And Still I Practice

My flight on Tuesday got cancelled due to some bad storms that rolled through the area.  It was a good call because we had some serious flooding with trees down and pea size hail thrown in as well.  The best thing is we had been sitting near 100 degrees for several days and now the humidity has lowered and the temperature is back around 84 the last two days. It’s perfect weather to fly in today.

I performed my pre-flight check out and everything looked great.  I took off on runway 35 today and made my turns to head toward Monroe to practicing landings.

It’s beautiful out and after the day I had at work; I couldn’t wait to get to the airport and back in the air.  There is something very therapeutic about being around the airport and flying for me.  It’s medicine for my soul.

Heading to Monroe via 170 on the compass for a landing on runway 23, I change frequencies on the radio to the Monroe frequency as they are not on the same one as Wilgrove. I announce my approach, “Monroe traffic, this is Cherokee eight, niner, seven, Mike Bravo, five miles north inbound for landing. Monroe.”  When I finish, I hear another pilot annoucing that he is 7 miles east for an inbound landing to Monroe as well.

Listening to the Monroe frequency can get interesting at times because it’s the same frequency for several airports within the vicinity.  I have to pay attention so that I know which ones to look for that will also be taking off or landing at Monroe so that I can look for the traffic as we get closer to the airport. Monroe is also a towered airport and I will hear them come across from time to time as well.

Today I will be crossing midfield for a downwind approach to get in the pattern for landing.  As I get the runway in sight, I announce my intentions so that all the other planes will know that I’m crossing the middle of the runway to get into the pattern to land.  I’m checking for traffic as I cross and I see two planes taxiing to prepare for takeoff.  I hear the other plane that was 7 miles out and he announces that he is approaching final as I make my downwind turn.  He will be landing before me and I need to get him in my sights before I turn base leg to be sure there is plenty of distance between us.  I set my first notch of flaps, adjust my trim and look to my left and see the other plane below me as he approaches final.  I’m clear to make my turn now.  I pull back on the throttle to bring my speed down and begin my turn to base leg.  I put on my second notch of flaps, adjust my trim and pull back on the throttle to lower my speed and get my altitude down. I’m a little high still and add my third notch of flaps and pull my power all the way back.  My altitude is going to be fine.  The plane floats down, as we start to get close, I ease back on the yoke and keep the nose from getting on the ground too soon and yes, we are on the ground.  Since I was a little high coming in, I landed a little farther down the runway that I like to so I’m doing a full stop landing this time so I’m not rushed to get it back in the air before I’m ready.  The plane slows and I gently brake and make my way to the taxiway to get in line for takeoff.

Today was not one of my best days but I did make all the landings, although a couple were a little more bumpy than others.  It was still a great day.  What I’m learning is that not everyday is going to be perfect, sometimes the weather might be a factor or it might just be that I’m distracted or maybe I’m just a little off today.  That is why I practice, so that I become more comfortable with different situations and possibilities.  You never know exactly what you are going to come across, birds could even be a problem one day.  I actually heard that on the http://www.liveatc.net/ while listening to the Charlotte Douglass frequency this week.

Another 1.3 hours for a total of 12.6 hours in the logbook.

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