Day 2 and 3 at Sunrise aviation.
The last two days at sunrise were as awesome as the first.
Day 2 was a dual decathlon flight running through the sportsman sequence a bunch of times with good success. We’re now working on fixing the little quirks throughout the sequence and getting all of the timing and radii correct and equal.
Day 3 started out with a dual flight in the decathlon working on quirks and such of the sequence and setting some altitude goals and limits. We also did some area familiarization and headed back. We both agreed I was good enough with the local area to solo and Michael sent me off to practice alone.
Operating out of John Wayne Airport(KSNA) is interesting. It’s a class Charlie with lots of airline activity and to runways, 1-19L and 1-19R. 1-19L is the GA runway and it’s 2,800 feet long. 1-19R is the airline runway and is 5,700 feet long, both relatively short runways. The way the runways are oriented, an airliner holding short for 1-19R has it’s engines pointing straight at the threshold for 1-19L and there’s a bump when flying through it. There are all sorts of other quirks as well that I learned while flying with Michael.
I took off for my solo practice and headed out to the practice area to the east. Still amazed with the view in Southern California I took a couple pictures with my phone before securing it for negative G. I rolled inverted on base leg for my belt and systems check, everything proved safe and no screws flew across the cockpit so I turned in towards the box and pushed into the dive. I had previously set a minimum of 2,500 feet indicated after figure 6(a reverse half Cuban) before entering the vertical first wedge because the wedge would eat up a lot of altitude in a standard decathlon(less vertical performance). After figure 6 I referenced my altimeter which read 2,100 so I wagged out and climbed back up, wagged in and finished the sequence. This is allowed in competition flight and is called a break, I believe it’s a 15 point penalty out of a 1,000 point sequence. I then flew the sequence twice more without any breaks ad headed back although I was just meeting my altitude minimum.
The elevation over the practice area was 500 feet, therefore my minimum was 2,000 AGL I was 600 hundred feet above the legal and contest minimum and likely could’ve finished the sequence within limits but sticking to preset minimums will keep you safe, pilots are legally required in the sportsman category to stay at least 1,500 feet above the ground, if this is infringed outside an aerobatic box it is illegal, if it happens in wavered contest airspace it’s a major point penalty but the pilot is legally protected. Michael and I discussed the excess altitude loss after the flight and came to the conclusion that I was more comfortable with vertical downlines and the count that I was giving was too long. (Meaning I spent too much time pointing straight at the ground).
We’ll adjust the count when we fly tomorrow, two more decathlon flights and then it’s Pitts time!