Today Mary and I went up to put the Lowrance 1000 through it's paces. After the initial mounting to the yoke at the pilots position, we decided for a better view of the instruments to re-mount on the right side yoke and angle towards me (the left) . This position was ok, but I think the next time out we will mount it in front of me so I can see it better.
First area was out near 40N Chester County, actually about 8 miles or so south heading in a westerly direction. I didn't like all the haze and decided to make it a landing practice session instead. I turned around to the East and tracked MXE on a 90* inbound radial. Giving the GPS a quick glance I notice it has us pointing to the south not completing my 180* turn back to the east. For some reason we lost our track, it looks like we will need the antenna. No problem, tracking MXE fine and really just coming back from the practice area I see my water towers for the 45* entry to the 27 left down wind pattern.
A nice smooth landing and taxi back to blast off for a few more rounds. Mary reaches back to my flight bag and grabs the antenna then plugs it in the Lowrance 1000. Following traffic for departure ( a smokin'' Mooney, dang it looked sweet) we were # 2 to go. As we roll into position I have visual on the Mooney getting ready to turn crosswind. We rotate and climb out to 1200 minding the noise abatement 280* to stay clear of over flying the mansion on the left and housing on the right. Calling my crosswind turn and power back to hold steady at 1500' I glance over and notice the GPS tracking solid. As I am about to turn downwind I hear the Mooney call out his turn to base, I follow his call with 2746C turning base 27.......That's right big ole' brain fart...I heard his call at it rolled right out between the teeth. He quickly asked if I had visual I said no contact and that I am turning downwind not base, with an apology. I felt like a dope. Mary wasn't sure what I had done, I was beating myself up about it and I think it made her nervous like I really screwed something up. Made me nervous, he got that right, I told Gary that I probably would not have know he made a mistake except for when he went OPPSSS and kept saying what a dope he was!!!! And since I really did pay attention to his stories about his lessons with Bill, I knew that it was important to quickly recovery and fly the plane. I explained what I had done and she used my favorite lines...flush it down the toilet, let it go. She then said just fly the plane......great it's like having my CFI along 24/7 . She was right as he was right, why bother to beat yourself up, move on. So I did of course moving on to my landing checklist and noticing that I am wide of the pattern and need to get it together. Five landings in the book today and only one with a tad bit of balloon, guess which one. It was a little disappointing that all we did was landings, but considering the weather this was my opportunity to get use to landings, again, and again, and again and again…………ok, I think I have it now.
Ok, with GPS issues resolved and Mary ok in either plane we will attempt a second trip next weekend. If the Little league baseball team wins the state tournament tonight I may be flying to Bristol, CT. I checked out 4B8 Robertson Field just southwest of KBDL Bradley International as my point of destination. I will call this week and check out car rentals and aircraft availability.