Posted by: Patrick | May 1, 2010

Flight 5/1/2010 – TOLA

One word, today I suck !

I’m so disappointed and frustrated that I don’t know what to do. We start our fligth by inspecting N738TJ. Everything was just good, my partner was first today and I stayed down on the hanger with the simulator, so far everything was going well. They stayed up for over an hour and practiced regular left pattern TOLAs. When they return, it was my turn to get ready and go up.
I got in the airplane and my CFI joined me too. We went through normal engine startup procedure and cranked the engine. As usual tuned to 132.1 to listen to KWHP ATIS. I start wirtting down the info that suddenly we heard whiteman runways are closed for 1 to 2 hours, airplane down on the runway !!

I couldn’t belive what could happen during past 10 min that we were inside the hanger. We turned off the airplane and walked to the runway. There was an 172 broken right before the landing treshholds. The noise gear was completly broken and pressed inside the airframe. the main landing gears were also damaged. Pilots were doinf fine and they were out of the plane safe.

We couldn’t get clear report that what caused the accident. I will follow it up on FAA site to find out the real cause of the accident. So we had no other choice to go back to hanger and wait. It took maybe 1 hour to tow the damaged aircraft out of the runway and have an incpection. We were monitoring the ATIS to find out when they are going to open up the runway. Fianlly we heard that the runway is open, so we were back to the airplane.

That’s when all my disappointments for today start. As usual after conducting check list, we conact KWHP ground on 125.00 requesting the taxi, they changed the runway and gave us runway 30 for take off. I never flew right pattern before, so I was trying to figure out all process for right pattern in my head, we hold short and after getting the take off clearense, rolled into the runway. I forgot to mention that the wind also shoft during this and it was gusty, so that also add another complication to my list. Aa reuslt I have to roll out on 60 knts instead of 55 knts. I took off with no issue, but the horizon was different and the gust was pushing me around. We turned right for crosswind, I had a tailwind on downwind which adds the ground speed and I couldn’t loos enough alititude on base leg, the result was a go around ! we were right on the crosswind that the towere announced they are going to cancel all pattern flight due to the radar issues they were experiencing !

OMG, another problem added to my already handfull list. At that point I was hoping that we are going to land and call it a day, but CFI called the tower and said that we going to BUR for pattern work ! What ? BUR ? pattern work ? I never been in BUR before and have to go there for pattern work ? radio communication and land amoung 737s ? My head was blowing up and I was in a very uncertain situation, I don’t know what was going to happen, unfamiliar airport, unfamiliar procedures. Anyway we changed the tower frequency to 118.7 and CFI took over the communication for the rest of the day. We were on approach to BUR that the tower mention we are cleared for touch and go !
Ok, at this point I was ready to open the door and jump out. Touch and go, another procedure that I never practiced and was not ready for it. We were clear to land on runway 15, better to say touch and go on 15. Long story short …….. we took off and land more than 10 time in BUR airport, every single time of it was new procedure for me, take off from 15 , land on 8, take of from 8 land on 15, land on 26, right between two 737s and more….. I was totaly confused and lost. Closed pattern and power off approches adds more into it. After 1 hour back and forths and being bounced and trying my best to hold and follow the instructions, we headed back to WHP for landing. WOW what a flight was today. I learned a lot about real airports and how the operation works in big airports. but I didn’t have enough concenrtation to practice my pattern and landings. I think I will try to have more practice in buzy airport after I master in my local aiport first, they are fun and after all they are going to be my future destinations, so better to learn and practice now.

Flight GPS Log:

Weahter information :
METAR – KBUR 011253Z AUTO 09004KT 10SM CLR 12/05 A2991
DUATS ******** Surface Observations ********
Los Angeles CA (Whiteman) [WHP] no reports available Burbank CA (Bob Hope) [KBUR] automated hourly observation on the 1st at 5:53am
PDT (1253Z), wind 090 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear
below 12,000 feet, temperature 12C (54F), dewpoint 5C (41F), altimeter 29.91, automated station with precipitation discriminator, sea level pressure 29.88″ Hg (1011.8 hPa), temperature 11.7C (53.1F), dewpoint 5.0C (41.0F), lightning detection system not operating.
Van Nuys CA [KVNY] hourly observation on the 1st at 5:51am PDT (1251Z), wind 080 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear below 12,000 feet, temperature 11C (52F), dewpoint 2C (36F), altimeter 29.90, automated station with precipitation discriminator, sea level pressure 29.89″ Hg (1012.1 hPa), temperature 11.1C (52.0F), dewpoint 1.7C (35.1F).
Santa Monica CA [KSMO] automated hourly observation on the 1st at 5:51am PDT (1251Z), wind 030 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear below 12,000 feet, temperature 11C (52F), dewpoint 7C (45F), altimeter 29.91, automated station with precipitation discriminator, sea level pressure 29.91″ Hg (1012.8 hPa), temperature 11.1C (52.0F), dewpoint 7.2C (45.0F).

Flight Time : 1.1 h
Landings : 10



  1. Hi Patrick,
    Don’t be so hard on yourself! Everyone has been in your shoes and have the CFI change from the ordinary to the unexpected. The last time I was up with my CFI I wanted to get some takeoff and landing practice for my checkride. It was very windy that day with a lot of crosswind for the runway I usually use 13/31 which is about 7000ft. My instructor had me request 5/23 which I have hardly ever used. It is about half the length of 13/31 so everything looked wrong for flying my patterns.

    We kept working it, around and around we went. I can’t remember how many short field landings and takeoffs we did or soft field landings and takeoffs we did but I finally got the hang of it. It was really good practice because most of the airports I will fly to will not be towered and with runways that are 7000ft. in length.

    When I was up for one of my first solo flights in the pattern the tower changed the active runway from 31 to 13 and told me to teardrop and come back to land on 13. I didn’t know what a teardrop was or what I was supposed to do. I had to ask the tower what they meant and what I was supposed to do. Embarrassed!! My CFI told me that instruction should not have been given to me as a student pilot without instruction. The tower was using an IFR term that I was unfamilar with as a VFR pilot.

    On my long solo crosscountry I landed at an even larger airport than I am used to (10000ft) runway with miltary jets and commercial airplanes landing before and after me. I got so nervous about landing at the airport that when I was on approach I felt too high so I did a go-around at an airport with a 10,000ft runway. When I told my instructor that I did a go-around she looked at me like I was crazy. She and my previous instructor both told me that if I didn’t like my approach GO-AROUND! I didn’t like it so I did a go-around. I don’t care what she might have thought about it at the time. I felt safer and more in control when I landed.

    Hang in there!!!Jeanne

    • That’s very kind of you to write down your own stories, I know I have along way to go and I need to be patient and practice till master every and each technique. Every word I hear from past students, at least ensure me that I’m on right track and eventually I’ll be able to acheive a life long dream.

      Safe Flying,

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