Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lesson 27: Talkin with the tower

Plane: Cessna 150
Instructor: Dave
Route: 40I-TZR-40I
Weather: Clear, 77 degrees, wind 030 degrees at 8 knots

While I've talked with ATC a good deal now on my cross-country flights, one specific requirement set out by the FAA is that I make three solo takeoffs and landings at an airport with a control tower. So Dave and I set out to get that taken care of this afternoon. We would have gone to Springfield-Beckley Airport since it's only about 20 miles away, but their tower wasn't open today. Instead we flew over to Columbus' Bolton Field, identifier TZR.

One of the nice things about landing at a towered field is that they are sequencing traffic and you often don't have to fly into a pattern like we do at untowered fields. With the winds out of the Northeast today they were landing Runway 4 at Bolton. I called the tower when we were about 10 miles out...
Me: "Bolton Tower, Cessna 60338, 10 miles to the West, inbound for landing."

Bolton: "Cessna 60338, Bolton Tower, report 2 mile left base for Runway 4."

Me: "Will report 2 mile left base for Runway 4, 338."
Well actually he first cleared us for a right base and I asked him to clarify since we were coming from the West and he changed it to left. Anyway, that meant we essentially flew right to the airport, called the tower 2 miles out, and were cleared to land. Then it was an easy turn about 30 degrees to the left and were on final approach. A mile or so out on went the carb heat, throttle back, slow down, and flaps extended just like any other landing. Nothing special other than talking to the guy up in the tower.

Obviously satisfied with my radio work on the first try, Dave had me taxi over to the ramp and he hopped out. He told me to go make three laps around the pattern on my own. To save some time, I made two touch-and-gos (where you keep rolling after landing and take off again) and one full stop landing. Then I picked Dave back up and we headed back to Stewart.

Being a game day at OSU there were a lot of banner planes in the air, including some based out of Bolton. It's fun to watch because they swoop down to just above the ground and grab the tow line for the banner from some poles that can't be more than 6 feet apart. Quite impressive piloting when you think about it. Other than that and passing by some other traffic (beautiful day = lots of people flying) enroute, it was an uneventful but enjoyable flight. I'll actually be back at Bolton tomorrow as it's one of the stops on my long solo cross-country.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 1.9 hours
Solo/PIC Time: 14.6 hours
Total Time: 49.6 hours

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