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  1. #1
    Captain Thor's Avatar
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    Mar 2013
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    I Should Thank Him - My first instructor

    He was fairly new to flying and really new to instructing.

    In fact, I was his first student and he taught me in his personal Citabria, a taildragger.

    One thing he taught me that made life particularly challenging as I was learning to fly was his technique for takeoff.

    He would have me hold the stick full forward starting from the takeoff roll. As any taildragger pilot knows, this causes the tail to come up sooner than optimum and then all those forces we study in ground school come into play. Gyroscopic precession makes the aircraft yaw to the left, spiraling slipstream makes the aircraft yaw to the left, etc. and at that slow speed, the rudder has little authority.

    As a result, virtually all of my early takeoffs were an exercise in terror as I prayed we would get off the ground before I lost control of the aircraft. I came close a few times but managed to keep from wrecking the airplane (his girlfriend eventually did ground loop it). During solo practice, I practiced a lot of "soft field" takeoffs because the tail stayed on the ground until liftoff and the aircraft was much easier to control.

    Another pilot suggested I just hold the stick neutral on normal takeoffs and let the tail come up when it's ready. I tried it and WOW! Did that airplane ever get easier to control after that!

    What I didn't fully realize until some years later that all those drunken pilot routines on takeoff did have a benefit for me.

    I had ferried a Cessna 180 to Reykjavik, Iceland and on arrival, the wind was reported 20 gusting to 35 with a nearly direct crosswind. It took me two tries but after one go-around, I managed to get that plane on the ground without ground looping it at its far flung destination.

    Thanks in no small part to the advanced recovery skills I developed in primary training.

    Thanks, Captain.
    Thor Odinson... you have betrayed the express command of your king. Through your arrogance and stupidity, you've opened these peaceful realms and innocent lives to the horror and desolation of war! You are unworthy of these realms, you're unworthy of your title, you're unworthy... of the loved ones you have betrayed! I now take from you your power! In the name of my father and his father before, I, Odin Allfather, cast you out!

  2. #2
    Captain Thor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    An undisclosed Southeast Asian nation...
    Posts
    173
    So have you thanked him yet?
    Thor Odinson... you have betrayed the express command of your king. Through your arrogance and stupidity, you've opened these peaceful realms and innocent lives to the horror and desolation of war! You are unworthy of these realms, you're unworthy of your title, you're unworthy... of the loved ones you have betrayed! I now take from you your power! In the name of my father and his father before, I, Odin Allfather, cast you out!

  3. #3
    Talking to yourself again, I see, Thor?

    You make the fine point that almost every experience in aviation is a learning experience.

    Myself, I find that whenever I miss a checklist item, or the other pilot does, it's another reminder to not only READ the checklist but also to check each item even if the other pilot verbally acknowledges.

    We are all susceptible to complacency, especially when we're running the same repetitive (and often not that well thought-out) checklists several times a day.
    I intend to fly until my beard gets caught in the propeller. And since I don't plan on growing a beard, that may be a while. Ernest K. Gann, age 69


    Daily Diatribe - (Carl's Blog)

  4. #4
    That was a interesting read, and I actually learned a little bit about flying from it. It makes me want to learn more!

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