Yesterday, 3-6-04, I got a little brave with my R/C flying abilities. I went out the the airport only with Jennifer, instead of having an R/C pilot with me like every other time. It was also a bit different in that I wasn't using the normal area for my runway. The wind was out of the south, and so I didn't want to land next to the hangar and have turbulance while landing, like the day before. There was only one plane flying at the airport, but it was flying a closed pattern, so it was pretty easy to keep track of it, especially with Jennifer keeping an eye out for it. Since that plane wasn't using the main taxiway, I used it for my runway so that I could take off and land with pretty much a direct headwind. I was a bit suprised though, I didn't feel nervous about not having someone out there that really knows about R/C planes like I thought I would. After between 5 and 10 minutes of flying, I decided I better top off the tank. I was a bit concerned about how well the landing would go due to the day before, but then I thought that it probably had a lot to do with the wind. So I lined up on the taxiway, but I was a lot farther away than normal. The plane was drifting slowly to the left, and I didn't correct enough for it. So when it touched down, it went off the taxiway and nosed into the grass. I'm glad that happened where it did, because there was a taxiway edge light a lot closer than I would have liked to where it went into the grass.
As I was bringing the plane back so I could fill it up and fly again, Jen and I got to talking about what it does when it stalls. So I told her I would show her a stall during my next flight. Besides, I'd only stalled it one other time (my first flying day) and I knew I needed to get a better idea of how slow it can go before stalling so that I can make a little slower approaches to landing. So after I took off and climed up to what I felt was three mistakes high I went for a power-off stall. I eased the power back, and as the plane slowed down, I pulled back to maintain altitude. I noticed that I wasn't completely at idle, so I pulled the throttle the rest of the way back. Right there stuff hit the fan. Although I couldn't see that the prop stoped, I could tell that things were quiet, too quiet. All I could think was "UHOH, this good be very bad!" Although I don't recall consciously thinking about having to make a dead-stick landing when I tried to stall, I must have sub-consciously thought about it because I was high, pretty close to and heading towards my runway when this happened. So I glided over my runway, turned downwind, held that so I could get a good idea of the glidepath, then turned base to final. (Just like every time I've practiced this in full-size planes.) I think I made my best landing up to that point. I had a pretty stable descent and I made a smooth touch-down. I was then able to turn it towards my car so that I wouldn't have to carry it as far to get the engine going again. Yes, it felt pretty good
I adjusted the mixture after that and got it so it would idle a little better. I don't want to have to deal with another dead-stick landing. This flight went pretty good. I tried a barrel-roll, but it went pretty much like the very first time I tried it, because it didn't work out very well. I also did a couple of loops that worked out fairly well. I came in for another good landing, but I touched down a lot farther south than I wanted to (I don't want my plane getting too close to the FBO) so I made it a touch and go. I can't get over how quickly my plane speeds up. After about two seconds of rolling with full-throttle, I rotated and was able to make a pretty steep climbing turn so that I could get back to where I'm supposed to be flying. My next landing was the best one I've ever had. I had a stable descent and a smooth touch-down. Man that felt good to be able to do it right. I taxied back to my car, then went around in circles a few times just for the fun of it. I then ran up the engine to clear it out, then pitched the line so that there wouldn't be much fuel sitting in the engine. Now that was a good flying day.