Flight Lesson 15: Maneuvers Check

It’s starting to get busy at Fischer with summer approaching.  Tom is booked solid this whole week.  In the past, I was able to get away with scheduling lessons with little notice.  Not anymore.  I’ll have to start planning things out a week in advance.

The weather was good for flying.  Winds calm, sunny, and clear.  The objective of the lesson was to fly over to the training area in Orange County, demonstrate the basic maneuvers, and fly back to KCDW.  Tom said he’ll do a minimum of speaking so he can ascertain if I’m proficient enough in the maneuvers and all the phases of flight.  Presumably, this is so I could be deemed ready for my pre-solo check ride.

One small mistake I made during the engine startup procedure is that after using the primer, I forgot to give it a pull to check to see if it was stowed away and secure.

We departed runway 28, and headed north toward the training area.  Once we reached the training area, I was told to do slow flight.  Although I was trimmed at 50 knots, I was losing altitude.  Tom said I added power too late after I slowed down which was why I lost altitude.  He said it’s better to add power too early than too late because once you lose altitude, it’s hard to get back.

Power off stalls, power on stalls, and steep turns were done satisfactorily.  Another piece of advice Tom gave me was to look outside instead of inside fixating on the instruments when performing the stalls.

It was time to head back to KCDW.  I listened in on the ATIS over Greenwood Lake, then descended to 2500′ MSL by the time we got to the Wanaque Reservoir in order to stay out of Class B airspace.  KCDW tower was extremely busy so I wasn’t able to contact them until I flew south of the Wanaque.  There was time for a few touch and go’s, which I requested upon initial contact.  KCDW tower then instructed us to report Lincoln Park Airport (KN07).  I kept on flying between KN07 and Route 23, until Tom mentioned that I should be flying over KN07, not next to it.  Apparently, when KCDW asks you to report a landmark, you have to be flying towards it and over it.  I was then told to report the Lincoln Park water tank, which I did.  We were instructed to enter the right base for runway 22.  I was still flying at 2500 MSL and Tom had to remind me that I was way too high to enter the traffic pattern.  I pulled the power, put on carb heat, and performed a forward slip and got rid of the altitude quickly.

I performed two touch and go’s and a full stop landing.  The touch and go’s were okay, not great.  I  still have a tendency to move in towards the field on the downwind instead of flying parallel to the runway which I have to vigilant about.  Tom had to also remind me to keep the nose attitude constant and to not let it drop.  I did bounce a little while touching down which tells me I didn’t time the flare right and my airspeed was high.

There were multiple aircraft inbound straight in to KCDW so during my last circuit around the field, I was told to extend my upwind (departure) leg a mile, which I never heard of or done before.  This is how long it takes to travel a mile at various speeds:

Miles Per Hour (MPH) Approximate time to travel one statute mile (seconds) Approximate time to travel one nautical mile (seconds)
80  45  52
90  40  46
100  36  41
110  33  38


On the midfield downwind, I was told to extend my downwind and that I was number 3 for a full stop landing.  I saw the first aircraft which was on short final but had to wait a while until I saw the second aircraft which was making a straight in for runway 22.  I reported traffic in sight.  I forgot to go through my pre-landing checklist because I was concentrating on finding the traffic.  In addition, I didn’t allow enough time for traffic to pass me and started my turn toward base too soon.  I didn’t adjust my airspeed to give additional spacing either and I came closer to the aircraft landing in front of than I should have.  The plane in front of me had to be told by the tower to expedite clearing the runway for my arrival.

After landing and securing, it was time for the post flight briefing.  Tom acknowledged conditions were complex and there was a lot going on during the final circuit and full stop landing.  He suggested to plan ahead on the downwind and try to anticipate what had to be done so that I don’t become overwhelmed by tasks and to slow down since I had a tendency to speed things up if I forget something.

I’m also noticing that I’m not really monitoring the gauges on the instrument panel that aren’t in front of me (i.e. oil temperature, oil pressure, left fuel tank, and right fuel tank).  Although I do monitor them during the pre-flight stages, I’m not making a habit of glancing at them when up in the air.  That is something I’ll need to be mindful of.

Next lesson is in 3 days.  I’m going to try working on the Pre-Solo Written Exam and finish the bulk of it by then.