Today's flight was completing the loop I started two weeks ago when I took off from KBLM and traveled south down the New Jersey coast to Cape May for an arrival at KWWD. Now that I'm way up in north Jersey right by the New York border, I needed to get back to KBLM but had to make full use of my available VFR scenery, which extended out east onto Long Island.
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So the plan called for a departure from 4N1 on Runway 6, turning SSE to intercept the Hudson River, following that south until I hit the tip of Manhattan. From there I would catch the 270° radial inbound to the Deer Park VOR, which would take me straight between KLGA and KJFK and out to KFRG, which is at the far east of my current VFR scenery. After a touch and go at KFRG, I would turn south to the Long Island coast and then track that back east until I picked up the 30° radial inbound to the Colts Neck VOR. After crossing over Colts Neck I would track outbound on the 190° radial to set me up for a direct approach to Runway 14 at KBLM.
I was back in the Cessna 172 for this flight. The Mooney Bravo was fun but had too much speed for VFR flight - I just wanted to cruise nice and slow this time out. I'm also way more comfortable in the Cessna having logged the most hours in it. Once I start taking on farther flights, the Mooney and other aircraft will become more suitable.
The flight was largely uneventful. I hit a couple of bumps transitioning from land to water in several areas, but I was able to stay within +/- 200 feet of my cruise altitude of 2500 feet despite some nasty updrafts. Approaching KFRG for my touch and go, the controller cleared me for a right traffic entry to the pattern for Runway 1 - but I had already unconsciously set myself up for left traffic since that's all I've flown so far. Checking the airport information on my laptop I saw that Runway 1 is indeed a right traffic runway, so I had to circle out of the left pattern I was in to re-enter in a right pattern and then land and go.
For both airports this time I checked the traffic pattern altitude and descended to that prior to entering the pattern as well.
The next flight won't happen for a while as I return to the classroom to work on my Instrument Rating. After that I'll most likely chart a long flight up north to one of my favorite places - Martha's Vineyard.