Touch And Go Not Advised

I need to get checked out at the FBO at ADS so I can rent a plane tomorrow.

I start with dinner.

I’m thinking I would like to have Da Won later, but I want to eat something now and I really don’t need to have two evening meals. Stopping by the hotel restaurant and seeing “jimmy the low key bartender” briefly I decide I can just get an appetizer. That’s really all the calories I need, given that I haven’t worked out in two days, and half price appetizers during happy hour means I can eat for $3.00.

A quick stop in my room to exchange my laptop for aviation headset and iPad full of charts and I’m ready to go play navigation system roulette and see how it takes me to the airport. This time it decides that the tollway is the way to go. If I had any sense of direction I might argue, but I don’t. I’m stuck following the directions of the disembodied british female who lives in my phone.

After a few false starts I arrive at the FBO and introduce myself. As is typical, the flight instructors there are kids who are building hours while they pursue a career in aviation. Also as usual, they are really nice guys who seem to love what they do.

A check out is a flight one does with a flight instructor representing the FBO from which you are trying to rent. They ask when the last time was that you flew, how many total hours you have and about currency for night and other flying. On the basis of this, they then figure out how much they need to see you fly before letting you take their airplanes alone.

I last flew 72 hours ago. I have about 200 hours total time, which isn’t very much but is well past the initial learning phase. I’m current at night and I just finished my instrument rating. On the basis of this, my CFI decides that we can do an abbreviated check out. His is thinking that we will fly for a while, do some stalls and engine failures and then come back.

I preflight the plane and find that the strobes and a taxi light are burnt out. We decide to go ahead and launch anyway as it’s still daytime and we’re just going to stay in the pattern. The airport is a bit different than anyplace else I’ve flow. They are geographically constrained so I theorize that it’s that which has forced the buildings and taxiways into such a weird configuration. Taxiing out to the runway feels more like driving through a neighborhood than taxiing at an airport.

We emerge from the subdivision and arrive at the airport proper. They have a single runway nestled underneath the airspace of DFW and a lot of airplanes based here. Right now there is some construction underway, so the runway is 2,000 feet shorter than usual. That still leaves 5,000 feet, or 4,000 feet more than this little Cessna needs to take flight.

On the taxi down to the departure end of the runway my flight instructor takes the rado and asks if we can do a touch and go. He had told me we would fly for 30-45 minutes, instead he just wants to take off, fly around the pattern, do a touch and go, fly around the pattern one more time and land. All of this means that my flight just got a lot less expensive.

Usually ADS is much to busy for this, but it’s later in the evening and things have quieted down. After getting the request approved by his supervisor, we are cleared for the touch and go with a stern warning, “we cannot tell you that you can’t do a touch and go, but be aware that the runway is 2,000 feet shorter and we strongly advice against.”

“Roger, clear for the touch and go.”

I honestly don’t know if that was a CYA or if he really thought we didn’t have enough space. Either way, a 5,000 foot runway is plenty of room for touch and goes with a Cessna 172, so that’s what we’re going to do.

GMC: Gas is both. Mix is full. Carb heat doesn’t exist because we a fuel injected.

Throttle comes out and the first flaps goes in. The plane is slowing down nicely as we approach the turn to base.

“Cessna 8TW, notice rabbit reported runway 15 intersection whiskey, clear to land runway 15″

“Clear to land runway 15. 8TW”

We turn base and add the second flaps.

My CFI says, “Notice you have a displaced threshold here”

A displaced threshold is a paved portion of the runway (shown here as the portion above the 15 with arrows on it) that is available for takeoff rolls, but is not durable enough to withstand the force of a landing. I mean, of course everything would be fine in this little 172, but these rules are made for everyone.

I add a bit of power because, in all honesty, I hadn’t yet noticed the displaced threshold. 200 RPM additional adds enough float to bring us to the right touchdown point on the runway and a landing.

Then the action begins, flaps up, trim to take-off, full throttle and off we go. With, easily, 2,000 feet left before the construction zone on the runway.

Tower comes back on the radio sounding clearly impressed, “8TW, yeah, you did have plenty of room. I guess not starting from zero makes a big difference.”

“Yep, we figured in this plane we had nothing to worry about”

“Ok, 8TW you are clear to do as many touch and goes as you need”

But we didn’t need any. On the basis of that landing my recent instrument rating my CFI is ready to sign me off. I fly us once more around the patch and we’re done.

I just hope the weather tomorrow holds up. It’s supposed to be a bit windy, but if we make it, it’s going to be a fun flight…

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