April 30, 2004

Wish I Could Do That...

More aerobatics with Ben in 36B: precision spins, cloverleafs, rolls, loops... the usual. This time, a lot of fun, but still a little off with the headings on the cloverleafs. I can't seem to see the correct heading on pullout, and can't stitch more than two quarter-cloverleafs together without losing my heading and positional awareness. The precision spins -- where you state before-hand exactly how many turns (e.g. 1, 1.5, 2, 2.75, etc.) you'll do in the spin -- are truly enjoyable, and go well. I used to dislike spins because of the disorientation, but nowadays I love the little thrill of the kickover, then watching the horizon twist and then spin over and around you. 36B spins steeper than most aerobatics planes -- perhaps 60 to 70 degrees off horiziontal -- so most spins end with you loooking almost straight down at a swirling ground (and the steepness gets emphasized with the sharp elevator kick just before full recovery). The trick is to be able to pull out on the nominated heading -- which is difficult for the first complete turn or so, when the plane hasn't really established the spin, and landmarks on the ground aren't obvious enough to use. It becomes a feeling / timing thing for the first full turn or turn and a half; this time, at least, I had no trouble doing the mental timing an estimation. After the first turn you typically have your choice of ground references to use, and things are easier.

Nothing at all to report on the Bob Channel except a little coordinating to-and-fro between us and one of Attitude's planes doing aerobatics a few miles to our northeast out of Livermore. (i.e. exactly what the frequency's there for).

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On the way back, after checking in with Oakland tower, as we're plodding along at a little under 80 KIAS on a long right base for 33, tower calls us "Bonanza 36B" while giving us a landing clearance. I read back the clearance, then add "and, umm, tower, 36B's a mighty Cessna 152 taildragger not a Bonanza...". Tower snorts in amusement and says "Well, that explains the airspeed...". As we park 36B, we watch a P-51 Mustang doing the right overhead break and a steep, tight aerobatic pattern back onto 27R. Cool. Wish I could do that....

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