Back when I first started my journey to become a private pilot with Fischer Aviation, Jody suggested that scheduling a 4 hour block of flight time (as opposed to the typical 2 hour block) is often helpful to students. This is because they can typically learn more by immersing themselves in the operations of flight for a longer period of time thus saving money. On a per flight hour basis, you’ll spend less time on the ground (preflight, taxi, etc.) also helping to save money. Close to the beginning of my training, I tried a 4 hour block and I felt it to be a bit overwhelming. The fact of matter is I would have benefited more by doing some “armchair flying” to help reinforce skills while also saving money. I’ve felt that my comfort level with the basics of flight operations has advanced to a stage that I can now benefit from longer lessons. Therefore, I scheduled a 4 hour lesson to confirm if would now be useful.
The objective of today’s lesson is to go over all the basic maneuvers and practice landings in preparation for my pre-solo checkride. We departed runway 28 to the training grounds in the north. Upon arrival at the training grounds, we immediately practiced slow flight, power off stalls, power on stalls, and steep turns.
We then proceeded toward Orange County Airport (MGJ) and while en route, Tom pulled the power and said, “The engine went out”. I initiated emergency procedures (trim for best glide, continue flight toward field, LCGUMPS, and check mags. The winds were coming in from the southeast so we flew into the downwind for runway 26. This was actually my first time attempting to land at an airport other than CDW. It’s important to know the field elevation at the airport so you can judge if you’re too high or too low when you’re abeam the numbers. That will dictate what action to take (i.e short approach or a forward slip to dissipate altitude on final approach). I wasn’t aware of the field elevation (364 ft MSL) so I judged my approach by site entirely. With some assistance from Tom, we glided in safely. Then, we taxied back to the active runway and had to wait a while for our turn to depart since it was a busy day in the pattern. After departure, we again practiced slow flight, stalls, and steep turns which were much better this time around.
It was time to head back to CDW for some touch and go’s. I’m definitely feeling more comfortable with flying the pattern although I still need to clean up my approaches and make them more stable.