Skylane Checkout

DrBenny

New Member
I'd studied the POH, the numbers, the procedures, and everything else I could before arriving today at FDK. After about an hour briefing focusing mostly on power settings and details on constant speed props, it was out to the airplane. Man, was it cold, and winds gusting to 20 kts., too!

We decided to stay in the pattern today so we could focus on landings and trimming for the various airspeeds. With a 15-20 kt wind down the runway coupled with our light weight and cold temps we were off in NO TIME. I am not lying about this next statement: on this and every time, we were climbing at AT LEAST 1700 f.p.m., and usually at 2,000 f.p.m! I was supposed to climb away at Vy at 80 kts, but I couldn't do it--the deck angle was just too high for me. Instead, I climbed away at 85-90 kts, and still saw that amazing climb rate for at least 500 feet.

Still, almost immediately, it was time to throttle back to 23" and two turns on the prop. Even after that, the climb rate was very, very good. Remember how in the beginning of your flight training the plane was ahead of you, and not the other way around? Well, I started off this way. Even after the four landings, I was, at best, "with" the plane at the same time. There's definitely no time to think things through--right after you're done with something, it is time to do something else.

Now, my biggest difficulty was base and final. It was here that I was having problems getting the right airspeeds and descent rate. My CFI for the day pointed out that there were two factors that complicated things: 1) There is an area approaching RWY30 where you get a bad sink at first, followed by lift, and 2) the gusty winds were messin' with me. The drill was to try (and I mean "try") to get the 'Lane as stabilized as possible as soon as possible on both of those legs--just like any other plane. On the last two landings, things were getting better. Here's one weird thing, though: when I finally had the bird stabilized at 75 kts on final, with 500 fpm descent rate, I felt like we were descending in a more level attitude than we would have been in the 172. Any comments on that?

OK, now for the landings. The first two proved that I am very good at recovering from ballooning. LOL! I was just so worried because everyone had told me that the nose is very heavy. I believe the problem was flaring too fast to level. So, instead of leveling out a few feet over the runway, from which attitude I could slowly flare up as I would sink, I instead balooned up. Complicating matters on RWY 30 is the fact that there is that damned drop-off! No sweat, I just add a bit of power and lower the nose. But this isn't a 172, and a "bit" of power turns out to be enough to keep climbing, even with the nose down. Finally, I was able to ease off on the power slowly, flare slowly, and touch down very nicely. I just wish I could've avoided all of the shenanigans at 5-15 feet!

The next circuit found me way to high and fast, so we practiced a go-around. TRIM THAT NOSE DOWN, BABY, AND DO IT FAST, I mentally yelled at myself. (My CFI was very relaxed.)

Like anything, more practice makes for better results, and the last two landings were more stable. I really tried very hard to have everything stabilized as soon as possible for every leg of the pattern. In general, this meant that I had to be a bit more proactive with getting where I wanted to be with power and trim, as early as possible. With the crazy bumps--funny hearing the stall horn when you're straight and level, at 100 kts, but that's turbulence--I had to accept some wavering. The last two landings were much more organized, with less fiddling with the throttle before/during the flare. (I would have liked it better if I could've just cut the throttle on final, but I needed power to hold 75 kts.)

Funny that all of my touchdowns, for all the landings, were very soft. It is just that some of the antics on those earlier landings must have looked pretty funny as I seemed to clown around in the flare.

I think that I would need two more lessons, at least, before I would want to be signed off, and maybe ten flights before I felt comfortable actually using the plane to go anywhere.

So, I have a two questions for you:

1) Should I continue with this checkout? Right now, my tentative answer would be "yes," if I want to fly the Skylane with any regularity, but "no" otherwise.

2) Again, for Skylane drivers, what are your throttle/prop settings for downwind, base, and final? I want to do some chair flying.

In any event, I had a great time!
 

ricecakecm

Well-Known Member
I've got probably 60-70 hours in 182's....

1) Should I continue with this checkout? Right now, my tentative answer would be "yes," if I want to fly the Skylane with any regularity, but "no" otherwise.

Yes. The 182 is a great airplane to fly on cross country flights. It's got good range, a good useful load, and will prepare you for more advanced and faster airplanes.

2) Again, for Skylane drivers, what are your throttle/prop settings for downwind, base, and final? I want to do some chair flying.

Typically I'll set the power to 20 inches and 2300 RPM as soon as I turn downwind. At mid-field I pull on the carb heat. When I get abeam my landing point, 15 inches and the first set of flaps. On base, I'll put in the second set. Turning final, I'll bring the prop up to high RPM and lower the last notch of flaps. I usually hold between 70 and 80 knots on final. At first, I'd go towards the 80 knot mark. As you get more comfortable with it, slow it down a bit. The 182 while hard to slow down, likes to sink once it's slowed down. You've got to fly it the whole time.

Hope this helps.
 

DrBenny

New Member
Thanks for the response, ricecakecm. It is funny that you say that the 182 will prepare me for more advance planes. You are right, of course, but right now the 182 is a handful for me!

Thanks also for you numbers. After reading your post, I think that one of my problems with stabilizing the descent on final was that when I completely removed power, the thing started to sink at an alarming rate. So I would add too much power, and then start the shenanigans. The CFI got me straightened out a bit on the last few landings wherein I was much more stabilized.

Thanks, again!
 

SUSPilot

Well-Known Member
Any plane that is someone's first high performance or complex plane will feel like a handful at first, but once you are used to the extra speed and weight you will see that a C182 flies just like a big 172. The speeds are a little faster, it has a heavier nose, an extra lever for the prop, but it flies like a Cessna nontheless. I think you will see this after just a little more time in the airplane. After flying bigger faster planes, I flew a 172 for the first time in about a year and a half a couple of months ago and I had a hard time adjusting to how slow everything happened, and this was the plane that when I was a presolo student pilot seemed to be going so fast. The 182 will be the same for you after a few flights.
 

DrBenny

New Member
Thanks, SUSpilot!

The only thing that didn't seem standard to me was that (like I said in the original post), at 75 kts and descending at 500 fpm, I felt that the attitude was much more level than in the 172. Maybe I'm imagining things?
 

bluelake

Well-Known Member
I'll second ricecakecm's comments, I got about the same amount of time in Skylanes, straight-leg and RG.

the only thing I do different is I really try to (and my students also) stick to 70 on final. For Commercial students, I used to have them inch the speed back just a couple of more knots.

In terms of flare, I tell my students TWO things:
1) The nose sits high. If you can even see the runway when you touch down, you landed FLAT

2) In training (two front seaters.. forward CG), in the roundout and flare, if you let the nose begin to fall you will have a hard time getting it back up. SO, in the roundout, get that nose level initially and only bring it up from there. DO not let it start down.

Ok.. there is a third...
3) It seems on our RG, the wheels seem really small for the size of the aircraft. It seems REALLY EASY to skid a wheel even on a taxi turn. So I press the students to be really easy on the brakes.

One more aside (this is not 4 however): I am just starting in instrument rating with a guy who owns a Skylane with a 310 HP engine. That thing climbs in a scary way. We are at pattern altitude usually before the end of the 7,000' long runway
:):)
 

ricecakecm

Well-Known Member
Like somebody else said, it's just a Cessna. You'll learn as you transition to other airplanes, if you fly the numbers, you'll do fine. I've flown airplanes ranging in size from a Super Cub to a King Air and all sorts of stuff in between by just about every major US airplane builder (Piper, Cessna, Beech, Mooney) and in all of them, if you know the numbers and the right power settings and configurations (gear and flaps), they'll do what you want when you want. Of course the trick is, when you're flying 5 or 6 or 7 different types of airplanes, remembering all the numbers.
 

SUSPilot

Well-Known Member
Hey ricecakecm speaking of the supercub, are any of the planes that were in the accidents last semester back on line yet.
 

DrBenny

New Member
Thanks, Bluelake. I especially was helped by the comment that the nose seems high. All of my actual touchdowns (once I stopped clowning around in the flare) were soft, but I always felt the nose was high. I see now that it wasn't all that high.

One question: the POH recommends a short field approach at 61 kts with no power. What does that look like? I haven't done it yet. Are you pointed straight down? LOL!
 

DrBenny

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
You'll learn as you transition to other airplanes, if you fly the numbers, you'll do fine.

[/ QUOTE ] My problem was that although I knew the numbers, it was taking me too long to settle the plane into stabilization. I needed mp settings for base and final, but I wasn't solid on them.
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
You know the best thing that helped me out with pitches, power settings, etc was some advice from a UPS 747 captain.

"Do whatever it takes to get the airplane to do what you want it to do".

Being a former Riddle student, I was almost obsessed with power settings, manifold pressures and pitch settings to get specific performance out of the aircraft.

Once I "freed" myself from expecting a generic pitch/power setting my flying improved 8-fold.

Cruise power in an -88? I have no idea. Stabilized approach with gear down and flaps 40? No idea.

Concentrate on being proactive and putting it where it needs to be for your desired performance and you'll be a'ok fine.
 

aloft

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
My problem was that although I knew the numbers, it was taking me too long to settle the plane into stabilization. I needed mp settings for base and final, but I wasn't solid on them.

[/ QUOTE ]

Remember, flying's an art, not a science; you're free to add/remove power to meet the desired performance, i.e., 400-500 fpm descent at 80 kts or whatever. Resist the urge to rigidly adhere to specific MP settings, etc.

EDIT: I must have been channeling you, Doug; we were thinking the same thing at the same time!
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
You know, Aloft, once I discovered that flying is an "art" and not a "science", everything started working out.

I did most of my flight training under the impression that flying was a science and I sucked. But once I started taking the perspective that it's more of an "art", things started working a lot better for me.

I think at first, it's got to be a science, but the quicker one lets go of thinking of flying in terms of pitch and power, their flying skills will improve incredibly.

Another vote for flying being an "art".
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Gah!

My bad!

I usually look at posts and not threads when I'm replying!


D'oh!
 

aloft

New Member
Hahaah...no, not from this thread...you said something to that effect many moons ago, and I've since integrated it into my bag o' tricks. You made a believer out of me, reverend!
 

aloft

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Typically I'll set the power to 20 inches and 2300 RPM as soon as I turn downwind. At mid-field I pull on the carb heat. When I get abeam my landing point, 15 inches and the first set of flaps. On base, I'll put in the second set. Turning final, I'll bring the prop up to high RPM and lower the last notch of flaps. I usually hold between 70 and 80 knots on final. At first, I'd go towards the 80 knot mark. As you get more comfortable with it, slow it down a bit. The 182 while hard to slow down, likes to sink once it's slowed down. You've got to fly it the whole time.

[/ QUOTE ]

That's not exactly how ya taught me to do it, Chris...
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Hahaah...no, not from this thread...you said something to that effect many moons ago, and I've since integrated it into my bag o' tricks. You made a believer out of me, reverend!


[/ QUOTE ]

I am SO not getting the Sharpton hairdoo.

Not to get all weird or anything, but flying is much more "impressionist" than it is "paint by the numbers".
 

Alchemy

Well-Known Member
In the skylane I use 17" MP on downwind. This usually gives me somewhere around 110 knots. Abeam the numbers I pull the power to 15" and apply 10 degrees of flaps. I turn base and reduce power as needed to get 500 FPM and within the white arc so I can put the flaps at 20 degrees (usually around 13" mp). Now I turn the carb heat on and add a little bit of power to compensate. Turning final I put the flaps to 30 and adjust the power as necessary to mantain 70 KIAS until over the threshold. I will put in 40 degrees of flaps at maintain 63 KIAS for a short field landing. Over the threshold I pull the throttle to idle and flare. Sometimes I add an inch of MP just before touchdown if I think I'm sinking too fast.

It's pretty important not to raise the nose too high or you'll sink like a rock (region of reverse command). On the other hand you don't want the nosewheel to touch down first. Find that sweet angle of attack and you'll touch down like a feather on the mains.

When I have an electric trim availabe, I hold my finger on the up elevator trim continuously during the flare until touchdown. It's not uncommon for me to reach the limits of the yoke's motion during the flare if the airplane isn't trimmed properly on final.
 
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