Flight Lesson 27: Pattern and Landing Practice

The objective of today’s lesson is to improve upon my pattern flying skills (rectangular course) and landings.

The pattern being flown was right traffic for runway 22.  When we were ready to depart using runway 22, I noticed that the wind was blowing directly down the runway.  I asked Tom why the departing runway is 22 instead of 4 which would have been a more logical choice.  He said that CDW does not set the trends as far as what runways are in use and that they have to follow the lead of other airports in the area.

We did a total of 9 touch and go’s, 1 go around, and and 1 full stop landing.  Some of my approaches were okay, but the majority of them were high.

According to Tom, what caused some of these high approaches was me not flying a proper base leg due to me creeping in close to the runway during my downwind.  Therefore, I had less time and distance to lose altitude during the descent.  In addition, I had a tendency to let the nose drop during the turns which increased my airspeed and consequently made my descent shallower and ground speed faster.

During one of the touch and go’s, we were on short final when ATC cleared traffic to depart on runway 28.  This wasn’t that great of a judgment call with us being so close to the field and unable to see the plane on runway 28 due to trees blocking our view.  I was immediately thinking about doing a go around.  Only when the aircraft crossed 22 on it’s way down 28 did we see it.  By then Tom told me to go around and I made the mistake of trying to apply full power, turn off the carb heat, and reduce flaps to 20 degree all at once.  My skittishness reared it’s ugly head.  I need to be calm and collected and do things like this one at a time.  There was plenty of time and no need to rush.  Rushing is what compounds mistakes.  Also, Tom said that calling a go around over the radio should be the last thing on my mind to do.

After the full stop and securing the airplane, Tom and I had a post flight chat:

  • The key to flying a rectangular track is to spot a ground feature off the wing and then turn towards it.  I need to keep my eyes forward during the turn and then roll out to the object
  • Keeping my eyes forward during turns has the added benefit of allowing me to control my pitch and therefore airspeed and rate of descent.  Four fingers from the dash to the horizon is what I should be aiming for
  • When I was high on final approach, I had a tendency to pitch toward the numbers.  I need to pitch for airspeed and use power to control my descent.  It’s disappointing to be making that sort of mistake this late into my flight training
  • I need to keep my descent rates consistent.  Aim for 500 fpm
  • When adding flaps during the landing sequence, I need to keep the nose from pitching up which interrupts the constant descent rate

Logbook Entry N5253R (C172)

Flight Details