Another hot day of flying with the temperature at 95 degrees and the winds out of the West. Today we went up in the Cherokee 180 so it was nice to have a little more power than the 140’s. I am comfortable talking with ground and the tower now, although I still stumble around and forget to include some things with my responses back to Air Traffic Control (ATC). Fortunately the folks in ATC are very patient and will continue to ask until they get back the response they are looking for.
I must say that the controllers at Chino (KCNO), Riverside (KRAL), and Ontario (KONT) are great! More on that shortly.
I requested a departure to the East and we were given clearance to take off. We made our crosswind and then turned downwind headed East toward KRAL. It was at that point that my CFI realized his iPad was on the fritz and he started trying to remember the ATIS frequency for Riverside from memory. I told him I had my Pilots Guide binder in my bag behind my seat but he fished around on the dial and found it. In the meantime I had made a turn to the South so we wouldn’t end up in KRAL’s airspace before contacting them. (He also got his iPad working again).
We listened to the ATIS info and I contacted Riverside requesting touch and go’s. My CFI laughed at me as I had reported my location about two miles away from where I really was, which doesn’t sound like much but when you are only about 5 miles away and flying about 110mph it can make a difference. The tower told us to enter on the downwind and report when there so we did. We were the only ones in the pattern at the time so we came around for the touch and go. My landings are getting progressively better and I am doing much better staying on glide path and using throttle to make my corrections to rate of descent while maintaining the proper speed.
We did the touch and go and were given “right closed traffic” so made our turn to the right and came around the pattern for another touch and go. The winds were from 270 degrees at 19 knots which was perfect for the active runway, 27. We turned to final and there was a helicopter that contacted the tower. The tower informed them of the “Cherokee on final (us)” and to “Maintain separation.” The helicopter informed the tower that he “had the traffic (us) in sight” and would maintain separation. As our ground speed was fairly slow given the 19 knot headwind and our airspeed on final, the helicopter was actually overtaking us. This resulted in my CFI saying “You could get passed by a helicopter” and a friendly jab over the airwaves at us that was all in good fun.
My CFI said the other day he was out here at KRAL and they were the only ones in the pattern so they were doing touch and go’s in a figure eight pattern, first on runway 27, then turning to the left and coming around on runway 34, then turning to the right and back to 27. He said he recognized the controller as the same guy from the other day and said he was going to request runway 34 to get me a crosswind landing.
CFI: “Riverside tower, Cherokee 9514J, can we get runway 34 after this touch and go?”
Tower: “14J, you know winds are 270 at 19?”
CFI: “Yes, we’ll give it a try.”
Tower: “14J, cleared for touch and go on runway 34.”
CFI: “Cleared for touch and go, runway 34, 14J.”
We made the touch and go on 27, banked to the left and came around for the crosswind landing on 34. I crabbed in and touched down right on the centerline and then we were off again. My CFI said, “Great job, that was a 19 knot crosswind at about 90 degrees and you put it right down the middle.” I must admit that I was nervous about trying a crosswind landing but the Cherokee handled it well.
Next we were off to Ontario and that made me nervous. I hadn’t been to a big airport yet, and Ontario, while still a Class C airport, gets airliners, cargo planes, and all sorts of traffic. My CFI handed me his iPad with Foreflight running on it and said “Check your position, call into the tower and ask for touch and go’s.” (My mind went me? Those are the big boys over there. But he wasn’t giving me an option so I got my position and made the radio call.) I have to say that the folks in the tower at KONT are super cool. What we did next I can only describe as “Playing around on the runways at Ontario.” Keep in mind that we are just a little Cherokee 180 and they have other big traffic coming and going. You will see that yes, they are super cool in the tower and willing to let the little kid play on their playground.
We were given a straight in on runway 26R which surprised my CFI as that is the runway closest to the terminal and he said usually they bring the airlines in there and keep folks like us over on 26L. My CFI said “Just be ready because they may have us shift over to 26L”, but they didn’t and we touched down on 26R and took off again with right closed traffic. As we were coming downwind to our base turn there was a “UPS Heavy” that had landed on 26L and another big plane take off from 26L so we were advised caution for wake turbulence. However, by the time we came around and were on final enough time had passed that we didn’t have to worry. As we were on base my CFI asked the tower if after we did our touch and go, if we could be cleared for a landing on 8R for a simulated engine failure. The tower quickly gave clearance (did I mention those guys are cool?) and after touching down and beginning our climb out my CFI said that we were going to have an engine failure about the time we would be making our turn to crosswind, 500 ft above ground level (AGL).
We reached that point and as I got ready to start my turn, my CFI pulled the power and said “You just lost your engine.” He then talked me through it, nose over to keep your speed, watch your bank, stay coordinated, keep the turn coming, watch your speed, over the runway and straighten out… We settled down about halfway down the very long (10,200′) runway and then full power and back up in the air. The winds were 18 knots at 260 degrees so that helped a lot in making the turn.
As we were climbing out my CFI asked the tower if we could make a turn and come right back for a teardrop entry to 26L for one more touch and go. Again the tower gave the clearance. After we were back at Chino I told him I was amazed that Ontario let us do all those things. He said that he has almost always received clearance from the folks in the tower there to do whatever he asked for. Like I said earlier, ATC at Ontario is awesome, and the only way I can describe it is that we got to play around on their runways.
Anyway, back to the flight, we were heading for Chino and I called in for a landing and complete stop. The tower gave me clearance for 26R, but then my CFI had one more idea. He told me to call in and ask instead for a touch and go and then a landing on runway 3 for a simulated engine failure. ATC replied with something, which I didn’t catch, I looked at my CFI and he said “Just say 14J” which I did and then asked him “What did he say?” He said the tower was basically taking it under advisement and they eventually came back with the clearance.
We made the touch and go and started climbing out. The winds were 13 knots at 260 degrees. We got about 500′ AGL and he said “You just lost your engine” and pulled the power. Same procedure as at KONT, watch the airspeed, keep my turn, stay coordinated. This time with the wind coming at an angle to runway 3 we didn’t have it pushing us straight down the runway, but it was very evident as we came around that we were being pushed along. I settled it down fairly close to the centerline and we slowed down and turned onto the taxiway. I contacted ground and got the taxi clearance and we headed back to the hanger.
The flight was a blast! One crosswind landing, one with a tailwind, one with a quartering tailwind, and my first experience talking with ATC and landing at a Class C airport. I was making the radio calls, except when my CFI started wanting to do the oddball landings at which point he took over the radios and I just flew the plane. Still a long way to go on my radio calls, but they are getting better all the time.
Next up, I have to memorize the Emergency Procedures Check Lists, some more radio work, and get ready to solo.