Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sharp as a tack

Plane: Cessna 150
Route: 40I, Local
Weather: Hazy under broken clouds, 78 degrees, wind 200 degrees at 4 knots

I've been feeling like a solid session of takeoff and landing practice was in order, as many of my recent flights have been of the sightseeing and/or $100 Hamburger variety. Not much time spent in the pattern and I could feel myself getting a little rusty. The weather looked decent this afternoon (it was crazy humid, but no storms were popping up on radar) so I called Stewart to reserve a 150 and headed down after work.

Given that the radio in 18J likes to blow out your eardrums every time you key the mic to transmit, along with the convenience of a wherever-you-want-it-to-be taxiway alongside the grass strip, I decided to just stay in the pattern at the home drome tonight. So that's how I spent my 1.4 hours, practicing every sort of takeoff and landing - normal, short field, soft field, no flap, and engine-out.

Look - I flew in circles for 75 miles!

My first two landings (normal and short field) were smooth as silk and I knew this was going to be a pretty good practice session. But then I went on to soft field and, while the landings were very good in the grand scheme of things, touched down too hard three times in a row. Thankfully the fourth time was the charm and I touched down ever so softly and added power to hold the nose off as I decelerated along the grass runway.

Other than the issues with the soft field, everything went great tonight and I felt completely on top of things and ahead of the airplane. I held the extended centerline each time on takeoff (aside from the one time when I followed a Cub out and couldn't tell if they were leaving the pattern so I flew right a little ways to avoid cutting them off if they turned crosswind) and kept hitting pattern altitude spot on. My turns were crisp and I brought in flaps and trim smoothly on a consistent basis, too. On my last two trips around I executed an intentional go-around and followed up with a simulated engine-out, bringing in all 40 degrees of flaps once I had the runway made and stopping that little 150 in no time once I hit the grass.

My dad and sister are coming down to visit this weekend and I'm taking her up on Sunday, so it was good to get in some solo practice before taking another new first-time passenger up in a small plane. The scenery was great too, as there were probably 10 hot air balloons in the skies near the airport so I got to wave my wings at them a couple times on downwind. Overall, it really was one of those days that you walk away feeling good and refreshed about your piloting skills.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 1.4 hours
Total Time: 107.4 hours


  1. Hey! How do you get Google Earth to color your track like that?

    Inquiring minds want to know :)

  2. I use to convert all my track files. To adjust the color, you just change the 'Color By' option. Generally I have mine set to 'Color By Altitude' although on occasion I use Speed.

    That's really all there is to it! :)