Happy 4th of July–Short Field Landings

Today is the national holiday, Independence Day. We went over to Andover for short field landing practice.

Highlights:

  • Able to make safe landings at Andover, which significantly boosts confidence;
  • Short field take-off is improved;
  • Power loss procedure can be enhanced.

Going to Andover was easy. Follow a power line, which leads us directly to the airport. We used visual checkpoints like a scorpion-shape lake, cross power line, and a bigger lake to make sure we were on the right direction. Because it was 4th of July, there were a lot of people out having fun. We saw many boats in the lakes. Once we were over Andover, we circled over the airport above the pattern altitude to determine to where the wind was blowing. Once we figured that out we decided runway 21 is in favor of the winds. So we spiraled down to enter left downwind. All looked good, we abeamed the runway number, and I lowered the flaps. I was a little fast right after each turn from downwind to base and from base to final, but I made correction to the pitch. Then we landed on runway 21, slightly left of the runway center line, my bad.

The next run was incomplete. I carried too much power, so I was high. Due to safety concern, we went around because this runway is only 2000 ft., so the margin for error was very small. This time again, I think during my descending turns I have a tendency to catch more speed. Thanks to “Cloud Ahoy” app to help me review. Less than a stellar round out I had a small bounce, but I recovered so we were able to turn off the runway at mid-point.

After short field landing and takeoff training we left Andover and practiced emergency procedure at Trinca. I was able to identify the field to use but was probably too slow deciding which direction to land on so I wasted some time, then ended up with a very short and tight final. The moral of this story is when you lost your engine, get over to the nearest field as fast as you can (while keeping best glide speed), and then if you were high, dump some flaps or do some s-turns.

Since today’s training was aiming to nail short field landings, I think we pretty much passed the bar. Then we followed Route 80 back to Caldwell where I practiced soft field landing again. This time though, I added a little too much power and raised the nose a little too high, so I climbed out of ground effect. I will try to make this stabled approach again next time.

Coming up: we should be able to do a stage check pretty quickly, so I better get those quiz and written tests ready.