Friday, April 17, 2015

Long Cross Country, DONE!!

Since my last posting, I have taken my required long cross-country. My long cross-country was from Cuyahoga County Airport to Wheeling West Virginia Airport, New Philadelphia Airport, and back home to Cuyahoga County Airport.

The trip to Wheeling West Virginia overall went quite well, and my checkpoints were all within two minutes, and the checkpoints were right where they should’ve been. The only issue that was problematic in a minor way was the turbulence. After takeoff I climbed to 5500 feet and was able to hit my altitude and headings with not much of a problem, except my playing kept wanting to turn to the right, however in the Cherokee you have a rudder trim therefore I was able to control it somewhat.  One of my shortcomings is that I have to watch my frequencies because I tried to call Akron Approach Control on the wrong frequency.  As I approached Steubenville Ohio I had to talk under the Bravo airspace which once again brought back the turbulence that I was trying to avoid. While I was on a 4 mile final a Cessna on an animal rescue mission was on base so I offered a 360 to let the critters land first, which the tower approved. 

Once on the ground I was able to meet my friends for lunch which was a treat, because we have been talking about me flying over for lunch for a couple of years. Unfortunately, I was on a shorter schedule so I could not hang around and was able to get off the ground within an hour and a half and flew to my next destination, New Philadelphia.

This leg was a little more difficult because I was not paying attention to my headings like I should’ve been. I found myself flying north of my route therefore I missed my check point, Cadiz, Ohio, birthplace of what famous actor?  I was able to get myself back on route without much of a problem, however finding that airport was not easy and I ended up cheating by using the panel mounted GPS.  This is something I did not want to do, however, if you have those tools available to you, you might as well use them. I could’ve used my Garmin Pilot but I did not want to reach back into my flight bag and dig it out of the bag.  I later on found out that other pilots have had the same problems in locating this airport, and recall years ago as a passenger we had same issue. This airport is kind of tucked in some trees on one side and hard to find unless you know what you’re looking for.

The final leg was very interesting however very simple. From the airport to the VOR to my home airport is pretty much a straight shot and maybe 2° or 3° difference over the VOR. Working with Akron control was no problem, and flying over both Akron airports was pretty easy, and flying through the Charlie airspace was also easy especially on a Sunday when there are not too many airliners taking off from Akron.

So, the long cross-country was pretty much an easy process and all of my times were pretty much on except for the one leg which I was able to press on to my destination. I believe that as many other people have experienced, this type of cross-country is a big boost to the ego and you also feel like a real life pilot. Oh wait, I almost am a real life pilot.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Late Updates, Making Progress!

Since my solo flight, I have been making some very fast progress. We are at the end of winter time and in Cleveland that means 50 degree weather on one day 20 degree weather the next day, and very rarely until the end of April can you count on several days of good flying weather.

Whenever I have a good day, without stiff crosswinds, both of my instructors have been very good at letting me grab the plane and go. While my landings are decent, I still have to work on the flare in the Warrior.  For a few weeks many of my approaches have been high even on base to final which has resulted in me going to idle and full flaps and touching down further down the runway than I like. As I recall when I was flying the Cessna 152 years ago, I have the same issue. The difference is I am on a much longer runway (5,100 feet) so touchdown is not nearly as critical however, and I am landing in a distance less than 2,500 feet.

I also did a dual cross country from Cuyahoga County Airport to Meadville Pennsylvania to Youngstown Ohio, which pretty much went well. I was able to sneak in a solo cross country to Meadville and back, unfortunately while in Meadville I did not get a chance to walk down to the hot dog stand up the street from the airport. I was however able to circle around the ex-girlfriend’s cottage on the lake and give her the finger.  (Okay, no I didn't)

On my last flight I was under the hood for an hour which was actually more difficult than I thought in some ways but easier in other ways. It was more difficult for me the first time out mostly because the air was pretty choppy and I did not realize that flying as accurately as needed in turbulent weather was so difficult. At the end of this flight I simulated in instrument approach from about 2 miles out following the glide scope and localizer, and I was surprised that the transition from instrument to visual and having a smooth landing was not so easy.

My instructor is okay with me choosing an airport that is 85 miles away for my long cross-country, which is Wheeling West Virginia. While in Wheeling I hope to grab lunch with a couple I know in the area, and then fly back to Cleveland by way of New Philadelphia. A lot of this will depend on the weather and I am looking forward to the challenge of flying to another state on my long cross-country, and to another area away from Cleveland.  

Solo practice is fun!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Today as I drove to the airport I knew that today was going to be the day for my solo in the Piper Cherokee Warrior.

It has been over four years since I was on track to finish my license. Today's lesson is my fifth lesson in years, plus the fact that I did not take lessons in the Piper Warrior until a couple of weeks ago. I flew yesterday however the weather was pretty bumpy and I had around a 15 not cross wind, along with my lesson a few days prior with the same weather conditions. So, I was becoming pretty comfortable with crosswind landings however landings with light winds was completely different experience for me.

My first three trips around the pattern were still sloppy by my standards, but appeared to be well within guidelines as far as my instructor was concerned. Keep in mind that last week when I received an 88% on my written exam I was not very happy. On the third landing I decided that I was going to make a full stop and kick her out of the plane. Okay, it really did not happen like that.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Getting Up is not Easy

Here we go again. More delays due to weather and also due to family illness.
I was able to go flying with my new instructor, but unfortunately we could only do a few landings due to a family illness that cropped up just as I was putting the key into the ignition to start up the airplane. According to her my takeoffs and landings went well. A few days later we scheduled for a two hour flight, and the day was ideal for working on crosswind landings. The crosswind component was 15 to 17 knots. Unfortunately, the circuit breaker for the stall warning buzzer kept popping out so that flight was canceled. Of course after leaving the airport an hour and a half later I received a call in the problem was resolved.

Today since my regular, new instructor was not available I went up with another. The winds were very similar so it was a good day for me to get some practice. For the most part the three landings went well. The ceiling was fairly low but we were able to get in a little air work with some steep turns, slow flight, and a few other miscellaneous exercises.

Both instructors said that I talk out loud explaining what I am doing, and why which they stated they both liked to hear from me so that they knew what my thought process was.

Who knows, maybe within the next few flights I may find myself all alone, in a Piper Warrior. I sure hope so.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Written Exam ... DONE :( I Suck

Well, I took my written exam today and I must say, I am VERY disappointed in my score.

All day today, I scanned, but did not get deep into the guts of where I felt weak, and I went to the airport confident that I could do it.

What I studied today was NOT on the exam, except for one question.

What a let down and I was embarrassed at my final.

ONLY an 88%. 


Monday, March 9, 2015

Written Exam ... BOOKED

In two days I am scheduled to take my written exam at Burke Lakefront (KBKL) at 2:00pm.

I will probably take 1 or 2 practice exams on the Gleim website prior to then.  

While in Nashville last week I tried to study some, and focused on the weather mostly.

Would have gone flying today but allergy pills were making me a touch loopy, plus, I was sneezing up a storm.  

I get to meet my new CFI, Michelle, on Thursday.  

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ground School ... DONE!!!

It was odd relearning what I had known for years.  My 'knowledge' had a LOT of rust to knock off and to re-oil.   But it was completed.  

I had a dose of reality and found out that if you don't use it, you lose it.  A lot was lost, but, now that the Gleim on-line course was completed, I feel nearly up to speed.  What I need to do now is the take some sample tests on-line and reinforce what I should have learned.

Next up, the FAA Written, which I can take at any time.

Final score on Gleim?   94%

Funny.  That was the score on my first written a few years back.