Welcome back for another aviation blog! Weather in the Twin Cities couldn’t be more nice the past few days and we all know what that brings, road work and endless traffic backups. I commute three days every week from Eden Prairie to Crystal Municipal airport and spend nearly two hours sitting in bumper to bumper traffic traveling a measly two miles. That comes in right around five minutes per mile all due to construction on major highways at rush hour in the heart of crosstown. Some would say that the solution to this inconvenience would be to leave earlier and be patient, but for me? As a pilot?!? No, I rented a Cessna 172N from Inflight Pilot Training and spent ten minutes departing Flying Cloud Airport where I currently work and reside in the nearby area to Crystal where I taxiied into Thunderbird Aviation. The day started early as usual where I get up and go to work at Elliott Aviation where I service, tow and fuel aircraft. It was a hectic day managing lots of transient* (Non-scheduled arrivals) aircraft while also juggling a decent amount of corporate arrivals. The time flew by and instead of heading directly from work to Crystal for a 17:00 departure, I took my time gathering my flight material and preparing to do some NDB/ADF navigation work. Around 16:30 I left my apartment to preflight N739BN and do the small hop underneath the class Bravo. It was at this moment I realised how nice it is to have a Garmin 650 touch-screen GPS for navigation in comparison to the Bendix King that I am slowly beginning to gain a strong understanding of how to operate such primitive avionics. Anyways, I taxiied Alpha, Delta, X10R X10L Bravo, X36 and did my run-up before departing on Runway 10R.
The flight up to crystal was very uneventful and I just followed the magenta line on the Garmin GPS, swapped to crystal tower after getting the weather, and got cleared to make a right downwind for Runway 14R. The landing was subtle and nothing to note of, not a bad touch-down, but probably not one of my best either. I taxied via Alpha – Echo into Thunderbird and shut down. I packed up all my stuff and set it back up in N2436W, the C172R I regularly fly with my CFII Matt. We did a brief on how the ADF and NDB instruments work before hopping in the airplane an actually doing some navigating towards those specific navigation aids. I didn’t use the foggles during this flight lesson, but I was also very fixated on the instrument panel and at no point heavily relied on visual flight attitudes. Flying to an NDB is not a very difficult thing to do if you understand how they work, and the most common issue is to constantly be correcting for the needle which will lead to orbiting the station (Generally located on an airport). We flew the NDB to Princeton Airport, and then Cambridge before flying the NDB back to crystal and making a better than average landing on 14R once again. It was difficult not to follow the needle on the NDB instrument as when following a VOR navaid, it is acceptable. I got a solid basic understanding of how to navigate via these prehistoric navigation aids throughout this lesson and am now ready to attempt to shoot some approaches and practice holding. The dreaded holding on an NDB sounds tricky, but I think I will get the hang of it once I experience it hands on… maybe…
I threw all my gear back into N739BN and took off on Runway 14R behind two other cessnas and once again followed the magenta line back to Flying Cloud Airport and made another uneventful landing on runway 10L. I ended up putting 0.4 hours on the Cessna 172N from Inflight and it costed around the same amount it would to fill my car up with gas, so it wasn’t the most affordable means of travel, but it sure did get me where I needed to go in 1/10th the time and was beautiful flying next to the Twin Cities on such a nice day.
Hopefully, everybody is doing well in their own training and enjoys reading about my own experiences. If you enjoyed reading my blog, please like, share or feel free to comment with any questions regarding aviation or the content in my blogs. As always, fair winds and blue skies for everybody and look forwards to my next blog later this week!
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