Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Night flight and an FAA seminar

Plane: Cessna 172
Instructor: Jamie
Weather: Broken clouds, 55 degrees, wind 330 degrees at 6 knots

I'm not sure why but there were a few different FAA Safety Team seminars in the area tonight. Jamie sent me a message a few days ago asking if I wanted to go to one in Piqua and I mentioned that I was planning on driving down to one in Cincinnati. We bounced our schedules back and forth until deciding we'd fly down to Lunken in the 172 this evening.

Safety seminar (including WINGS credit) plus regaining night currency? Sign me up!

The flight line at Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport

We met at Wright Brothers around 6:15. The runway's still quite soft at Stewart so 2814L's been tied down at MGY this week. We'd have to return there anyway after dark (no lights) so it worked out quite well. Jamie was just completing his preflight as I walked up to the airplane so I hopped into the left seat and got situated; I had the propeller turning a few minutes later.

I turned onto Runway 2 at 6:30 and we were quickly off the ground and on our way to Lunken. It's only 35 miles (about 20 minutes) by air down to Cincinnati. I tuned in the ATIS and didn't bother calling approach; I called Lunken Tower 10-15 miles north and was told to report a two-mile final for Runway 21R.

Hour drive or twenty minute flight? I'll go by air, thank you very much.

Kings Island from a couple miles away

The image stabilizer on my new lens does a pretty good job, eh?

There was a jet off our left landing 21L, which I spotted and reported. Once I had him in sight, tower cleared us to land when we were still about five miles out. I landed long and turned right onto Taxiway C, then taxiied to the old terminal at the southwest end of the field.

We arrived just in time as the seminar started roughly the second we walked into the Greater Cincinnati Airmen Club on the second floor of the terminal building. It was a great seminar - controllers from Cincinnati Approach gave a really nice overview of the local airspace and procedures, followed by a Q&A with a bunch of folks who work for the Cincinnati FSDO.

It's always nice to meet the local controllers/feds and tonight was no exception. Everyone was enthusiastic about aviation and lots of helpful information was exchanged. It was also a nice reminder that I need to fly down to CVG and log some Class B takeoffs and landings while I can since they're not too busy down there these days!

There was a trio of Blackhawks parked on the ramp at Lunken

The seminar wrapped up around 9:00 and we headed back down to the dark tarmac to preflight the airplane. I was back in the left seat but Jamie taxied to the runway and made the takeoff, flying us back to Wright Brothers while I handled the radio comms. Tower cleared us onto 3L for takeoff but didn't turn the lights on. A quick, "tower, 2814L on 3L, can you please turn the lights on for us?" call over the radio took care of the black hole! :)

Visibility wasn't great on the way home, though it was still thoroughly VFR. I'd estimate it at 10-15 miles based on when I finally saw the antenna farm southwest of Dayton come into view. Jamie flew an approach to Runway 2 and landed, with two airplanes in the pattern behind us.

We took turns at this point, alternating each time around the pattern until we got in our three takeoffs and landings to extend our night currency for another 90 days. I never really nailed one (last July's solo night flight was much better) but all were acceptable. The winds were squirrely on final and I was quite active on the controls all the way down. Jamie certainly won this round!

Still, I'm night current again and I have a feeling that might come in handy at some point over these next three months. At this point, I think I've been night current more in the past year than in the previous five years since I passed my checkride. Not too shabby, huh?

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 1.9 hours
Total Time: 305.0 hours


  1. Night current?? What's that?

    I just went and looked up the last time I was night current on myflightbook.com. It seems 11/2013 my night currency fell by the wayside.

    Good to see you're current and it sounds like a nice trip for the seminar. It's nice to meet the folks that work approach or the local towers and do the Q&A thing. I think it always helps our flying.

    1. Yeah I always enjoy getting to meet the local ATCers. Cincinnati's actually almost certain to lose it's Class Bravo this year (crazy - I think that'll be the first time it's ever happened anywhere) so I really need to get down there and knock out a bunch of Class B landings while I still can. They're hurting for traffic (obviously) and literally told us they can pretty much give you your own runway for as long as you'd like!