Friday, December 30, 2005

Anticipation.....it's making me wait..

Remember that song......Well I had high hopes after watching the weather forecast for today. However, I got up to a windy overcast day with not a lot of promise. I burned up the lines checking the latest METAR and AWOS at 40N (Chester County). At 1:30 winds are reported as 320 13kts gusting 25. Well a quick check on the crosswind component chart works out to be an 8knt headwind with a 10 knt crosswind with gusts taking it to 16 knt headwind and a crosswind of 19 knts.

After my preflight we decided to work on VOR navigation. A smooth and straight taxi (knowing my CFI is really going to bust chops) followed by my run up and taxi to runway 27. Announcing my departure on 27 I am rolling with full right aileron rounding to level as I leave the runway. Bill comments on a very nice takeoff and right on centerline. We head to the southwest and climb to 2700 just below the report of ceilings at 3200 and OVC. Bill plays the part of ATC and wants my radio work and navigation to flow. First directive is to intercept the 220 radial at Lancaster and maintain ALT 2500. We do a mock communication through the intercom only but it really helps. I read back instructions and begin my task. First tuning the LRP VOR on 117.3, clicking on NAV 1 with IDENT to confirm. I check my current heading and keep an eye on a focus point on the horizon to keep steady with a secondary check of ALT. All the while turning the HDG on VOR 1 to pick up the 220 radial. Checking my heading and answering Bill's questions about my location relative to the VOR and my TO/FROM flag. I know by my heading and the radial that I am on that I will need to turn to the 040 with the TO flag to eliminate the reverse sensing. I make it so and turn my course the LRP 040 radial. OK, that was fun! We chase the DQO VOR on 114.0, the MXE VOR on 113.2 and back again to the LRP.

Well, all good things must end and its time to get home. It amazing but all that turning and VOR work with a few rounds of vectors and altitude changes complete with read backs in cockpit really helped with my comfort factor. My CFI says bring me home. I'm at 2500 and heading God knows where so I dial in the Modena VOR 113.2 with VOR 2 turning to check what radial I am on and get myself headed back towards N99. I also tune in VOR 1 to MXE with a heading of 52* knowing that the Airport Facility Directory lists MXE as 6nm to the field. As I cross over the station which I see over the nose I watch the flags on the VOR flip and I follow VOR 1 at the 52* heading. I announce "Brandywine traffic, Cessna 2746C on a 6 mile 45 for downwind 27, brandywine traffic". I enter the 45* at pattern altitude keeping a look out for traffic. Calling out my downwind turn I go through my landing procedures. Seat belts check, seat backs up, fuel selector both, mixture rich, landing /taxi lights on. Abeam the numbers I throttle back to 1500 rpm, settle, add 10* flaps let it settle and give a turn of nose up trim but not to much, I want a bit more speed to compensate for the crosswind. Announcing position as I turn base adding another 10* of flaps and trim nose down for 70 knts. Wow strong crosswinds have me talking out loud calling out my maneuvers. Banking right and adding a good deal of left rudder I slip in, adding the last notch of flaps and taking out all throttle I cross the numbers, flair (a bit to high) buffet in the gusting wind then settle down far left of center.......MORE right rudder! Whew.....that was really nice until I sat it down. I needed more right rudder.....now under control I roll out smooth and finally let off the back pressure on the yoke. Turning off to the taxiway beyond the hold short, I call down and clear of the active.

I am up again on Wednesday morning, I hope the weather is better. I'll be up again Saturday morning also. Bill reminded me that I did a really nice job (with the slips) right to the point to touch down. He wished the winds were better so that I could have soloed but he said its all on the weather now. I am going to work on flight planning this weekend and do some sim work on VOR Navigation.

Monday, December 26, 2005

A "NO GO" for WX

.....A "no go" today due to crappy weather. I checked weather last night and had that feeling it might be a wash out. As I tucked in for the night I did have that hope that today would be the day. It was a long weekend knowing what was in store. Oh well.....I am scheduled again for Friday afternoon, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for good weather.

I did spend an hour in ground school working on navigation today, which at least made the trip worth it. Yes, I know, bad weather and STILL went to the airport. A guy can hope can't he?

I'll be spending the day working with my new test prep CD from Gleim's and my new navigation CD that Santa also left under the tree. In between study time today I would like to figure out the workings of my new Lowrance 1000 GPS...All those buttons!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Commit them to memory...

Today was a fun lesson, learning and working with something new yet hoping to never have to use the knowledge. Kind of strange huh? That's right, today was control surface failures and a few rounds of emergency procedures for engine failures in pattern and while in, to and from the practice area.

Control surface failures started with the loss of elevator control which had me flying by trim wheel and power to control the pitch of the aircraft. Interesting concept, makes for busy times to this student. Talk about trimming right for landing with no elevator control.....it would be um...different to say the least. I thought I would have some float that's for sure, but proper approach speed and flaps as needed would get me there. We practice Aileron failures and practice controlling with the rudder, it felt sloppy and skiddish but I got the job done. Next failure was rudder and aileron and my CFI asks what do I do to turn now. Without hesitation I said (with hand motions) I would bless myself. Well after he laughs and said that's always good but.......opening the doors would lend to a slow and wide turning radius. I'm thinking that would scare the hell out of my passenger.....but then thinking if "I" blessed myself that might cause a pucker for the passenger too. Dang....just fly the airplane Gary!

Next on the list was a no flap situation. This tells me my speed is critical so get it right. I am in the pattern today and as I turn final my ALT looks great, rate of decent good but a bit to much speed. I pull back on power even more with a tad nose up to hit my 65-70 knts then make for my landing point. Looking good but airspeed moving to a tad bit high so I slip in and really nail a landing, man that boosts the confidence level. Not to enjoy that to long for the next time around I'm a bit fast and a tad high so I announce a go round and head back out. I get an atta a boy for making a good decision without hesitation.

All in all a fun day in the air. My CFI warned from here on out he will be on me for every detail and demand even more as we progress, stating that my checkride will demand as much or more from me too. I am up for the challenge, ok well at least I hope so! Yeah....I'm up for it.

As we taxi in my CFI asks if I feel I am ready. I tell him I feel comfortable in the pattern and confident. He says I don't want to kick you out of the nest if your not sure yourself. I reaffirm that if he feels I am ready, I do too. In my mind I am saying turn me loose mother goose!!!!!!!!! but I contain myself for sake of embarrassment.

I'll be reporting Monday morning after my 8am lesson.....It's going to be one hell of a long weekend waiting......but OH WHAT A CHRISTMAS PRESENT !!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Emergency Procedures review

Brrrrr......it was a bit nip out this morning as I packed the truck for the flight lesson. After playing with Maggie (10 month old Italian Mastiff) I gave her some treats and walked back out to the ML which was nice and toasty.

I started my preflight early and was ready when my CFI walked out to the plane. Today Brian went along since Bill was off for the weekend. I'm jealous, he was most likely off flying and I hope it was for pleasure not business. Ok time to saddle up. I comment about the pitot tube cover missing and the slight leak/buildup on the steering dampner is fixed. Brian says the bird just came out of its 100 hour inspection. I know I read somewhere about not being the first to fly after that but Ahhhhh......just my mind playing tricks.

Taxi time to the run up location and all is completed. We decide to sit tight at the run up location to let the oil temp climb a bit before taking off. At 8 am it's just us and the 150 so we hold position and chat about my prior lessons and where I'm at with my regular CFI (Bill). OK, well into the green, oil temp good so time to roll. With a quick call, "Brandywine traffic Cessna 2746C departing 27, Brandywine", we're off. Brain directs me to fly the pattern and land once then we will simulate engine out for some practice/reviews. There is a Cessna 150 in the pattern with us today so I am mindful of both our positions. First round not to shabby, I really have the hang of that flair, just need to slow down a bit from 70 knts. Round two and on the downwind leg the CFI pulls back all the power and says there ya go, now what? Well I'm at pattern ALT (1500') I immediately trim to maintain 65 knts, check my position to the runway. No flaps, glancing at airspeed, head on swivel, position to runway looking good, I call out my base as I make my turn and continue right around to final while checking to make sure I don't get center punched by someone on final that didn't see me or hear me. With no wind today I have it made! Looking good, I dump in some flaps and follow the centerline. Just as I am about to touch down my CFI calls for a go round. FULL power, control the nose, don't let er' come up and stall. I take out a notch of flaps, maintain best climb speed, positive climb and take out second notch of flaps. Climbing strong now I take out last 10* of flaps and position myself for noise abatement. Well that was fun! Off for three more rounds with a couple of emergency procedures thrown in.

Today on roll out after landing that "new" steering dampener gave me a scare. On one of my full stop landings (which had nice flairs) I was rolling out and as I applied light brakes it started to shimmy shake like crazy!!! Holy crap batman it wants to pull the yoke out of my hands. Applying brakes and struggling to control I come to a stop well beyond my last turn out. I quickly call out my back taxi knowing there is traffic in the pattern and clear when beyond the taxiway hold short. Brain says one more and that will be it and he will have that dampener checked out. I taxi back with no problems and fall in behind a twin heading to the run up area. Traffic picking up now, two helicopters the 150, the twin and one other aircraft taking off. One more go round for a final full stop with the shimmy again adding a pucker factor. Man that ain't right....I taxi back to my tie down location and secure the aircraft. Needless to say that will get a SQUAWK in INK ASAP! I'm back at it Tuesday morning for control surface failures and then I am cleared to SOLO!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Final flair tune up.....

Another day of landings.....but it sure went smooth! I remembered my birth certificate today for the folks in the office, so that is taken care of. It's really me and I am a US citizen.

After turning 46C so the sun would melt some frost we were ready to get underway. A nice taxi out followed by the final checks during run up. I hear one aircraft entering a 45* for downwind runway 27 so I announce "46C departing runway 27 to remain in pattern...Brandywine" and roll on out to take off. Power full gentle right rudder and we're off. It's a really different look with snow covering the ground. My normal horizon visual marks are ok but my normal ground references are blending in :) Landing procedures are seeming to be as natural as breathing....I NEVER thought I would say that! Turing final I have a slight headwind (what a change) lined up very nice, maintaining 70 kts, pitch good, rate of decent good, adding last notch of flaps power off, over the numbers.......flair......sinking...a bit more back pressure....sinking....not letting the ground have me yet...more back pressure and then a gentle chirp that was almost impossible to hear. SWEET !!!!!!! flaps up, full power, 46C rolling and off we go for more rounds. Today was fun, the landing felt great, no pressure, feet were not heavy and the hands seem to be getting better each time out. I did however have a brain fart announcing position on a cross wind to downwind calling out "turning left base".....DUH!! CFI asked "where are we?" um....well I'm thinking a bit TO FAR ahead. I came back on the radio with the 46C turning left "DOWNWIND" 27 Brandywine and of course with a tone that clearly stated I was a nit wit!

All in all a fun day! I am up again Wednesday morning and I will need to just review emergency procedures and then I hope to be cleared for my solo. I am also reviewing info on Reading KRDG for work on the tower control airports and dealing with approach communications. I have a final in my Legal communications class tomorrow then no more night class until I get my PPL. Between running multiple contracts at work and studying for school I am having a hard time finding time to review for my PPL. HEY, I have my priorities.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Accomplishments and Memories.....

The best lesson to date...by far! Got in early to pre-flight so we could be ready to go around 8am. The temps were low overnight and there was a bit of "frost on the pumpkin" so to speak. Prior to start up we pushed 46C so that the sun could shine directly on the tail and wings. After a light cleaning of the windshield (thanks to my AOPA membership card)we saddled up for today's fun.

All systems go and checklists completed we taxi out to the run up area and complete my final checks before take off. There is one aircraft entering the pattern on a few mile 45* for downwind 27 so I give it one last check for fuel, trim, mixture and flaps and roll out while announcing "Brandywine traffic, Cessna 2746C departing on runway 27 remaining in the pattern, Brandywine". We're off and making a slight turn for noise abatement. Today's lessons were on the T&G's with emphasis on the flairs. Well today it all finally clicked, that's right I can pat my head and rub my tummy, ok well maybe that's a stretch but you get the picture. Four landings as smooth as could be with only one with a slight flair a bit to high but a sweet recovery and realignment back on centerline to set 46C down very gentle. I think my CFI was very pleased, heck I was thrilled!

We taxied back and my CFI said I was ready. I need to supply some info (birth certificate) and go over a checklist of the lessons and then it's time! I am up again Sunday morning if the weather holds off. It looks like solo time and then a flight to Reading for the start of XC work.

Today is one of those days I will never forget. I wish my Dad was here to see me, I know he would have been proud. Today also helps put a new light on my birthday, back in 97 my Pop had a stroke on my birthday while here celebrating, which started the ball rolling downhill with him passing only four months later. I haven't enjoyed a birthday since. I now look forward with his memory tucked away and also with a new excitement for the next chapters to come. Mary, my lovely bride took me out for breakfast after flying today. After ordering, she handed me a card along with a beautiful crystal airplane to commemorate today's flight on my birthday. I am a lucky man! Mary if your reading this....I LOVE you Hotty !

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Maybe a birthday solo ?

A great day to fly today, wait just about any day you can get up there is a great day to fly. I had fun today working with slow flight just over the runway surface. Bill was right on because I think it cured me of the "I'm close cut the power and land it feeling". I exaggerate a bit with that statement but at times that’s what it felt like. Today after taking off I headed to Chester County 40N for a few rounds of T&G's. After reporting a long final and utilizing the ILS I was crossing the numbers with full flaps holding of the nose with each time it started to sink adding a touch of power, it was feeling great. As I sat just above the runway holding it off I pulled out the remaining power and "gently" settled down on runway 29. WOW, now that’s how it's supposed to feel! OK, flaps up power full and we're off for a few more rounds. On one of the rounds I caught a good gust which put me down on one main and had me skewing to one side of the runway......not pretty as I added rudder and power. Bill called "my plane" added more power and then handed it back to me to set it back down and complete my roll out. As we cleared then taxied around we went over what was right and what was wrong. Again we were off for two more rounds and both went very smooth, the confidence is finally catching up to my progress. It felt great as we took off and headed back to Brandywine, leveling off at 2500 and enjoying the short hop home. I looked about and thought about how long I've wanted to do this and now it's finally happening. I spot the two water towers and align myself to spilt them and look for the "hockey puck" (another holding tank but more like a refinery type tank) which puts me on a 45* for runway 27.

I reported a 4 mile 45* for downwind runway 27 at Brandywine while keeping a look out for traffic. Helicopters as usual and a few single engine aircraft were entering the pattern. I turn final and the numbers are looking good; speed rate of decent and alignment......nice. Looking downfield at the windsock it's headwind all the way....what a pleasant change. Ok, over the numbers and holding it off....nose up....adding a bit of power...holding it off...wind change!!!! THUD on the runway, oh man that was ugly and not comfortable. It seemed like the headwind just came to a stop and I was not quick enough with the touch of power. OK, one more go round so as not to end on a bad note. This time on final slight crosswind, alignment nice slight bank into wind and adding opposite rudder.....looking good I came over the numbers, held it off, slowly settling down, just a touch of power, nose up and a real sweet landing. Ok that’s a wrap for today!

I'm going to fly Thursday morning at 8am and I hope to solo then. Bill said I did a nice job. He commented that if I just trust what I learned I'll be fine. Bill said my instincts are right on now I just need to believe in my abilities. As I made my way to my ground transportation I felt pretty good, right then Bill poked his head out of the office door and said nice job today Gary real nice job. That was a first and it really helps boost the confidence. Is it Thursday yet?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ain't nothin' but a flair...

Yes, that's right, it ain't nothin' but a flair but I can't hit it consistently. Worked on flairs today and will be back at it Saturday. I fly smooth and out in front when my CFI covers all the instruments. I know it all comes in time but gezzzzz I'm getting older every day here! I am having fun and that's the most important fact. I feel with all the crosswind training in the book that if I had a dead calm day I wouldn't know what to do.

Pre-checks complete and after adding a quart of oil to the ride we were buckled in and ready to go. Off to Chester County today for T&G's. sun glare taking off on 27 from Brandywine and departing on the upwind to the west really burnt the eyes out. My glasses didn't seem to darken today, that will have to be checked. I was raising my hand to block the sun to check for traffic as I made course corrections. Since there was slim to none for traffic at Chester County I did a long final. I called out my position and started my slow decent from 2500 to pattern ALT of 1600. I reported a short final and throttled back adding flaps and crabbing my way in. Everything looked good and felt good until I flaired while still a bit to high. I let 46C settle down and worked for the centerline a bit but it still was fairly smooth. After a few go rounds' at 40N I departed on the downwind for home. Two rounds later I was reporting down and clear and headed for the tie down. Saturdays lesson will be slow low flight "just" over the runway......I WILL learn to be consistent with the flair!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Knocking off the rust...

Cancel due to weather on 15th and the 23rd

Nov. 26th and finally back up in the air......today was a really nice day to get back in gear. My regular instructor is off for the hoilday so I went up with a new CFI. Started out ok with pre-flight and run up and not to bad of a take off. We made way for 40N Chester COunty for touch and goes but mainly to work on my flairs. Brandywine was busy with traffic today so I departed on the crosswind for 40N. Nice and smooth heading to the south-south west so I can turn back
towards Chester County and enter on a 45 for runway 29. I announce my position as I enter on a 45 while looking for traffic that is on final and one on a long base for runway 29. I am a bit excessive on the inputs today, yup hands o steel.....but I slip in with the crosswind and really get to feel that sinking feeling then flair only to feel the slow decent and more flair, feels pretty good. My instructor says the young guys seem to pick it up quickly so he said I shouldn't be so hard
on myself for not getting it on a consistant basis. Greaaaaaattttt........now I'm an old fart, I mentioned that my first instructor said it was like rubbing the tummy and patting the head...and I told him then I'm in deep shit. Rob laughed and said I was doing fine.....at least he got a kick out of it. Onward we went for a few more rounds with the first the ugliest. I also did one missed when I came in a bit to hot and decided to go around, full power, one notch of flaps up, showing positive altitude gain, taking out another notch of flaps....there we go, I didnt want to force myself down at the end of the runway and become fodder for the evening news. After my T&G's we headed back to Brandywine. It was uneventful until turning final and I really didnt bank enough for the crosswind. Needless to say I was banking left and mucho right rudder to align myself. Not to bad a recovery and a nose held off landing. I need to work on the flairs again wednesday and airspeed on final, I should then be good to go! I'll be back up next Wednesday and saturday.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

First time at Chester County (40N)

Back at the home field today. Of course I'm back home and the fairy tale no cross winds is over. Hmmm...well practice makes perfect so off to another day of landings. Bill and I saddle up for a short hop to 40N Chester County for a round of T&G's. There is alot of activity at Brandywine this morning,it seems there is a taxiway extension ongoing to tie in runway 9 and lighting along with a future runway width extension. Hats off to the management at Brandywine for really keeping the facility moving forward. OK we're off and its a bit bumpy but not to bad as we make way for Chester County. Runway 29 is the active at 40N so I head south sothwest to allow for a turn that will put me on a 45 for the downwind of 29. I call out my location and eventually enter the pattern. I am no. 2 behind a cherokee if I remember right. Once abeam the cherokee I turn base and prepare to follow them in. Runway clear I add my last notch of flaps cut the power (a little high at this point), hoding it off, I hear the stall horn moaning, then quiet......Ahhhhh hold it off ok.....not to bad. Flaps up, mixture check, fuel check, increase to full throttle and off we go for 4 more rounds. My radio work is ok, except for my initial call in to report my entering a 45 for the downwind ( i said final) DUH! then corrected immediately with a "correction, Cessna 46C entering a 45 for DOWNWIND runway 29, chester county." After releasing the mic button I told my instructor that would cause a pucker factor to me if I was on final. We made our way back to Brandywine and after announcing position entered the pattern and was no. 2 to land. I had to really crab my way in and it felt pretty good, Bill gave me an "atta boy" with good instinctive reactions. We talked a bit after securing the aircraft and I think Wednesday I will fine tune my flairs and Bill seems to think I'm ready to go. WOOO HOOOO.....I'm excited. My goal was to solo as a birthday present to myself. It looks like I'll make that (Dec. 8th). I'm at 22 hours and that includes about 5 weeks off between schools. Looking forward to Wednesdays lesson. As a side note I can now add another airport to the list; KMIV, 1N4, N99, KILG, KVGT, 40N.

Monday, October 31, 2005

What happens in Vegas...Stays in Vegas


Sunday the 30th - Well, after a long flight out (1-hour hold at KPHL for navigational problems) we finally headed to the big "D". Yep, Dallas not a happy place for Eagles fans, but hey I'm a PACKER fan at heart so I was ok. American had our flight rebooked and with a minimum layover and we were headed to Vegas!A short haul to the Bellagio and to get unpacked. Mary and I were on the 11th floor with a view to the west for some great sunsets and we got to see the Rio Casino lights at night. We also had a great view to the south, overlooking the pools and the west side of the strip. Sunday night we also took in a show, Howie Mandell, what a riot. No late first night for me I had a flight out of North Las Vegas the next morning so I turned in. Heck, after thinking about it we were up at 4:30 out east and were finally hitting the hay at midnight in Vegas......I was tired!

We are both up early on the 31st, in anticipation of Mary's first flight with me. We got a taxi to North Las Vegas and had breakfast in Lenards Airport Café. Pretty neat place, signatures from pilots all over the country that were in there. They even had a special wall for the ninety-nines (the lady PIC's). There was a good view of the apron and it seemed to be a busy place. The eats were really good and service was great, we both highly recommend the stop. After a great morning breakfast we had a short walk to the flight school (West Air). Once inside I went through all the paperwork and was ready to go. Our flight was a demo flight /lesson. Mike Matthews was the appointed instructor and we going out in a 2002 Cessna 172 SP. Preflights completed Mary climbed in the aircraft first and buckled in. Mike and I saddled up and I finished with the checklists I then made my call to ground but not over the air. My first time in
class B so I went through the motions and Mike handled the radio. It proved to be a good learning experience. After our run up we were No. 2 in line behind a twin then I had to wait for a Twin Otter to land before I could taxi into position and hold. It was a dead calm day, clear as can be, perfect for Mary's maiden flight with me. We were off in no time, minding the noise abatement departure and heading out through the Showboat departure designated on the chart. I picked out my landmarks, the stratosphere restaurant, the Vegas strip, Lava Butte, Lake Mead I wanted to know where I was at all times. Traffic was busy, McCarren had Jets non-stop my whole flight and the helicopter traffic was even busier! I found myself performing alot of clearing manuvers and rolling the wings to get a clear view prior to each course change/correction. MAry was clicking away, eating up the pictures as we flew. Mike said I made a nice smooth take off and good coordinated flight which made for a comfortable ride. I'm not sure who had a bigger grin the whole time, me or the bride. We flew over the Hoover Dam and
took some really nice shots and also took a few pictures of the proposed bridge construction that is ongoing. Can't take the Engineer out of the boy to easy!

We made our way back towards VGT with Mike pointing out sights along the way. Off in the distance after clearing Lava Butte at our 2 o' clock was Nellis AFB and just beyond that was the NASCAR facility. Traffic was busy as we passed the Stratosphere and I made my way to enter the downwind at a 45. Ater acknowledging instructions to squak 1200 as we entered the box the VGT tower gave us hell for doing so. After an understood, we were directed to do so we confirmed our downwind extension and would await our call for our base turn. The controller then said he wasn't sure why she told us to squawk that but confirmed that she did. Nothing else was said, it was to busy to yap on the radio. Finally got the call for my base turn after all other traffic cleared. We were turning final now and I was adding my last notch of flaps. Home in sight and my numbers looked good. Mary looked happy and I know I needed to make theis a good landing. I didn't want to scare her the first time up. No cross wind today so it really felt good. Nice and smooth, holding it off, Mike tells me don't let it down yet, hold it off we have alot of runway. I'm thinking I have 3300x50 feet at home, but ok.........VGT runway 12R is 5000 x 75 its like a holiday! Nice flair and nice landing I could not have asked for anything better. Mary had a big smile and I was still wearing that perma-grin too. We taxied to our tie down and I secured the aircraft. I hope the next time out we are renting by ourselves and we will plan a few hops to places of interest. All in all a great first flight for Mary and together we really enjoyed the flight. Thanks to Mike and West Air !!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

It's all coming together...

It is really nice out today. I called for wx at KPTW and 40N winds 340 - 360, 11-14G. Geee I can't wait to battle the crosswind Gods again. All I can picture in my mind is that old movie Jason and the Argonauts with the Gods blowing his boat everywhere ad out of control. Well I guess I can take the wind just hope I don't have to fight those skeleton guys. A busy day today as I prep for Las Vegas. Drop off the truck at Benz for service, drop off the 3 cats at mom-in-laws for the week and the last minute shirts at cleaners, materials for the guy doing the remodeling of the living room (fireplace install) and powder room (all new from the tile up). I decide to really enjoy the day and take the 81 vette out. Ahhhhh.....sure do miss driving her on the week ends. I pack my flight bag and off we go. Arriving at N99 a bit early I get to hang out and listened to the chatter in the office. Some guy talking about best ground speed indicated on the GPS and such. Bill gets in with another student and I get the clipboard and keys for 46C. Preflight all good to go and we saddle up. Today Bill asks if I would like to do some touch and goes at 40N, Chester County G O Carlson or battle the crosswinds at home. I'm feeling pretty sporty after driving the vette today so I offer to stay at home , battle the crosswind Gods and get used to the home airport. Bill seems glad that I took the high road, er....um....road to home. We are off for the first of many T&G's today. Bill advised that he will be the silent passenger today, remember smooth for the passengers and in control. I had really nice smooth control today, nice slips, good touchdowns and roll outs. I did have to back taxi all but once. On my last landing I did loose some airspeed and start to drop on in which I was in control but applied a bit to much back pressure. I nosed up but got it back in place and put it down ok, with right rudder
to get me back to centerline. All in all a great day ! I am starting to feel like I belong in that seat. I am working on looking outside and not fixating on the instruments. I fly smoother when not checking instruments as much and I fly ahead of the plane vs chasing it when my head is inside. Things I need to work on but I finally feel it is coming together.

That's all for now.....I'm off to Vegas. I will be flying monday from 10-12 for a sight- seeing/lesson and then taking the helicopter tour off the canyon with a brunch on the canyon floor on Wednesday. If we have some time I am going to Boulder city to take the thrill ride....yep, loops, rolls and hammerhead stalls I gotta do it !!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

First Towered Airport (KILG)

I just booked flight time at North Las Vegas (KVGT). Mary and I will be taking the sight seeing tour but I will be flying and logging time. Very Cool! This will be my first time at a towered airport so I will talk things over with Bill prior to my lesson. I meet up with Bill and get 2746C preflighted. No squawks so on to the start up. As always a crosswind today, but not as strong as most days. Bill and I discuss my plans for Vegas and he decides to take me into KILG New Castle Airport for some first hand ATC talk. Off we go, nice and smooth, I really love that first few seconds as you leave the ground what a rush....every time! At 1200 feet I turn crosswind and climb out to 2500 towards wilmington. This is my first time view from a fixed wing over my own neighborhood. I now have the work location in sight, the Delaware Memorial Bridges. At 10 miles out we contact wilmington, "Wilmington Tower, Cessna 2746C". Wilmington responds and we go back with "Cessna 2746C with X-ray, 10 miles from the NW at 2500 for T&G's" Wilmington instructs us to enter right base for 32, report 3 mile. At the 3 mile out mark we again contact wilmington to report 3 miles as instructed with Wilmington following up with a clear to land 32. Reading back the last instruction Cessna 2746C clear to land 32. First time also with a right base onto final for me, it felt strange but I lined up just fine. It was nice to land on 14-32 since it was my project to repave, light and sign it only a couple of years ago. I wish it was dark so I could see the new lights but all in good time. After a series of really nice touch and go's and stacking in behind a few other aircraft along with crossing the end of runway one with
my head on a swivel as a citation II is inbound only 5 miles out. As I turn final for 32 I can see the Citation low and short final for RW 1 no problems, I'm working my way in 30 degrees flaps and lining up. Heck by the time I get in he'll be parked :)

Flaps up, power full, gentle right rudder.....off we go. This time we are departing to the North and advise Wilmington, also passing along a thanks. I can see the
Nuclear towers way off in the distance near KPTW so I line up on them to take me back towards N99. As I get a bit closer I follow Rt 202 off on my right, now spotting the towers that I use for reference in the 27 pattern. I announce my position to brandywine traffic and my intentions of entering at a 45 for downwind rw 27. I clearly see my water tank and the high school as I turn to about 90 degrees for my downwind. Pattern looks clear as I throttle back and add flaps to
10 degrees, one spin of trim nose up and I'm looking good. I turn base, level, add flaps to 20 degrees and trim nose down a half a spin on the wheel. Looking good so far I add the last 10 degrees of flaps, power back looking like I have 27 made. Air speed drops....starting to drop in I apply to much back pressure and now stall horn, touch of power nose own.....THUMP....Grrrrrrr thump again.....CRAP my first bounce and I am off center to the left. Right rudder....more right
rudder...ok brakes.....slowing down and now needing to back taxi. Not the way I wanted to land at home but I know overall it was a good lesson and I was able to learn some valuable info flying into the tower situation. I'm back up saturday !!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

First "seat of the pants" flight

What a difference getting right back to it in such short order. I had a 4:30 lesson this evening and it was just gorgeous. I went through the preflight and the Gatts jar dropped out of my pocket while untying the tail. I finished my preflight and went to check the fuel and could not find the jar. My CFI came out and asked if it was in the back of the seat. I said I would swear I had it but I can't find it "now". I'm thinking ok, my CFI thinks I am a nut ticket. I use the "shot glass" testing specialty . Ok, we saddle up and complete the checks and fire N2746C for my flight. Today we will be doing pattern work, yes seems like that's all I do but I need to master this to move on. I taxi out to runway 27 and announce "Brandywine Cessna 2746C departing runway 27 remaining in the pattern brandywine". Wow, what a sun glare!! I can hardly make out the trees at the other end so sun visor down and off we go. Winds out of 220 - 280 at 9 knts gusting 13...of course a cross wind but not all that bad. Geezzz did I say that???
Nice climb out tracking to 290 or so to adhere to the noise abatement until at 1200 then turning crosswind. Ahhhh...better glare is gone, for now. I'm tracking as I did in Millville, picking out some reference points and keeping a good Altitude. Landing one has me slipping with the wings bank slight left and adding right rudder, feels good, looks good, throttle out, hold it off....I'm down. Well not to shabby I guess and I am off for rounds two and three.

My CFI decides to try something different this time, trying to cure my look at the instrument-itis. He wants me to seat of the pants it, listen and look. Get the picture the same each time and the sounds. Bill covers ALL the instruments, that's right nothing to look at but sky. I'm now wondering what the heck am I doing here, am I nuts? Bill gives a lil sinister laugh to break it up and tells me I'll be fine. Well.....um...ok if you say so...and oddly enough I think so too. I taxi out to 27 and turn it in the sun and off we go. Ok...look and listen.....she wants to lift off slight back pressure more right rudder and I am on my way, very smooth. Climb out focusing on my point on the horizon and looking left to see the mansion in the correct location and the housing development in the right place put me near a 280-290 course. Altitude is not there yet, still climbing out looking like my 1200 ALT. I turn crosswind and feel like I am at altitude so I level off and pull back power. Looking for my position and reference point I turn downwind and set up for my landing. Landing/taxi lights on, abeam the numbers, throttle back to 1400 adding 10 degrees of flaps, one spin on the trim for nose up...everything is flowing nice. I check my position and turn base adding 10 more degrees of flaps when level. Looking good....turning final and adding the last 10 degrees of flaps, slight bank left, right rudder, I'm slipping in, nice rate of decent and pitch and speed feel good (at least in my minds eye). Dealing with the sun, keeping lied up, calling my position.....ok looking good throttle back over the numbers now and holding off. I am trying to look down the runway, glare is really bad, I flare to soon causing me to bleed of speed and I drop it on in with a thud. Grrrrrrr......not pretty but I'm in. I call clear and run through my after landing checklist. While pushing the plane back to its final spot the Gatts jar is sitting in the tie down rope for the tail. Yea I feel like a dope but hey at 48 I cant remember why.... It has to get better. I'm on the schedule for Wednesday weather permitting!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The first day of school....again

Ok! Finally back in the saddle. I arrived at the airport about 30 minutes early. The great Vince Lombardi said if your were not 15 minutes early to his meetings that he considered you late. I guess that always stuck in my mind and so I am early as a rule. Big day today I fly with a new instructor. I walk in the office and introduce myself and Bill is ready to go. We chat for a short time about where I am in training and if I was following the Cessna DVD program. I go through
the paperwork and I'm soon off to the flight line with keys and clipboard in hand. I also took the full flight bag today, not knowing what to expect at a new school. I work my way through the check list and use my new step stool from Sportys. It worked pretty well and Bill seemed to like it. We climbed in and proceeded with the before start up check list through completion. N2746C came to life and we were ready to have at it. I needed to learn my way around this aircraft
it wasn't 219J, she is different. Before I knew it I was taxing out to 27. In the preflight I mentioned that I called 40N for their weather update and numbers. Chester County (13 miles W) AWOS advised winds 280-290 at 9 knts gusting 13 and Alt 29.77. I had my knee board with the AOPA printout for Brandywine so I was ready. I knew about the noise abatement procedures off 27 through to 1200 msl requiring a slight course adjustment. First go rounds were to get the rust off, yes in just a months time I felt rusty. All of a sudden i was worried about taxing like some drunk sailor and not performing like Dave had instructed me. On the following take off and landings I felt a bit more confident. The takeoffs were good, pattern work was tighter as I picked out points of reference along the way. I did get the "My Airplane" one time from Bill my new instructor as we were on short final during the second landing. I was scanning instruments and getting that visual for my landing point when the wind literally stopped then gusted right to left! It really felt like we just got hit hard in the face with a gust or we were suspended for a brief moment. Being at a reduced power stage looking at my touchdown point the plane started to bank left and almost wanted to nose over, I banked right and added right rudder along with power as Bill took control adding more power and bringing us level in an instant. I touched down long but on center and found it a bit difficult sit comfortably, yeah That's right a serious pucker factor. As we taxied back for another round Bill walked me
through each step of what happened. He pointed out what I did right and what I needed to do a bit quicker (power). I was ready for that on the next landing. I went to 20 degrees flaps only on the next approach, a bit more speed made for a smoother landing.

The new flight school seems to be a busy place. There are more instructors then my previous school, and a varied selection of aircraft to train in. I am going to keep with the Cessna 172 for my training. Although the Piper low wing may have a few lessons with my name on them, ok down the road a bit in prep for the Beech Sundowner we want to eventually own. There will be some adjustments for me, runway length 6000 vs 3300 at Brandywine and the hardest to get used to 150' runway width vs 50' at Brandywine. The whole picture in my mind for landing is different. The first few landings reminded me of landing at woodbine, no room for error. I guess I was spoiled! I think the new dimensions will help keep me focused and actually provide me with better training for those cross country flights down the road. All in all a fun day today the feet were not acting like bricks and the cross wind Gods had their fun too. I will be getting back to the twice a week lesson routine and hopefully advancing to finally solo at some point. I'll be back up on the 19th and then on the 22nd. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for continued blue skies!!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Patience, Patience, Patience

October 8, 9, 13

The last three lessons have all been "no go" weather days. I hope I am scheduled back in the air Sunday the 17th. It's been a month since I was last up. I wonder is this the part of the training that teaches patience? It looks like we are finally going to dry up and get some nice weather. I am excited about flying out of Brandywine. I am not sure about rotating through instructors, that seems to me like it will cost me more time and money. I guess I'll see how the schedule works out and try to lock in with one person. I'm getting a bit frustrated with the whole thing to be honest. I know nothing comes easy and that's ok, I just wish I could get back on a regular schedule and keep the learning curve going in the right direction. I hope to have a good report
after Sundays flight !

Friday, October 07, 2005

A new chapter begins at N99


Well, it's been a few weeks (3 to be exact) since I have been flying. My CFI was involved in an engine out accident after takeoff with a pilot/student flying his own aircraft. Thankfully they both walked away, and that's my main concern. However, My CFI will be out for another 3 weeks in PT, no not physical therapy, physical torture! Can you tell I have been down that road a time or two? I am happy to say that my CFI is in good spirits and making progress. I on the other hand can best be described as jones'in for a fix......yes I miss flying really bad. So, in order to keep on a good pace and not fall backward I decided to check out Brandywine Airport (N99) and continue my lessons. Brandywine is only 12 miles from the house a rather short drive and located in a very nice area. KMIV was about an hour away from home, but the folks were great and the scenery was fantastic. I'll miss looking out over the Delaware Bay and looking towards Atlantic city and the coast.

I was scheduled for Saturday morning, the 8th, but due to the weather I was canceled out. Hmmmmmm...not a great way to start. I am rescheduled for Sunday the 9th at 4pm, so I have been getting acquainted with as much of N99 as possible. Runway length, CTAF freq, Unicom, WX briefing, traffic pattern and TPA, Approach Procedures, Special Take-Off Minimums and whatever else I can get my hands on or locate via the internet, AFD, charts and so on. Yes, I got it bad I need to get back flying! I want to make sure I am prepared, I wouldn't want to let my previous CFI down. I'll update ASAP sunday evening.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Who needs "stinkin' flaps...

What a crazy day, bright and sunny here in Delaware and overcast and ground fog in Millville NJ. Ok, the bride and I decide since we have time to wait out the weather we will hit the Flight Line to have a bite to eat. Not to busy at 7:45 am, but we do notice Dave (CFI) eating breakfast with his son. Mary and I pull up to a table next to them. After some good eats we head back over to Big Sky and park it in the pilot lounge waiting for the ground fog to burn off. About 9 am it looked promising so I headed out for my pre-flight. Dave soon joined me and we saddled up for some T&G's today. I tried a different position today with my seat a tab farther back then normal, hoping that this would help with my rudder controls. Today runway 10 is the ticket out of town, so I taxi out and complete my run up. There is a slight cross wind from my 3 o' clock so holding the yoke full right and slowly rotating to level as 5219J lifts off. adding right rudder
to keep on heading I climb out to about 600 then turn cross wind. Still climbing, i look back over my shoulder at the runway end about at a 45 so I turn downwind with the focus on giving myself room. I am looking for that same picture every time of the runway at 3/4 up the strut. Downwind looking good staying on heading I add carb heat as I pass by midfield and pull the power back to 1500 rpms as I look for my position for my base turn. Yep, you got it, no flap landings today. I complete my base turn and pull the power back even more to around 1200. Turning final I pull the power all the way out (keeping hand on throttle today) I am making slight corrections looking good. I seem to always line up left of centerline. Looking down the runway holding it off......holding....then I let it down ....GRRrrrrrrr.... Dave reminds me that I don't have to fly it down, bleeding off that airspeed will settle the plane in just fine without the thud. Dave tells me that I must continue to fly the plane all the way until we tie down. I make two more landings no flaps then get back to my regular landings. Dave has me aligning myself right of center line as I come in for the remainder of the day. Strange but I seem to be over the centerline now. I'm beginning to wonder if its my eyes....Dave says it's my perception of driving the car looking over the hood and I am still applying that same thing to looking over the cowling.
I need to adjust my focus and get aligned. Dave seems to think I worked myself past the "rudder plateau" today so that's a good thing now if next lesson I can ace my landings to back that statement up. All in all a fun day. I joked about stressing over last second rudder controls and told dave I was going to kick my shoes off and fly barefoot. He said he knows of a guy that does that. Hmmmmmmm...something to ponder.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Feet with the program

A taste of summer returns for my landings today. We saddle up for a round of T&G's in N5219J and head out on Runway 28. Dave spares me the cross wind landings today as we head over to Woodbine 1N4. I fly across mid field and turn right to circle and enter at a 45 for down wind runway 19. I find my self cutting the base on to final short which makes for corrections and set up for landing a bit quicker pace. Round one in the book with better rudder control but a allowing airspeed to drop a bit to much, requiring a touch of power so I don't fall in the tress. Grrrrrrrr.....the feet finally are on board and my airspeed is off. Round 2 - 4 follow pretty much the same with rudder corrections better and airspeed a problem. I'm making a mental note landing with 30 degree flaps. Time flys by as we head back to Millville for a full stop landing. I enter left base for runway 28 after giving myself plenty of room from base to final. Plenty of time to set up for landing, airspeed good (finally) rate of decent good and Alt looking good. I come over the numbers....rudder controls gentle........airspeed to low....power...power....smooth and touchdown. We taxi back to tie down and call it a day. As I clean out my belongings and tie
219J down I feel frustrated with my lack of progress. I'll be back at it Thursday if the weather permits if not saturday. I need to ace this landing stuff. I want to take off...fly a great pattern (without creeping in) and just line up and set her down. Maybe I need to stop thinking so much,and just let it happen. I keep asking myself is it me or do other students go through this too? I hope thursday is a better day.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Special Sightings

Another fantastic day, mid 80's humidity low and a nice breeze. My lovely bride makes the trip with me to Millville for my lesson. Along the way we make a stop in Alloway to stroll through the Antique shops and another stop closer to Bridgeton. We did take the ML320 instead of the Corvette but Mary was easy on me today.

We made a quick stop at the Cornerstone for lunch. After some refreshing Ice Tea and a BLT each I headed back to the ML to grab my headset and log book. Mary walked out to the aircraft with me as I started my pre flight a bit out of order. I checked both tanks for fuel and performed the fuel tests. Everything looked good so I proceeded with my pre flight. Mary did not want to distract me so she headed back into Big Sky to read a magazine she brought along. I finished up the pre flight and saddled up for another fun round of T&G's. As I taxied out Dave and I discussed some of the things for today's lesson and he informed me he met Mrs. Gary.
I laughed and said Mary was excited about watching today but once she took a look inside the 172 she had that look.....the you want me to get in that lil box and fly where look. Dave chuckled and said she would be fine...if she wanted to see a small cockpit we could take her in the hangar and show her (I forget what airplane he rattled off) really small. Ok time for the run up the to taxi to hold short for one ahead of me departing RW 10. Ok, Runway clear I notify Millville traffic that Cessna 50129J is departing RW 10. Not a bad take off, could have used a bit more rudder. We're off and climbing out to 600 then turning cross wind and climbing out to pattern Alt 1000. Turning downwind I am a bit to close and bank out left to give myself some room. I point the nose to a heading of 290 to keep my ground track correct. Abeam the numbers it's carb heat and reduce power to 15-1700 and add a notch of flaps. I turn base to soon and try to correct by turning out and re-aligning myself. This only compounds my mistake by turning final a bit late and now wide of the runway. With some banking and rudder I manage to align myself on centerline but find myself a bit high. With a slight extension and a not so long look down the runway I drop in with a thud and roll out rather quickly. I guess the flapper valve let loose and I come across the intercom with a oh S*#* that was terrible. Dave says taxi to Alpha and call down and clear. I follow his instructions and he says....now take a deep breath regroup and lets give it another go. Dave reminds me gentle corrections fly the pattern and put myself in the right position fly ahead of where your at. The quick turn to base put me behind my thought process and where I should have been physically and mentally. I think we did at least another 4 cycles with me calling one missed that I was to fast and a tad high and then crossed up with over correcting rudder. I rather go around then drop in or chance a side load on the gear that would not be safe or do much for my confidence or learning curve. After the final landing we taxied back and Dave insisted that it will all come together and that maybe I was just thinking to much.
One of the bright moments that I am adding here one day after the fact is my Eagle sighting and taxi companion. That's right As I was climbing out to 1000 and turning downwind for runway 10 I saw a large bird crossing from my 1 o'clock to my 11 o' clock and turning to lead my downwind. I caught a glimpse of sunlight of it's tail and noticed it was white (I'm thinking noway). This bird breaks hard left screams past my 9 o' clock full view Bald Eagle looking magnificent ! WOW! Very cool......made my day! My second bright spot was after my full stop and taxi I held short for a Gulfstream to pass by. As I look to check out its Tail number
(only because it has the same markings as Air Force 1) It carries "N1" . Well Ok then, I'm thinking I guess I can follow that aircraft until I reach my tie down.

Mary still had that look on her face when she met me after I secured the aircraft. One of the guys inside tossed me the keys to N346BS the 2004 Cessna 172 so that MAry could see the spacious newer 172's. She gave it a look ad really like the "modern" look and she seemed to ease her concerns. We headed back into the building and she again reaffirmed that she wants to do the companion course........I felt much better hearing that. All in all a great day with my wife and
I managed to get through another round of T&G's. I SO look forward to finally getting landings down with out any problems.....in time tiny grasshopper. I'm on the board for tuesday night after work, I can't wait to saddle back up and have at it again!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Review time (turns)

A fantastic day today, low 80's, no humidity, blue sky with a few clouds here and there just to give some perception of depth. I preflight 5219J and saddle up for what I think will be another round of T&G's. After listening to the weather and setting appropriate instruments I begin a taxi to R/W 10. Upon completion of my run up with all systems "go" I advise Millville traffic of my intentions. A smooth take off brings a "good job" from my CFI followed by "lets head out
to the practice area for some review". I climb out to 600 and turn out right to the south for some medium and steep banked turns. I seemed to drop about 70 to 100 feet during my first steep bank right 360 degree turn and roll out a bit late. What was that rule....roll out 50% of your bank angle early to hit your heading?? Lets see, 45 degree bank should be 22 or so, lets make it 25 degrees and work with that. After a series of left and right 360's my steep bank turns are back in good form. On to medium bank turns and slow flight work. After so many rounds of T&G's slow flight seems like s l o w m o t i o n. This review lesson also covered approach and departure stalls.

Where did the time go? I take a heading up for Millville which is clear to see at my 11 o' clock and enjoy the flight back. Off to my 10 I see a bright shinney object, thinking it was an aircraft at first I call it out to Dave and ask why theses people don't use radios. Dave makes contact and says we'll track it then gives a lil laugh. He said sure does look like he's not moving......it's the sun reflecting causing that bright glare. LOL....well that was a first for me, I've never seen anything like that nor did I expect it that far away. Dave informed me that the Borgota in Atlantic city can get really bad at times causing the same glare.

I report Millville traffic.....Cessna 5219J crossing midfield mid field at 1500 RW 10-28 Millville traffic. I check the wind sock off to my left and its looking like runway 10 is the ticket. I guess it will have to be since my lighting contract just NOTAM'ed 14-32 out for the next 3 weeks. Ok now entering downwind and announcing to millville traffic. checking my position I am squared up nicely (no creeping in) as I am abeam the numbers I reduce power and add a notch of flaps and checking left while announcing position I turn left base. Position looking good, adding flaps to 20 degrees I call out my position as I turn final. Oh lined up nice..... speed good, rate of decent good, power off and then I make the mistake of taking my hand off the power and put it on the yoke. ....catching myself I reach over and confirm with a glance taking my eyes off my point of reference down the runway. Oh but it was just a "quick" look for the control......I look back up and that fast I am off center and now adding back pressure to keep my point of reference in my minds eye from moving all over the windscreen. Adding left rudder (back to the feet of bricks) i over correct and come back with right rudder. "It ain't pretty" as the saying goes but I made the best of it with a tad of side load 5219J rolls out to the first taxiway. I call down and clear then go through and complete the after landing check list. As we begin to taxi to the tie down we review my landing. As I figured mistake number one which caused things to "snowball" was removing my hand from the power, that started it all in motion. And in order to recover I went back to the feet of bricks (my term) Dave is way patient and professional to bust my chops that bad. He explains about following the same procedures looking for the same view, seeing the same picture every time, that consistent makes better. Good news is that I did well on the take home test.

Next lesson is saturday, weather is looking really nice and I am taking my bride with me for a day of breakfast out at the airport, she will watch the T&G's and the rest of the day antique shopping. We are even taking the ol' gal (my 81 corvette) out for the day. This serves a few needs.....one, to get the car out and put a few miles on it, two, can't fit many antiques in it (lol).

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The "take home" solo written

Finally a nice day !! I can't wait to fly today. I must have checked the METAR at least 20 times. I walk into Big Sky and the aircraft I fly is out on a XC with a student. I decide to wait for a few minutes then decide to fly top of the line 2004 172s, N346BS. Ok new headset in hand (DC 13.4S) clipboard and keys I'm off to preflight. Preflight complete and getting ready to saddle up I see 5219J turning to the apron and maneuvering to a tie down next to me. Dave asks what I would like to fly and I said I preflighted this bird so that's what I am flying, if he was ok with that (of course). He was so we taxi out. Instructions today are to takeoff and maintain runway heading to pattern ALT the turnout South to the practice area to get familiar with 46BS. Ok run up complete, this birds got some pep ! Millville Traffic.....Cessna 346BS departing 28 millville traffic. Full throttle, right rudder we're off. A quick climb out to 1000 MSL followed by a turn out to the South for the practice area. I work on medium bank turns and a few shallow turns. Dave inquires if I am ready for pattern work in BS, well heck yeah !! Ok, I gave him a yes lets have at it but I felt the Hell yes inside! I turn to MIV and set up for a 45 entry to the downwind for 28. I feel loose, I made at least 100 landings in my mind since my last lesson, talking and going through the motions. I am thinking, calm, gentle....don't break the eggs on the rudder controls. Dave takes the radio work so I can concentrate on my landings, I think next week I want to get back to all the radio work too. Ok turning final and looking good.....speed 70 knts, rate of decent 500 and ALT is just falling to 700. Slight wing dip right for the cross wind with a gentle left rudder, cross wind pushing me to center line very nice. Power already off over the numbers now....looking down the runway...holding off.....holding.... right main down......left main down...bleeding off speed....stall horn.......gentle touch down with the nose wheel!!!!! Yeah! that's what I'm talking about...man that felt great. No time to celebrate...flaps up full throttle and off again as I pass through 70 knts.

The remaining 4 touch and go's went very well. NO frustration today. My pattern work is starting to be consistent and alignment for final is looking better. Today I just kept thinking gentle...light grip.....see it land......in my minds eye it was perfect....follow Dave's instructions....so it really seemed more controlled, more stable It reminds me of riding horses. If you invision yourself taking jumps or working horses into a pen your body seems to take on the correct position and send the correct signals to the horse. I've reached the conclusion that landings take on some of the same rules. If you invision it in your minds eye your body follows what you've learned with out all that thinking. :) Hmmmmm...maybe that light just came on ! I must have done something right, Dave handed me the take home solo written.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Frustration sets in..

Another typical lesson overcast, cloudy a bit of rain and of course who could forget the cross wind Gods. The runway of choice today is 14 with only a slight (for the time being) cross wind. After my run up I announce Millville traffic...Cessna 5219J Departing 14 Millville traffic. Ok I am off, dipping the wing into the wind and slowly rotating to level at the point I am taking off 55 knts....looking good lumbering out to 600 MSL and turning cross wind. Pattern work is getting better, I have a better handle on the creeping in. My CFI calls out a lighting strike as I am rolling out into my downwind. It's off to the northwest of the airport, Ummmm......I'm not really liking that but time to keep flying. Ok, I am abeam the numbers so carb heat on, throttle down to about 1700 rpm and I'll add a notch of flaps. I actually find it better to talk myself through the steps and Dave does not seem to mind. Turning base adding flaps to 20 degrees and then final I am right of the centerline but just enough for the cross wind Gods to push me back to center. Ok...adding a bit of rudder, touch of power, looking good, starting to drift Ahhhh.......to much rudder then over correcting, CRAP, holding it off...bleeding off speed......ARGhhh.....not pretty. As this landing was the first of many for what seemed like 2 hours instead of one with not much improvement each go round. After each touch and go we discuss what I need to do to get her home. As I am climbing out I am wanting to beat my head against the door but I don't want to crush my ear in the headset. Ok, deep breath.....relax and have some fun. Flying is fun....why am I starting to stress? It's the anal retentive part of me, I have to do it right.......OK....focus. Dave reminds me to handle the rudder control movements with gentle corrections not short bursts. I am thinking pushing on egg containers......light grip on the yoke...gentle gentle. I turn final and dip the right wing into the wind with gentle rudder.....holding it off.....bleeding off speed......niiiiice......alright got one in the book. No time to celebrate, carb heat off, flaps up and full throttle.......here we go again. On the next landing I again get heavy handed and feet like bricks....(sigh). Dave insists the "feel" will come with time. I
return to the pattern for a few more and then announce a full stop. I know it will come in good time.....but geeezzzz I sure wish it's sooner then later! Is it thursday yet ? I need to get back up and get er' done the right way.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The puzzle is taking shape..

Well, it has been an interesting day to say the least. Last night during my dinner at the in-laws I got a call (left on answering machine) from work to tell me that the FSS at Millville had a partial roof collapse. Of course I called asap and got the report. Knowing I had a lesson scheduled
I could not wait to see the traffic.

After my pre-flight, start up and taxi out I checked the pattern then advised Millville traffic that Cessna 5219J is departing RW 10. Today was landing and "missed" day. I had a slight crosswind to work with and it still frustrates me at times. Keeping that wing slightly dipped into the wind and rudder corrections......As my CFI says its like patting your head and rubbing your tummy.......Hmmmmm.....great...I am not sure if I can do that on a consistent basis. :) I worked for 1.1 hours today and overall takeoffs were good, except for one where I got a little carried away with rudder. I guess a short brain fart as I seemed to be weaving as if there were cones out there......a tad embarrassing but I got it squared away and got off the ground. I learned today that 30 degrees of flaps is harder (for me) to land with then 20 degrees (my flairs like the added speed). I continue to flair a bit early and seem to loose my airspeed and "drop" on the runway. Although just bleeding off speed above the surface it still makes for a small thud. I want to do better. Trying out the 20 degrees of flap on my next two landings I carry a bit more speed and hold a longer flair and then nose up for a nice touchdown. Ahhhh....I feel a bit better. After another go round or two I land and taxi back to the tie down. I really tried to focus on my pattern work today. I seem to creep in while on downwind with the cross winds.

Today I worked at maintaining my spacing/position in the pattern, looking at the wing strut and keeping aligned. I seemed to hit Everything else on time, abeam the numbers apply carb heat, reduce power, flaps......speed was consistent the whole lesson along with rate of decent so I am making progress. I am off until tuesday and then back at the landings. Time to read over my ground course books and start on practice tests.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Off to Woodbine 1N4 for T&G's

What a fantastic day today ! Finally got back into the air and what a sweet lesson. Today's lesson started out in a different aircraft. I'm still flying a Cessna 172 just a different bird. Completed my preflight and was ready to taxi out. A quick call to a busy Millville.....Cessna 5219J on the Big Sky ramp and ready to taxi. Ok got the info, ready to roll and off we go. I taxi out to the active runway 28 and take care of my run up. I notice a twin trailing me and performing his run up also. Ok ready to go, checking downwind, base and final......all clear...Millville radio 29J departing 28. Millville request to advise when in the air. Full power.....slight right rudder 55 knots and ease it back......we're off !!It feels great! It also feels like forever since I flew but it still feels good. Nice and smooth climbing and turning out at 600 msl for 1N4, Woodbine airport about 16 miles south east of MIV. Today provides a great view, I can see the coast, the bay and on departure I could see the stacks clear as can be on the delaware river for the nuke power plant. Ok I have woodbine in view and there is a yellow glider landing on 19 so I will slow it down as I turn out away so that I can turn to 1N4 and enter the down wind for 19 on a 45. I thought it looked small as we flew by but that 75 foot width vs the 150 at Millville really looks tiny. Also the landings today will give me a good look at a short(er) field, 3300 vs 6000 at MIV. Ok Woodbine...5219J entering at a 45 for downwind 19.....rate of decent good, speed good and adding flaps to 10 degrees. abeam the numbers carb heat on throttle back to about 1600 rpm's......turning base nice and smooth..looking good....woodbine 5219J on base for 19 woodbine... adding another 10 degrees of flaps.......ok turning final and lined up nice and centered....woodbine 29J on final 19 Woodbine.....adding another 10 degrees of flaps and reducing power......keeping centered.......feeling like slow motion today, that's a first....ease back....holding the nose up....holding ....mains down......holding back....and nose wheel down. WOW !! That felt good !!!!! I made one missed and another landing that was fair then we headed
back to Millville.

The short flight between airports was great, on heading and altitude no problems with time to really enjoy the nice clear day. Everything just seemed to click. Approaching Millville on what looked like a very long final for 32 I could not help but take in all the scenery. I radioed ...Millville radio 5219J 10 miles inbound from the SE for downwind 28. I picked a point to my 11 o'clock and held that heading so I could give myself room to turn right to a heading that would put me on a 45 for the downwind for runway 28. Millville radio updated the traffic advisory and had me looking for traffic on final for 28 also. I extended our downwind and searched for the traffic....Dave had contact but it took me a bit longer to also find my traffic. Dave said it comes with years of flying. Ok traffic at my 9 o'clock on final so I will turn base and add another 10 degrees of flaps. Looking good .....calling Millville radio to announce turning final for 28 and adding flaps along with power to 800 rpm....got er' made as Dave says. Ok holding it off......nose up.....and DANG not long enough.....a slight thud as I touchdown on 28. I turn off first taxiway and report down and clear. I finish up with my checklist.....carb heat off, flaps up, transponder to STBY......and I taxi back to the Big Sky ramp. I finish my checklist and tie the aircraft down and head inside. A real nice day and finished up with a really nice lesson. Looking forward as usual to thursdays flight.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

"no go" days

August 16, 2005
Today was a "no go" day. Rain and ground fog rolled in about the time I was going out to pre-flight. I'm looking forward to Thursday, seems like forever since I've been in the air.

August 18, 2005
Another "no go" day. I worked on emergency deck repairs last night until 1am after working a full day. I was back at work at 7am this morning and felt like I got run over by a truck. I called and canceled my lesson, I just didn t feel alert enough to retain anything I would be learning. I hope Tuesday the 23rd is a better day. Ok off to a mid day nap.....ZZZzzzzz.....

Thursday, August 11, 2005

What did go right ?

Another hot one today, but I have my towel with me. Pre-flight checklist as usual, followed by start up checklist and call to millville radio. Ok, we're ready to go! Todays lesson will be take off and landing cycles, since 10-28 is closed due to my lighting contract I'll be on 14-32. Winds out of 255 - 260 at 5 - 8 knts. After run up I taxi out to 32 and wait for one to clear the runway before my take off roll can start. OK, full aileron to dip that left wing tip into the cross wind slowly rotating to level as I reach 55 knts, slight back pressure nose off and we're off. Weather vane time as I keep on the 320 heading maintaining right rudder in my climb. OK, looking good at 600 feet, clear left, turning cross wind still climbing to 1000. I didn't roll out early enough to correct for the wind, I need to get on track. Ok turning downwind, again not rolling out on time for wind correction, UGHhhhhh..... I am really screwed up here for the first go round in the pattern. Dave requests a right turn out and to regroup and set up for a 45 degree re-entry back to the downwind for runway 32. That sounds like a fine idea to me, a tad frustrated I try to focus on what's at hand. Re-entering at a 45, looking better in my downwind as I pull the carb heat, reduce power and add flaps another aircraft calls in a 3 mile final. Dave takes radio control and acknowledges that we will extend our downwind. Still searching for our contact he radios again 1 mile final. Dave says turn base, which I do and find myself aligned with 32 and just making visual contact with the short final aircraft. OK adding flaps, speed ok 70 knts, decent looking good, cross wind requires that forward slip, I'm hoping I can put it all together. Ok looking good.....about 100 feet I start out of the slip to soon and come off center and do not ease up on right rudder enough, now starting to crab heavy right (which is wrong direction) Dave jumps in makes correction (saves my bacon) we touch down left main....what seems like forever
and finally right main down.....holding off nose.....bleeding speed.....and nose wheel down. Again making correction with aileron to compensate for cross wind and calling down and clear to Millville. Well now I'm thinking I really sucked, as Dave and I review what went right (short list) and what went wrong ( a bit longer list). The lesson continues for a few more rounds with each having better control. My final landing looked good, with all parts of the slip starting to click.
I learned some really good lessons today. No two hands on the yoke during landing, keep that right hand on the throttle. When I felt tense I felt I needed to two hand it to the runway, big no no. That wont fly during the checkride. Also I need to read the whole package, speed, pitch wings level, rudder controls with out getting tense. Dave says he can see when I get overloaded on the cross winds I get that grip on the yoke and slowly eliminate my scan of instruments.
He assures me this will all come in time and that its his job to be hard on me not mine. He's a patient guy, and knows how to break it up and get me back on track.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

"S" Turns and Circles about a point

It's a busy day at work trying to tie up any loose ends and at the same time switch gears to a flying frame of mind. After a quick change into shorts and sneakers I grab my flight bag and I'm ready to go. Landings have been on my mind all day, serving as that filler when your brain takes a break from everyday activities, like between conversations, driving from job to job, or listening to someone that sounds like Charlie Browns mom. My pre flight only discovers that 80121 is a quart low on oil so Dave fills her up and we are ready to climb in. I really mean climb in! Trying to fold my legs into this bird is tight, with minimum clearance between seat and door. Once in I buckle my belts and follow my checklists. Turning on the A/C (opening the windows) Dave and I discus todays lesson and objectives. Today is Circling about a point and "S" turns over a fixed line or roadway. Taxi to runway 28 is smooth and after run up I'm ready to go. Hey didn't miss calibrating my heading indicator or switching the transponder to "ALT". I am working at taking my time and trying to feel more relaxed at the controls, like I belong there.

Climbing out to an ALT of 1000 we make our way to a great reference point to begin a circle. Dave takes control and shows me what he expects and we discuss bank angles and wind direction and how they are related to this exercise. Ok, I'm up.....I pick out my reference points and turning a steep bank since I am with the wind I hold a nice pattern turning a medium bank and then to a shallow bank into the wind and around we go again. Hey this is fun ! I manage to keep my center point at the same location on the wing tip and having "old Glory" as a center ground point also helps with the wind direction. Ok that part complete I am off chasing a roadway that will serve as my base for a series of "S" turns. Again using the same principle with the wind at my tail a steeper bank is required then to a medium and shallow as I am wings level crossing the roadway, no time to celebrate, its now into the wind and a shallow turn then medium to steep as I am with the wind and looking to cross the road again wings level.

Ok time for some landings. I take a heading back to KMIV and notify Millville FSS of our location and intentions. Pattern work went really well today. I felt more at home on final, not holding that death grip and wanting to work the yoke. It felt good, nice approach, good speeds and alignment. On the last landing I turned from base and was right on target, the cross wind Gods had messed with me enough and decided to let me land without needing to slip my way in.
This is feeling good, looking down the runway, nose up I'm in.......I'm in.....I didn't hold long enough nose up...GRRRR....I'm thinking 121 is not a happy girl since I dropped her on the runway with a thud. ok...control...get slowed down....look for my taxiway. I roll clear the hold short and notify Millville I'm down and clear. After going through my checklist we taxi to tie down and review the last landing. Dave informs me that the last landing was all me
and asked what I needed to do to prevent dropping on the runway. I needed to hold that flair longer...listen for the stall indicator and not "fly" it to the ground.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Slips...

Another hot and humid day today with haze. My lesson started out as normal with pre-flight. Once complete I went through my start up check list and brought 80121 to life. Millville was responsive today with a quick answer including airport and traffic advisory. Winds favor 28 today and that's a good thing since my rehab lighting and signage contract has 14/32 NOTAM'ed out. Ok, turning into the wind for my run up I make two errors on my checklist. I forgot to set transponder from STBY to ALT and calibrate my heading indicator with the compass. Dave reminds me of the need to take my time and check off each and every item. A short call to Millville after again checking the traffic pattern to notify MIV that "80121 is departing 28 and heading to the designated training area." Instead of T&G's to start Dave wants to work on forward slips. I climb out to 2000 and once in the training area I pick my visual point, a nice sandy beach. Ok...pull the carb heat on, decrease throttle, bank left and rudder right. All the while spot checking that airspeed to make sure I am at 70 knts. It took me a second go through to get the feel of the rudder required for the forward slip. The airspeed and heading looked great so that was a plus. All the puzzle parts for those landings I'll be working on.

I also worked on medium banked turns left and right and really worked on my roll outs on heading. It was now time to head back to the airport for a few rounds of full stop landings and taxi outs. Ok, approaching the airport, I felt a lil disoriented on my position kind of busy going over what's to come in my head and having no room for common sense. I tell dave I need to get my focus going and pay attention. Dave reminds me that with the runway over the nose its time to turn downwind, so I turn to a heading of 100, maintaining some right rudder for the wind correction. Ok checking left I'm across from the numbers so its carb heat on reduce to 1500 rpm and add notch of flaps. So far so good,airspeed is good rate of decent looks good. Looking back to my left I'm about at a 45 to the runway so I make my turn to base and add a notch of flaps. Looking good so far so I turn final, alignment nice making corrections with rudder and trying keeping wings level. I looked short down the runway and it caused me to want to "fly" the aircraft down to the runway. Dave reminds me ...nose up....nose up......listening for that stall horn. Ok.....back under control nose up, Dave corrects my yoke back movement since I started to pull back with a slight movement banking left. Dave instructed me to be gentle with the yoke and my back pressure must be "straight" without that tendency to bank left. It's a short roll to the taxiway and then back to runway 28 for two more go rounds. Each landing did get better. At least they felt better on approach, more stable and the numbers (gauges) were looking more consistent. Dave advised me that we will work on more slips and T&G's thursday. I noticed today he was pretty quiet, pretty much hands off all the way until I turned out after takeoff and on final for landing. It seemed like he was evaluating my progress more then usual. Back to the book for more study and the DVD's for more flight instruction too. I'm looking forward to Thursday already !!!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Under the Hood

Alright !! clear and sunny !! Hey what is that big shinning thing in the sky ? Ok...enough about being goofy. Pre flight time and I am trying to go through the list and only reference it as a check as I move through the procedures. I think I am getting the hang of this. I am taking fuel samples as One of the "Big Sky" folks pulls up to fuel an adjacent aircraft. Hmmmmmm...that step stool is looking mighty fine so I wouldn't have to look so awkward climbing that right wing with my bad wheel (hip). Well, I manage to get er' done, fuel looks good and hardly any sediment. Ok time to get in and sweat off a few pounds. Dave joins me as I am getting buckled in. Ok I see he has an extra package with him but I can't make it out. I give
Millville FSS a wake up call, "Millville ....Cessna 80121".....we trade questions and answers as I make mental note of wind, speed and Alt setting. Taxi out today is stable , one might "think" I can drive this baby. We pause to let a Pilot in a C-150 doing a cross country move ahead of us for take off ( he got turned around and my signage job didn't help him any)He completed his run up also so he was ready to go. We fell in behind him and did our run up. Mags, check...Carb heat, check....vac, check....last peek at the amp gauge check...instruments set, check and on through the list. Ok "millville 80121 departing 32"...full throttle......slight cross wind pushing me off centerline...rudder rudder.......speed 55 and nose up.......through 70 back pressure and I'm off.....yeah I love that feeling! Ok keeping constant rudder as we climb with Dave reminding me maintain 70 knts and nose up here......we want our best climbing angle and speed. At 1500 I bank left and head to the training area. Today is just beautiful up here. I can see tankers out
in the Delaware Bay and the ground below is so crisp and clear. Well the fun and sights are short lived as My CFI bestows upon me a pair of (as he says) Designer glasses. Hmmmmm...two small peep holes and heavy frosted top and side view. Oh yeah all the rage...but for a good cause. We spend time flying by my gauges and learning the feel of the aircraft. Dave takes control and just wants me to close my eyes and relax.....a midair siesta? Um...NO....Dave banks,climbs, slow speed banks, decent and steep turns all the time noting my response as to what I feel like we are doing. Well I am embarrassed but I didn't do as well as I thought. Dave kicked the rudder which made me feel like we were banking (we were not), I could feel the rpms picking up and
slowing down which I thought would signify climbs and decents (we were not). Ok so the point is well taken....TRUST your instruments. We talked about the JFK,JR crash and some of what went wrong. All the fun of flying I guess can make you loose perspective in that its a full time job and a giant responsibility not only to yourself and your aircraft but to passengers and fellow pilots sharing airspace. Its NO place to become complacent or take for granted a procedure or a communication received. Ok back to the lesson. Dave requests a direction home which is about 024 degrees. After communicating with FSS we learn 32 is the active and I enter the pattern. Ok procedure time as I cross mid runway and spacing good,looking at the left wing strut with the runway about 3/4 the way up I'm in the ballpark. The key now is to find my seat. Carb heat on reducing power to 1500 rpm and add notch of flaps. looking good.....heading good, speed good and altitude a tad low....adding power. Ok "millville 80121 turning base 32"..adding
a notch of flaps... rudder to align "MIllville 80121 turning final" .... rudder...keep that rudder there... "slight bank left" to correct for slight cross wind. rudder...rudder.....over the numbers....getting squared up, left main down...........hanging on .....right main down.....(that felt strange)....bleed off speed....nose up.....stall horn.....and nose gear gently down. Braking to a slow roll and turning to the taxiway. once clear the hold short I notify Millville that 80121 is down and clear. Going through my checklist, flaps up, carb heat off, transponder to standby, WINDOWS OPEN, ok I added that one. I taxi in and perform the final checklists and as 80121 comes to a stop. No need to tie down today, another lucky person is going up. I get my log book squared away, chit chat about the lesson and what's coming up and then head back to Wilmington to meet the bride for dinner.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Slow Flight & Stalls

Well the cloud cover is not bad at all today but the temps are in the 90's and I can't wait to get in the air and get some positive air flow besides my breathing. My pre flight completed, all looked good. Intercoms working now that I turned up the volume I contact Millville FSS ....."Millville radio.....Cessna 80121", quick response from FSS and I let them know we are ready to taxi..."millville radio..80121 on the ramp at Big Sky and ready to taxi". FSS returns with wx and traffic info and get cleared to go on runway 28. I dial in the info I received and
spin the heading bug to the wind direction for a reference. Good taxi today, I am starting to feel a comfort level as far as control and not looking like a drunk sailor performing midnight arobics for shore patrol. I taxi up to 28 and turn into the wind for my run up. Ok....taking advantage of my hand towel I brought along to wipe the sweat away so I can see with out my eyes burning.....whew I hate to close the windows. Ok ready to go after completing
checklist, "Millville radio....80121 departing runway 28"....."80121 millville radio advise airborne". Ok nice takeoff, remembering to keep more right rudder pressure as we climb out to 1500. Turning out south and climbing to 2500 we discuss topics for review and some things to accomplish. I do a quick review of turns, noting that my altitude is held along with airspeed and heading. We then practice slow flight and stalls. Dave took control and showed examples of slow flight what he was looking for and what I should be looking for and feeling. I got a real kick out of full flaps flying at just 40 knts with a ground speed of 38 mph. Geeezzzz it felt like we were in hover mode, that C172 sure is forgiving and really does make it hard to stall. Ok back to the lesson. I did a number of slow speed stalls in order to learn recovery and the warning signs, what the buffeting feels like and mushy controls and unlike all the movies you don't have to manhandle the yoke back to your belly button in order to pull out, which as I learned would
only cause a secondary stall and more problems. Dave told me that he felt I was doing very well as we headed back to the airport. "Millville radio...80121" ok no traffic and winds are the same so 28 is the ticket "millville radio...80121 entering the downwind for 28" "80121 millville radio...advise down and clear", "advise down and clear 80121" ok turning to downwind from my 45 degree approach, the runway is about 3/4 up the wing strut so my distance/spacing looks good, trying to keep on a heading of 100, ok looking fair, and keeping speed at 70 knt along with a notch of flaps. So far so good, keeping an eye out for traffic, scanning my airspeed and alignment/position to the runway. "Millville...80121 turning base runway 28 millville"....ok under control feeling tense adding flaps..."millville...80121 turning final 28 millville"....and here I go. Remember rudder rudder rudder for alignment, adding flaps, air speed looks good shooting for the numbers, starting to drift Dave makes corrections, nose up ...nose up....looking down the runway.....stall indicator nose up..... mains down, and square...whew...holding
nose up...bleed off speed...and nose gear down. apply light brakes.....and head to taxiway. Passing the hold short, "millville radio...80121 down and clear". As we taxi in Dave says I can release my grip on the yoke and just use fingertips to control. Ok I get it...I had a death grip on the yoke while landing...I'll do better next time. I taxi to our tie down and run through the final checklists. I'm looking forward to Lesson 6 this thursday !

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Climb & Decents

Why is it that every time I'm up to fly the wx turns to crap? Oh well, I guess it helps build character. Pre-flight inspection found no problems. Time to contact FSS at KMIV......"millville radio, Cessna 80121..." Ok, info provided has runway 28 as the active, one aircraft just landed and taxing along with one ready to go on 28. I taxi out and take Bravo to R/W 28 where I am no. 2 in line for departure. Run up completed, Ok I'm up....Departing traffic clear, checking pattern downwind , base and final all clear (never can tell when folks like to drop on in un announced)..."Millville Radio ...80121 departing 28" throttle full (Dave reminds me), feet comfy on rudders heels on the floor, here we go. Take off roll straight, nose up at 55 knts and off we go at 70.....smooth today....although I need to keep that right rudder pressure to compensate for the torque or I'll find myself turning (Dave is so patient). I am instructed to climb out to 1500 and turn to head south to the "designated" practice area. I am slowly learning the terrain...sand pits, marsh and Port Norris out on the coast. Today is review day, medium and steep bank turns, climb and decent procedures and I am introduced to slow flight. Review of the turns went ok, I needed a bit more nose up on my steep turns to hold altitude. I am also finding out I turn better one way then the other including roll outs. Time to head back to Millville. I enter the downwind at a 45 and turn to a heading of 100 as I prepare (checklist) for landing. Carb heat on, throttle down to about 1600 rpm's looking to maintain 65 knts and then add a notch of flaps,
remembering that trim is my friend. turning base so far so good, turning final then adding flaps, maintaining altitude with power speed with pitch....its getting busy.....as I am about to cross the numbers I make a correction with aileron to align myself, i think its more of a reaction, that need to steer/drive the car mentality. Dave corrects me taking control and emphasizing rudder....align with rudder. My mind is back in the cockpit.....knowing I blew that one but still needing to get on the ground. Ok....rudder pressure to align....looking down the runway
remembering landing square on main gear......nose up.....nose up....bleed off speed....waiting for that stall indicator.....ahhhhhhh gravity is my friend as we slowly drop to touch the nose wheel down. "Millville radio...80121 down and clear 28".....I go through the checklist and taxi back to our tie down location. Dave is so supportive, tells me good job, secure the aircraft and he'll see me inside. I tie 80121 down walking around with my brain still going through that landing. Ok got the numbers on the clipboard, headset in hand back to the office. Dave asked how the lessons were coming along with the DVD's. I'm on target starting lesson 4 this week and I said that's after I REVIEW lesson 3. He smiled and said don't be so hard on yourself your doing fine. I guess so, just thinking of that landing and those wings....geezzz I have a new respect for watching people land.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

"Ride" that Cessna!

Lesson 3 - Today was a bit different, I was traveling to the airport with anxious anticipation. In keeping with the ground school portion of my studies I realized today would be take off and landing day. I pulled the ICOM A-5 out of the flight bag and scrolled through my
pre-set KMIV WX frequency so that I could catch the latest. I like to have the info as my CFI and I walk out to the aircraft. Winds were reported 280 to 310 varying from 6 to 10 knts. What concerned me was the dark clouds rolling in. I completed the pre-flight noting
only that the oil was topped off and giving me new reading on the ol' dip stick. I finally made the seat adjustment to really provide me with a better view.....I now felt at home. Today was also radio day as I was given control of the right side of the panel. I contacted Millville radio
with my ID, location and intentions. Once noting the airport advisory I changed my heading bug to reflect the wind direction for taxing. I taxied out more consistent and controlled (its all in the seat position). Take off roll was smooth but different in my hands as we were off and climbing out to 1500. Turning south for a series of "S" turns my CFI radioed for a wx update and tracking of the storms moving in. Millville FSS again announced "no movement" from those
big dark uglies. I never thought of it before but my horse riding days really paid off today, the Cessna 172 started getting kicked around and tossed sideways, it was a very bumpy ride. I came across the intercom and gave a lil yee...haww now were having fun as my CFI instructed
me to turn to a new heading taking us home. I really was calm and focused on my duties of flying the plane, I didn't really feel it until I was back on the ground and tied down. Runway 10 was my ticket home as I turned to enter the downwind and go through my landing checklist.
Turning base and then final I was a bit wide of center line. I worked to get myself squared away with yoke and throttle in hand, receiving correction from Dave for dropping the nose to gain some air speed. Once over the numbers I kept easing back until I heard that sweet
chirp only to be interrupted by my CFI reminding me "nose up, nose up let the speed bleed off" Yikes he was right.....I needed to keep nose up and let the speed bleed off for a smooth touch down with the nose gear. The taxi back to our tie down spot was fine and with final checklists completed and the aircraft secure, we spent some time discussing the flight along with future lessons and expectations.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

At the Controls

WOW! Lesson No. 1 in the books with .9 hours in the log book. After following all the checklists I was soon taxing out. I really think the flight sim helped with being ready for instruments in the cockpit. I took the controls shortly after takeoff.........we reviewed procedures and checklists and I got an explanation of gauges, throttle and mixture settings. Lesson one included trimming out the aircraft, turning left and right, decents and climbing. I really did surprise myself with nice steady 15 to 20 degree banking and holding altitude very steady. Holding the controls felt great, nice and gentle with an easy grip. We located the Airport (KMIV) and headed back, crossing the field at 1500 and turning back to enter the downwind of RW 28 at 45 degrees. Dave (instructor) took control as we turned base then final for our landing. Once on the ground and clear of the active, I taxied while reviewing the checklists in my head as we neared our tie down on the ramp. What a fun flight and it just made me want it even more !!! I am sure I missed typing all the specific details discussed and may have left out a checklist or two. ( Dave was very detailed) It was busy in there for this first timer while still trying to soak up all the precious seconds of seat time. Already looking forward to next weeks lessons.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

And the journey begins...

June 21, 2005

I signed up for flight lessons today with http://www.bigskyaviation.net/flighttraininghome.htm
in Millville, NJ. I work out of two airports KMIV and KWWD, Big Sky is the FBO on both airports. This really works out great! After work I can fly my lessons or during lunch at either airport. This should speed up the process. My fantastic bride is really excited about me finally taking lessons, Its great to have her support! She has planned our first trip and that
will be to Block Island for a few days of R&R. :) Nothing like getting with the program from day one and setting a few goals! Looking forward to a first lesson next week.....time to hit the sim (FS9) and get seat time in the Cessna 172.

Monday, June 20, 2005