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 28 - Lazy Trip to Poughkeepsie
Monday, 8/14/06 7:00am - Clear skies, no wind. I was happy to learn that my buddy Jerroll passed his flight test over the weekend with flying colors. Knowing he'd done well despite all his doubts made me feel pretty good about my own upcoming test, and I'm actually looking forward to taking it. As this part of our training with Stan is coming to a close, it'll be nice to fly different aircraft and different places with our friends as the passengers. Good deal.

Met Stan on the ramp today and he asked if all my requirements for the flight test had been totally fulfilled. Once I told him I needed another 1.4 hours of X-country soloing to do it, he suggested I fly to POU today. Not a problem. Stan wished me a good flight, explaining that after today we'll proceed to have three two-hour flights in preparation for the flight test. This would bring me up to about 45 hours, and then I'd be ready.

Taxi, run-up and takeoff from runway 1 were standard; I took off heading toward Northport into very smooth air and excellent visibility. Out over the sound I turned to a heading that would take me the rest of the way to Poughkeepsie and trimmed the aircraft out at 2500 feet. Then, it was time to relax.

As I've said previously, flying solo is getting to be much more enjoyable and less stressful now that I've grown more accustomed to it. It was never really stressful to begin with, but I'm just a lot more at ease. I'm much better at holding altitude and heading that I had been, and I've learned how to adjust the trim to make that job a lot easier. I've adopted a good, frequent scanning technique, I monitor proper radio frequencies, and I track some VOR's when I have nothing else to do. Kicking back, I opened the little window to let some fresh air into the cockpit and watched the miles tick by at a ground speed of 107 knots.

10 miles out of Poughkeepsie I radioed the tower just as a helicopter was coming toward me at One O'clock. Noted that I had him in sight and repeated instructions to report a two-mile left base for runway 24. I had a slight problem locating the airport because I hadn't kept up with adjusting my heading indicator for magnetic differential, but once I remembered to do that I spotted the runway and slid in for my approach. Came in a little high but corrected for it by going to full flaps early, then glided in smoothly for a windless landing and an excellent touchdown. As I accelerated into my takeoff roll about two hundred tiny black birds launched into the sky beneath me, and for a second I worried they'd come my way. But instead the flew southward and stayed low while I gained altitude at a much higher angle to put some distance between them and me.

Mid-downwind I decided upon another landing so I radioed and got clearance. Powered back abeam the numbers, 1700 RPM's, another notch of flaps, maintained 70kts, shallow turn to final, excellent landing. On that note I decided to head back, radioed to depart the area and climbed to 2500 feet. Once there, I invoked the autopilot and used it to fly all the way back to the Northport Stacks. Autopilot rocks - especially on those long X-country flights. Saves you all that rudder work and minute course corrections.

Flying over the Long Island Sound
The Long Island Sound from 2,000 feet ASL

ATIS was echo and runway 1 over the sound but I heard the tower switch someone to runway 19 before I reached the stacks. Flipped back to ATIS and they must've been changing it because I got nothing but static. Radioed the tower with negative ATIS and was given the atmospheric pressure and a final approach on runway 19. Came into some ground effect turbulence at 1400 feet (like always) and my new knowledge of the "2.5 mile rule" to stay nicely set in the glide path throughout my approach. Crabbed through some light winds and slipped into an awesome landing before rolling to the echo ramp and tying off. Once back at work I called Stan to tell him all went well and he suggested I set my flight test up for early next week, maybe even Monday. Wow. That might've been my last solo flight before my flight test. Time to drill hard with Stan on those maneuvers in the next few lessons.

Flying hours today: 1.6       Total: 38.5

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