On Monday my wife was busy and I didn’t need to pick her up at the train station so I decided to do some flying after work. I had a few goals. The primary goal was to test out the Glideslope needle on the Course Deviation Indicator attached to my Garmin 430. As mentioned in my previous entry the glideslope needle gave us trouble during the automated Garmin self test at start up. I would start out the flight with some steep turns in the practice area and finish up by landing at Concord, NH. I haven’t been there before and they have self service fuel at only $5.49 (which, sadly, is actually a relatively cheap price).
Of course, during the Garmin self test just after engine start up the glideslope needle showed half up deflection just like it should. Well, OK, I will still fly the ILS 35 VFR and verify it is operating as it should be. Due to the construction at Nashua, I also got my first taste of the old runway’s final configuration: the thresholds are displaced 1000 feet at each end to provide a safety area for construction work.
It has been a while since I’ve flown solo. I had a relatively light fuel load too, and the takeoff was smooth and the climb out quite fast relative to what I have been used to. It reminded me of the first time I flew Skyhawk N7242G solo and how it flew with only my weight in it.
Once in the practice area I did a clearing turn to the left then began some steep turns to the left and right. They were great until around half way around the full circle. At that point I would start to release some of my back pressure and lose some altitude. I need to work on this maneuver. I think my mental resistance to using two hands on the yoke might need to be overcome for steep turns because I felt like the biggest issue was I was getting tired holding the control pressure (or I could trim in the steep turns, but that seems strange to me).
At this point I called up Boston Approach and asked to fly the ILS Runway 35 approach VFR. The controller provided vectors as I tuned the ILS frequency into the 430. He asked my intentions and I requested a stop and go at Manchester followed by a departure towards Concord.
Once I was vectored onto the final approach course it was obvious my glideslope receiver and needle on the CFI was functioning fine. This leaves the failed self test on Sunday a mystery. From some quick and dirty reading on the internet I am suspicious that with the lower idle speed on the ground the glideslope self test may have been affected. Hopefully I won’t have to replace the CDI.
I followed the glideslope needle down to a nice landing at Manchester. Boston approach had previously given me my departure instructions to fly runway heading 2500 feet and below. After thanking the tower for their help and calling approach back they asked if I wanted to fly the ILS 35 at Concord too. No need for that especially since I was just flying these approaches visually with backup from the ILS.
Sunset was hitting just as I landed at Concord. The self serve pump is easy to find and well lit. The procedure is to ground the aircraft, swipe your card and authorize a maximum amount, then pump. A ladder is conveniently provided for high wing aircraft like the Cardinal. The only downside was that the pump was relatively slow and as the sunset got beautiful the bugs got much hungrier! I did have an image of trying to slap away a mosquito and falling off the ladder with fuel spraying everywhere but fortunately this did not happen.
The sunset was waning as I departed Concord and headed back to Nashua. It was just after 9PM and a bit later than I’d intended. Nashua tower closes at 9PM but the field simply becomes pilot controlled with standard self announce protocols after then (the tower reopens at 7AM). With no tower in operation I needed to overfly the field for a standard left traffic pattern and there was no other traffic in sight as I flew my pattern and set up for a night landing on runway 32 with the displaced threshold. There was still some twilight and moonlight so it wasn’t a full night landing but good practice – it was a nice smooth landing too!