Thursday, September 17, 2015

Looking for Some Guy Named Charlie

9/15 was scheduled to be my long solo cross-country.  Unfortunately, as they often do, day-job commitments got in the way.  Randy wouldn't be available to sign me off for the trip, so we elected to meet that evening and fly down to KEVV for work in the Charlie (Class C) airspace.

The flight down was uneventful. and as had been the case for many flights recently, it was very hazy - hazy enough in fact that neither one of us could see KEVV with certainty until we were about 7 nm out, already cleared to land.

Originally when I called approach, they advised me to expect left base for runway 18.  A few minutes later he asked if we could increase speed a little (there was a Mooney coming in behind us from the north, who had also been asked to slow a bit for spacing).  I responded yes, then added some throttle to bump the groundspeed up to about 115 kts.  A short time later, he advised that instead of left base on 18, he was going to have me come straight in on 22, which is the biggest runway on the field

At 150 ft, runway 4/22 is twice as wide as the runways at KHNB.  Naturally this messed with my depth perception and my peripheral vision, so I rounded out extremely high.  After several coachings from Randy to let it drop down a bit more, we touched down and I exited the runway.  I received taxi instructions and read them back, following them accordingly, with several stops before crossing runways as instructed, no help from Randy at all.  Even though this was my first time landing at a Class C airport, I'd done it numerous times at several airports in X-Plane on the PilotEdge network, so I was familiar and comfortable with the procedures.

After shutting down & heading inside to pay the ramp fee, we spent time talking with some other pilots, who were actually based at KHNB, flying a KingAir C90 up to Cleveland.   Then it was back out to 34Q to do preflight and get ready to head back home.  I took a moment to get a shot of 34Q on the ramp at Tri-State Aero.  The C172 in front of us departed while I was doing pre-flight.  The C90 can be seen in the background.

34Q at the Tri-State Aero ramp, 9/15/2015

After startup, I called clearance delivery, got my VFR clearance to the northeast, then called ground for taxi clearance to the active runway.  The one thing I'm not used to is actually writing the clearances down with pencil and paper, since I normally use the ScratchPad feature on ForeFlight when 'flying' at home.

It was dusk at this point, and by the time I finished my run-up, called tower for clearance, and took off for KHNB it was dark.  I followed the GPS back to the field & advised departure when I had it in sight.  I did 3 landings, leaving 7 to satisfy the pre-checkride requirement of 10 night landings.  These were my first 3 landings at night, and it was definitely challenging, though I became a little more comfortable by the third one.

After landing #3 we headed for the hangar to wipe down 34Q and debrief the flight.  The other instructor was there, asked how the flight went.  Randy commended my radio work, after which I explained the PilotEdge service to both of them and how beneficial I feel it has been, worth every penny of the $20/month.

At the end of the debrief we scheduled my long solo cross-country for Monday, 9/21.   Details of that flight (yes, it did happen :) ) in the next post.

Two Victor Uniform, clear of Two-Seven.

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