…Into the Night (My dual Commercial NIGHT Cross-Country....


Well, it is a little belated journal entry, but March 24th, John and I went for the dual night cross-country as required by the Commercial Certificate requirements.  John gave me the choice of two destinations and I chose Fresno/Chandler airport.

 If anything the experience reassured me that my navigation skills are especially good now that I’ve been through all the training for the instrument rating.  The night we flew there was a full moon, but there were long stretches where it just wouldn’t have helped had pilotage only, been my means of navigation.  Basically, the way I had planned it, the whole trip was relatively straight-forward.  Take-off and fly south of Reid-Hillview airport towards Hollister and make a turn to 060 degrees upon intercepting the 240 degree radial from the El Nido VOR, then once passing a 628 ft MSL lighted tower turn to a heading of 080 degrees until intercepting the El Nido 122 degree radial FROM El Nido,,, pass to the left of Chowchilla airport with Chowchilla Prison yards just Northeast of the airport, both yards lit up like day.  Pass over Madera airport  and call in to Fresno approach announcing that we would be landing at a satellite airport (Fresno/Chandler) which sat under the Class Charlie shelf of Fresno Yosemite International.  The controller gave me a squawk code for the transponder and called out some traffic for us to acknowledge that we had sight of.

 Soon I was announcing myself on the 45 degree into the downwind for Fresno/Chandler airport… flew the rest of the pattern made my approach to land and ‘THUNK”….  Sheepishly I said to John,,,,, hmmm that was just a bit ‘firm’ and we both had a good laugh.  John said not to worry much since it was my first night landing in a long, long time.  The trick about night landings is that (because of the way the eye adapts to night with only certain areas of the eye active) the peripheral landing cues are lost,,, so judging height takes a little more work. 

Did a full-stop landing, announced that I would be taking the departing runway and flew the route home to Reid-Hillview. 

Took us 2.8 hours round trip!  By the time we landed and tied down the plane it was quite late.  So, John filled out my logbook, and reminded me he would be on vacation the next week and to practice my Commercial maneuvers in his absence, if I wanted to. 

Well, I had a plane all booked the following week for my Commercial maneuvers practice and was bumped by a student who had a checkride that day.  Not a problem, unfortunately all the other planes were booked so the day was as scratch. 

This coming Wednesday night John and I will be shooting some night landings at RHV.  John said (and I agreed) that it wouldn’t hurt to have an instructor for 2 or 3 passes in the pattern before I racked up night practice landings solo. 

No checkride scheduled yet,,, in fact I don’t think it will be till the end of May.  John thought the 14 night landings I had were mostly solo, when in fact only 1 night landing was solo (without any passengers --- I had some WITH passengers but only ONE without) and one of the prerequisites before taking the checkride is that I have 10 solo take-offs and landings at night and five hours total night solo time (which I would have if it weren’t for the fact that even non-pilot passengers negate the status of ‘solo’).  So I only have ONE hour solo night flying (at least according to the literal definition of it).  So I need to get in 8 more solo night takeoffs & landings followed by the balance of the 4 solo night hours I will need to accumulate.  I guess what I’ll do is just schedule 3 or 4 night landing practice sessions which will give me LOTS of night t/offs & landings and still take care of the other 4 solo NIGHT hours I need. 

So,,, the checkride is nearer than when I started but not in April, I don’t think. 

This Friday I’m supposed to fly for my LONG Commercial SOLO cross-country.  It will be a LOT of flying, indeed!!!  Approximately 6 hobbs meter hours of actual flying time .  I’ll be making stops for fuel and lunch but it will be the longest distance I ever flew in one day. 

Weather WAS looking good for Friday,,,, latest models are uncertain.  We’ll see.  Though I must admit it will be a big bother to have to schedule it all again – since I have to have it out of the way to proceed onto my eventual checkride. 

Just a few days ago the FAA sent me my Instrument GROUND Instructor certificate,,, not sure what I will use it for right now since I have my own training to do – but I applied for it since I already had the required tests and score for it…. So I figured…. Why not?    

This new time has my noggin a little tired and confused,,,, sure will be glad when I’m in-synch with the new time! 

Well that’s about all for now.. I’ll be sure to take plenty of photos for the Commercial Solo (LOOOONNNGGGG) Cross-Country.  John joked with me that to fight the ‘boredom’ (can’t imagine feeling that flying) on the longest flight leg I could practice Commercial maneuvers along my route <<<<<GRIN>>>>>.

Good Flights!

Click PilotGuy to return to previous screen