Skates97

Richard's Training Journey

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Good job, Richard. My CFI had me go through the POH and create my own checklist. For the 172, I had one landscape page printed in 3 columns, and I folded it like a letter between columns to keep in my flight bag. Front was everything from Preflight to After Landing, the back was all of the Emergency sections, with headings highlighted (red for fire, yellow for electrical, etc.

when I bought my Mooney, I did the same thing but it wouldn't fit on one page, so I did it in Word and printed in Booklet format. Folded in half like a little book, it fits my kneeboard. Having so much room, I retyped much of the Performance Tables so I don't need to check my brittle, browned Owners Manual in flight, just flip through my little laminated booklet.

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(Disclaimer, some of this is basic stuff, but it's just the post from my blog and most of my family and friends that read it still think planes are magic things that just float around in the air....)

Foggles

Today was cross country flight number two back to Ramona, and time to fly with the foggles on. I know those that are pilots already know what foggles are, but for those that don't know, they are an evil creation by someone who wanted to make you fly as if you were in the clouds when you are in reality flying through clear skies with miles of visibility. Why? Because you don't want to train for instrument flight in actual instrument conditions. Why when you aren't going for an instrument rating? What if you end up flying into instrument conditions accidentally? You better know how to turn around 180 degrees and fly back out without meeting up with the ground...
sps_ifr-glasses

 

Here is what the lovely set that I got to use looks like. My CFI asked if I had my own, I said no and he said then I was lucky because it's really hard to cheat with these ones. You can only see just in front of you and have to turn your head even to see the radios in the center of the dash.

 

 

 

So my nice VFR flight plan I put together was out the window as I would be trying to fly part of it using a VOR radial with the foggles on. (I told my CFI that I trusted he didn't have a death wish and if I was heading for disaster he would intervene...) We took off and headed for the Paradise VOR which is just a little SE from Chino. Once there I found the correct radial, put on the foggles, began my climb to 5,500' and tried to fly straight on the radial.

Flying with just instruments is very different. The plane will begin to bank slightly and turn but you can't feel it. Without the outside horizon you just don't notice. You must trust your instruments completely. It is a constant process of watching your turn coordinator, attitude indicator, altimeter, heading indicator, vertical speed indicator, and the airspeed indicator and making small adjustments. Looking at the flight on flightaware later and the flight down looks like a snake (remember I said I tried to fly the radial), the flight back when I could see outside was much better.

Flight

All total it was about 33nm "under the hood."

The flight both directions was fairly uneventful, which is always a nice thing...

Palomar
Over Pala with the Palomar Observatory (That little white spot on top of the mountain) in the background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We landed in Ramona and this time I made use of my checklists. (Make a mistake once but try not to make the same one again.)

On the flight back I had to use VOR's to triangulate my position on the TAC. That was not difficult as I was doing that on MS Flight Simulator back in the 1980's and on other sims since then. (Yep, I was that weird kid. This desire to fly has been around a very long time...) 

Beautiful haze resting on the mountains.
Beautiful haze resting on the mountains.

As we were passing March Air Reserve Base Socal let us know "Cherokee 00Uniform, heavy at about your two o'clock, five miles, opposite direction, same level." We looked over to see a C-17 heading to March, very cool.

We had started the flight late and weren't sure if we would be back before dark. That would have been okay as I could have gotten in some night landings which I will eventually need, but turns out we landed about 7:40pm so the sun hadn't gone down yet. However, with the sun low and the haze much thicker up towards Chino than in the picture above, you couldn't see the ground very far out in front of you. As we were coming up on the Paradise VOR we got this call.

Socal: "Cherokee 00Uniform, you have a 767 at your ten o'oclock, 10 miles out, opposite direction, climbing."

It must have been leaving Ontario and I told my CFI we were going to just see it come up out of the haze. Sure enough just a few seconds later he said "There it is" and we saw it quite a way out in front of us, climbing fast. By the time it passed right over us it was probably at least 6,000' above us.

We were handed off to Chino Tower and told to enter left base for landing on 26R. I knew the general direction of the airport, we still couldn't see it, and I could see ground below us even though I couldn't see ground 4 miles away. So, I started my turn to base and we kept looking for the runways. About the time we were almost even with 26L we finally saw them and I made my turn to final to line up with 26R. 

Next up we will fly the route to Ramona one more time on Saturday but instead of making it all the way there my CFI is going to make me divert to another airport. The flight after that? Well that will be back to Ramona one more time for my first solo cross country. Then it will be my long solo cross country, time to figure out where I want to fly to and start planning it. I thought this was fun before, but it is getting really fun now.

Edited by Skates97

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Diversion, Go-Around, and Stuff

Today was my last flight with my CFI before my XC Solo to Ramona. As such we needed to work on a few more things before he turns me loose. He had told me that we would be working on a diversion this flight so I had scoped out available airports that were far enough away from KCNO and on the route for the flight to count as XC. The only one that fit the bill was Palomar KRCQ. I checked the weather before leaving home and Ramona had 500' ceiling and Palomar was even lower at 300', the typical morning marine layer. KCNO had said it was 1,100' but it was lifting. 

When I got to the airport I talked with my CFI about the plan.

CFI: "Well, hopefully everything lifts because right now Ramona and my diversion are socked in."
Me: "Yeah, I checked Palomar before I left home and saw that."
CFI: "That's cheating."
Me: "How? I was just looking at available airports along the route 'in case there were any problems.' I call it good planning... :)"
CFI: "Okay..."

The flight had quite a few 'firsts' in it, which is always nice to experience with the CFI in the right seat, just in case... I pre-flighted the plane and we taxied down the hanger row to the end where I contact ground. I called in and requested taxi to 26R like normal and stated I had a VFR request like before. Ground told me to contact Clearance for the VFR request. I looked at my CFI and he said they almost never use Clearance there, but we switched over the radio and put in our request. Then it was back to Ground for taxi clearance and we headed to the run-up area. Everything looked good, we received our squawk code from the tower, take off clearance, and we were off.

Shortly after making my turn the tower told me to contact SOCAL so I switched over and they gave me clearance to climb to my cruising altitude of 5,500'. I love when they let you climb straight up instead of making you wait to clear KONT's 2,700' shelf that KCNO sits under.

Most of the flight was my CFI quizzing me on how far I could make it if I lost my engine (which he did pull the throttle on me a couple of times just to see me pitch it over for glide speed and go through my engine out checklist). I need more of the 'how far away is that point' and 'where can you make it to' as I am still figuring out how to judge distance from the air.

About 20 minutes into the flight SOCAL called us up.

SOCAL: "Cherokee 00Uniform, climb to 6,000'. You have traffic to your right approaching, same direction.
Me: "Climbing 6,000', 00Uniform."
SOCAL: "00Uniform, looks like he's climbing, do you see the traffic?"
(Just then I look out the right side and see an RV about a mile off, climbing fast, and passing us fast.) 
Me: "I have the traffic in sight, ooUniform."
SOCAL: "ooUniform, return to your previous altitude."

At this point the RV is a little ways past us, he slides over in front of us, wags his wings, and is on his way.

CFI: "Did you see that? He's just showing off."
Me: "Yep"
CFI: "I'm a little hurt... (In a joking tone)"
Me: "Serious? You realize what we're flying?" (A not so very fast Cherokee 140)
CFI: "Yeah, I guess you're right."
Me: "Think of it that we're driving the old beater down the freeway and just got passed by a sports car, nothing you can do."

We passed Temecula and he asked me to show him where we were on the map. I had been using my tablet, GPS off, just for the charts and had my flight plan on it as well. Fortunately I also had paper backups of my flight plan on my kneeboard and my TAC and Sectional in the pockets on the side of my kneeboard because right then my tablet decided it had spent too much time in the sun and shut down. No problem, I set it behind the seat and pulled out my Sectional. We went through a few more 'you lost your engine, where could you land' scenarios and we were quickly approaching the point of choosing to go left to Ramona or right to Palomar. (I could see both airports about 10nm away on each side.) I switched COM2 to the Ramona ATIS and wrote down the info, then asked him if I could contact SOCAL to ask for a frequency change since I had the Ramona field in sight. At that point he said, "Nope, lets divert to Palomar." So I contacted SOCAL for the diversion and dialed up 129.15 which I thought  was the frequency for Palomr's ATIS. The problem was that the number was right on the fold of the Sectional and hard to read. After a few seconds of nothing my CFI asked "Where did you come up with that frequency?" I took a closer look and saw my mistake, dialed up the correct frequency of 120.15, got the info, contacted tower, and we were on our way straight in.

The runway there is fun, it dips a little in the middle and then slopes up if you are coming in on runway 24. Then it drops off at the end. We taxied past a P-51 (very cool) on the ramp and stopped in the run-up area to go through the plan. I had to tell him how I was going to get back to my planned route (Not difficult, just fly NE until it intersects I-15) and how much fuel I would use climbing out and getting back to my route. Having completed that I got take off clearance and we were back in the air, climbing out to the NE. It was cool seeing the coast there as we took off and made our turn.

As we were approaching I-15 I told him that it would be really hard to get lost on a clear day since you could see San Gorgonio and Mt Baldy which should be enough to get you home.

There were more 'how far could you get and where would you land' quizzes on the flight back. SOCAL decided they were too busy and terminated our flight following about 30nm before the end of our flight so we just monitored Lake Elsinore's frequency in that area and the Lake Matthews practice area frequency when we got close there. We got to see a flight of 4 RV's practicing formation flight over the lake, fun stuff. I called in to the Chino tower and they told me to enter on the left base for 26R. They were also talking to an RV that was inbound as well, and telling him where we were, but he could not see to find us. I don't remember his tail number, we'll just call him RV.

Tower: "RV, there is a Cherokee above you and at about your 10 o'clock, 2,300' indicated."
RV: "I don't have the traffic."
Tower: "He should be at your 9 o'clock now."
RV: "I still don't see him" (Turns out later we learned that we think he was probably very busy in that cockpit)
ME: "We have the RV in sight." (We could just see him below us off our right wing.)
Tower: "RV, go ahead and make straight for 26R, cleared to land." (He crossed underneath us)
Tower: "00Uniform, do you still have the RV in sight?"
Me: "Yes, we still see him."
Tower: "00Uniform, you are #2 cleared to land behind the RV 26R."
Me: "#2, cleared to land 26R."
Tower: "RV, just don't slow down too much on landing and clear the runway, you have a Cherokee about a mile and a half behind you on final."

We watched him land and shortly after he touched down he REALLY slowed down quick. CFI looked at me and said "He's going really slow" and just then:

Tower: "Cherokee 00Uniform go around."
Me: "Going around, 00Uniform." (Throttle in and first notch of flaps out, positive rate of climb, second notch, positive rate of climb, last notch and we were on our way.)
Tower: "00Uniform, sorry about that, his engine died. go ahead and make your right turn."
Me: "We have a helicopter in front of us at about our 2 o'clock." (Which I had spotted before my CFI. He had been crossing over the runway from left to right. During the flight I had managed to point out all the traffic except for one plane before him. It's the little things that make you smile...)
Tower: "Thanks, yes follow the helicopter."

I'm still not sure if the tower had forgotten about the helicopter in the moment of trying to make sure that we went around instead of coming down on the RV that was apparently NOT going to be clearing the runway.

We made right traffic, received our landing clearance, and we were on the ground shortly. All in all it was a great learning flight. I had my first diversion (although it was expected), landed at another airport for the first time, had my tablet fail me (always have paper backup), had flight following terminated, and was given my first go-around by the tower.

After the flight I received my endorsements in my logbook so that I can fly my solo XC next Wednesday. I can't wait! After that I have a night flight planned with my CFI and then my long XC solo. I'm still figuring out where I want to fly to, but I'm leaning towards Camarillo and Santa Barbara. There are a couple of airports up in the desert, Lancaster and Mojave, that I want to go to but in following the weather reports the winds in the afternoon are higher than what I am signed off for. They will have to wait for a different time when I have more experience.

Edited by Skates97

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Richard,

If your flying skills are as good as your writing skills are, you will go far!

Solid preparation IS like cheating.  You have most of the answers you need in advance of needing them.  

It is different, because preparation is an acceptable practice. :)

Keep working at it!

Best regards,

-a-

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XC Solo

The day is finally here. I went into work early so that I could scoot out a little early and get to the airport. As would be fitting for the first XC Solo, it was an adventure. I'll warn everyone now that it's a long post, but if you make it through hopefully you will find it entertaining, maybe even informative.

My CFI was scheduled to be out on a flight when I was going to be leaving so he had already endorsed my log book and my job today was to check the METAR information for the winds and visibility, then text him with the report. I did that in the afternoon and told him it looked like a go, he agreed.

I got to the airport and he had just returned from the flight but was still with his student so I went out to pre-flight the plane. The guy filling up my plane told me that I might want to check the ATIS info before wasting my time on the pre-flight because if it was over 41°C (105.8°F) then I couldn't take off. So I plugged my headset in, turned on the radio, and listened to the ATIS. It said it was a balmy 39°C (102°F) so I was good to go.

I finished the pre-flight and started getting settled in. I had brought my GoPro but was having trouble getting the suction cups on the mount to stick. About this time my CFI came out to 'send me off' and he helped me get the GoPro set. He reminded me that on initial contact with Ground, Tower, Approach, etc... to state "Student Pilot" and to text him after I landed in Ramona, before I left, and when I got back. Everyone was going to be gone by the time I returned so I was instructed to pull the plane up as far as I could, chock the wheels, leave the log book inside the plane, and lock the gate behind me.

Today I was in N7085R which is a nice plane, it even has a Garmin 300 moving map GPS/COM (which would be cool if I knew how to use it... more on that later). I've only been in 7085R two other times, and it was a lot of flights ago. I got my ATIS info and contacted Ground asking for taxi clearance and telling him I had a VFR Request. He gave me my taxi clearance but said nothing about the VFR request so I began my taxi. About halfway to the run-up area I asked Ground if he wanted me to contact Clearance (that's what we did last Satruday) for the VFR request. He said no and to just stand by on that. He eventually got back to me that the tower would have my squawk code.

I performed the run-up and everything looked great, so I took a deep breath and rolled out to the hold short line.

Sitting at the hold short line, waiting for take off clearance, just a brisk 102°F as I wait in the sun.
Sitting at the hold short line, waiting for take off clearance, just a brisk 102°F as I wait in the sun.

DCIM134GOPRO

The tower gave me my clearance with the requested SE departure and I was rolling down the runway, all alone, for a XC flight. It doesn't get much more exciting than that.

SOCAL initially had me holding below 2,500' but then asked what altitude I wanted and when I told them 5,500' they let me start climbing up.

The smile says it all, there's no one in the right seat, just me all alone
The smile says it all, there's no one in the right seat, just me all alone

IMG_9158

 

 

 

 

 

I passed Lake Matthews and Lake Elsinore (it was a little bumpy over the hills east of Lake Elsinore courtesy of the barren landscape and the fact it had been over 100°F today).

IMG_9162

 

Passing Lake Elsinore SOCAL had a request for me:

 

 

SOCAL: "Cherokee 7085Romeo,  you have a Seminole (a sweet little twin engine) same direction, same altitude. Turn left 10°"
Me: "Turning left 10°, 85Romeo."
SOCAL: "He's quite a bit faster than you so should be passing you soon."
Me: "Yeah, I'm not very fast."
Seminole: "We have the Cherokee in sight."
Me: "I have that Seminole in sight." (I could see him off my right wing about 5 o'clock)
SOCAL: "85Romeo, go ahead and resume course."

I had already changed my radio standby frequency to the next SOCAL for when I was handed off and shortly was told to switch over. I was handed off one more time and this guy told me to let him know when I had information Bravo for Ramona. I went to switch COM2 to the Ramona ATIS so I could listen to it while still listening to SOCAL. That was when I realized I could not remember how to switch the frequencies on the Garmin... (Crap) Oh well, I could make do with the one radio. I put the Ramona ATIS on the standby and switched over to it for a few seconds, back to SOCAL in case he had info for me, then back to the ATIS. After a few times switching back and forth I had all the info and hadn't missed a radio call.

Temecula and Palomar Mountain about the time I realized I didn't remember how to use the Garmin COM
Temecula and Palomar Mountain about the time I realized I didn't remember how to use the Garmin COM

I let SOCAL know I had information Bravo  for Ramona and a little after that I told him I had the field in sight and I switched over to the Ramona tower. I started my descent and contacted the tower, receiving the usual "enter right downwind and report abeam the tower." As you go downwind at Ramona, the ground slopes up. So while normally I would be letting myself lose some altitude as I passed abeam the numbers and made my turn to base, my CFI had said to just be aware and hold a little altitude, which I did. But, I must have not made my turn to base as far away as the other times we had been there, or maybe I didn't lose as much altitude on my base leg as normal, whatever the reason when I turned final I was higher than I wanted to be.

Turning Final
Turning Final
A bit high...
A bit high...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, that was why I learned to forward slip to a landing right? It wasn't the prettiest forward slip to a landing, but I got down fine and put it fairly close to the center-line. I did float down the runway enough that I missed hte first taxiway turn off and had to take the second one. (Including today, the last four times I've flown we have done no landing practice, and it shows. Next time I go up before my long XC I want to get in some landing repetitions.)

The tower had asked before I landed if I was going to be parking and I had let her know it was just a taxi back and she gave me taxi clearance as I was leaving the runway.

Firefighting planes at Ramona
Firefighting planes at Ramona

 

IMG_9174

 

 

 

 

I stopped at the run-up area to text my CFI to let him know I was there on the ground. (I also texted my wife who was worrying...) I downed a bottle of water and then I proceeded to play around with the radio to see if I could figure out COM2. Eventually I gave up, thought I switched back to COM1, and taxied out to the hold short line to call up the tower. No response... I switched on one of the buttons I had turned off and hear this:

Tower: "xxxx how am I coming in?"
XXXX: "You sound clear."
Tower: "Okay, thank you."
XXXX: "Did you need something?"
Tower: "No, just a radio check."
Tower: "Cherokee 7085Romeo, how am I coming in?"
Me: "You sound good and clear."
Tower: "Okay, because I've been trying to call you with no answer."
Me: (Dang it!) "Sorry about that... holding short of runway 27, requesting NW departure."
Tower: "85Romeo, cleared for takeoff runway 27 and NW departure."
Me: "Cleared for takeoff runway 27 with a NW departure, 85Romeo."

I was back rolling down the runway and up into the sky. Shortly after takeoff I requested the frequency change back to SOCAL, Ramona tower gave it to me, I thanked her, and switched over to hear a very busy controller. Lots of planes, sky divers getting ready to jump at Oceanside, one plane asking for flight following and being told, "not today" and squawk 1200, it's just too busy... I heard that and thought "Oh boy, CFI wants me on flight following if at all possible, at least I am going to be playing the student pilot card."

Finally there was a break in the radio traffic so I jumped in with my request, preceding it with 'student pilot.' The controller threw me a bone, asked what altitude I wanted and if I was still going to Chino, and then told me to keep the same squawk code I was using and ident.

Haze on the hills and the Pacific Ocean in the background
Haze on the hills and the Pacific Ocean in the background

 

The flight back was nice, took some pictures, sent my wife a text as I passing over Temecula (You can't drive and text in CA, but I don't know of any flying and texting laws), and worked my way back up my route to Chino. I got back over Lake Matthews and SOCAL was trying to look out for me, not knowing that I know my way back to Chino from Lake Matthews very well as it is our practice area.

 

SOCAL: "Cherokee 7085Romeo, do you see the 15 freeway off your left wing?"
ME: "Yes I see the 15, I'm over lake Matthews right now."
SOCAL: "If you follow the 15 north it will put you on a base leg about 5 miles east of Chino, let me know when you have the field in sight, begin VFR descent at your discretion."
ME: "I'll follow the 15, beginning descent, will report when i have the field, 85Romeo."

I waited a couple minutes, let SOCAL know I had the field in sight, and they told me to switch to the Chino tower for the last piece of the 'adventure.'

Me: "Chino tower, Cherokee 7085Romeo, student pilot, I'm about a mile east of the 91-15 interchange, inbound for landing with information Bravo."
Tower: "Cherokee 7085Romeo, enter left base for runway 26R."
Me: "Enter left base for runway 26R, 85Romeo."
(I crossed the 15 freeway, turned north for my base leg, and waited for the tower. Every other time the tower will call when I can turn final and I'm cleared to land. Sometimes it isn't until just before I would need to turn, but they have always called. I was also the only plane up there at the time. So I stayed on my base and passed 26L and was quickly approaching the point to turn for 26R, still nothing from the tower. Then I passed 26R and thought maybe she forgot about me, even though I was the only plane up there.)
Me: "Uh, tower, do you want me to make a turn to the right and come around for final?" (If I went too far I would run into Ontario's approach.)
Tower: "Go ahead and make a left turn toward the runway, looks like you flew right past your final."
Me: "Will start a left turn, sorry about that, I must have missed the landing clearance."
(Short pause from the tower.)
Tower: "No, you didn't miss it. I hadn't given it yet, but you could make your turn to final anyway. You are cleared to land 26R"
(I had figured her last instruction was just to enter left base, I wasn't going to turn final without her instruction...)
Me: "Ok thanks, cleared to land 26R, 85Romeo."

DCIM134GOPRO

DCIM134GOPRO

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn't pretty, I was a little fast, floated, a small bounce, and then settled down on the runway. The tower gave me taxi clearance before I even got off the runway and I made my way back to DuBois. I was surprised to see the ground crew guy was still there with the hanger doors open. I shut everything down, texted my CFI (and wife) that I was back safe and sound, and then peeled myself out of the plane (it was still a lovely 95°F outside), turned in the plane log book, and got in my car where thankfully my AC works well.

It was a great adventure, and the feeling of defying gravity and floating around the sky is like none other. Next up, a night flight next week.

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Sounds like a great flight Richard! Congrats!

My only question is this... 

When you called for FF upon departure from Ramona you said that SOCAL asked you to keep the same squawk and ident. Were you carrying 1200 or did you carry the previous squawk all the way to the ground at Ramona? I would typically depart on a VFR flight carrying 1200 unless instructed to keep the code on the ground. I'm not saying you messed up, but I'm curious how all that went down as I'm still learning something new every flight.

And don't sweat the small mistakes (like radio goof-ups). Learn from them, and try to be perfect, but accept the fact that you'll likely never make a "perfect" flight. I sure haven't yet.

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Yes, I had the same squawk code. On my other flights with my CFI there he didn't have me switch to 1200 once we were on the ground, just kept the same squawk. Maybe because we were going right back up on the return flight to CNO? When I told SOCAL I had a VFR request he didn't ask what it was, he just asked me if I was returning to CNO even though my original request when I left CNO was for FF from CNO to RNM. I think CFI's and students from the school make that flight 8-10 times a week so maybe the tower in CNO put in my original request as FF from CNO to RNM and return to CNO. I hadn't thought about it, but the more I think about now it I just don't know...

I'm not too worried about the mistakes on the radio. I want to be perfect, but each one is a learning experience and I just try not to make the same mistake again.

 

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That's interesting and may fall into the category of "a tip" (keeping the code active if simply landing and taking back off). When landing at my uncontrolled field Approach always kicks us back to 1200 when we report field in sight, but a couple of times after an IFR landing I've departed later VFR squawking something other than 1200. Oops!

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Richard,

if your thought processes are as clear as your writing is, you'll go far!

Having a Mooney, will have you go far, quickly and efficiently.

Nice job!

Best regards,

-a-

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Maybe someone else can shed some light on it, maybe it has to do with landing at a towered or non-towered field? Even when coming back into CNO, when SOCAL tells me to contact the tower they have never asked me to switch back to 1200. The only time on FF that we have been told to switch back to 1200 was two flights ago when they terminated our radar services halfway back to CNO.

The last item on the engine start checklist, right after turning on the radios is to make sure the transponder is set to 1200 - standby. Often it is set to something else so there are a lot of other students/CFI's that aren't getting kicked back to 1200 by SOCAL either.

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Transponder best practices are getting updated often as ADSB gets more powerful.

The rule used to be stay on standby until ready to take-off.  Currently we are supposed to stay on alt because we supply more data to those that can use it.

The old analog systems used to block out a lot of other transponders while on the ground....

Best regards,

-a-

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I'm not sure what year my transponder was last turned to anything other than "ALT," except for the occasional in-the-air recycle.

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3 hours ago, Hank said:

I'm not sure what year my transponder was last turned to anything other than "ALT," except for the occasional in-the-air recycle.

It may just be the preference of the school or the tower at CNO. All I know is their check list is 1200 on standby before taxi, switch to ALT after run-up before rolling to the hold short line and asking for takeoff clearance. 

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4 hours ago, Skates97 said:

Maybe someone else can shed some light on it, maybe it has to do with landing at a towered or non-towered field? Even when coming back into CNO, when SOCAL tells me to contact the tower they have never asked me to switch back to 1200. The only time on FF that we have been told to switch back to 1200 was two flights ago when they terminated our radar services halfway back to CNO.

The last item on the engine start checklist, right after turning on the radios is to make sure the transponder is set to 1200 - standby. Often it is set to something else so there are a lot of other students/CFI's that aren't getting kicked back to 1200 by SOCAL either.

I think you're correct in differentiating between it being a controlled field versus an uncontrolled field. If you're handed off from Approach (or SOCAL in your case) to a tower then you'd obviously carry your code all the way to landing. I just didn't realize you could then take-off after a full-stop landing without going back to 1200 (unless you were instructed to do so by the tower). But I have very little knowledge about the topic. I'm just curious.

My home base is uncontrolled though it's just outside the Houston Class Bravo. So if you're heading anywhere except SW on departure it's best to call Houston Approach for FF (and often vectoring). Then when I'm returning to base they always kick you back to squawking VFR as soon as you report the field in sight. We have daily regional jet service as well as the typical business jet traffic (7,000' runway) so it does require some discipline to blend in smoothly with the various aircraft (and no tower).

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I was often told by the nearby D with radar to keep my squawk to the ground. On food runs, they would often say keep the squawk for the return; then callup would include the squawk too.

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5 hours ago, Hank said:

I was often told by the nearby D with radar to keep my squawk to the ground. On food runs, they would often say keep the squawk for the return; then callup would include the squawk too.

Good to know, must be why they have had us keep our squawk on the short turn around on the ground. 

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On our group breakfast runs (up to five regular planes), we were often on the ground for over an hour. Life was good . . .

wish there was somewhere to fly to for breakfast / lunch on a weekend here . . . .

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A little behind posting. This was my night flight last Tuesday. I still need to write up my XC from CNO to CRQ from yesterday.

Night Flight

Part of the requirements for a PPL are that you have three hours of flying at night, a night XC of over 100nm, and 10 TO/Landings to a complete stop in the traffic pattern. I stayed a little late at work (no sense going by the house for 10 minutes) and then it was a 1 1/2 hour drive to the airport. Traffic in So Cal can turn a 30 minute drive into a much longer one when everyone is trying to go the same direction. When I got there I talked with my CFI about what the plan was. He said we could do the XC and some TO/Landings there, or go somewhere closer to just get some of the TO/Landings out of the way. I told him I wanted to just get in some landing practice because the last four times I had flown it was just to go somewhere and land once, then fly back and land once. I needed some extra landing practice for the repetition.

I wanted to go to an airport I hadn't been to so the options were San Bernadino, SBD, (boring according to my CFI), El Monte, EMT, (also boring according to my CFI), and Brackett, POC, (the airport where my CFI took his initial PPL training.) So I told him let's go to POC so he could have the nostalgia effect.

I did the pre-flight on the plane and then he moved the other planes around in the hanger so that it would be done when we got back. We then waited a little for the sun to go down so that it would count as night flying and we taxied out. I wasn't sure if I was going to like flying at night, not because I don't enjoy being up in the sky after dark because I love flying on airlines at night, but I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about landing at night. I had read a lot of things about how landing at night was so different than landing during the day.

Night Flight
Control Tower at CNO at sunset.

It was a short little flight over to POC. In fact it was a lot shorter than I thought it was going to be and before I knew it I was calling in to the tower. I entered the left down-wind and we were 2nd in line to land. It wasn't completely dark on the first landing but it was getting there. We were up and around the pattern again for our second landing. The sight picture is just a little different at night because the landing light only reaches out a little ways in front of the plane, but the lights down the side of the runway help you get a feel for how high above the ground you are.

I kept coming in high... I would turn final and all the lights on the PAPI would be white, which means I am coming in steeper than I want, which makes it more difficult to make a nice smooth landing. We talked through what I was doing and wasn't doing and my CFI said he would take a closer look on the next time around the pattern. So far he hadn't been giving me any input, just observing. The last time around the pattern he talked me through everything and when I turned final there was the PAPI with two white and two red lights, perfect. I came in nice on that one and had a smooth landing.

It always comes down to the little things that I had apparently gotten away from over the course of my last four flights. My power setting was a little high as I was passing abeam the numbers, I wasn't getting my second notch of flaps in soon enough after turning base, I was still at 1,900 rpm on base instead of 1,800 rpm on base, and all of those things added up to coming in high. After the last landing we had this back and forth with the tower who had a tendency to talk fast and mumble a little. If you always fly into there and are familiar with him you probably understand him just fine, but that was not the case here.

Tower: "00Uniform, please expedite mumble-mumble-helicopter spooling up.
Me: "Say again?"
Tower: "00Uniform, please expedite mumble-mumble-helicopter spooling up.
Me: (Talking to my CFI) "What did he say?"
CFI: "Just tell him we'll expedite our taxi."
Me: (To the tower) "Will expedite our taxi, 00Uniform." (I give it a little more throttle to pick up the pace.)
Me: (As we get a little further down the taxiway we pass the helicopter and I say to my CFI) "There's the helicopter the tower was talking about."
CFI: "Oh, is that what he was saying?" (He and I had each picked up on a different part of the conversation from the tower. He heard 'expedite taxi' and I had heard that there was a helicopter.)
Me: "Yeah, I heard him say a helicopter was spooling up but didn't understand the rest of it"

After that while listening to the radio we figured out that he was asking us to expedite past the wind sock because he started asking people to hold short of the wind sock. We sat at the hold short line and waited for the helicopter to leave. We watched it as it left the area it was parked and slowly hovered over the runway before leaving. It was a big police helicopter and just looked like a large dark shape with lights all over moving across the airport. We were next to depart and the tower gave us our clearance but we told the tower we were going to wait just a bit for the rotor wash to dissipate before leaving.

As we were climbing out my CFI asked how I was going to get back. I said I was going to follow the 71 freeway, but I initially mistook the 57 freeway for the 71. He pointed out my mistake and then I saw where the 71 freeway was so we followed it along. I listened to the ATIS information for CNO and switched over to the tower just in time to hear her announce the tower was now closed. That gave me the chance to practice my radio work for a non-towered field on the way back in.

The landing there at CNO was good, although their lights are not as bright as the lights at POC. I do like flying at night. Landing is a little different, but not that much and the freeways (at least here in southern California) just look like a river of lights and are easy to follow.

Saturday I will be flying down to Palomar (CRQ) for the second of my three XC's before I go on my long XC.

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Just be aware, Richard, that there aren't always freeways around where you will fly at night. I'm at the beach ~20 nm north of ILM, the course I flew was 072° for 434 nm, nary a freeway to be seen, and not much of anything at all the last 50-60 nm. But I could see the coastline from all the offshore lightning . . .

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1 hour ago, Hank said:

Just be aware, Richard, that there aren't always freeways around where you will fly at night. I'm at the beach ~20 nm north of ILM, the course I flew was 072° for 434 nm, nary a freeway to be seen, and not much of anything at all the last 50-60 nm. But I could see the coastline from all the offshore lightning . . .

True, but for the near future there's nothing but freeways around here where I'm flying. Even once I have my license if I visit family in Phoenix its just following along I-10 and up to family in Sacramento is following along I-5, even at 2am there's lots of traffic on those freeways. If I head up to family in Salt Lake City I would be going up I-15 which doesn't have as much traffic through southern Utah as I-10 and I-5 but still a decent amount. I can map out and fly headings, it just isn't that necessary around here...

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4 hours ago, Skates97 said:

True, but for the near future there's nothing but freeways around here where I'm flying. Even once I have my license if I visit family in Phoenix its just following along I-10 and up to family in Sacramento is following along I-5, even at 2am there's lots of traffic on those freeways. If I head up to family in Salt Lake City I would be going up I-15 which doesn't have as much traffic through southern Utah as I-10 and I-5 but still a decent amount. I can map out and fly headings, it just isn't that necessary around here...

 

 

Sooo,,, youre gonna be an IFR,,, flyer!!....  I follow roads...

You need to pay attention to what Hank was telling you!

You already followed the wrong freeway!!...   Proof...

Cross reference a bunch of Other points along your path,,,

otherwise you could easily be following the Wrong path!!! 

Then you wonder what happened to the world

when the pattern of wrong clues dont come into view....

Edited by mpg

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6 hours ago, Skates97 said:

True, but for the near future there's nothing but freeways around here where I'm flying. Even once I have my license if I visit family in Phoenix its just following along I-10 and up to family in Sacramento is following along I-5, even at 2am there's lots of traffic on those freeways. If I head up to family in Salt Lake City I would be going up I-15 which doesn't have as much traffic through southern Utah as I-10 and I-5 but still a decent amount. I can map out and fly headings, it just isn't that necessary around here...

Be careful following roads through the mountains. Some of them have tunnels that you won't fit through . . . Especially if you follow the wrong road and aren't expecting a tunnel!

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12 hours ago, mpg said:

Sooo,,, youre gonna be an IFR,,, flyer!!....  I follow roads...

You need to pay attention to what Hank was telling you!

You already followed the wrong freeway!!...   Proof...

Cross reference a bunch of Other points along your path,,,

otherwise you could easily be following the Wrong path!!! 

Then you wonder what happened to the world

when the pattern of wrong clues dont come into view....

Slow down... I understand what Hank is saying. I looked up where he is and the route he flew to get there. I'm very familiar with his part of the country. I lived all over Alabama for a couple of years, Decatur, Oxford, Montgomery, Selma, Tuskegee, Sylacauga, and Hamilton. The freeways there are nothing like here in So Cal. Most of them here are in the range of 6-12 lane divided highways and even at 2am there is enough traffic that they are easy to see. The discussion was that at night there are not always freeways to follow, but where I will be headed mostly, even longer XC, there are freeways to help navigate at night. According to what I have read and been told, freeways and cities (which are conveniently highlighted in yellow on sectionals and TAC's) are good to use when navigating at night. I don't know if you've driven or flown over I-10 between LA and PHX, but I have driven it probably 30 times in the last 10 years and flow over it at least 20 times. Even in the middle of the night there is a ton of traffic on it... and with the exception of the pass to the west of Palm Springs there are no significant mountains. 

Followed the wrong freeway? Take a look at the 57/10/71 interchange. Yes, as I was turning crosswind after leaving POC I initially thought the 57 was the 71. Had my CFI not pointed out my mistake I would have figured it out in about 15-20 seconds as there is the dark mass of Chino Hills State Park in between the two and I would have seen that there were no city lights to the east of the freeway telling me that it was the 57 I was looking at and not the 71. No harm done, no danger of running into hills, just would have necessitated a turn to the east. Worst case scenario would have been continuing south and then seeing the 60 freeway and realizing I needed to head East. We're only talking a distance of about 10nm between CNO and POC.

Chino.png

Yes, eventually going to get my IFR but not in a big hurry. There are plenty of VFR days down here as long as you stay away from the coast and the marine layer in the morning and evenings. However, I still like using the VOR's. I had planned the section of my long XC from CNO to CMA, picking up V186 (straightest route staying outside or under LAX's airspace) using the radial from PDZ until I was close enough to pick up the radial from VNY, then to the GINNA intersection and on to CMA. I had checked the Victor Low chart  to make sure I had planned for a high enough altitude to pick up the VOR's, plotted out VFR checkpoints along the route using visuals for some as well as radials from other VOR's as checkpoints, had my distances between check points, headings, ETE between check points, fuel burn, etc... It all looked good but my CFI wants me to use just VFR navigation so I went back to the drawing board and plotted out a different route. It's a little longer using major roads and VFR checkpoints from the LA TAC, but it means more time in the air which is just fine with me. ;)

9 hours ago, Hank said:

Be careful following roads through the mountains. Some of them have tunnels that you won't fit through . . . Especially if you follow the wrong road and aren't expecting a tunnel!

Yep, that would not end well... No tunnels along any of those routes I mentioned, and to find one would involve going off course by almost 300nm to the east if I was flying up to SLC... 

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14 hours ago, Hank said:

Be careful following roads through the mountains. Some of them have tunnels that you won't fit through . . . Especially if you follow the wrong road and aren't expecting a tunnel!

 

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This is interesting and fun to read. Good luck completing your PP training ... Then you can get to work on that instrument ticket!

As others have written, now that you're a pilot, keep learning and waiting for that "perfect" flight...if you're paying attention you'll notice you'll never quite have one...but that's what makes it so challenging.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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