Back in the Cockpit

imageBack to finish my Private Certificate, I now am around 50+ hours, and I have relocated to San Diego since flying last at KSNA – John Wayne in Orange County.  Now  I am flying at Montgomery Field – KMYF in San Diego. This is the airport that fellow pilots may recognize as the background from the prolific “John and Martha King” pilot training videos.

Montgomery field has a thriving General Aviation community including several flying clubs and a few hundred or so instructors.  Finding an instructor and available aircraft here is really straightforward.

So for my first flight back, I flew a Cessna 172, N737HY which is a plane that is managed by the Golden Wings flying club. Some of my preflight skills were a bit rusty, and I was doing some things out of order after I noticed that I missed a couple of items.

I called Montgomery Ground and they told us to taxi to runway 28R.  During our run-up, I was doing the mag check and when I switched to the left magneto the engine really heaved, we lost about 300-400 RPMs and the engine sounded like it was running rough.  I thought that we might have to taxi back and park the plane and call it a day.  The instructor leaned the engine a bit and we waited a few minutes while the engine roughness recovered.  I repeated the mag check and everything was fine.  We had a dirty spark plug. This was something I read in the checklist a bunch of times, but I have never gotten to diagnose and respond to it.  That was great experience.

After we completed run up we took a straight out departure just north of Mt. Soledad, and then we turned north and followed the coast past La Jolla.  We passed a few hot air balloons at about ‘1500 feet who were to the east of Del Mar racetrack.  We passed under the Class B of Miramar on the way North staying at just 1500 ft. It was a great altitude for sightseeing.

After we passed the northern border of the Miramar Class Bravo airspace, somewhere over about Encinitas, we turned back east and headed into the practice area to do some maneuvers.  We did some steep turns, and some slow flight.

We then headed back south and the instructor called Miramar tower on the radio and requested the class B transition over Miramar which was cool. I was able to fly my Cessna over some parked F-18’s and helos.  I also saw the special runway markings that I gather that they use to simulate carrier landings, but – maybe not.

Since the Miramar Class B ends abruptly, we were already basically perpendicular and right at where we needed to enter our downwind leg at Montgomery.  I pulled the power back and started a somewhat steep descent into the traffic pattern. I slowed down, added flaps, turned base, leveled wings, added more flaps, and landed.  We were doing touch and goes so I pushed in the carb heat, power, and raised the flaps.

After a couple of more times around the circuit, including an engine out and 1 go-around, we were done.  I landed full stop and taxied back to park.

All in all it was a great flight to break back into my logbook and get back into the rhythm and muscle memory of flying, and landing again.

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