Pre-Solo Phase Check

It was a big day today. Well, not that it was anything different than what I’ve been doing on my flights, but this time my CFI had his check list to sign me off on everything in preparation to solo. It started out with a nice sight as we were…

Written by
Richard Brown
Published on
2 Jul 2016
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It was a big day today. Well, not that it was anything different than what I’ve been doing on my flights, but this time my CFI had his check list to sign me off on everything in preparation to solo.

It started out with a nice sight as we were finishing up our run-up. This beauty was lined up to take off in front of us.

P-51

I configured for a soft field take off as I could use a little more practice on that. (A regular take off is easy enough). This time I managed to stay in ground effect a little longer to build up speed.

We departed for the training area over Lake Matthews and began working through everything. Power-on and power-off stalls, steep turns, and slow flight up high all went well. Next it was time for ground reference maneuvers so we needed to lose altitude. That made for a good reason to have a simulated engine failure and go through that checklist. Up to that point I had been making the radio calls, but here my CFI made the call, and we ran into our first rude pilot on the radio.

CFI: “Lake Matthews traffic, red and white Cherokee at 3,500 over the quarry descending 2,200 east bound towards the lake with a simulated engine failure, Lake Matthews.”

I pulled the power, pitched for best glide speed, headed towards the lake, began working through the engine out checklist and “looking for a place to land.”

Unknown plane: “Red and white Cherokee, at your 6 o’clock low, how about you make a radio call with your position?”
CFI: “We did, I called the simulated engine failure, where we were, and where we were going.”
Unknown plane: “No kidding?”
CFI: “Yeah, no kidding.”

We never saw him, never heard him before on the frequency, and never heard him after that on the frequency with any radio calls.

I worked through turns around a point, s-turns, and then we headed back for CNO. He wanted to see a forward slip to a landing followed by a go around so I stayed high on my approach and tried slipping the plane down. The first time was not so smooth with the slip but the go around was good. We came around the pattern again and were cleared for the option so my CFI said to do another forward slip with a go around. this time I did much better. I slipped it down close and then power up and we were going around.

We were on 26L so got clearance for right traffic to come around and land on 26R. About halfway down my CFI called in for a short final clearance which we received so as we were even with the numbers I pulled power and began my turn, got close with plenty of altitude so dumped the flaps, slipped the plane, and set down fairly smoothly.

Tomorrow I go up with a different instructor for my pre-solo check ride and if all goes as well as today I will get signed off and solo on Wednesday. It is sounding like I will be flying to Brackett (KPOC) for my solo. It fits the bill, close by, controlled, and I haven’t been there yet. My CFI had mentioned San Bernadino (KSBD) but sounds like he’s changed his mind. He says KSBD is just too easy, it has only one runway which is HUGE (10,000′ x 200′). Bracket is more “interesting” according to my CFI, parallel runways (3661′ x 75′ and 4840′ x 75′), there’s a lake off the end of them, and I think the real reason is that is where he did his training for his PPL.

Anyway, KPOC is just a short hop from KCNO, staying underneath KONT’s airspace. I can’t wait.

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