First Blog – Ground Maneuvers in 5253R

A recent student who’s transferred from another school, I’ve been working on my Private Pilot certificate at Fischer for about 3 months now with Tom Fischer as my CFI.  So far the experience has been incredible and I cannot say enough about the entire crew at Fischer.  I’ve completed 59 hours so far towards my private but fell behind a little bit because, as they say, life happened.

When I initially started at Fischer Aviation, Tom evaluated me on my first few flights checking for proficiency in the basics – ability to preflight, ground reference maneuvers, power on/off stalls, takeoffs and landings, pattern technique, climbs and descents, etc.  All of those are now out of the way but consistently need work since I’m a weekend warrior.

Today we took off to the North in 5253R off 28 – short field takeoff past Boonton and over past the quarry to do some ground reference maneuvers – as Tom said today, the hardest part of doing ground reference maneuvers is finding a place to do them.  We found them nonetheless and went through a series of S-turns and turns around a point.  As usual – the first one or two were challenging but after some feedback from Tom I was able to execute them.

Biggest lesson learned here:  Your ground reference maneuvers will be as successful as the ground track you pick.  On turns around a point do not use the common misconception of judging distance from your wingtip to the point.  Use ground references…

Once maneuvers were done we headed back to KCDW.  My pilotage skills are now good – I’m comfortable with them and comfortable operating the radio.  I have some tricks of the trade there because those were two not so great areas for me.  Scouring YouTube is a great way to learn and understand different teaching techinques.

We got back to KCDW entered into a left base to 04.  Crosswind landing today was not great.  Disheartening but you win some and lose some.  I transitioned (not flare cause flare is a bad term) into straight and level but might have pitched up a bit to hard to induce the stall horn.

As Tom says (and another lesson): You cannot land on a runway you can’t see.  Make sure the runway at all points in the landing are within your preview.

Lastly I actively use a GoPro for all of my flights.  I can’t recommend this enough.  It helps immensely to review once a flight is complete especially if you have a lag in flight lessons like I do.  I use a GoPro 3+ Black Edition with suction mount on the left inside cockpit windshield and an audio cable from headphone jack into GoPro all available on Amazon.

Next lesson will be a review of Emergency Procedures and practice transitioning from the flight environment to approach and landing.   It turns out that I’m more comfortable landing when doing laps in the pattern, but that sometimes it can be challenging when entering the pattern from a flight for a full stop or touch and go because your mind needs to transition as well.

I’ve posted some of my videos on my channel on Vimeo but you can see one of the better videos here:  

Sanjay's First Flight to Morristown from Sanjay Jain on Vimeo.

- Sanjay