Hours – 33.6
The conditions were confirmed for me at the end of the lesson when Yigal told me to tie down the airplane with all three ropes. Breezy? Maybe.
This lesson was scheduled for 3 hours. I was supposed to go up for a cross country with Yigal for two hours and then practice solo for the last one. Well, let’s just say that plan didn’t work out.
I called the “Oh so accurate” weather briefers. Ummm, 8 knots of wind at 3,000ft. Good! Great day for a cross country to East Stroudsburg, PA. It was only 49.4 nautical miles away, but we would fly more than 50.
On the way to the runway, while taxiing, we waved to another guy and took a picture of his plane.
We started talking on the radio and agreed to fly in formation with him after takeoff for a few good shots. Most were blurry, but one came out good.
It was good to get some nice shots. It was important for me to get some pictures during this lesson because I have virtually no photo archive of anything that I am doing.
I had everything set up fine…the VOR, the frequencies…everything except the GPS. I wanted to fly by only VOR this time, just for practice. The GPS is very helpful, but there may be too much of a reliance on it. Well, I made it to the VOR station and changed course, just like I was supposed to.
I continue on past Port Jervis and kept with the Delaware River and passed by some beautiful land. I never knew it was this nice in Pennsylvania. I always just dismissed the state. I have no idea why.
Anyway, Yigal started asking me when I would know when I was at the airport. I told him I was aware of where I was because of the river features. There was a zig zag in the river and I was looking at it on the map as well as out the window. Also, I would see the airport. A lot of them are visible from 20 miles away. Well, as it turns out, the river feature I was looking at turned out to be the wrong one. Also, the airport was like someone’s driveway, surrounded by houses. I had no idea that it was that small. I flew right over it. Yigal kept trying to give me hints, like, “Oh, look at that big break in the mountian where the river runs through it” and “Check out that bridge.” I kept wondering what the heck he was talking about because the airport was nowhere in sight.
I was lost.
There were a few options. I could use ATC for radar vectoring, which is embarrassing, especially when you are flying right over the airport or you could use your navigation equipment. I decided to use the two VOR instruments to locate where I was. I did find an airport and thought it was the one, but it had big “X’s” on the runway. Also, the runway direction was off. Finally, I found the little, tiny runway, hidden down in the woods. I could almost see Stewart from where I was, 50 miles away, but couldn’t see the airport I was right on top of. I decided to descend for a landing on the 30ft wide runway.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, the weather briefing was wrong. The wind and turbulence up there were horrible. A few times, I thought the plane was going to go vertical. My altitude was going from 4,500 to 4,900 to 3,900 in a matter of minutes. It was crazy. The turbulence over the airport was bad too.
We flew the pattern to come in for a landing. I was on final approach and doing ok. The trees were right under me, but that wasn’t a big concern. I came in for my landing and the wind took me all over the place. Yigal had to take over and land. That pretty much sucked. He wanted me to land at this airport, so I took off again for another one. This time, there was just no way…we were running out of runway. We made a go-around for another try. Success…I finally did it. If I was alone, I would’ve just flown back to Orange County without landing.
With that done, We took off to head back home. I did my stuff after a little tif with the Allentown ATC guy. I asked him to repeat something and he told me to listen up next time. If I ever meet him in person, I would like to have a short chat. From about 20 miles away, I saw MGJ and flew toward it, getting bounced around the whole time.
I came in for an easy landing on runway 3 at Orange County. Oh so smooth, until at the last second an unexpected gust took me to the right. Yigal landed the plane. I taxied back and felt like crap.
I have to say that I am getting very tired. I mean literally. I think the pollen in the air is making me sleepy. I need a few weeks off just to get motivated again.