Your connection with the sky

Talking to Tower

Yesterday, Dana and I took to the sky (for a little bit at least) to conquer controlled airspace.  The lesson started with a small ground lesson on airport signs, controlled airspace procedures, and the airport in general.  During my call to Lockheed Martin for a weather briefing, the briefer informed me of something I hadn’t heard of; all of the runways at Kenosha (KENW) had changed numbers. I thought it was interesting seeing the effects of a shifting magnetic pole first hand...

Runways are numbered by their magnetic heading.  When their heading change, (or rather, the magnetic poles change) the runway numbers can change depending on the extent of the change.  Of course it takes years and years to change a runway one number.  After changing the numbers in my Airport/Facility Directory, we hopped in the plane and headed off to Kenosha.

On the way there, Dana warned me that if we heard a female voice on the radio, to be alert.  Dana explained that this specific controller was one of the worst he’s ever worked with.  Once establishing communication with her, I could tell why he thinks that.  Nonetheless, we just focused on flying the aircraft.

We started off our landing marathon with a stop and go, touch and go, and then a full stop landing.  After our third option, I took Dana back to the terminal so I could do 3 full stop landings solo (3 full stop landings at a towered airport are a requirement to be a private pilot).  On my own, I did pretty well.  I was able to follow all of the directions, express my requests properly, and even my flying was better than normal.

I was able to land much smoother by being more concise of my airspeed on final.  By keeping the plane at 60, it was much easier to flare.  After three better-than-usual landings, I taxied back to the terminal to pick up Dana, we departed back to Westosha.

We took a very roundabout way back to Westosha in order to log more simulated instrument time.  I put on the special glasses for another 6/10 of an hour leaving me only 1/10 of an hour left of simulated instrument time (Dana said we would take care of it during check ride preparation).

Back at Westosha, we landed on the grass runway that runs almost perpendicular to the paved runway.  Coming in for the landing, I ended up sinking way too fast.  I quickly punched in some power and ended up saving a real ego killer.  In fact, it was one of my best landings in quite a while.

At the end of the day, I was able to put in 2.0 hours of flight time (.5 solo and .6 simulated instrument time).  With my towered landings done and my simulated instrument time almost done, my next flights will be cross country flights.  I need to fly a night cross country with Dana as well as a solo cross country.  Thanks for reading!!!

-Evan Krueger

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