Friday, March 25, 2016

Flying Lesson #44 - Friday Flyby

Today the weather promised low ceilings but otherwise smooth and cold air. I hadn't flown in a while due to being out of town

The cabin heater on N73455 was not working today at all.

This was a pre-solo cross-country with Will to that glamorous cross-country location, Bad Axe.

Will announced I was doing everything and he was going to act as a passenger.

So I did a good preflight, and everything looked good, if cold. The engine needed some extra shots of primer to start and then started with authority.

I got good taxi and takeoff clearances and it was off to the north we went, holding some right aileron due to a crosswind on takeoff.

Another plane was taking off from 27L so since I had approval for a right turn, after I took off and got some altitude, I began a gentle turn to the right to get on course and increase separation from the departing aircraft, and Will stated that was good initiative on my part.

On course to KBAX, we had a headwind and the overcast layer was at about 3,000 and it kept on descending the farther north we got.

I passed over Lapeer airport and later passed by Marlette off to the right. We kept on having to go lower to stay out of the clouds. I mentioned to Will that if it had just been me flying I would do a 180 and head out as it was starting to get a bit low for my tastes and he said that would be the right call on my part, but since he was there I could press on as it was still within legal and safe limits.

There was then a nice opening right over Bad Axe which was nice. Getting the wind from the AWOS, I selected Runway 35 for landing which was also the correct choice.

I made a radio call to Bad Axe on the CTAF and a nice lady on the ground working at the airport answered that we should watch out as the runways were icy and there were a number of birds on the runways.

So warned, I made a teardrop entry into the downwind for Runway 35 and did a nice landing there and started the return flight to KPTK. Will noted the landing was a bit flat-ish but otherwise ok.

The cloud layer was quite low so we were at about 2,300 feet for the way back and interestingly enough we had no tailwind at all, which sucked after losing time and speed to a headwind on the way up. By this time we were both quite cold - you could see our breath when we talked as the cabin heat was not functional at all.

Passing by Lapeer, I saw a Piper Cherokee takeoff and head north, so it was not a factor and was the only other plane I had seen after clearing KPTK's airspace the whole time.

At 12 miles from KPTK I radioed the tower that we were inbound and got an instruction to call back when I was on a 2 mile base for runway 27R.

At 3 miles tower contacted me and said I was cleared to land and not bother with the 2 mile notification.

I then brought it in on a nice approach, keeping right aileron in for the 11 knot crosswind and made a perfect smooth landing that impressed Will quite nicely. Will noted I did a good job of holding altitude and course during the flight and made a decent and a good landing.

Assuming good weather tomorrow with a higher cloud base, I'm going to be endorsed for the solo cross country and will do one.

160 nautical miles, 1.9 hours and an excellent cross country in the books.

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