This lesson was my second cross country flight (the first one was to Allentown last summer) to Sullivan Country Intl so I brushed up on cross country planning before the flight. The night before I finished my King online ground school written exam course and I’m planning to take the written before June 15th because they are changing the test standards to the new ACS format. I planned everything I could (all the true courses, VOR radials and frequencies) the night before and the morning of I got the weather and calculated the rest of the information I would need (wind correction angles, ground speeds, magnetic headings, etc). It was a pretty calm day weather wise so after reviewing the flight plan we decided to get the plane preflighted and get in the air. Bob warned me to double check the landing gear because he saw a coyote snooping around and he was worried that is might have chewed on the brake lines. On the way to Sullivan we intercepted and tracked a radial inbound to Sparta then outbound, then inbound to Huguenot, then outbound from Huguenot to Sullivan. I was tracking the VORs pretty well and keeping 4500′ so we didn’t have any problems getting to Sullivan. We landed behind a Piper Warrior – I was a little low on the landing because of the illusion created by the bigger runway but the touchdown was OK. We then taxied back to the start of the runway and prepared for takeoff. The takeoff started out normally but as we were climbing about 50 feet above the runway Bob pulled back the throttle, “failing” the engine. I instinctively pushed the yoke forward but I underestimated just how much I would need to pitch down to have enough airspeed for the flare so Bob took the controls to get us down safely. On the second takeoff he pulled the throttle again and this time I pitched down enough so he pushed the throttle back in and we departed normally. For the return leg we used dead reckoning and pilotage to get back rather than VORs – we were a little bit east of our proper course but we eventually recovered and got our bearings. The approach at Caldwell was pretty good and so was the touchdown but the flare was a little bit jerky — I need to fix that if I ever want to take passengers. Over all it was one of my better flights — other than the aborted takeoff I handled everything pretty well and it was really fun as always to get a taste of cross country flying.
Logbook Entry N811JD (C172)
VOR navigation (interception + tracking), Dead reckoning, simulated engine failure on takeoff, engine leaning, cross country planning