Well, it’s been a long time since my last post. Over a year, in fact! I have been flying, but I haven’t made the time to write about it.
Since earning my glider rating I’ve made a few flights up at Tahoe in a Grob 103, which was an incredible thrill – the Grob feels like a Ferrari compared to the Ford-Pinto-esque Schweizer 2-32 I used in my glider training. But outside of that, I’ve only been up in a C-172 for the occasional Bay Tour.
While I think it’s absolutely true that learning to fly gliders really helps to hone your skills in a powered airplane, I’ve struggled to return to flying powered airplanes as if they actually had an engine. My first few landings, for example, had a terrifyingly steep glide slope with a perfectly-executed forward slip right before the threshold. I learned this in a glider, where sudden downdrafts encourage glider pilots to carry extra altitude for as long as possible. Needless to say, the CFI in the right seat quickly reminded me that there’s a perfectly good engine in the airplane we were flying.
I’ve also been aggressive on the rudder pedals, which many C-172 pilots sometimes forget even exist! The induced drag on the long, slender wings of a glider forces pilots to use a lot of rudder input for coordinated turns; in a Cessna 172, with a shallow-enough bank angle, there can be turns where no rudder input is even required!
My resolution for the new year is to knock off some rust; a few cross-country flights to a new airport, an Instrument Proficiency Check, and maybe even some good old-fashioned reading of the AIM.