Well, the logbook is filling up with entries. Here it is July, 2016, and I find myself more and more at ease in the cockpit, however, at times I have to remind myself to not be so complacent. So, over the past month I have been paying particular attention to just about every phase of my flight. While most of the time I pre-flight is on target, since I am not flying more than an hour or an hour and a half at a time I found myself not planning fuel usage and consumption, and since usually I have no more than two passengers with me, my weight and balance calculations pretty much have been not needed at all. With that being said, hopefully between now and the fall I will be making a few longer distance flights, basically with the intent of preparing for my instrument training. When that training begins I will have to pay attention to my headings, altitude holds, flight planning, and most of all, the weather. None of this is new, however like many pilots have stated, unless you are out flying for a living a lot of what you learn in ground school will not be used more than once or twice a year.
I finally got checked out in the Piper Cherokee Archer. Ever since I was a teen I always wanted to be flying the Cherokee 180, also known as the Cherokee Archer. Most of my flying is in the Piper Cherokee Warrior which is the same as the Archer with less horsepower. The Archer will come in handy when I fly into Put in Bay and also Kelly’s Island. Both airports are within 30 minutes of Cleveland and are a part of the Lake Erie Islands. Both have runways that are less than 2400 feet, and on a warm day as you know density altitude can wreak havoc on a takeoff.
I have not been doing as much night flying as I did in the early spring, mostly because legal sunset is after 10 PM, and by that time I am ready to call it a night. While the FAA regulations call for three landings within 90 days to carry passengers, I was averaging three landings every other week. I take my nighttime currency very seriously.
In the near future I will be planning on ground school for my instrument rating. I’m not sure which ground school I will take online, and I am not sure if I will be driven by price. I want to make sure I fully comprehend the instrument materials because I understand the written test can be very difficult to pass.
My longest flight so far has been to Dayton Ohio to visit the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The flight down was fairly uneventful, on a hot day, however since we departed about 9 AM most of the flight was uneventful. Since there is an air show at the Dayton airport and a lot of pilots were flying in to beat the cut off time, I found myself in sequence with several other airplanes and a helicopter. The flight back was quite different because in the hot afternoon the thermals were producing quite a bit of lift and my passengers found the turbulence a bit unnerving. Even though I climbed up to 7500 feet the turbulence was still moderate, but fortunately the passengers decided to nap and the turbulence was not much of a problem for them.
I have taken several meal flights, such as several trips to Port Clinton for breakfast and lunch, and one morning I got up and flew to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, for breakfast. The Beaver Falls airport also has been fairly active every month with a cookout. Unfortunately I missed the first one and appears that I will miss the second one, however, I am planning to attend in August. As usual Salem airport was my destination for several lunches, along with Carroll County Airport (also known as the airport with the home baked pies).
So all in all flying has been fairly rewarding for me and several of my passengers. Safety has always been a primary concern of mine because I value the health and safety of my passengers. There has only one moment where my heart skipped a beat where I was losing power on takeoff. The moral of that story is to always check your friction lock on the throttle and keep your hand on the throttle throughout your takeoff and climb out.