Pre-Solo Stage Check Day!

Hello -

Today I went up with CFI Dave Pavoni for my Pre-Solo Stage Check.  Of all days, to this we had 31010G17 along with low level wind shear alerts from the ATIS.   I successfully pre-flighted and started the taxi to 28.  We departed 28 with appropriate crosswind correction but did not keep the correction in long enough during the takeoff given the intensity of it.  We headed out to 330 to go through maneuvers.

We did Slow Flight, Power On/Off Stalls, S-Turns, and Emergency Procedures.  Stalls were good as were S-Turns.  Slow flight was especially challenging today given the wind conditions even at 4500ft.  Dave gave me a target of 65KTS and I was able to hit but had a hard time keeping it.  We did minor turns right and left.

I need to practice Emergency Procedures.  I was able to talk through them but my ability to hit 65 best glide was hard.  I picked a field to our west and headed for it – it was the right general area to pick.  However, Dave said even if you have your landing spot picked you must continue the glide to 65 to give you and passengers maximum time to set up.  Instead of gliding straight to a point Dave spiraled me down into a better spot INTO the wind.  This is an area I will need practice in.

He then said “take me back home”.  I was able to successfully navigate us past Greenwood Lake Airport and to Lincoln Park airport.  We were instructed for a left downwind to RWY 4 in #2 sequence.  As we started the descent from 2500 to 1200 the winds really picked up to G19 so there was constant pitch power work.  I brought the plane in on final with a heavy crab in.  As gusts started to increase on the ground the very final piece needed some help from Dave.

We went in and reviewed the flight.  Slow flight needed some work but emergency procedures needed the most.  Dave said on a few occasions during post-flight “given the conditions you had the option to give me the controls but you didn’t and that’s good.”  I need to also work on better power management.  Tom asked him how I did.  Dave said “if he could fly the way in calm conditions like he did today, we’re all set.”  That was a nice way to top it off.  I couldn’t tell if today was confidence builder or breaker – I can’t say enough how hard it was to fly today with all the factors – new CFI, stage check, harsh weather but I’m excited to solo around the pattern!

Thanks to all the awesomeness called Fischer Aviation for bringing me to this point.

- Sanjay





Caldwell Reporting Areas

Today we worked on familiarizing and managing workload when coming back into Caldwell.  I’m decent at getting out to the practice and OK coming back but the sequence of events that need to happen in order to setup nicely for whatever approach you’re given is hard.

We started with a NW departure off of 28 and then headed up North.  We triangulated Sparta and Teterboro VORs to get us up to Greenwood Lake, circled the airport, and then began the trip towards Lincoln Park Airport – there we identified the airport, the Lincoln Park Water tank, Booton Reservoir, Square Lake and the different approaches base, direct, and downwind approaches.  Having a GoPro in the plane for this training has been very helpful.

We ended taking a right downwind for 28 which was actually a first for me and then back in.  Rough flight – finding these marks are not easy.  But I have found this to be VERY helpful in learning  reporting points (thanks to the author):

Tomorrow – Stage Check with Dave.  Time to get some zzz’s.

- Sanjay



Navigation Part 2

To make up for yesterday’s pilotage fiasco – Tom gave me this URL to help with some VOR simulation which I took home to practice with:

I spent some time with it alongside other tools available on the web to study navigation.

We took off KCDW to the Northwest.  We got out to the practice area and did some further work on VOR navigation.  I focused on consistently cross-checking charts with what I was seeing outside and, according to Tom, did a fine enough job making up for the day before.

However on our return back to KCDW things got a little rough.  I was too late in workload management and called into the tower too late – at too high of an altitude – while over Lincoln Park.  As a result I had to coordinate too many things in order to successfully get into the pattern for a full stop.

I’ll have to do some review of the entry/exit procedures for KCDW.

- Sanjay



Navigation, VOR, etc.

So I’m getting closer to my stage check so Tom and I spent the weekend doing a whole bunch of review – steep turns, power off/on stalls, slow flight, etc.  Maneuvers all checked out but I found myself lost.  I did not pay attention to navigation and end up for northeast vs. northwest.   Not good.

However, if there was a benefit it was that I got to learn the VOR triangulation method to find where I was.  We set ourselves up in a standard rate turn 360 while triangulating against Sparta and Huguenot and located ourselves.  Once we located ourselves we were able to get back to Caldwell.

A decent day of flying but frustrating by my open mistakes in neglecting navigation and pilotage.