometimes it isn't pretty, I'm not gonna screw up TOO badly!

    I don't know how this translates to your experience, but I would tell you to trust Yourself!
     
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  19. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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  20. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    I'll echo the skycatcher challenge sentiment. I've been flying one for fun lately, and it's really super easy to land, but it's incredibly difficult to land well. My landings in the Mooney are much better after I shoot a few in the skycatcher. As with the mooney, being at the right speed makes a big difference in the skycatcher. If you're not fast, it's MUCH easier.
     
  21. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    Same is true with the Tecnam Eaglet. A little too fast and it floats and floats and balloons.... Not too bad at the right speed, but then the crosswind pushes it around more.
     
  22. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thank you and Salty; good to know that landing well in the Catcher is not trivial. That makes me feel better.

    I am most often a bit fast but have also had a number of 'too slow' landings (that weren't short/soft field). Round out a bit high and slow and it's...sporty...let's say that. When I'm high and fast I tend to rush the landing. I'm getting better at letting the plane bleed off speed and altitude but don't have it down yet.
     
  23. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    Are u getting impatient in landing flare? I had that problem too, after flare all I could think about is how to get thing on the ground. Bounced and floated every time. Just because I was done flying doesn't mean the plane is done flying. Hold off for some more time and let it bleed off. That's what worked for me. I am a student, so don't pay attention to what I say

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
  24. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That is a problem but not the one that's causing me heartburn; I am learning patience and don't rush quite so bad as I used to.

    The thing I'm obsessing over is the fact that I can't see my alignment so I tend to be pointed left or right when I land AND I can't see that I'm moving laterally due to cross winds so I side load. These are problems right at the landing, not on approach. I believe it's related to my inability to process all the incoming information so my visual system gets focused on not slamming the nose gear into the tarmac and the left/right/drift information is just not processed.
     
  25. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    Seems like u need more brain cells free to compute those. Just keep working on landings. I did that for months. Now I can't tell u where I look while landing, but I don't bounce or plop or float, so must be doing something right. There is a video on YT by rod machado on secret to landing flare, didn't work for me, but I sit high on a low wing plane, but could work for u. He specifically addresses the issue you are discussing

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
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  26. Vance Breese

    Vance Breese Line Up and Wait

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    I have had several students like you Doug.
    The hardest thing for them is to keep their eyes outside the aircraft. They want the precise speed and the precise descent rate. In my opinion instruments for VFR are just for calibrating you sight picture.
    I find that a pleasant cross country using the sight picture for airspeed is the best fix because they are not multitasking like they do in pattern work.
    I ask they were they are looking as they round out and it is often not at the end of the runway; I feel it should be.
    A different CFI might be helpful. I had a pilot unable to land after seven house with another instructor who is probably better than I and I had the client landing well in the second hour once I got him to keep his eyes outside the aircraft.
    Good luck with your adventure. I have no doubt you will become a proficient pilot.
    PS. A brain injury reduces your ability to multitask. Have you bumped your head?
     
  27. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    He chose a high wing.... bumped heads comes with the territory

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
  28. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    More than one CFI said I should be looking at the end of the runway. For me, at least, that does NOT work. I suspect it doesn't work for others. When focusing a mile away from the plane, I simply cannot judge how high above the runway I am. If I look a few hundred feet away, rather than 5000 feet, I can judge my height much better.

    Fast Eddie has some photos that illustrate this. If he doesn't join the thread, shoot him a PM and ask.
     
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  29. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    round out, or flare, whichever term you prefer.

    Yes, not the end of the runway but far enough down that you can get the perspective of how high above the runway you are as you flare or round out, whichever term you like. Looking too far down, like you mentioned, is too far IMO.
     
  30. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Does a concussion in 2007 count?
     
  31. Salty

    Salty Pattern Altitude

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    Do you need to sit on a cushion? I'm short, and I noticed when I sit on a 2" cushion I can see the runway a lot better in the skycatcher.
     
  32. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    And a quick glance out the side window is worth a thousand stares down the runway. :)

    When you’re tunnel vision is high from overload, you forget to look to the sides.
     
  33. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm 5'8" but couldn't see the cowl so I started using a cushion a couple of months ago. I have a better view of the front of the plane and the runway but it wasn't the magic bullet I had hoped it would be.
     
  34. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Given the way I data overload, I've been afraid to look away from the front; if I look sideways, I'm pretty sure any control I have over pitch will evaporate. I've been trying to figure out if I could rig up a 'side view mirror' inside the cockpit that would allow me to keep eyes forward but see out the sides. There's not a lot of spare room in the Skycatcher so I'm not sure where I'd mount it.
     
  35. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    Nah, not needed; you're seeing more with your peripheral vision than you realize. Just be patient, strive for consistency, and keep at it. It will come.

    Out of curiosity, do you wear corrective lenses? Glasses or contacts? How is your peripheral vision?

    And do you inhale or do you exhale when you start the round out? :).
     
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  36. Vance Breese

    Vance Breese Line Up and Wait

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    When I read your original post and some of your responses Doug you sounded a lot like some of the people in my brain injury support group.

    That is why I mentioned it.

    If I hide my challenges successfully people can’t help me work around them.

    All TBI (traumatic brain injuries) are different but there are some common challenges that may affect aviation.

    Speaking of myself; poor unrelated short term memory makes radio calls difficult for me. I print them out on laminated card on a kneeboard and fill in the blanks with a wet erase.

    I have difficulty blocking out distractions so I ask passengers to stop talking in the pattern. As a student pilot the less my instructor talked the better I did. I found constructive criticism distracting.

    I have difficulty multitasking so I try to manage thing step by step. If I consistently follow the procedure consistently I can achieve quiet good results.

    Because I know what it is like to have full cognitive skills it is difficult for me to not fight the challenges.

    It helps me when I recognize my limitations and work around them.

    I wish you all the best on your aviation adventure.

    I have found that managing the skills to fly helps me develop my cognitive skills.
     
  37. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Yup yup yup. Just glance. You’ll get there. With glasses sometimes our peripheral vision stinks too, I know... if you have those. I do and I have to make a minute head turn to look sideways but I don’t have to fully turn my head. Just enough to get the window in my glasses. It’s just a peek. But it tells the height story better than looking forward.

    Maybe have the instructor make a landing and you can practice once around looking at your spot until the roundout then alternating eyes down the runway a ways and a peek or two out the side window.

    It helps remove that feeling of pitchiness leading to disaster to see the wing out there doing its thing and the ground getting slowly closer out the side window. :)
     
  38. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    BRO! You get it! Glad to hear you're flying; that gives me much hope. Thank you for sharing.

    I was very lucky. Mine was pretty minor in the greater scheme of things. I fell, banged my head on a rock, and was out for about 5 minutes. It took me about 6 months to get mostly back to normal; no loss of speech or motor skills. I wrote code at the time so the cognitive loss was...worrisome; nothing like looking at something you wrote last week and realizing it is total crap but when you wrote it you were 'in the zone' and doing great work. I'm also acutely aware that I'm no longer able to process as much information as quickly as I used to. When I'm driving and get into complex traffic, the radio goes off and nobody talks to me; I just can't handle anything more than driving. Flying is driving * 10...I equate it to trying to juggle 3 running chainsaws while balancing on a big rubber ball that's on a trampoline while trying to give the Gettysburg address while listening to important directions while people are throwing heavy rocks at you...

    I had a neuro at about 6 months post-injury. With no pre-concussion baseline, the results were mostly above normal with a dip in my auditory recall that was outside of expected ranges (but still inside 'normal' limits). I'm having another in Dec with a guy who trained at the Shepherd Center just to see where I am today. Most days in regular world, it's not a big deal. The challenge is recognizing the days I'm not safe to fly since the world inside my head doesn't always tell me 'you're a mess, stay home today'. My wife was a special ed teacher so she's on board to assist.

    So, when you take the issue with auditory processing (translates to missing radio traffic), couple that to not the greatest short term memory, age, bad eyes, and not the world's best fine motor skills you're left with a very nervous student. The good news is that I'm fully aware of my shortcomings and I am working to develop reliable processes to deal with each specific issue. I write things down and am learning to plan out the next 5 minutes so I'm not trying to figure out what to do at the instant I need to do it.

    Regarding eyes, yes, wear progressive lenses. Peripheral vision is fuzzy. When I'm busy trying to land, peripheral is totally gone due to information overload. If I want to see outside the window, I'll have to turn my head and look. I think what I'll do is let me CFI know that I want to check out my side window and ask him to compensate for any pitch errors for a couple of landings just to see if I can correlate what's up front with what's on the side.

    Regarding inhale/exhale...what are these 'hale' things of which you speak? Crap, you want me to do all the stuff associated with landing AND breath??? Right about the time the plane is dropping to hit the runway, I tense up and just hold my breath. I have managed to not have a death grip on the stick but, yeah, I need to relax and breath. I'll add that to my list of things to do. Good catch!

    Thank you all.
     
  39. HAPPYDAN

    HAPPYDAN Pre-Flight

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    Looking at the sides of the runway works for many, but only for me on a skinny (>50 ft) runway with no centerline. On wider runways it causes me to flare too high. So I was taught to aim at the threshold, then focus on the dashes (helps to stay on center) once the threshold is passed. As I come down, the dashes appear to get shorter and closer together. Power should be at idle now. When they begin to look like a highway (from your car) slowly, gently (2 fingers) ease back on the stick to level out. Hold it right there, maintaining directional control and crosswind correction. As it begins to settle, slowly ease the nose up to the end of the runway (just enough to keep the nose wheel from contacting), be ready to add power and pitch up if it starts to drop. It won't speed up but add a cushion of air to slow the descent. Once on the runway, ease on the brakes and slowly pull back on the stick for dynamic braking.
     
  40. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A. Core issue right there; I am not currently seeing alignment or drift and by 'seeing' I mean that I'm not processing the visual inputs so I really can't tell if I'm drifting or aligned. This video demonstrates my problem. I can count passes but...
    B. Good trick. I typically only add power on final when I know I'm too low or if I'm going around. I'll need to try that in the final phase of landing.

    Thank you.