My second time flying at night was a lot more smooth than my first (which happened about a year ago). I felt a lot more confident (especially on landings) which is probably because of the experience and knowledge I’ve gained throughout this year. My younger cousin (who wants to become a pilot when he grows up) was sitting in the back seat for this flight as well so it was an exciting flight. We aimed to get around 3/4 of the night landing requirement done (10 full stop takeoffs and landings) however there was only one controller at Caldwell and he didn’t let us do any work in the pattern so we had to fly to Morristown and our goal seemed like a stretch. We banged out 5 landings there however, including one with a simulated electrical failure, and they were pretty comfortable. One thing I realized during the flight was I definitely need a much more powerful headlamp because when bob simulated the electrical failure I could barely see the instruments. When we returned to Caldwell there was a friendly controller there who let us do one more landing so we got 7 in total (which eats into a good chunk of the requirement). Soon I’ll be doing my night cross country and once I finish my solo and IFR requirements I’ll be done with all the hour requirements to get my private pilot’s licence.
Even though I have already surpassed the hour requirement for dual cross country flight time I am going to be doing my solo cross country soon so Bob and I practiced a flight that will probably be the same route as one of my solo cross countries. We started off at Caldwell and I put all the wind data into my flight plan. I called for a weather briefing and to file a flight plan and then we pre flighted and took off. Our route was Caldwell to Carmel VOR to Waterbury-Oxford Airport to Pawling VOR to Sky Acres airport to Kingston VOR to Greenwood lake to Caldwell. We got flight following from NY Approach/Departure and flew into the NY Class B airspace on our first leg (my first time doing that) and also contacted them on our return leg. The flight took much longer than expected and more fuel, partly because it is an older plane than when it was being tested for the fuel flow and speed numbers and partly because I probably had the throttle too far back. Regardless it was a pretty smooth flight and I learned a lot. We contacted 122.2 (flight service) after departing sky acres to open our flight plan home, another experience which I’d never done before. With every flight I take I’m starting to feel more confident as a pilot and I’m starting to feel ready to take my practical test this summer (when I turn 17) after I have reached the hour requirements in night hours, simulated IFR, and solo hours.