June 30, 2004

Completing Night Flight Requirements

bolton.jpgOne downside to learning to fly in the summer is that earning night flight hours requires you to commit to a few late nights. I had logged one hour of night flight with two landings before today. The goal tonight was to complete my night flight requirements which included making a cross-country flight of over 50 nautical miles and execute 8 full stop landings and log 2.0 hours of night flight.

I selected Bolton Field (KTZR) a few miles south and west of Columbus. I figured that way I would have Interstate 71 as a visual reference if necessary. I also planned to use a Non-Directional Beacon (NDB) and a Very high frequency Omni-Directional Range station (VOR) to assist with navigation to Bolton field which is approximately 65 nautical miles from Blue Ash.

The evening was absolutely perfect for flying. The winds were calm and the moon was an almost full, making it easier to see ground references. We cruised to Bolton at 5,500 feet and made it there in just about 45 minutes. After landing, my CFI & I walked around the airport for a second to stretch our legs. Then we decided to get back in the air so I could work on the landing requirements.

At Bolton we conducted 7 landings including two with a simulated landing light failure and one simulated engine failure. I was extremelly proud of my landings. I decided I land much better at night then by day. I think the runway lights help me run my eyes up and down the runway rather than fixating on a point. During my daylight flight tomorrow, I will make sure to run my eyes up and down the runway when I land. During our practice at Bolton we were in constant communication with a helicopter that was flying just north of the field about a 1,000 feet of the ground searching for a runaway eight-year-old. We had a friendly conversation with him. I hope they found the child.

The return trip went just as smooth as the first leg. About midway between Cincinnati and Columbus is Wilmington. There is an Airborne Express distribution center that include a multi-runway airport. The traffic had picked up by the time we were passing back past there. It was fun listening to their traffic and watching them come from all directions and landing at a frequent basis.

As we arrived in the Blue Ash area there was no traffic, that might have had something to do with it being one o'clock in the morning. Despite the early hour I was sad the flight was over. I have never felt more like a pilot and closer to earning my license then tonight. My CFI said this was a textbook flight and was really proud of my flight planning and execution. I too was extremelly satisfied especially since this flight helped me complete my night flight requirements of 3.0 hours including 10 full stop landings and a cross-country of 50nm or more.

Posted by at June 30, 2004 2:02 AM
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