Flying High in the Friendly Skys
|My first flight as a student pilot was on June 28, 1992 in a Cessna 152 (N58693) flying out of Marlboro Airport (2N8) located in the bayshore
area of NJ. (See chart below of the area from a May 1999 NY sectional.)
I soon joined the Monmouth Area Flying Club after getting my ticket and have been associated
with them ever since. Originally, they were based at Monmouth Executive Airport (BLM) in Belmar,
NJ. But they later moved half their planes to Marlboro and the other half to Lakewood Airport (N12)
down in Lakewood, NJ. Marlboro was sold and closed in 2002. The club is now based entirely at
Lakewood these days. My last flight out of Marlboro, where I learned to fly, was on June 5, 2002 in a
Cessna 172 (N93KK) practicing cross-wind takeoffs and landings. At that time I had logged over
240 hours and 611 landings in single engine land aircraft, including 3.3 hours in high performance
aircraft (variable pitch prop and retractable landing gear), over 112 hours of cross country flying, 15.8
hours of night flying, and 10.3 hours under simulated instrument conditions. I also have 0.6 hours of
dual instruction flying a Grob 103A sailplane (N103SH) on the northern side of Oahu at Dillingham
Airfield (HDH). We had an aero tow up to 3000 feet before being released to do a bit of ridge soaring.
|Short-field T/O and landings were a must at Marlboro. Seen here is a C-152 aircraft coming in with full
flaps at 55 knots for a landing on runway 27. The pilot was AG1 David A. Halpern of the US Navy.
|A G-103A twin"Twin II" high
performance two-seater sailplane.
After my first solo in a C-150 (N10439).
My first solo flight was on October 9, 1993 out of Old Bridge Airport (3N6) only about 5 miles
and west-southwest from my home base of Marlboro. It was totally unexpected since my new
flight instructor ask me fly the plane to Old Bridge, got out after our second landing there, and
then told me to take it around and land it three times by myself. The plane was a Cessna 150
(N10439). My first time around the pattern, a right hand pattern at Old Bridge for runway 24,
had me coming in too high (not unusual for me in those days) and I took the plane around
instead of landing it. Needless to say, my instructor was a bit concerned; after all, getting a plane
up into the air is the easy part, but getting it back on the ground in once piece is something else.
Anyway, the next three times I did it without any problems and we flew back to Marlboro
together. The picture below with me next to N10439 was taken shortly after landing back at our
home base at Marlboro. (The tee shirt I was wearing was cut off my back soon after for mark
up and display on the wall.)
My first solo cross-country was on February 19, 1994, from Marlboro to Stroudsburg-Pocono Airport (N53) in PA and back to Marlboro, a round
trip distance of about 116 nautical miles. My long cross-country solo of 331 nautical miles was on April 5, 1994, from Marlboro to Capital City
Airport (CXY) in Harrisburg, PA to Cape May County Airport (WWD) in Wildwood, NJ and then back to Marlboro. Total time in the air was
logged at 5.0 hours with 3 landings.
My private pilot flight test was on June 30, 1994 down at South Jersey Regional Airport (VAY) in Mount Holly, NJ. I was flying a Cessna 150
(N9153U) at the time. One of the many things they test you on is an engine out procedure from cruise altitude. Once they pull the engine you are
expected to set up for a best glide, pick out the best place to put the aircraft down and head for it, squawk 7700 on the transponder and tune your
radio to 121.5 MHz to declare an emergency with ATC, then go through a procedure to see why the engine quite and try to re-start it if time permits.
Flying under visual flight rules (VFR) you are expected to stay clear of any clouds. This day there were a few small scattered clouds about 2000 feet
and we were up at 3500 feet. Under normal conditions it would be easy to avoid them. But under an emergency situation your first priority is flying
the plane and getting it on the ground safely. As I was turning for a final approach to a farmer's field below it became obvious that I had to cut
through a small cloud on my way down, even for just a few seconds. There was no way to keep clear by the required distances. I just told the
examiner that my engine is out and my priority was to get the plane down safely. I thought he would call the procedure off before we penetrated but
he kept his mouth shut to see what I would do if it were a real emergency. Well, I did what I said was going to do. I cut through the small cloud in
less than 5 seconds and got the plane lined up nicely on a final approach without flaps at 60 knots straight for the plowed field below and ahead of
me. Just as I was about to drop full flaps on short final the examiner, a former air transport pilot for TWA, asked me "Do you think we will make it?"
I said "Yes, I do." He then said to me, "So do I. You can have your engine back," and the simulated emergency was over. After we landed back at
the airport he said to me "You should be safe to carry passengers," and he signed me off as a private pilot.
Marlboro airport was great place to learn, having the shortest paved runway in the entire state of NJ. It was only 2,156 feet long and 50 feet wide
with a 430 foot displaced threshold on the approach end to runway 27. Short field landings and takeoffs were a must. Taking off from runway 9 you
were faced with rising terrain and power lines that you had to clear. Landing on 27 you came over those power lines with full flaps on about a
5-degree glide slope aiming to put the wheels on the numbers. I know they tell you never to raise your flaps up if you loose your engine on final
approach, but at Marlboro you learned how to do just that so you can still make the field should that ever happen to you. Otherwise, well we won't
go there. After learning to fly at Marlboro you could fly just about anywhere.
Runway 27 Approach at Marlboro (2N8) --
The Precision Approach Path Indicator
(PAPI) was a late addition to Marlboro
airport in the latter half of the 1990s. It was
great help especially landing under
somewhat reduced visual conditions as seen
here, and especially coming in at night. The
glide slope was not your standard 3 degrees,
but was set at about 5 degrees so you can
clear the power lines after turning final. Here
we are coming in just a tiny bit high as the
light on the right was just starting to turn
red. As they say, "if you see red and white,
you're coming in all right. If its red and red,
you may soon be dead."