Saturday January 18th 2003, 2pm, N739YE, 1.6H

I was hoping to fly solo today to practice some landings, but the visibility never got above 5 miles. As often is the case Yoed was around so I asked him to come with me. I’d told him my checkride was on Monday so he decided to give me a pretty good workout to make sure I was ready. We did the usual downwind departure heading south. Up to 4200’ and into power-on turning stalls. These were reasonable, though I just don’t get why you slow to 55 KIAS (rotation speed), then apply power and start the turn. If this is supposed to simulate a departure stall then I would think you should be climbing at Vy and simulate the stall as if you were turning onto crosswind. Still everyone insists you do it the former way (including the PTS). We did a couple of these and then tried slow flight without flaps (a new twist) some turns and then a couple of power-off turning stalls. Then it was steep turns left and right, these were reasonable, and to standard, the last one was perfect.

We were about 4 miles north of Frazier Lake, flying south when Yoed cut the power. I made that same long ago rookie mistake of forgetting that South County was behind me, which Yoed pointed out. I had plenty of altitude and I decided to come in over final to runway 32 and circle down getting the cockpit checks and checklists out of the way as we descended. In hindsight I had enough altitude to make a more conventional entry on the 45 and that is what I should have done. After one circuit around final there was a Saratoga calling on downwind. I really needed to loose some more altitude but Yoed decided that I just needed to get down before the Saratoga can up behind up on final. So he had me drop in the full 40 degrees of flaps and dive for the ground at Vfe (85 KIAS). This is a fun attitude to be in this close to the ground! I got down over the numbers and rounded out, trying to bled off some speed. I was at about 70 KIAS and I believe I would have gotten down (though without much tarmac to spare) when Yoed called the go-around. All in all an exciting landing attempt.

We did four trips around the pattern practicing short & soft landings. The wind was actually blowing fairly hard to I finally got to practice the classic rectangular ground reference flying, needing a fairly significant crab angle on base and crosswind. None of the landings were too memorable.

Back to RHV, got the usual straight in approach to 31L. The tower was busier than I’ve ever seen it. I guess we had beautiful weather all week. However, this morning we all woke up to dense fog which really didn’t clear until 1pm. So the world and his wife were flying. I made a passable short field landing exiting at taxiway C (which was what Yoed had asked me to do) then we sat for almost 5 minutes waiting for a clearance to cross 31R, there was that much traffic on the runways. Not a bad flight today, no major mistakes though the emergency landing could have been less exciting.