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 4 - Touch N' Go's - Bridgeport
Monday, 6/05/06 8:30am - Grey and cloudy, but with a high ceiling. Today was my buddy Andy's first lesson, and I got to see him takeoff on runway 1 while waiting at a red light on route 110. Turns out he and Stan stayed in the pattern and did touch and go's. I sat on the box at the echo ramp while they taxied over, and after congratulating Andy on his first flight I hopped into the aircraft and radioed ground control for clearance. Got a female operator this time, too.

After a smooth takeoff we headed toward the stacks. Just before we reached them, Stan cut the engine back to idle and we did a little emergency situation: we practiced a power-off landing at a golf course. I had no clue which course we were over but I picked out a nice straight fairway with a slight dogleg left and did base and final approaches on it as we slowly dropped altitude on three notches of flaps. Stan showed me how to get the engine re-started and what to do if I couldn't. At around 900 ft. we went back to full throttle and climbed again... to anyone on the ground we probably looked like a plane in distress and Stan didn't want anyone calling the police.

Once over the sound I was prepared to practice maneuvers but Stan directed me to fly to Bridgeport for some touch and go's. This was cool with me as I couldn't wait to practice landings and today the air was smoother than it ever had been. Stan did the radio work and requested touch and go's, I just paid attention. The radio seems a lot easier once you realize you're mostly going to be saying the same things over and over again. Once cleared I lined up with runway 6 for a dead-on approach coming straight in over the sound. Landing was slow and easy, although I was a little too much to the left of the runway. I always have a tendency to turn left or line up too far to the left - I think it has to do with me not knowing exactly where the center of the plane is.

The blinding VASI lights of runway 11...

After touching down we were immediately airborne again. Went right crosswind, overshot the township of Lourdes (to obey the noise abatement laws) and radioed the tower again on our downwind. Landing was better the second time, and even better than that the third time. Stan had called for a full stop in order to fuel up but the place where he usually gases the plane wasn't open yet... back to the taxiway to radio for another takeoff. During takeoffs Stan had been telling me to compensate for 'left turning tendencies' due to torque caused by the aircraft's propeller. I guess he'd been helping me with the rudder during takeoffs because for the most part they'd been straight. But this time during takeoff, I felt his feet leave the rudders entirely. The plane began to yaw immediately to the left, so I applied right rudder and kept the nose straight. This was Stan's little way of yanking off the training wheels when I wasn't looking, which was pretty cool. From now on I'll remember to work the right rudder during takeoff.

Finally we flew back to Farmingdale, and on the way Stan taught me a little about the radio. Learned how to work the volume knob, switch between frequencies and toggle between com 1 and com 2. Once over the stacks again Stan let me do all the radio work with the tower for the first time. After entering downwind (I still get confused by the landmarks) I made 99% of the landing myself with Stan making only slight adjustments. This was the first landing where I allowed the plane to drop to the runway before flaring the nose... in all my past landings I'd had a tendency to push the nose down manually which was a bad thing to do. I learned to throttle off once we've gained the runway, learned more about RPM's during the downwind, base, and final legs, and learned when and where to apply flaps. Also did some slips on a few of the landings to compensate for crosswind. I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.

Flying hours today: 1.2       Total: 4.1

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