Well, okay, Long Island isn’t the typical small island. Jake and I went for another flight, this time to an airport we’ve never been to before but always wanted to go. Block Island, Rhode Island. Got to fly over some water, reminds me of when we did the Hudson river and I did a DME arc around JFK, but going from the tip of Long Island I could clearly see the island so no worries there.
It was PERFECT weather for a flight. I called for a brief and he even had a PIREP with the remarks “perfect weather” I told Jake he’s lucky, every time we plan a flight it’s always great weather, but with anyone else I always have to cancel. He said it’s probably because he’s the one least excited. Now, I just have to tell my friends not to get excited. It started out clear skies, as we walked from the train to the airport a few clouds formed. It was actually pretty cool to watch clouds form like that, I’ve never seen that before.
Checked in with my instructor before we left to grab Jake a headset since his is at work. He got to see the Grumman Cougar and he was impressed how good of shape it was in and they were replacing the engine of a 172 in the hangar. The 152 I fly just recently got a new engine as well (I was the first flight where it was broken in enough to do touch and goes and other training activity). Jake said he’s never flown a 150 with a new engine. I was saying how much I appreciate the school I found because they keep the airplane in SUCH good shape and care. He was even impressed by the sim in the office since it was expensive. I think it really makes a difference because these are guys who are mostly retired and do it for fun instead of do it for money, I always want to fly at a school like that.
We took off shortly after that. Jake turned to me while taxiing and said “are you doing a short field or a soft field take off?” I just wanted to do a regular take off, but he was trying to challenge me and make me not forget everything during training. I picked soft field since that was the one I always the most challenging. Jake was impressed how good it was, and actually so was I! Nice to know I didn’t forget anything or get that rusty. During our way out, the exhaust was making a popping sound every 30 seconds. I’m glad I had Jake in the plane with me to tell me if was just the engine running rich, he was in charge of the mixture to fix it. It stayed like that the entire way out there, new engine problems, just like starting it was more difficult as well.
It was a perfectly clear day and beautiful! I didn’t get to enjoy it for too long because Jake made me put on my foggles. My wonderful pink foggles, but nonetheless I couldn’t enjoy the view. He made me fly more precise and was very nit-picky. We also worked on VORs and finding out my position at all times in relation to different VORs. I have to admit I was confused at first when he asked what radial I was on for the Calverton VOR. I said I was flying parallel to it so how could I tell? He said I’m always on a radial and should know in case ATC asks where I am or something goes wrong. When I moved onto the Hampton VOR I just tracked it for awhile under the foggles while maintaining everything else!
I got to take them off right at the edge of Long Island and get my first glimpse of Block Island. It was beautiful there. It’s a short runway for me (I’m spoiled with ridiculously long runways) and the first one I had to go around. The second time wasn’t that much better, Jake took the controls from me. His landing wasn’t great either.
We went to the airport diner and then into town for some ice cream. It was such a cute town! Went out by the ocean and just enjoyed being somewhere else. It was the first time I’ve gone on a cross country and left airport property. Actually enjoying the privileges of being a pilot!
Afterwards, we did some touch and goes at Block Island for Jake to get current (he was instructing me at that point so it wasn’t an issue) and headed over to East Hampton to grab some Avgas because I think due to the engine running rich we sucked up more gas than usual. I did touch and goes there to work on my landings since they obviously needed some work. I got mad at Jake and told him he can’t talk during final because it was distracting me too much. My approaches weren’t stabilized so he couched me more on those and making sure I was stabilized for final which made it better. My last one wasn’t too bad so I wasn’t horrible and we departed for KFRG. I just really need to spend some time in the pattern and work on landings since I don’t fly that often anymore.
During our trip fro KHTO to KFRG, I donned the foggles again. Stabilized my altitude, airspeed and heading and figured out my position and then I was allowed to take them off. We also worked on simple math to do in the cockpit so I am better aware.
First thing: To quickly and roughly figure out when you should descend, take your altitude and multiple it by 3. That’s the distance in nm you should start descending, it works extremely well!
Second thing: To figure out how many fpm you should descend, take 5% of your ground speed and that’s it. So I was going 98kts for my ground speed. My quick way of figure out 5% is move the decimal over one, so 9.8, divide that by 2 I just rounded up to 10 so 5 to make it easier and I had to descend at 500fpm. Jake said also add 100ft extra just in case. If you hit the altitude earlier than anticipated it’s easier to level off rather than dive to hit it. Again, worked extremely well!
Last tip: 100rpm roughly equal a descent of 100fpm so you can figure out how much power to pull without really changing your trim. That’s true in most single engine airplanes.
I love those tips and plan on using them ALL the time now. I’m glad this was such a learning flight for me. Jake can be hard on me, he holds me to a high standard because he knows what I want to accomplish and I appreciate it, even if it frustrates me at the time.