This evening all I did was practice take-offs and landings. Why? Because I noticed that I was loosing some of my “seat-of-the-pants” flying skills during my flare to land. Why? Bacause I am not doing enough flying. During my training before I got my ticket I was really in the zone. I felt that I knew where the wheels were and how close I was to the runway. Lately that seems to be fading away a bit. So at Penn Yan I decided to practice my take-offs and landings, of which I did 8. I should have done 18 but time is money these days.
Today I finally got in my cross country flight to Hamilton, NY (H30) from Penn Yan (KPEO) completed and on the top of it all I caught up with Brett Zefting (Bravo Zulu Aviation).
The weather was very cooperative this evening and I couldn’t wait to get airbourne. I plotted my course to H30 from KPEO as direct via GPS. For backup navigation I was to use the Georgetown VOR and planned on using good ‘ol dead reckoning as this route was familar to me having tried it once before with Hamilton closed at the time. Tonight I would be at 5,500 ft on my east bound and 4,500 ft on the return.
After take off from Penn Yan I gained my altitude and asked Elmira Approach for a flight following. As usual they dumped me to Rochester Approach as soon as I asked for a following. Rochester Approach was busy but took me and kept me until I was passed over to Syracuse Approach. Syracuse Approach was by far the most accommodating and stayed with me as well clearing me from traffic right after the Georgetown VOR.
When I was about 10 miles from H30 I cancelled my flight following and made my 10 mile out call. No traffic was on the frequency and no field was in sight. The new weather system at H30 was working so I knew my entry point for my downwind, but even at 5 miles out and still fairly high there was no field in sight. I made my 5 mile out call just to see if anyone was around, but no reply was forthcoming.
Finally at about 2 miles from the field I found the lake, hangers and the new strip. Now that I was on top of the field I did an immediate downwind over to final. After landing a voice over the radio asked if I was 73450 from Penn Yan? – I said “yes, is this Brett?” Yes was the answer back and I told him who I was. Brett told me to taxi over to the FBO for parking. I quickly parked the 172 and got out and met Brett.
Brett has been working on a great number if things, including his instrument rating. He has a blog so I won’t go into everything he is involved in. Brett showed me around the FBO and showed me the plans for a plane he was helping college students build. We sat for awhile and chatted over pizza for about an hour, but the daylight was leaving us and I had to rush back to Penn Yan before dark.
It was great to meet Brett in person finally and perhaps we will fly somewhere one of these day.
Tonight I flew from Penn Yan (KPEO) to Genesee County (KGVQ) via the Geneseo (GEE) VOR and back. After climbing to 3500 ft I contacted Rochester Approach and asked for a flight following and got it. I had to ask them to repeat the sqawk code of 0327 – but other than that things went fine. I started getting a bit of a westerly headwind as I neared the Geneseo VOR and kept it until I landed at Genesee County (KGVQ). The winds favored runway 28 and were at 270 at 12 knots gusting to 16 knots.
The air traffic at Genesee County (KGVQ) was pretty constant with me and 3 other pilots in the pattern, all of them with Pipers and moving a little faster than me. We all kept busy doing full stop landings, must be we all wanted to get out 90 day currency for passengers. I was generally too far from the runway on downwind and base which made my final longer than it needed to be forcing me to increase power along the way. After the second landing I was getting caught up with what was going on and fixed it. This is why everyone needs to fly more often!
After 5 take off and landings I decided to head home. I took off and departed to the south. I contacted Rochester Approach and asked for a flight following and was told to sqawk 0344. As I neared the Geneseo VOR, Rochester Approach told me I had traffic 12 miles ahead at 12 o’clock at 3400 ft which was not good since I was at 3500 ft. Approach asked me if I wanted to go above or below the traffic, I said below, so they told me to decend to 3000 ft which I did and held for the next 15 miles. After things were all clear I went back up to 3500 ft and continued on the 120 radial of the Geneseo VOR to Penn Yan.
In Penn Yan the winds were calm, the air space was clear and the green lawn welcomed me like a warm blanket. It was a great evening to get my 90 day currency, to complete a 50 nautical mile cross country to Genesee County and to chit chat with a member after I fueled the 172 back up. That’s what it’s all about!