Learning To Find My Way Back…

My apologies for posting late again but Sunday (01/22/2012) was very similar to Saturday in terms of weather conditions. It was a little cloudy in the morning, but the cloud ceiling was again at 10,000 ft with hardly any wind. I received a call at about 8.30 am from Jeremy and he wanted to tell me that he was going to be a little late as he had just left St. Cloud. I said no problem and thanked him for letting me know. He then replied, “Okay. I will see you in about 45 minutes or so”. I again said thanks and our conversation ended. I normally leave for school at around 8.30 am and depending on traffic, I usually reach there by 8.50 am or so. But on Sunday I left at 8.45 am and reached school at 9.05 am. As I got out of my car and walked toward the school, I saw Tim’s car parked outside. Tim was my previous instructor and when I stepped in to the school, I saw Tim chatting with Aaron the linesman at Thunderbird Aviation. I greeted Tim and he said, “Hi Tiger, how’s it going?” “Oh fine Tim, how about yourself?” I replied. “Oh great!” said Tim smilingly.

I checked-in with Kevin and Tim continued speaking with Aaron and another student. Then as I waited for Kevin to process my information in to the computer, Tim asked, “How’s it going with Jeremy?” “Oh okay” I replied. “Good, well it was nice seeing you again Tiger. I have to go for a flight now” “Oh likewise Tim” I replied, and he left with the student he was chatting with. I then went to pre-flight the plane and upon my return saw that Jeremy had arrived and we greeted one another. We then proceeded as usual to his office to see what we would be covering today.

“Well, just like yesterday you can either fly the plane or we can practice some maneuvers. We could go out to Anoka, I remember you saying you liked Anoka airport”, said Jeremy. I was getting an impression that for this stage of my training, Jeremy had taught me everything I needed to know, and it was a matter of just polishing-up the knowledge and the maneuvers. This is why he’s been giving me the option to do whatever it is that I want do now. “Yes, the Anoka airport has a longer 5000 ft runway and it’s easier to practice landings there”, I replied. “Well let’s just go and fly and see what we can do” said Jeremy. We boarded the plane and taxied to the runway where I had to call Crystal Tower to tell them I was ready to takeoff. I mistakenly said that I was ready to takeoff from runway 14L when I was at runway 32L. Although I’ve flown from this runway many times before, it’s an easy mistake to make as the way the runway signs are right next to each other. Jeremy quickly replied to Tower that it was runway 32L. “AGGGHHHH!” I said realizing my error. We were given permission to take off and to make a left turn once we were airborne. Jeremy asked, “So which way will you be turning the yoke?” I looked at the wind sock and turned the yoke toward it. “Good” said Jeremy. I gradually pushed the throttle forward to full power and we began moving. Around 20-30 knots I began turning the yoke gradually to the left i.e. away from the wind direction and by this time the speed had reached 60 knots and my yoke was almost level. I gently pulled the yoke back and we were off the ground. I pressed right rudder to counter the left turning tendency of the plane and ensured that my best rate of climb speed was maintained at 79 knots. Again I was pleased with my take off as the stall alarm did not go off (it does so when you pull aggressively on the yoke and you increase the angle of attack) and I managed to maintain my speed of 79 knots.

Once we were up to 1400 ft, Jeremy said, “Let’s go west”. I did so realizing that we weren’t going to Anoka as this is toward the North East. I then went through the After Takeoff (i.e. Departure) check list. We climbed up to 2000 ft; I leveled the wings, reduced power to 2300 RPMs and we were now cruising. I next went through my cruise check list. Jeremy said to continue to fly above the clouds as they seemed to have come down since we last checked. I increased power and pitched the nose up to climb. Jeremy was enjoying the view through the clouds and the view below. We found a broken circular patch free of any clouds and were flying through it and Jeremy was saying, “Oh this is awesome” and began taking pictures with his Android phone. We heard other pilots reporting cloud ceilings to Crystal Tower, and then Tower asked us what we thought the cloud ceilings were where we were. Jeremy replied that it wasn’t too bad, “We have some wispy clouds with visibility of up to 8 miles”. He then turned to me and asked, “Well what do you want to do?” and then continued, “Well why don’t we practice slow flight?” “Okay” I replied.

After practicing slow flight and some steep turns it was time to head back to Crystal Airport. Jeremy then said, “Okay take us back. Do what you have to do to take us back”. Then he said, “The 10 mile lakes are on our right”. From my trips to Buffalo with Tim, I remembered that they should be on our left when we’re returning. Then Jeremy said, “And we’re currently heading North West”. “Oh we have to turn back”, I replied. “And what direction is that?” “South East” I replied. “I would think so too” replied Jeremy and I turned the plane around to a heading of South East. “How far do you think we’re from Crystal?” Having just heard that the 10 mile lakes were on our right, I said, “10 miles”. “You should begin your descent now”, said Jeremy and I reduced power and let the plane gradually descend but not too soon. I then changed frequency to ATIS to get the latest weather report from Crystal airport. I called Crystal Tower with the following message, “Crystal Tower, Two Two Four Zero Golf, 10 miles inbound with information Uniform”. I received a reply from Crystal Tower that we were cleared to land on runway 32 L. “Do you know where the airport is?” asked Jeremy. “Well there’s the dome and there’s the Maple Grove water tower next to it” I replied. I knew the airport was a little to the east of these landmarks, but I still couldn’t see the airport. “There are the gravel pits”, said Jeremy and he continued, “If you go straight over those, you’ll get to the airport. I did as instructed and I could see the airport, but since we were landing on runway 32 L it wasn’t a straight in landing. We had to fly through the pattern and turn around and land in the direction we were coming from. Please see the diagram below and double click to enlarge:

And that was it for the day, there was no briefing after the lesson and Jeremy said he would see me on Wednesday. I thanked him and left. I must say that although my practical performance of flying the plane is not perfect and I sometimes become disappointed with myself, I am indeed learning many things each time I’m flying with Jeremy, and this pleases me immensely. 😀


2 responses to “Learning To Find My Way Back…

  1. Hi Tiger, 😀 you done very well this time keep it up I am very pleased with your progress
    Good very good 😀

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