FINALLY! I got back up in the air yesterday. It was so great and I’ve missed it so much. After a few times of scheduling time with my CFI that didn’t work out due to weather or other circumstances, the weather decided to be nice to me for once. The day before was really windy, the next day forecasted to rain, but a nice calm and sunny day fell exactly when I scheduled the airplane.
I wanted to do a cross country. 1. to finally get my $100 hamburger. 2. To build some cross country time. Everyone in the area talks about going to Sky Acres (K44N) so that was what I planned. It’s an uncontrolled airport in a hilly area. It’s a bit past my first solo cross country, Duchess County (KPOU) so I have flown that area before.
Jake and I did my usual way of getting to the airport but hopped a cab once at the train station, still too cold to walk. I pre-flighted the plane and got it all ready while waiting for my CFI. He came in with a student in the school’s new Bonanza! It looks so cool, and had club seating (the seats face each other). My CFI is a wonderful guy and said since Jake is also a CFI he’d be fine if Jake just took me up. I said no because Jake hasn’t really flown a single engine in awhile and I don’t trust his landings, and he also had eye surgery two days ago – while he’s completely fine and it doesn’t effect his medical in anyway – I want to be safe. So we went up and did three landings to get me current again. First one: great! I was actually surprised. It didn’t seem I hadn’t flown in over four months. Second one: Well, this was a go around due to jet traffic, but I aced my go around. Actual second landing: Eh, it was okay, safe and all but I had just done a better one. Third one: We did a short approach to get done faster. It messed me up slightly. I was too fast and too high and didn’t hold the plane off long enough. We bounced. Oops. We agreed to lie to Jake and say all my landings were good. Soon Jake and I were off to Sky Acres!
When we reached Northport stacks NY Approach wasn’t answering on 118.0, I had that happen before. This was also my first flight using ForeFlight. I tried all the frequencies on that and it didn’t seem to work. Jake called up Tower to get their suggestion for a frequency. He asked why I’ve never done that before, or even get flight following on the ground. I didn’t know it was an option. Maybe FRG is too busy for that?
My cross country skills were rusty on the way there. Jake was also being tough on me, which I did say was allowed after our first flight together. He made sure my VOR tracking was good and pilotage off ForeFlight charts was good too.
I cancelled flight following and we were both pretty sure we saw the airport, it was just a bit weird looking because it looked like the runway was outlined in white. Turns out that was just snow! I hate that there is still snow in late March.
I brought it in to land. I was a bit tentative at first because there were hills surround the airport and it threw me off. Jake coached me a bit and told me not to worry but focus on the runway. Pretty good landing! It was nice and soft. Jake was surprised (he always seems surprised that my landings are good).
The crazy thing about Sky Acres is that it is also on a hill, so I had to put a lot of power into taxiing uphill. It was pretty steep, but we found Tail Winds restaurant and parked the 152.
I, of course, ordered a hamburger. I forgot my cell phone in the airplane and ran out to get it. When I came back a big table of people asked if I flew that plane. I answered yes. They were all excited and said how cool that was and asked if it was “all by myself”. I said yes and thanks and then went back to my table. It struck me as odd to be all surprised by that….it is an airport restaurant.
We headed back after a pretty good burger. The rust having been knocked off, it was much easier on the way back. I tracked the Carmel VOR there, and switched radials over the VOR (which I could see) and then once I saw the Northport stacks it was a piece of cake. The winds had picked up, I had to account for some crosswind in my tracking, which wasn’t the case on the way there. Jake worked the radios partly on the way back, he told me how to listen to the controller’s response to learn that he isn’t really paying attention to us so we need to be extra careful. He also kept almost saying “Acey” with the tail number because he’s so used to it at work. I told him all the JetBlue pilots were making fun of him.
It was a straight in landing. The winds were gusting now, but they were mostly down the runway. Jake criticizes that I always land at the start of the runway, especially on really long runways. It was just the way I was taught, which will come in handy for short runways. But he wanted me to land further down the runway this time. I landed further but it didn’t work out so well for a nice landing. He asked if it was his fault it was a bad landing, I said yes to make him feel bad.
Overall, it was a fun trip and realized how much I missed flying and need to get up more often. I’m still a bit rusty when talking to ATC, I just need to do it more often and doing more XCs would be the answer. I told Jake now I have 10.8 hours of PIC XCs and he shot back he has 1000 hours of PIC XCs, whatever man.