Sunday July 28th 2002, 6pm, N739YE, 0.9H

My second flight and my first “real” lesson. Again the weather was great, wind was blowing from the North like it usually does in the evening, sunny, warm with just a little haze. I arrived just before 6pm and Grainne was waiting for me. She gave me (I’ll pay later I’m sure) a checklist card and it was out to a different Cessna 172. This time I did all the pre-flight checks from the card. It turned out that the plane only showed quarter full on each fuel tank. Grainne is paranoid about fuel so we called for the nice tanker guy again (he had gone home) and Grainne went to see if another plane was available (it wasn’t) so we actually measured it and both were actually half full. Grainne decided that this was enough for a 1 hour flight with the required reserve. I got covered in oil checking the dip-stick which requires a feat of gymnastics worthy of the Chinese Olympic team. With everything good on the outside we got inside and did another couple of checklists. I actually started the engine, we did the pre-taxi checklist, listened to ATIS (I listened, Grainne actually heard something useful). Then we pulled out of the parking space and I got to do my fish impression with the nose wheel all over again (even worse than the first time). Finally at the end of the runway we did the run-up checklist. Grainne taxied over to in between 30L and 30R and we watched two Cessna’s land either side of us at almost the same time. Then it was onto 30L and take-off. Grainne gave me the plane just a little after leaving the ground and told me to do 90 degree left turn. She then proceed to explain that highway 101 marked the boundary of Class C airspace for San Jose airport. We had a great view of the highway because we were flying right at it. I figured I should make another left turn without being told before we crossed. We climbed on up to about 4500’. It was supposed to be 4000’ but Grainne was explaining why I had to keep my foot on the right rudder when we were at full power and by the time I looked at the altimeter again we were on our way past 4200‘. We leveled off and did some shallow turns – this time the auto-rudder feature didn’t work and I had to push the damn things myself. I discovered that pushing the left rudder way to much while making a left turn puts the plane into rather an alarming nose down position. Grainne calmly told me a little less left rudder (I took my foot right off it) and things returned to a more normal attitude. More turns and I learned I could almost ignore the rudder in shallow turns (to my relief). This time I have resolved not to spend too much time looking at the instruments and tried to immitate Grainne scanning all over the sky looking for traffic (other airplanes), I even saw one before her but I don’t think it counts because it was about 3000’ lower than us on my side of the plane. We did another descent and a few more turns some climbing and some descending. Then it was time to head back to the airport. This time we had a stright in approach to 30L. We left it a little late to start descending (I knew this from FS2002, because the VASI was white-white and we came in very steep). I also screwed up the flaps, the first plane I flew in had a notch that stopped the flap switch at 10 degrees, you had to push it sideways to go beyond 10. This is a safety so you don’t put the flaps down too far while flying too fast and damage them. I was lazy, I assumed the notch was there and just pressed the lever. There was no notch and it went all the way down to 40 degrees. Grainne jumped to push it back to 10. I learned a good lesson about not assuming things, just concentrate and do it right. Grainne took over at about 1000’ and made a really nice landing (I thought), we even got to hear the stall horn just as we touched down (the best place to hear it I believe). I got to embarss myself again trying to taxi back to the parking spot, but slightly better than the last attempt.