Still Working on Touch-and-Goes

This is technically a sunrise picture from earlier this week, but tonight's sunset looked the same. Our geographical latitude is high enough that the sun rises and sets in the 'south' (minor sun placement to the east/west)
This is technically a sunrise picture from earlier this week, but tonight’s sunset looked the same. Fairbanks’ latitude is high enough that the fall/winter sun rises and sets in the ‘south’ (minor sun displacement to the east/west)

Touch-and-goes at sunset tonight. The air was so clear and the Alaska Range was beautiful. I did a set of 6 touch-and-goes with CFI3 tonight – got to do 3 before the runway lights came on, 3 after.

This was my second lesson on 20L (with a left base). I was nervous because I’ve done ~all my practice so far with a right base. When turning, I can’t see anything because the wing is in my way. Even knowing the runway heading, I find myself overwhelmed and can’t ever figure out a 90° turn (ahhhhh, you just subtract 9, but I’m too tense to do the math).

Turning to crosswind: I turned about 110 degrees every single time. I really just need to have my heading numbers in my head before the lesson.

Downwind: I had to correct my visual reference points because I kept angling in towards the runway. I think I’ve got it now. I’m glad the Carlson Center (ice rink) downtown is a distinctive green-blue.

Turning to final: was too early 3/6 times.  I have this same problem with a right base too…. 2 times I had to wait to turn because of traffic on ski2 and those turns ended up being straight down the runway. I just need to learn to wait longer.

The first 2 ‘landings’ were flying about 1.5ft above the runway – and those were really awesome, if I do say so myself. Really centered, great altitude control.

Then 4 actual touch down landings. Today was the first time I was a bit crooked and slipped a bit across the pavement (I feel bad for taking a layer of rubber off the tires). At least my other landings were straight – although all were still about 2 feet off centerline.

The final 2 landings were the most frustrating (although not bad).

Landing 5: Had a harder time controlling my airspeed (was at the top of the white arc even with 20° of flaps) – it never happened before so I wasn’t sure what to do. Instructor told me to go with full flaps and it was really weird feeling the plane immediately slow down *so* much. But then I had to add soooo much power to keep from stalling.

Landing 6: 3 planes coming in at the same time. One coming in from the west to land on the ski strip, me flying north in my downwind leg for 20L, and a 737 from the north on straight in final for 20R. I was #2 and had to extend downwind way north – it was fun because I got to fly all the way over Fairbanks (which was a first for me) – but then the 737 was getting really close…. I made the turn too steep and had to angle really far right to line up on the runway. I also had 4 red on the PAPI which is always nerve-racking. CFI3 was really happy with the actual touchdown – I guess I should be too because it was nice and soft and I was able to get back on centerline really quickly…..but ah! 2 feet off!


I was asked today if I felt ready to solo. Ready to takeoff and fly the pattern? Yes. Ready to land? Sometimes. For example, landing 5 would have been a go-around if I had been alone in the plane. It is frustrating because it was a completely ‘savable’ landing – but I didn’t immediately know how.


My flight was the first since the 150’s leaky fuel tank was replaced. Hurray for being a guinea pig. I’m sad I didn’t check the fuel shutoff switch when I lowered the flaps in preflight. Ahh! Sorry CFI3, I always check it – I’m not sure why I didn’t today. It did explain why nothing came out of the fuel strainer, embarrassing. I got to add gas to the plane for the second time today (I’m ashamed to admit I finally figured out why we cannot fill the tanks up completely – instructor+student+16 gallons is approximately the 150’s max load, sheesh Christina…..). I feel that as we start moving into to colder weather, I’ll “get” the pleasure of fueling up a lot more. 😉


2 thoughts on “Still Working on Touch-and-Goes

  1. What I do when turning crosswind or base, I check from the gyro when the runway heading is in the 90-degree angle and then stop the turn. That way you don’t have to calculate anything. Just check when the runway heading is either at 3/9 o’clock and stop the turn. 🙂


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