Soft Field Landing and Make Small Corrections

Today we went to Morristown again to practice landing, especially soft field landing. Compare to the weather yesterday, it is much better today with calm wind, and good sky condition.

Highlights:

  • Soft field landing needs more practice, adding more power perhaps;
  • Forgot to retract flaps again during soft field take off. This cannot happened a third time;
  • Fun communication with tower control.

Before heading to Morristown, we stayed in traffic pattern for two circuits. During final, I started to understand how to make small corrections to stay in center line. No abrupt bank changes were made, and I felt it was much easier to control the airplane.

At Morristown, we came in high for a couple of landings, and I leveled off high too. Unable to correctly judge the distance from the ground remains a challenge for me. We later practiced soft field landing, which is to fly in ground effect.

As we come into ground effect, I added power to keep us aloft; however, it might not be enough because we always touched down before the intended point. The idea is to float with 100 or 200 more rpm so that we don’t touch down. I thought I added the correct amount, but apparently not enough to keep us in the air. As I realize that we won’t be able to stay in air, I held the right attitude to protect the nose wheel and prevented the tail strike.

In one of the upwind leg at Morristown, the traffic control had us turn right traffic pattern and an early cross wind. Lost my reference point, the crosswind leg was not in shape. I should have used the H.I. but too nervous listening to the radio I forgot about my tools in the cockpit. On the way back to Caldwell, on downwind, with busy traffic, the tower asked us to turn base a little bit early. And as I responded we are turning base, the tower says turn back and keep flying downwind. As much confused as I was, turning back to downwind but before I can key in to repeat instruction, the more experienced tower controller overrode the trainer’s command and let us continue turning base. This whole situation lasted about 15 seconds and we were back to normal approach.

Excited to go to Andover tomorrow for short field landings, it has only 2000 ft runway. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.