Unhappy ATC and an Alternator Failure

New York Air Traffic Controller: “We’re not doing too well today, sir. Climb and maintain 3,000, turn right heading 3-3-0. It’s gonna be vectors so you can read the manual.” Listen to the audio.

Thankfully this was not directed towards me, but rather another pilot up there in actual IMC. Not having a NY controller chew you out on the radio is a huge motivation to learn proper procedures and fly precisely. Even this pilot’s read back on the heading was incorrect.

The overly busy controller continues, “OK, you think you could do the RNAV? This is third try’s a charm.”

This was one of the highlights of today’s flight, but thinking back to the beginning, there was another memorable moment. We entered the clouds very shortly after takeoff. Within two minutes, I’m given an indication that our alternator failed. Now we’re in the clouds running only on battery power. We let ATC know that we need to drop off the radio for a minute and we recycle the master switch. The PFD must have its own battery because it stayed on and I didn’t have to use the standby instruments to fly. When everything booted back up, the alternator failure indication was gone. Thankfully that issue was solved and we continued our flight. We speculated that turning on the heat before takeoff to defrost the windshield caused the alternator to trip.

After a landing at Orange County, we set off for Huguenot. However, I somehow screwed up setting the VOR and ended up heading North instead of West. Ooops. I fixed that and got back on track. We then did a bunch of holds over Huguenot before heading back to Caldwell. This time, I was able to hold altitude a lot better.

Ground Track KCDW->KMGJ
Ground Track KMGJ->KCDW

Logbook Entry N8350R (PA28)

Flight Details




Instrument Details


Additional Notes

ILS 3 MGJ, VOR Holding, LOC 22 CDW, Hold Entries