Saturday, March 12, 2016

Flying Lesson #43 - Spring Is In The Air

What a difference a few days make.

No more scrapping the snow and ice off the plane or being cold while doing the preflight.

Today I had planned a dual cross-country to Jackson KJXN.

I would be flying with Will in 755PR. I hadn't flown in PR in awhile and it does handle differently from N73455 and 757MK - the controls are a lot stiffer, and the Radios are setup kinda weird in that aircraft, with COM 1 not being able to send at the moment. Then again, it's a plane so I can fly it.

So I got to the field a bit early, did the preflight, got everything setup and called for a weather brief. The briefer was very friendly and helpful and gave lots of good info. In short, it would be a very pleasant flight with generally calm to low winds, great visibility, and no issues or TFRs to get in the way.

Will arrived and said we would fly my plan to Jackson by pilotage but then extend over to Marshall by use of the plane's GPS and then back to Pontiac. He was pretty impressed that I had taken the initiative to get a weather brief and was fully ready to go as soon as he arrived.

So I started 755PR up and happily the engine immediately caught which is a treat for this aircraft. Then I called for taxi clearance. I then played musical clearances as Ground kept giving a clearance to taxi to 73455 which had already left a few minutes before us and I can't go moving around an airport and crossing runways without an actual clearance matching my tail number. We got that sorted out and we were off.

KPTK was already getting pretty busy, and we had to extend our outbound leg on the runway heading until we had exited KPTK's Class D airspace instead of turning on course after takeoff. No big deal.

Then I got us to Jackson, flying at 4,500 feet and contacted their tower and got a landing clearance I haven't heard before: "Straight in for Runway 24, report when over the prison".

So over the prison I went, reported y position, and did a nice straight in approach and landing. Jacksin has a nice big prison on the flight path. Jackson was also pretty busy with a few planes in the pattern, a few coming in, including one dipstick who was inbound in a Cessna but never identified his tail number in his transmission which had the tower getting annoyed with him.

We then taxied on back to takeoff and headed to Marshall. Jackson tower asked if we wanted flight following and Will said I might as well do it for the experience. He got us a takeoff clearance and then hoked us up with flight following in the air with Lansing. Very short hop to Marshall so we had a squawk code for a bit and some helpful traffic advisories as it seemed everyone was out flying today with the first hint of spring.

I quickly arrived at Marshall and there was no activity. Meanwhile the CTAF was almost unusable as everyone on the frequency from a variety of airports was stepping on each other like idiots. They really need to separate the CTAF frequencies a bit more as the sheer amount of useless info from airfields way outside the area of flight was crazy.

So I overflew the airport, noted the lack of traffic and did a teardrop entry into the downwind, trying to get a radio call in edgewise with all the cross-talk just to follow proper procedure and just in case someone was also out there and about to land on Runway 28.

On the first approach I told Will I was going to do a go-round, and then I did a go-round as I had been a bit too tight on the downwind and had lost the field in the base turn so the final approach was overshot as a result. Will was happy that I would do a go-round and not try to force it in and thought I showed good judgment in doing so. On the next pattern I then landed very nicely.

Then we headed back to KPTK which was crazy busy.

Per Will's suggestion, I angled in my approach path so that at 12 miles out we would be in from the northwest to make the Tower's life a bit easier so they could put us on 27R, which would also make our life easier for taxing back after landing.

Tower had us fly a close downwind then instructed us do an expedited close base and land.

So we basically did a power-off 180 from the downwind onto the runway and Will said I did a nice job of it.

Will is going to be signing me off for solo cross-country, so the next stage of fun will begin shortly. Unfortunately, Thursday night's night flight was cancelled due to weather, so I have to wait to get a start on my night flying experience.

That's 2.3 hours and 3 full-stop landings in the book, and a great cross-country flight done.

No comments: