Lesson 19: My first flight in a G1000 glass cockpit | 11/15/15

Last Sunday I went up in Fischer Aviation’s state of the art Cessna 172 S model aircraft with all glass Garmin G-1000 avionics.   This was the first time I’ve used a G1000 cockpit and although my inexperience with such complicated avionics systems limited the machine’s power, in the hour that I was using it I realized how powerful it really is.   I mainly practiced simple procedures such as switching frequencies, using the autopilot, receiving traffic alerts, and tracking VORs, but I could tell I was just skimming the surface of how much it could do.   It was a calm clear fall day when we took off from Caldwell so we decided to fly over to Greenwood lake airport using the Sparta VOR (SAX).   As we were flying the traffic advisory system started saying “Traffic, Traffic, Traffic”.   As we looked for the traffic, a private jet that had been blocked by the wing zoomed only a few hundred feet in front and above us – a close call.   But the pilots on that plane were on the traffic system that we were on and since they were pointed in our direction they probably saw us and just corrected as little as possible to stay on course.   Whatever the case, the plane had passed too far away for any real concern so we continued flying.   When we got to Greenwood lake we did some steep turns and entered the pattern to land.   My landing there was a little rough but I got it down on the short field.   When we were taxiing back to the runway the pilot of the plane ahead of us jumped out of the plane and ran into the woods to do some business, to our amusement.   Here is the Go Pro footage of that encounter:

My landing at Caldwell was much better than the Greenwood Lake landing; I think  I just needed to get used to that system.   I did have the GoPro running (On a head mount; I’ll have to decide whether I like that or the windshield mount better) so heres the footage I got on that:

https://youtu.be/mTe6HqzKojM

And here’s the GPS track:

Overview of whole flight

Overview of whole flight

Close up of CDW

Close up of CDW

Close up of Greenwood lake (Those erratic movements in the path are my steep turns)

Close up of Greenwood lake (Those erratic movements in the path are my steep turns)

 

 

Lesson 18: My first night flight | 11/07/15

As we get closer to wintertime the sun is starting to set earlier and earlier in the day, and as a result of this in my lesson yesterday I did my first night landing.   My time slot was 4-6 and we found that the sunset was at 4:45, so any landings after 5:45 would technically count as night landings.   When we took off it was already starting to get dark so I had my headlamp on my head and we made sure the alternator and all the other electrical systems and lights were operational before we took off.   When we took off we flew to Greenwood Lake airport for the second time and did some takeoffs and landings there, but they did not count as night takeoffs and landings even though it was dark because they were before 5:45.   My landings were okay, but the approaches were always high because when you can’t see the ground it is hard to judge how high you are (the only visual queues you have are the runway lights) and I would rather be high than run into an obstacle on the ground.   When we came back from Greenwood Lake we planned on doing a touch and go and then a full stop landing but when we were on final approach ATC told us to go around (my first official go-around) so I just got one night landing in at Caldwell.   I forgot to set up my GPS track for the flight (sorry) but I’ll probably record next weeks flight on GoPro and post some footage so hopefully that will make up for it.