Coming off the high of my 1st cross country trip yesterday made todays flight seem routine. Last week during the days that distant weather cancelled my XC trips I was introduced to soft field and short field takeoffs and landings. A soft field is often a grass runway that has had recent rain which requires a special technique so that your wheels don’t dig in and flip the plane. Short fields are just that…. short and often narrow. Westminster Regional Airport has a 5,200 ft runway that is 150 ft wide; many short fields are 2,000 ft long and as narrow as 30 ft.
So after my XC yesterday when asked my CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) said I should practice the short/soft field stuff today. Also an emergency engine outage is where your engine quits and you pitch the airplane for a speed that gives it the most glide speed/time during which you run through your checklists to attempt to restart the engine and if not prepare the plane for an off field landing. You pick a location when the engine first quits and spiral down at your Best Glide Speed. In practice its done between 5,000-2,500 ft and terminated at 1,000 ft. Today I did three of those at 4,500 ft.
I am slowly coming to grips with age; my distance vision is great and I pass my work and FAA Medical eye test; however, I just don’t seem to do well with the Sectional Chart; there is so much going on in such a small space in the Baltimore/DC airspace. While flying the plane I have the map in my lap and a list of my checkpoints/times. I have to be able to glance down quickly, get the information I need, and get my eyes back up looking out the window and at the aircraft instruments. At the same time I need sunglasses to cut the especially bright sunlight and glare and I can’t keep switching between sunglasses and readers every time I need to look at my chart or flight log. I tried some sunglasses with built in readers but I am so picky about the optical clarity and tint of my sunglasses; they just didn’t feel like my Oakley sunglasses. I don’t do well with dark or smoke tinting, I like tint that cuts the worst glare but also sharpens brings out clarity and contrast without dining things where I can’t see into darker areas like the lower parts of the aircraft instrument panel. Therefore I LOVE my Oakley Golf and Trail sunglasses and I found a product that allows you to add readers to any sunglasses. You trim them to fit your lenses and then run them under hot water, stick them on, and press out the excess water. When dry they stick and you can peel them off and reapply them as needed. Time will tell but I think I’m liking them!!!!!!
The next XC assignment I was given for next Monday is to plan much more complex trip from KDMW to KESN. This will involve vectoring around some restricted areas and flying just under some Class B airspace. I was given specific parameters for planning the trip to make in difficult and test my ability at both planning and flying specific headings and altitudes without busting any restricted stuff….. so I began today marking out my trip on a Sectional map and submitting it with a Terminal scale map and ForeFlight electronic charting.
Thanks for your interest…..