Hours – 18.3
Can you believe it? I was taunted the other day. Yes, that’s right…taunted. By who? None other than Bob C. You can see his taunt here. Now, you can say what you want about greasing things all day, but I pay particular attention when it has to do with landing in valleys with small uphill runways. Well, that’s Sky Acres (44N) in Millbrook for ya.
I have really have come to terms with the fact that I will be the only student pilot taking his practical having never soloed. The examiner is going to look over at me and say, “So, how did you like your first solo?” I am going to respond, “Oh, actually, I never have.” That should make for some good conversation. Hmmm, let’s see…10KTS on the ground with gusts to 20KTS at Stewart. We calculated a 40KT headwind at 3,500FT. The airplane was barely moving, but I’ll get to that later.
Back to Bob. Ah yes, I think I read a bit of a challenge in his last comment. Well, today, after I did the pre-flight, I walked up to Yigal and told him I want to go to Sky Acres. He has never turned down one of my requests, so why would today be different? That’s what is so cool…you actually have an airplane for 2 hours to go do what you want. If you learn something too, all the better. He looked at me and seemed pretty eager to do something fun today.
Before we left, Yigal gave me a rundown on navigation. Yeah, I should probably know something about that. We discussed VOR, the VOR Indicator, the radio settings and the GPS. That all made some pretty good sense. Why does everything always seem so much easier on the ground? You know, I could really be the best pilot if I just stayed on the ground. I could be one of those guys who just hangs around the hangars talking to the mechanics about VOR. That would be fun.
With that all done, I grabbed my bucket of Crisco and headed toward the plane. I was sure I would need that for later. We taxied to runway 21 and flew that airborne vessel off the ground. I turned into the downwind leg and kept climbing. I climbed to 3,500FT and then that’s when it all started. It seemed like everything we went over on the ground was a distant memory and now I knew nothing. I am sure I will get more familiar with it all in time.
We set the radio to the proper VOR setting for Kingston…117.6. I set the VOR Indicator. We started our way to Sky Acres. Due to the strong cross wind, I had to keep adjusting my heading until it was pretty set. We talked with ATC because we were in Class E airspace. I was pretty familiar with the terminology because I have been up at this altitude before. We crossed the Hudson River and saw Dutchess County Airport (KPOU). We were heading right for the VOR beacon. Right when the Indicator switched from “To” to “From,” we turned the plane to get a good look. It looks like a small white lighthouse.
Ok, on to Sky Acres to see Bob. I saw the airport only a few miles away. I descended and switched radio frequency to 122.8 and made a few calls to see what the active runway was…17. Ok, I had the wicked beast in sight. Bob was right, a nice valley right before the end of the runway and an even nicer uphill slope after that. Hmmm…should be interesting. I entered the pattern and did my best to situate myself in new terrain. It is so weird…you can get very used to your home airport very quickly. I turned base, final…kept going down. The wind was pushing me to the left. I went down, cut the throttle, flared and touched down. We turned on to the taxiway. Great landing! I will admit that Bob does have a more difficult airport to practice from. It has “character.” I didn’t want to get smart, so I left the Crisco in the back seat (kidding of course).
Sky Acres Airport
Yigal and I talked for a little while and then turned back on the runway for a nice uphill takeoff. On the way back, there was a huge headwind that made it seem like we weren’t even moving. I was boggled at all the ATC chatter and the navigation. I will get that, but it was a challenge. I talked a lot and ATC and I seemed to like each other. One time, I said “yes” instead of “affirmative” and they questioned that. I responded again with “affirmative” and it was all cool. We headed back to MGJ by going through Stewart’s Class D airspace. I made some more radio calls to ask for clearance to do this. All good. I entered the pattern for MGJ correctly this time and landed with a bit of help from the throttle after my airspeed got too slow due to the wind. It’s important to remember that your airspeed needs to be a bit higher when landing in the wind.
Bob, now that I visited your home base, I would like to invite you to my neck of the woods, just be sure to give a call first, so I can be there.