Steven’s PPL Diary 2: Trimming


Day 2 – Getting to ‘second base’ with the aircraft.
Aircraft Familiarisation, again.

[Exercises 1 – 4, Part II]

Well, after my abysmal entrance into the little Piper Cherokee last time I visited the very wonderful profpilot forum for helpful advice (This is my weekly profpilot shameless attempt at advertising). So, my second lesson began with my logbook and a new shiny checklist clutched in my hands, out standing near the aircraft with the wind blowing one hell of a gale, it wasn’t cloudy, but boy was it windy. Jumping up on the wing trying desperately to not be blown off, and threw myself into the aircraft.

Again struggling with my belt, the instructor had me turn to the start-up checklist page and run through that, him pointing out which buttons to flick, which knobs to turn and which dials to check.

Now... Where is the 'ON' switch?

Now... Where is the 'ON' switch?

The engine was started and we were off, albeit slowly, heading towards the runway, the instructor had me steer whilst he adjusted the power and brakes, turning into the wind, finish off another checklist (there’s lots of these) and the instructor got us to the runway and we were off.

A lot ‘bumpier’ than last time, but I assumed like last time it would smooth out once we get up there a bit further, a lesson in aviation, never assume. Hand over this time was a little more nerve wracking, trying to keep the thing level was hard enough, but that wasn’t enough for the instructor, he had me climbing, trimming, levelling, re-trimming, descending, more trimming. Now, in perfectly smooth weather, trimming is (relatively) easy, throw in the wind I had as well, and it becomes instantly 1,000 times more difficult. Following our trim refresher, we looked at the effects of selecting various flap settings, and the associated trimming required, which I can say I made a total mess of.

That was quite a lot of nose up trim there. Possibly too much.

That was quite a lot of nose up trim there. Possibly too much.

After this the instructor took back control from me grappling with the controls (really I was, like you see in the movies, sweat on the brow, the stick shaking in your tight grip) and, much to my frustration, had it trimmed perfectly, flying straight and level with minimal effort and grip on the controls. Handing back over to me we headed back towards the familiar white blob of the airfield, crossed over the threshold, flew parallel to the runway, circled the airport, selected flaps, grappled some more with the controls (Did I mention it was windy) and handed back to the instructor who landed again with a somewhat annoying amount of ease. Back on the ground we followed through the shutdown checklist and climbed out, however not before I lost my log book, only to be found underneath my seat, idiot. A debrief, and that was the end of lesson two.

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