Daily Pilot's Journal

Read the complete day-by-day flight log of an actual student pilot, from the first takeoff to the signing of his private pilot's license. Written promptly at the end of every flight, each entry is completely unedited - detailing the successes, failures, and mistakes we all encounter along this long road.
Day 18 - Islip MacArthur Airport
Friday, 7/14/06 7:00am - Clear skies, no wind. It had been only twelve hours since I'd made my adventurous solo to Bridgeport. The weather front that had given me so many problems yesterday had blown through, leaving clear skies and zero wind.

Upon my request we were to go to Islip airport. I'd never landed there and I needed to practice short field/soft field landings and takeoffs anyway. Left Republic on runway 19 and headed east along the south shore, turning toward the Captree bridge. After some trouble with the radio transmitter (Stan turned all the radios/loran/transponder off and then on again) we called approach control and were told to follow a 060 heading and to enter right downwind on runway 24. Islip airport came up quick... it's not all that far away from Republic.

Approach control was confusing. They talked to a lot of different aircraft and it was hard to understand what was going on. Eventually they handed us off to the tower, so Stan thanked him and switched frequency. From there, it was just like a normal airport except for the fact that procedure dictated keeping the transponder on standby instead of altitude.

Islip's MacArthur airport
My first short field landing sucked, but only because I didn't fully understand what Stan wanted of me. The second and third ones were acceptable. Stan had requested "Stop and Go's" which are different from Touch and Go's in that you're allowed to stop on the runway. We did, and we completed some short field and soft field takeoffs. Both require two notches of flaps. Short field requires powering up while holding the breaks, soft field requires pulling back on the yoke during takeoff. The only scary part was the stall warning horn on the soft field takeoffs, but today I learned that even when that horn goes off you're still a few knots away from actually stalling the plane. Good to know.

After watching two Southwest Airline jets take off behind us, we left the field and headed for the north shore. Stayed under 1400 feet until we got past Stony Brook hospital, because that keeps us out of the Charlie airspace. We still monitored approach control anyway, until they finally told us to "Squawk VFR". There's actually a VFR button on the transponder that puts you back at a 1200 frequency when they're finished with you. I had no clue.

At this point we climbed to 2000 feet, got over the sound, and practiced some maneuvers. First I rocked some 45 degree turns, really feeling the G-force as the air was being sucked from my body. No way I'd do such turns alone. We did some slow flight turns, then practiced all three types of stalls. Stalling is kinda fun. You get to fly the aircraft at the absolute limits of it's abilities, which is good to do because you really want to get a feel for where those limits are. Finally we flew back to Northport and came in final for runway 19 where I made the best landing of my life. The wheels touched down so gently and silently I didn't even feel us land. I didn't even know we were on the ground until the nose wheel dropped. Sweet.

Flying hours today: 1.4       Total: 22.9

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