Tuesday, July 6, 2010
From Russia With Love
Soloing a Yak 50
Inbound, I began to get tense over the landing, and I revisited Ted’s description of how he wheel-landed. I was more used to three-point landings with my hours in the Pitts, but trusting his instincts, I opted for his instruction, “Patience and soft hands.” Gear came down at just under 200 kph or “clicks” on downwind, and aiming for 150 clicks over the fence, I reduced my throttle to four “potatoes” to achieve a stable rate of descent.
Bummer! I realized too late that I was slightly fast and touched down hot, got a couple of pretty innocuous bounces, powered up and came around again. This time, I nailed my airspeed, touched down on the numbers, popped the stick slightly forward to keep the tail off the ground and let the speed bleed off before the tail dropped cooperatively to the pavement.
Ted and I chuckled to each other about the role reversal as we backed the Yak into its hangar. While I had admitted how nervous I was soloing, he had shown nothing but confidence in my abilities. Once I was back on the ground, though, he confessed that he had been nervous, too, and laughingly said, “Now I know how you felt as my instructor when you soloed me in your airplane.”
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