Monday, July 11, 2016

More Overdue Updates

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.

Monday, April 4, 2016

A Little More High Tech

A simple $37.50 (plus shipping) attachment to my headset now allows my YouTube vids to have a new dimension.  My non-flying friends on Facebook find aviation videos interesting, however, they can never hear the verbal communication with my passengers and with air traffic control. The PA-80 ordered from Touch and Go Pilot Supply  Most important of all, I can review my flight and also pin-point my deficiencies in communications with air traffic control especially in Class B airspace.

What I found was that I had some small errors in communications which were either A) communication laziness that I am hearing for the first time or B) mic fright from knowing that I am now posting unedited videos and having a desire to be perfect.   I hope it is the latter (LOL).

This is a flight from Burke Lakefront Airport (KBKL) to Put-in-Bay Airport (3W2) with a fellow pilot, Chris, from my former airport.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Prepping for 2016 Flying

Last year this time, I was just passed my first solo in the Cherokee Warrior. It was not my first solo ever, however, it was my first time soloing in the plane I really wanted to complete my training in.  Since then, I have experienced a range of emotions, mostly positive. I overcame many of my fears and finished my training in a very short period of time. When I say fears, I mostly mean anxieties of flying outside of my safety zone. I have not admitted this but I do have a fear of heights. Pretty strange, huh?  

I have always prided myself on being safe and prepared.  Most of my landings are in the category of 'short field', as in placing the airplane where I want, within 100 feet.  A friend, Carolyn, helped me to get over my cross wind anxiety and the end result is not sweating the 20 knot cross wind as much as I did before.  

My goals for the year are to start instrument training and also take more cross country flights. Most of my flights have been no longer than an hour in one direction. From my location here in Cleveland can take me well into Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, into parts of West Virginia and Virginia, and even Kentucky.  Since my goal is to be able to take mini-vacations, it only makes sense to prepare myself for longer flights into new and exciting locations.

While it is always fun to fly into locations such as Put-in-Bay (party center of Ohio and Michigan) and Kelly's Island, to fly into West Virginia and other areas to the south will be more exciting for me personally.  

I also plan to get checked out in the Piper Cherokee Archer, which is slightly more powerful than what I fly currently, the Piper Cherokee Warrior. On warmer days with 2 to 3 passengers it will be much safer with the Archer. I must say that flying the Bonanza was a very humbling experience!  WOW, what a rush. 

2016, should be a lot of fun as I continue to grow and move towards the Instrument and Commercial ratings. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Over 100 Hours!! What a milestone.

Been flying a lot!  Next step, Instrument Rating.  

Been to areas across Ohio, and this year I plan on taking longer trips and fewer local jumps.  

I did get checked out in the Cessna 152 and then the 172 Skyhawk, and find them both appealing. Plus, I am checked out in 3 airplanes and always a plane available for those last-second decisions to go fly.  

The most fun moments were taking friends from the Cleveland Clinic up for a trip to Port Clinton to eat at the Tin Goose Diner.  I also flew into Put-in-Bay, just to say that I did.  PIB is a weekend hangout for those with lost morals.  (LOL I'll go back soon).  

The fun part was taking a few people up for their first small airplane ride and all but 2 will gladly go again.  A couple relatives went up for short rides and can report back to the family that I was a safe pilot.  

Hopefully, the best is yet to come! 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Long, Overdue Updates

Sorry, I’ve been out learning.  Since my license on April 29th, I have accumulated 44 hours of flying in under 6 months.  While I love the Cherokee Warrior, I have added in the Cessna 152 and the Cessna 172, and fly all three depending on my mission.

The 152 is for puddle jumping.  My flights in the 152 will be no longer than 1 ½ hours round trip. Most of the time when I take the 152, I am not using my GPS, and using the compass, the E6B, and my stopwatch. Many times when I take the 152 it is a solo flight with no particular place to go. I did fly from Cuyahoga County Airport to Mansfield Airport, the return trip was at night, and through Bravo airspace. Generally, I have had no surprises. Yes, the 152 is a great trainer and when I moved back down to it I got a chance to see the difference between a heavier four seater and the two-seat trainer. And I have come to the conclusion that for my needs, the plane is great for calm winds, especially if you are taking up somebody for the first time.  I am sure this is a great cross wind trainer.

I recently checked out in the Cessna 172 Skyhawk, and initially had problems landing it, but after a few flights most of my landings are full stall and the wheel in my lap. With the weather changing here, I wanted to get some crosswind practice and figure the 172 would be a great plane for me. My first efforts in gusting winds that were almost directly across the runway, did not go well at all. In fact, after one landing I called it quits with my instructor. While taxiing in, the rain started so it pretty much was a good idea to not keep trying and battling the storm that was approaching. In fact, about 100 feet off the runway on the departure we were getting kicked around quite a bit so I pretty much knew this was going to be a short lesson.  Overall I pretty much like the Skyhawk, even though I still love the Warrior much more. 

My cross country flights have been fairly short, all within the state of Ohio. I did, however, get to fly up to Put in Bay, and Port Clinton for lunch on several occasions. I have taken a couple trips to Salem Airport to the newly reopened restaurant. I also visited Carroll County Airport, known for their freshly baked pies, and was able to enjoy the pie and breakfasts they offer there. One overnight flight took me to Mount Vernon Airport, and I did fly down to Columbus to attempt to have lunch at Bolton Airfield, but unfortunately the restaurant was closed for 4 July evening.  I got to visit my old airport, Wadsworth Skypark for a cookout they were having, but unfortunately weather was a problem and we had to leave within an hour and a half, missing some pretty good times at my old hangout.

Like several other pilots that post on YouTube, I also have been making videos to be able to critique my progress. Not only have I mounted the camera on the window over my shoulder, I have recently experimented with mounting the camera on my headset so you would get a true point of view experience, and so far while it has worked, sort of, I will be trying to find a better way to mount the camera so that there is a full view of the panel and over the cowl shot.

So, I have been flying my butt off. Most important of all, I’d look at every flight as a learning experience and as I have been told by several people, I am very safety conscious intake my license very seriously. 

So stay tuned, there is a lot more to follow.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Plastic is IN!!

It's HERE!!  What more can I say??

This has been a great experience.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

New Pilot Updates

Now that I am the pilot (that phrase still sounds quite odd to me) I have been getting out here and there to celebrate my achievement. But also comes the reality of flying versus daily obligations.  There is a battle between flying and daily chores and obligations.  This includes the need to finish other goals including starting my insurance and retirement planning business.  But since achieving my pilot’s license I have been completely enjoying my new freedom and over the last two weeks I really got a chance to completely feel what this really meant to me.

April 29, 2015: Two hours after receiving my private pilot’s license I took a flight with Chris and Lance who are pilots at my old airport. They just happen to be up flying in the area when I sent Chris a text message so they came over to Cuyahoga County Airport I took them up for half an hour ride. My landing was long and hot, but I was thinking more of the Cessna following me and did not transition soon enough to slow down for a landing that was inside of my standards.

May 2, 2015: We had planned for her to be my first ride however due to work that did not happen. But a few days later I woke up and it was a beautiful morning so I sent a text message to Kerry and we move from Cuyahoga County to Carrollton County Airport for lunch and back. I had to do one go-around because I was high on final.  The food was great, it was a little bumpy on the way down and much bumpier on the way back home.  I also got a chance to use the Garman Pilot on my Asus tablet. Now I see why pilots love their tablets.  Kerry needs to get yo more and finish her license also. 

May 3, 2015: On a whim I called up my friend Tammi and she agreed to go up also. She had a lot of reluctance however she was quite excited to do so which sent a lot of mixed feelings. I flew from Cuyahoga County Airport to pick her up at Lost Nations Airport, and we flew up the Lake Erie shoreline to Ashtabula.  Not only did she not let me turn back as planned, she had me take a longer outbound, so I decided to do a touch and go at the Ashtabula airport, flew her back to Lost Nations Airport, and flew back to my home base.  I should have gotten some money from her for that additional 30 minutes in the air.

May 4, 2015: The next day, also on a whim I called my friend Tammi again, but she was getting her hair done and could not go. But she told me I should take her mom up for a flight and I agreed. Within 10 minutes she had contacted her mother, Bonnie, and everything was planned. I flew over to Lost Nations Airport again to pick up Bonnie, and we flew up the Erie shoreline, and then over Painesville, and back to the airport to drop her off. She absolutely loved it, and somehow in the future I think she will hijack me to Florida.

May 8, 2015: I decided to go for a quick flight in the late afternoon, even though they were predicting scattered showers. From my departure time nothing was on the weather radar so I decided to fly down to Geauga County Airport, and then over to Portage County Airport, and then back home. About 10 minutes after takeoff from my home base, something really struck me. A calmness came over me and for the first time as the pilot, I completely felt that everything had finally fallen into place. I felt completely at ease, I confidently knew where I was going, I felt that I could completely enjoy the situation of being up in the plane and truly felt as if I had met my goal.  The landing at Geauga County was uneventful except for the drops of rain on the windshield when I was on downwind. After I took off the skies did not look very appealing and I also noticed on my telephone the cells of weather between Geauga County and my home base. For the first time I used Flight Watch and I found it quite helpful. I decided to not fly to Portage County and flew straight home and all was well.

So, I now pretty much have a good idea of why this license means so much to me.