21 July 2010

Lesson Two

Today I filed my first two SFRA flight plans with a phone call to 1-800-WX-BRIEF. I half expected the system to be completely robotic and was pleasantly surprised when I talked to a helpful person.  We needed a flight plan to leave the SFRA through the FLUKY gate to get to our practice area at Warrenton/Fauquier Airport (HWY) and another to re-enter the SFRA to land at Manassas.  After waiting for a few minutes, we were assigned a transponder code by ground control before taking off.  I misheard the code and had to change it during our takeoff climb. Manassas has been having radio issues the past few days and many of their transmissions have been nearly unintelligible.  Manassas Tower then handed us off to Potomac TRACON, and they proceeded to call out traffic in the area for us to find.   This was more radio activity than I was used to handling.

For the few minutes that it took to reach Warrenton, I finally got a chance to cruise and look around (pattern work leaves no time for anything but preparing for the next turn).  In those moments as we followed the railroad tracks, it sunk in just how much fun flying can be.

We angled in for the 45 degree entry to the midfield downwind leg of the traffic pattern at Warrenton, called out the pattern turns on the CTAF and I did my first landing at a non-towered airport.  And then I did another takeoff/landing before heading back home. 

Arriving at Manassas, the tower cleared us for a base entry for runway 16R, so all we had to do was line up and turn for the final approach.  For some reason I started to extend the base leg as if to line up on 16L.  That's the third time I've done that.

Flight time this lesson: 1.0 hours dual
Total flight time to date: 2.6 hours dual   

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