LOG ENTRY - 18-OCT-2011                                        Matt Borland
  Flight: 21 - 18-OCT-2011 - 1.6 hr - Touch-and-goes
  Depart: KCOS ~0830  Arrive: KCOS ~1018

Today my landings were much improved.  They were pretty consistent and I had
a couple 'very good' touchdowns.  My approaches were more even, and I could
feel the ground effect better than in the past.

The weather is starting to get cold again.  As I left the hotel in the morning,
there was a reasonable amount of frost on the car, and it was still below
freezing as I got to the airport.  In these situations the aero club will 
place each of the aircraft that are scheduled for flight in the hangar so they
don't have a frost layer and also so their engines are a little warmer for

The planes are very tightly placed in position such that it's not unlike
Tetris trying to get them out.  To get my plane out, two other planes had to
be moved out first.  A spotter watches as the plane is manually towed out, to
ensure that nothing is clipped.

The plane started pretty well, though I noticed the oil pressure was a little 
high; this was due to the cold and soon fell within normal limits.  The sun 
had just risen a little while before we started and my instructor asked if I
had a baseball cap.  Many pilots rely on caps more than sunglasses for eye
protection, since the bill can be used to selectively block out the sun.  I
like using my sunglasses, but it is true that in many situations they actually
decrease your visual sensitivity, so it's best to have a variety of options

After our engine runup at the runway intersection, we called in to the tower,
ready for takeoff.  During this period, however, a few different planes were
doing touch-and-goes, including a 'heavy' plane (large commercial/cargo jet).
I remembered my boss mentioning that sometimes United does touch-and-goes in
their heavy planes in the Springs when they have various hour requirements to
fulfill (e.g. pilot proficiency).  Between this and other operations we waited
at runway 31 for literally five minutes, which is very unusual for this airport.
The most I've had to wait in the past was for a plane on its final leg to land.

As we started rolling the tower called out our pattern, and my instructor said
that they really should have waited until I was a little into the air to do so.
I did understand the direction and made the call back while taking off, but it
is unwise for the tower to do that because the pilot should be focusing on the
takeoff.  Throughout this time it seemed the controller was a little 
overwhelmed; several times we heard the supervisor come on to clarify or 
otherwise handle the directions being given.  About half an hour after we
started another controller took over and things seemed to go much more smoothly.

My last flight had been in fairly gusty and changing winds, and it was pretty 
much a night-and-day difference today.  The wind was steady and light through
the session.  This made every aspect easier; I could hold my altitude very
easily and as I said before, my approaches were much more even (not always
correcting and overcorrecting).  I still turned to my final leg a little early;
apparently I have a real aversion to overshooting my final turn.

The landings went very well from the start, and I felt very calm and in control
when executing them.  I did well over a dozen landings total, and I varied my
landing types a bit to experiment and keep myself alert.  The first couple times
I did a normal 'full flaps' landing.  This is a standard landing in a small 
airplane.  Using full flaps means you are approaching at the slowest of your
typical approaches, which is good because it allows you a shorter landing
distance (although you can perform a short-field landing which is even shorter).
In the case of the T-41C a full flaps landing is approached at 75 MPH.  This
may sound fast, but when flying this seems more like a crawl even as you 
approach the runway.  As your plane nears the surface, about the total wings'
width to the ground, it comes into 'ground effect' which roughly explained is
like a cushion that gives you a little extra lift...a nice side-effect of 
physics that assists both in landings and takeoffs.  Here the ground effect
allows you to float a little more and bleed off speed so you can touch down 
just around the stall speed of the aircraft.  The control of the airplane is
very nuanced at this point in that you are just very slightly altering the 
pitch of the plane so that you enter a nose-up attitude when you touch down.
Since the T-41C is has 'tricycle' landing gear you want to land the two 'main'
(back) gear before the nosewheel.  This makes the plane a little easier to 
control on the ground as you slow down but also prevents the plane from landing
flat and causing front-and-back pitching oscillations.  The plane should settle
down rather than be either shoved or dropped to the ground, and this is 
basically the difficult part of landing well.  Today I also was doing a better
job of landing centerline or at least well parallel, rather than crooked.  
Landing crooked will throw the plane around a bit on its vertical axis
(twisting left and right) which is not very pleasant.

We also performed a no-flaps landing, which as you might guess is done using
the flaps fully up.  In this case, your approach is a bit faster (85 MPH) and 
it's a little harder to fight the ground effect and settle down.  As a result 
your landings are a bit longer.

I wanted to vary up the landings a bit so I said to my instructor that I 
wanted to do a 'short approach.'  In most approaches, you will start your final
approach at least a mile or so out from the runway.  A short approach is a 
landing option where you essentially start out zero miles from the runway.  
More specifically, you are flying parallel and the opposite direction to your 
runway, and as you pass the threshold you drop all your power (throttle) and 
put down all your flaps, and make your base turn and then final turn right away.
It's a way of taking a few minutes out of your flight pattern, so occasionally
the tower will require you to do so.  So as I had just mentioned to my 
instructor that I wanted to do a short approach, the tower advised 'zero five 
november, make short approach.'  Jinx, I thought, she needs to buy me a Coke.

If all goes well this next week, I will get to solo!  I'm not too worried about
it but would like to be done with the anticipation and move on to other