Its been tough getting in flying time this week. Strong winds kept me out of the skies on Sunday morning. Even when I rescheduled for the same evening, the wind still refused to cooperate with my desire to fly. Jeff and I were scheduled to fly on Monday evening, but he called to tell me he was stuck in Twin Falls, at the opposite end of the state, with another student. Apparently their aircraft broke down and were trying to find a way home. This got me to thinking about my own future road trips and that I need to be prepared to find a way home should something go wrong with my airplane. In the mean time, Jeff wanted me to go ahead and fly solo.
So I got to the airfield around 7 pm. Checking the squak sheet I saw that there was a write up indicating that the front wheel had a shimmy in it. Now I know from this aircraft it does have a shimmy – but goes away when you provide back pressure when taxiing. I gave the pilot who did the write up a call to get more information. I suggest this as a practice if it is practical. It gives you more insight to the issue and then you can make a determination.
After getting more information I decided to fly the airplane.
Checking the fuel I found five gallons in one tank and two in the other. This wasn’t quite enough for doing my flight, even though I was staying close to the field. I towed the plane to the pumps and put in filled it up to the tabs.
Getting to the run-up area I noticed that there was one of the local race teams practicing in the pattern. These are a lot of fun to watch- but I was pretty concerned about him doing laps in the same pattern I was going to practice in. He travels pretty fast and could literally do an entire lap around the pattern while I am just working my way out of the pattern. I also know they have very small fuel tanks and use up a large amount of fuel at the same time- so I figured he would not be there very long. I made my announcement and departed to the east.
If the world did not already have enough extreme to it- after going to the practice area to work on turns- as I came back into the pattern I had an small experimental aircraft working the pattern. Now these planes only travel about 40-60 kts so I would quickly overtake him if not careful. As I got to the downwind leg, it was apparent I was going to run up on him pretty quick so I turned out of the pattern and performed a standard rate turn.
The standard rate turn is a turn in which an airplane completes a 360 degree turn in 2 minutes. This is done by have a turn of 3 degrees per second. This allowed me to leave the pattern and re-enter it at my point of departing the pattern. This gave me approximately two minutes of distance between the light sport aircraft and myself. This was a technique Jeff taught me a few weeks ago.
Like so many things, Jeff’s teachings and advice is right on time. During our last flight he pointed out that I tend to fixate on the runway and forget to look around. Thankfully I had broken this habit. During my 2nd touch and go I called that I was departing and would be left closed traffic- meaning that I was staying in the pattern. Just after I turned crosswind I noticed another aircraft entering the pattern on the downwind –strait in- and not from a 45 degree angle. The other plane never called until after I saw him and had to stop my climb. He also called that he was at 4000 but in reality he was eye level with me at 3100. I wish the FAA would make the 45 degree entry mandatory and not just a recommendation for non-towered airfields. I have had too many of these close calls in my short career.
I did one more touch and go’s and then called it a day. I should point out that in this flight I did my 100th takeoff and landing!
I will meet Jeff tonight to go and visit the Boise Air Traffic Control tower- this should be interesting to see them work.
Total Flight Time: .6
Total Landings: 4
Total Career Landings: 103