Got Ready to Solo

We finished that giant checklist of things today. We flew to Lincoln Park and did a simulated engine out landing. It was pretty smooth. We tried to head back to Caldwell afterwards to stay in the pattern, but Tower told us the pattern was closed for ‘closed traffic’ because today’s Memorial Day. That’s most likely a noise abatement consideration.

So, we went up to Greenwood Lake Airport and did some landings there. Tom kept messing with them. He didn’t let me use flaps on some, covered the airspeed indicator on others, pulled the power once in a while, and sometimes threw a few of those in altogether. It worked out.

Next step: Pre-solo Checkride!

Plane: N272LP (C172)
From: CDW – N07 – 4N1 -
Duration: 1.3

Getting More Ready to Solo

We started off with a simulated emergency at Lincoln Park and then headed out and did a normal landing at Greenwood Lake. We dodged some clouds, got through some more of that giant checklist and headed back home.

Here’s what’s left to do:

Crosswind Takeoff
Systems and Equipment Malfunctions
Emergency Approach and Landing
Crosswind Approach and Landing

Let’s hope for some wind on Monday morning

Plane: N272LP (C172)
From: CDW – N07 – 4N1 -
Duration: 1.4

Getting Ready to Solo

AKA… Everything.

The list is long and so we started hacking away at it today. I have to demonstrate that I can perform all the maneuvers we’ve ever done.

We started with some more emergency procedures and emergency approaches at Aeroflex. That’s a small airport… and it has lakes on both ends of the runway. We ended up doing a go-around and landing at Newton. We completed some maneuvers, too. The rest is for next time.

Here’s what’s done:

Preflight Inspection
Operation of Systems
Engine Starting
Radio Communications
Normal and/or Crosswind Taxi
Before Takeoff Check
Collision Avoidance Precautions
Climbing and Descending Turns
Wake Turbulence Avoidance
Maneuvering During Slow Flight
Power Off Stall
Power On Stall
Steep Turns
Traffic Patterns
Forward Slips to a Landing

And here’s what’s left to do:

Arrival and Departure Communications
Landing at a Controlled/Uncontrolled Airport
Crosswind Takeoff
Straight and Level Flight (IR)
Climbs, Turns, Descents (IR)
Spin Awareness Discussion
Rectangular Courses
Turns Around a Point
Systems and Equipment Malfunctions
Emergency Procedures
Emergency Descent
Emergency Approach and Landing
Crosswind Approach and Landing

A couple more flights should do it.

Plane: N272LP (C172)
From: CDW – 3N5 -
Duration: 1.4

Emergency Procedures

We headed back to the north today to practice emergency procedures. As we passed Greenwood Lake airport, my instructor pulled the throttle out and said, “What now?”

Airspeed! I slowed down to the best glide speed of 65 knots.

Best Landing Area! Clearly that was the airport, and at 3,500 ft we would make it there. We headed over to it, checked the wind sock and circled above it until we got lower.

Cockpit Checks! Meanwhile, we tried to restart the engine (not really). Fuel selector on both, cut-off in, mixture full rich, and fuel pump on.

Communicate! We called Greenwood Lake traffic to let them know we were doing a simulated engine-out emergency.

And then… if there’s time, try to start the engine again. If it doesn’t go, secure it: fuel cut-off out, mixture out, pump off, mags off, master off after flaps are down. (we didn’t actually do it – that would have made a real emergency out of the practice.)

Land! And so we did. We entered the pattern normally, and landed on runway 6.

We took off again and did the same thing at Warwick Airport. I’m glad the engine wasn’t actually out – it took me three tries to land on that runway. It’s really short.

On the way back, we did some slow flight and some steep turns. We were out West somewhere and I was unfamiliar with the terrain. I looked at the map and found myself. Turns out I was wrong. I need to open up the map some more and use more points to triangulate a position.

Plane: N272LP (C172)
From: CDW – 4N1 – N72 -
Duration: 1.5

Emergency Approaches and Landings

We practiced landings today, but these had a twist. My instructor stuck a suction cup over the airspeed indicator and played with the altimeter until it was out of whack – I didn’t know how fast we were going or how high we were. But you tend to get use to the way the runway looks, so the landings were fine.

We practiced a go-around.

After the suction cup was off and the altimeter was back in whack (what’s a whack anyway), we did power-off landings as if the engine happened to quit. We established the best glide speed and brought it in almost like any other landing. If we were too far on downwind, we would cut the base leg short and make a B-line straight to the runway (if it’s straight, why isn’t it called an I-line).

We did those with and without flaps. I found that my last landing, power-off and without flaps, was the smoothest one I’ve ever made. Hmmm…

Plane: N272LP (C172)
From: CDW
Duration: 1.1

5 Knots Gusting to 23

It was a little windy today I must say. Anyway, I needed to get these crosswind landings down, so I went flying.

On the first try, we couldn’t even get down to the runway. The wind kept us up, so we had to go around.

Other  attempts were “amusing” according to Tom. On runway 28, you tend to float up over the trees, but after you cross the road all that wonderful lift goes away. On one of the landings, the lift went bye-bye about 20 feet above the runway.. we added power to compensate, but it was still a pretty hard smack.

Another time, I found a whole lot of runway in my side window and no sky. That was at about 10 feet above the runway. We got a sudden gust that tipped us a bit at an inopportune time, but that was corrected and we touched down normally.

Other attempts were ok, albeit bumpy.


Plane: N272LP (C172)
From: CDW
Duration: 1.4

Crosswind Takeoffs and Landings

The crosswind takeoffs were good today. But, that’s more than I can say for the crosswind landings. They were rough.

Let’s see… At least twice, I ended up bouncing onto the left wheel in a right crosswind. At least once, I didn’t flare and bounced. I came in too low once. And, I was off the centerline on just about all of them.

So what went wrong… I didn’t have enough left rudder in to keep the nose on the centerline and on one occasion I had right rudder in on touchdown. I over used the ailerons and ended up swinging from side to side instead of tracking straight down the centerline. This may have been because I used both aileron and rudder to correct, except that it was the wrong rudder. I may be afraid of cross control situations too much. I didn’t level off early enough – even when focusing at the end of the runway, my level off was late. I also didn’t flare smoothly enough. During the level off and flare and touch down, I didn’t keep the wing into the wind – meaning I need to add more and more aileron as I slow.

So what now… Well, the only way to get it right besides flying more is to fly a lot more. But there’s more. I’m going to review the King Schools DVD lesson on crosswind landings and also watch the Sporty’s DVD on it (since I already have that). I’ll take some time to visualize the landings – now and before I go out next time.

If that doesn’t work and I’m still all over the place, I’ll try doing a long final. This will give me time to play with the aileron/rudder cross control and not make me nervous about doing it close to the ground.

And if all that doesn’t work, then I’ll be doing a lot more flying.

Plane: N272LP (C172)
From: CDW
Duration: 0.9

Faulty Approaches and Landings

We stayed in the pattern today and did some faulty approaches and landings, meaning my instructor would mess up the landing and I would have to fix it. We were too high at times, too low other times, had a simulated engine failure during another. Round and round we went for 8 landings. One thing I can do better is to pay more attention to my airspeed. I can always trade some airspeed for altitude if I’m too fast, without needing to add more power so quickly.

It was hot. And that’s not some Paris Hilton line. It was really hot and those planes don’t have any air conditioning. Even with the vents open all the way, we had to open the windows on one of our downwind legs. If we had been flying at altitude, it would have been much cooler. But since we stayed in the pattern around 1200 ft, it was hot. One thing about hot days is that the plane doesn’t perform as well. This was most noticeable when climbing after takeoff. It takes much longer.

One of the nice things about hanging around the airport is that you get to see some cool things. So here are some videos I took during some downtime.

Morgan Freeman’s Plane

A Helicopter Parking

A Cirrus Taxiing Out

Plane: N272LP (C172)
From: CDW
Duration: 1.0