Thursday, December 10, 2009
Check weather, and reserve a plane because clothes can wait. Besides, clean clothes really are over rated.
So I’ll go online and check the AOPA website and check the weather and see if I can find an excuse for going out to the airport, or reason for staying home and try to convince the clothes to wash themselves. The weather won.
So I hopped into the car and drove down to the airport using I-77 instead of the I-71 this time. And it looks like Yahoo maps was correct because I cut five to seven minutes off of my drive time and it seemed to be a quicker with more interesting scenery.
15 minutes from the airport I call my instructor Mark, to get okay to fly. Based on today’s whether he was confident but told me to double-check with an instructor on the field for a final okay.
When I arrived at the field 733 was parked right by the gate and it was tempting to fly this one today, but I did not feel like fumbling with the passenger door in flight as I usually end up doing with this airplane. 400 was parked near the pumps just in case I had to fuel up, and before going inside I checked to see how much fuel she had. Surprisingly both tanks were over three quarters full.
Inside, after two or three minute conversation, Logan, one of the flight instructors gives me the thumbs up.
Everything seems to be going pretty good today, I walk out to the aircraft perform my preflight, start up the engine which is usually very hard to start. So today I used to shots of primer instead of one and she almost made it on the first try. So I do two more shots and she started off okay. I taxi out to the runway and perform my takeoff checklist and as usual on this aircraft there is engine roughness on the magneto check. In on the second attempt on leaning out the engine and running up to burn off carbon deposits she seems to purr okay. But, during the run-up there is an unusual smell which may be oil, or not, so I taxi back to the hangar to see if a mechanic could verify what was going on. One of the pilots came out and tell me that that smell is normal and that it was oil that may have spilled during a refill. So I taxi back out and take off and fly over to Wadsworth Muni.
I announce myself 3 miles out and that I was coined to enter crosswind for runway 20, and while entering crosswind for a downwind it was announced that they were using runway 02 so I called up my downwind as an upwind instead to find that I had a Piper Arrow behind me on upwind also. The landing went okay except that it was a little sloppy and I also landed fast. So I made the second turn off for another trip around the pattern. The next landing was better, and the one following I came in hot again. Self diagnosing the problem I need it to use my flaps sooner in approach and to stay ahead of the aircraft.
I left the pattern to fly back to Skypark which was usually one of the more difficult things for me to do because Skypark is not an easy airport to find. On departure from Wadsworth Muni I found the salt shaker (and area landmark) and set up the usual course to fly back to Skypark and actually found it pretty easily.
I call land a 2 mile 45 for the active runway and start my first approach back home. One thing that was bugging me, at the same time is why I fly at Skypark is that I was making sloppy landings at Wadsworth Muni (coming in fast) and I could not do this at my home base. My first landing back home was hot (landing too fast), in fact the following three landings were all the same. On my third landing I debated going around but I landed about 200 feet before midfield and had no problems coming to a stop. After my third landing I decided I needed to do it right before I called it a day. I only got the final landing half right and decided that I had enough for today and if I could I was when I come back the next day or within a week and do it right.
While normally I would be upset at my flying today I had to remind myself that I had not flown in little over three weeks and overall I did okay.
Every pilot remembers their first solo flight. This was my fourth solo flight and it had special meaning because this was the first time that I had the opportunity, on a whim, to grab my flight bag and go flying and all I needed was an okay for my instructor. This was the first time flying by myself from start to finish. For a student to fly to another airport is further validation of his or her skills and abilities. And today, what a validation!
But of course, on my way home there is a nagging thought and sure enough early in the evening when I’m cleaning up I realized that I had left a couple items in the airplane.
Well maybe next time I’ll get it right.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Look at the bank account. FROWN.
Look at the sky. GRIN!!
Look at the bank account. <#*&*@(>
Look at the METAR. "KCAK 121851Z 05008G14KT 020V120 10SM FEW250 12/M04 A3012 RMK AO2 SLP207 T01221044" SWEET!!
Look at the bank account.
Boot up FlightSimulator, and just be happy practicing navigation while saving money. I have a 5:00 meeting today at the Clinic, and the leaves on the lawn will not pick up and bag themselves. I hate
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
As usual I got to the airport later than planned, and as expected, whoever was flying my playing the day before left the aircraft low on fuel. Today was my lucky day though, because unlike other days when I needed to fuel my plane now I can taxi the plane over to the fuel pumps instead of dragging it across the apron with the tow bar. I guess I'm in the big leagues now!
My instructor plan to take me to the local airport next door, Wadsworth Municipal, for a couple takeoffs and landings. On my first takeoff out of Skypark as I began my takeoff roll the aircraft spun around on the right wheel pretty much causing me to go in a circle as I increase the power to full throttle. Immediately I retard at the power and tried to maintain control of the aircraft. Of course Mark, my instructor, was pulling one of his stunts of simulating a locked up brake to see how I would react. Since I immediately reacted by killing the power I passed the test.
The flight to Wadsworth was uneventful and my landing was okay (not one of my better ones, but very passable). We then took off and headed back to home where I did a few more takeoffs and landings and then I was on my own for three more solo takeoffs and landings. And once again the pesky door opened up on my first takeoff. (Memo to self -- bring rivet gun to my
lesson) My second and third landings were flat, that is I did not hold my nose wheel off through the landing. The landings were soft, they just happen to be near three pointers. Three point landings are good for tail draggers, but not in a Cessna 152.
The good thing about today's flight is that I got an additional endorsement to fly to the next airport away from us which is Wadsworth. Now granted, when you take off on runway to one at Skypark after you raise your flaps if you look directly to the left you can see Wadsworth Muni. In fact, you are pretty much on base to land on runway 10. Wadsworth Airport is about 3 miles southwest of Skypark. The good thing is this -- I can fly over to Wadsworth and practice takeoffs and landings, or better yet touch and go's which save a lot of time, and brush up on other skills that I cannot do at Skypark. There is also not a lot of traffic at Wadsworth and it is not uncommon to fly for an hour there and be the only playing in the pattern. Hopefully soon I will be flying to Medina and also Wayne County which are 6 miles and 10 miles respectively from Skypark.
All in all it was a very good day.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Today I was flying 733, a red and white Cessna 152 which I had never flown. Of course, the last person to fly the plane left the tanks nearly empty. The good news though, is that this aircraft was right by the fuel pumps so I easily pulled the aircraft over and topped off the tanks.
This was my first flight since my solo two weeks ago so I did not expect to go up by myself immediately. My instructor and I took off to fly to the practice area. Of course everything was not well with the aircraft, specifically the passenger side door. It popped open on my flight instructor less than a minute after taking off and he wrestled to get it shut as we climbed out to the practice area. He wanted me to demonstrate slow flight while maintaining 3000 feet. All was going well until the door popped open again. And he wrestled with the door it and got it closed and then instructed me to do a steep 360 to the left and then to the right. The left turn went well but the right turn I lost 110 feet, 10 feet out of the guidelines to pass my private pilot’s test. Considering that I have not done steep turns for months I did okay. I then proceeded to do turns around a point which I was still a little rusty on but they came out okay.
Back at the airport I did my first landing which was okay but I carried too much speed on short final resulting in too much float. On the next landing on short final Mark called out “pink elephant on runway, pink elephant on runway”, and of course I had no idea what he was talking about. Once again he called out “pink elephant on runway”, but this time I understood what he was talking about. Mark wanted me to do a goal around which came out pretty good. I proceeded around the pattern, landed, once again with too much float, but passable so Mark told me to go ahead by myself for my second solo.
The takeoff went well, except for, you guessed it- the passenger door popped open on takeoff about 200 feet into the air. I waited until I was on the downwind leg to work on it, and got it to close without much fuss. The landing went well, but before I took off again I worked on the door to make sure it was shut. Second landing went well, except for the float again which resulted in me using up a lot of runway. I taxi back for takeoff, and proceeded on my third takeoff for the day. I usually rotate at 50 to 55 knots, but at about 40 knots, you guessed it, once again- the door popped open. I decided to abort the takeoff because the door was really pissing me off now. One of the airport mechanics help me work on the door and this time it seemed to shut firmly. To take off and landing went well, still too much speed but my touchdowns were soft.
The game plan is for me to do one more solo and to show my instructor, Mark, that I know the area fairly well (yeah right, this will be a laugh), and then I can fly to three other airports in the immediate area. And honestly, I cannot wait.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I planned to arrive at the airport about 45 minutes before my lesson but unfortunately that did not happen. I arrived at the airport only15 minutes before my scheduled flight. My delay in leaving home was due to the fact that I was waiting for a copy of my insurance policy via e-mail. I printed off two copies and took off to the airport taking the roundabout way, and then entering the freeway on the wrong exit which took me the wrong direction.
When I arrived at the airport I did my usual ritual of looking over the airplane before I go into the office for the keys. As expected, the aircraft had just about 2 or 3 gallons in each tank so I needed to gas up before my lesson. I had plenty of time since my instructor was working with another student so I had plenty of time to psych myself up for today’s flight. Luckily the airplane was right by the gas pumps so I could use the toolbar to pull the aircraft over around 30 to 40 feet without much effort. I completed my preflight and gassed up the aircraft, and then everything started to fall apart.
My instructor was already sitting in the aircraft when he asked me if I had my insurance yet, and I told him that it was now on file in the office. He asked me for my logbook and my medical certificate, which pretty much told me what he had planned for me today. I hopped into the aircraft did my startup checklist and then realized that I had left the keys of the aircraft on the gas pumps which was the resulted in the first chuckle. After fussing and priming and pumping the throttle while cranking the engine for about three minutes it finally started. Of course, we had another little problem. I kept hearing a banging noise on my side of the aircraft which meant that my safety belt was hanging out the door. Another chuckle. Seatbelt intact I taxied out the runway 21. The run-up was the usual except for the fact that I had the jitters. My instructor, Marc, asked me to do a soft field takeoff which I really did not feel like doing this afternoon as my first flight in two weeks. The aircraft came off the ground pretty easily and then we started the usual departure procedure of climbing to 1800 feet and turn left to the crosswind leg. I looked down at the DG and then noticed that I never set the DG before I took off therefore the company is in the DG were about 100° apart. I then noticed that I could see the ground through the crack of the door and realize my door had popped open. So I looked at Marc and asked him about his procedures and why he did not catch my mistakes. Luckily, he only smiled at me.
The approach was bumpy on short final due to the trees that create a lot of turbulence when it is windy. I was able to fight through this landing and salvaged a decent touchdown. Today was NOT going to be the day because it is too windy. We then took off and scooted over to Wadsworth Muni which is a three minute flight from Skypark. Of course Marc would not let me make normal landings today and would not let me land with flaps. He wanted to demonstrate to me how the aircraft lands with no flaps, and I was successful in both landing efforts. I was even grateful that I had learned this valuable lesson.
Back to Skypark for a few more landings. On my first landing he wanted me to make sure that I came in a high over the trees and dropped in after passing them which meant that my usual aiming for the numbers was out. My first landing was pretty decent except for the fact that I don’t like landing long since our runway is only 2400 feet. After touchdown I still had plenty of runway. After all, this was a Cessna 152. The next landing came out even better and Marc told me to give him one more good landing. Suddenly, I was starting to get nervous and anxious and had every intention to screw up this landing, but I didn’t. On the following landing he told me to keep going to the end and taxi over to the pumps. Before I could shut down the engine he told me to give him three takeoffs and landings and taxi back to the pumps, and then he climbed out of the aircraft and shut the door and walked off. WOW, that Cessna 152 became a Boeing 707 in my mind. Entirely TOO much to remember to fly. What was really weird is that the cockpit got very hot and it felt very weird to be in the aircraft by myself and expected to take off and land, by myself, even though I had been doing it for months.
As I applied the throttle I notice how quickly the aircraft taxied when I was in it by myself. As I crossed the active runway I quickly forgot my call sign, the airport where I was located, in really hard pressed to remember my name. It’s really amazing how short the taxi is to the active when you’re taxiing out for your first solo. I did my final checklist, announced my take off, once again forgetting my call sign, and where I was, and why I was even on the face of this planet. I applied full throttle and was amazed how quickly the Cessna 152 accelerated and jumped off the runway when you’re flying it by yourself.
It was then that I realized that I had reached the moment that I had been waiting for, for over 30 years. I was able to keep my cool, to watch my headings, to watch my altitude, and hoped to stay calm for my landing. Surprisingly, I handled my first landing with no problem even though I was very nervous and afraid. So there I was, doing my first solo takeoff and landing, on a windy day, but fortunately the wind was right down the runway so there was no crosswind factor. One down and two more to go. The second time around the pattern was actually pretty decent, and my landing came out okay, and was actually pretty soft. Two down and one more to go. On my third takeoff I realize how quickly I was climbing and as I looked down at the airport office as I flew by it really struck me this time that all was right with the world. Back to reality now. Instead of climbing to 2000 feet I found myself at 2200 feet on downwind but recovered quite easily made my base and final approach, came over the trees and just before I touched down upon myself ballooning but record covered quite well, and had a nice touchdown. I taxi door to the pumps and shut down and just sat there for a couple of minutes in silence.
Back in the office of course Marc congratulated me, grabbed his scissors and snipped off my shirt tail. Of course I wore my AOPA Pilot-in-Command T-shirt that day because I knew.
So here I am, a day later because I was too excited to even sleep last night let alone to write this blog entry. But I think the whole world knows that I can add October 19, 2009 to my short list of happiest days of my life.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
This morning I get the Pilot's Tip of the Week - #11, which discussed preflight and the importance of using your checklist.
A sign from above? hmmmmmmm??
Friday, August 14, 2009
My birthday flight was not one of my better flights. The weather was nice, light turbulence, the sky was about 4500 broken, but I just did not have it this day.
One problem that I have found that I am doing is that I am ignoring my checklist, or just skimming it and not following it accurately. I have to remind myself that a checklist is there for a reason. The checklist is exactly that... a checklist. The checklist is not reading material to entertain you before starting the engine or before taking off. Every item is important to some extent or another. Ignoring an individual item may not result in disaster, but ignoring several items could quite easily resulted in more than just ruining your flight.
To diminish or eliminate this problem, I have been using my checklist and practicing on my computer with my Microsoft flight simulator. I have a flight schedule today, and since I have practiced several times I should have no problem at all.
Today's weather ... KAKR 141254Z AUTO 00000KT 8SM CLR 22/19 A3021 RMK AO2 SLP223 T02220189 TSNO=
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Hot day and slightlybumpy. This was the final landing after doing 3 touch and goes at Wayne County Airport, but those did not come out.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Today, I got to fly one at Skypark (15g). WOW. What a rush!!
I sat in awe and got to do one takeoff which was the same as flying a 737 to me.
Quick, send me a check for $110,000.
Friday, June 5, 2009
We started off with the basics, regular takeoff, depart the pattern, fly southwest of airport, climb to 3500 feet, do some slow flight, steep turns (45° bank), and turns around the point. Overall I did okay, I still need to work on my power management to maintain altitude and slow flight. My turns around a point were okay, and I identified a mistake before my flight instructor did and made a second attempt that came out much better.
After completing those maneuvers he told me to fly back to the airport, and three minutes later after giving me these instructions, he decided to start messing with me. My flight instructor pulled the power all the way off and announced to me "You just lost your engine what are you going to do"?
So I started putting together some commonsense answers in my head and then explained them to him as I started the procedures. But the more I explained to him the more he kept asking me "then what"? I selected a field to the left of me and we had plenty of altitude to set up even though I was unsure of my selection. As I made my selection I gave them a brief overview as to why and he seemed to agree with me, and did not point out any better selections.
After this emergency procedure he told me to fly back and overfly the airport and 3500 feet. I thought maybe he was going to show me another procedure instead, he pulled off the power again and told me to land at the airport. He explained to me the best way to accomplish a safe landing and taught me to procedure, resulting in a decent landing.
So twice today he played this game with me. Luckily I put on extra deodorant because in the Cessna 152 you are in very close quarters with your passenger.
So we decided to practice some takeoffs and landings and except for a couple of minor issues I was having a good day.
On my second landing I was slightly off-line with a runway which was easily corrected but instead I opted to practice a go around. And I am proud to say that this one went quite well is specially since this was my first practice go around.
On the following landing while on the downwind leg, you guessed it ... he pulled the power off again! He told me to make a landing without power from my present location. Surprisingly it was not difficult at all and I should feel even more comfortable with this procedure once I practice it two or three more times. It resulted in a good landing, and I only swore at him once or twice under my breath.
The third time around the pattern was uneventful, the landing was smooth but I will have to make sure instead of looking over the cowl to look off to the side to judge my height. I don't know why I am not doing this now because when I started flying again I automatically looked off to the side to judge my height and my landings were perfect. But then again, I was in a Piper Cherokee.
I hope to get up in the air this weekend and see if I can pick up where I left off. I'm just wondering, since he's starting to throw emergencies at me... MAYBE HE WANTS TO KICK ME OUT OF THE NEST???
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I enjoyed the location of my school. Only 10-15 minutes away and also 3 location. But, due to the cost, I have to now drive to Wadsworth Sky Park Field (15g). It’s really work the drive though. All but 5 minutes of the 45 minute drive are freeway.
The only downside is that I have to fly Cessnas. I want to fly Pipers. The other thing is, by suggestion, I am back to the Cessna 150/152 model which is a 2 seater. Yes, it’s a shock. But the important thing right now is to solo and get my license. Once I solo I may consider going up to the Skyhawk which is a 4 seater.
So far I took an intro and then a full hour lesson in the 152. Well, I have to admit, I was less turned off to it once I got started.
Sloppy take off and departure but I got over it in short order. I tend to climb at a higher airspeed so that I can look over the nose.
I found the 152 not too hard to manage and actually almost too fun to fly. Of course there are different procedures than in the Cherokee. The constant yanking of the carb heat was annoying. The slow electrical flaps were annoying. Climbing onto the wing to check the fuel cap and to visually check the fuel quantity was annoying. The visibility down was spectacular. The visibility in turns was down right scary because the wing cuts off your view completely.
First landing on my intro was okay. Too firm though. The landing on my second lesson was better and my third overall landing was crap by my standards. I miss ground effect in landings.
I looooooove the small field and that was a selling point to me. Skinny, 2,400 foot runways teach you how to land. You become a much better pilot at airports that make you fly right. I floated on my landings but that will change.
Also the small airports make you feel at home. At my old place, it was okay. At this Sky Park many of the people initiate conversations with you.
This airport reminds me of the long gone Chagrin Falls Airport. Man, I miss her.
Monday, March 9, 2009
I missed being in the air, and in control of the airplane. In fact, for years I even avoided small airfields due to the frustration that I was never going to have a chance to be a licensed pilot due to my transplants.
It was a cool day, but sunny and just a light breeze. The trip to Burke Lakefront took 5 hours. Okay, it was more like 15 minutes, but it seemed to take that long.
Bill was scheduled to be my instructor, but I ended up flying with Brian. A young’un. Too young to be my instructor, but so are many of the certified instructors these days are young and very qualified. Where do you think airline pilots get their start?
Pre-flight was easy enough, but I need to do the whole thing myself next time. Following the book with a few modifications worked out fine for me.
Start up on a cold day required 3 attempts and 4-5 shots of prime. Once running, the engine purred and we were off to the races. The radios were handled by Brian and everything flowed through the taxi, run-up, and takeoff.
Once we were southeast of Cuyahoga County airport D airspace we started maneuvers.
All of my maneuvers were fair to okay and since I have flown 1 hour in 18 years, I felt confident that I can hit everything on target soon.
30 degree turns were within range, but I have to work on my altitude holds and learn to trim and/or increase power for turns to offset drag.
Transition to slow flight was a hoot. While at cruise altitude and speed, you reduce the throttle to 1,700 RMPs and wait for the for speed to bleed off. This is not an easy maneuver to pull off without experience. I have to remember next time to reduce to 1,700 RPMs, and at 90 knots, to add in 15 degrees of flaps, then at 80 knots to add in 25 degrees of flaps and then at 70 go full 40 degrees of flaps, and when you are close to the desired speed add in the power to hold altitude. The nose up pretty much up into the sky and visibility over the nose is bad.
On the way back to Burke Lakefront I did a landing at Cuyahoga County and handled the radios. The landing was pretty smooth without excessive float. The take off was good and back to Lakefront and all went okay until we called in and found out that we were switched from 24 runways to the 6 runways, necessitating a downwind entry. Behind me was a Bonanza, and a Citation was also on the way in. We landed long since I was high in the pattern and rushed the turn to base for traffic flow.
It all went pretty well and I grade my lesson as a B- or C+ because I am so critical of myself. I remember how I used to fly and judge myself on those past performances. Brian told me to keep studying my ground school even though I passed last month and to not be so hurried.
I can not wait for my next time up.
My ASA headset should be in the mail tomorrow!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Actually, it’s not my first one. That first lesson was years ago in Nashville when I was a young buck. Joe Smiley was my instructor at Cornelia Fort Airpark. Here I am many, many years later, starting all over again and while I am nervous, I am confident, I just wonder if I will fell the same 16 hours from now.
The forecast shows a high pressure cell over West Virginia, bringing the wind from the east, so I get to use the runway number 6 left or right. I like those because I get to fly over the stadium and Rock Hall of Fame.
The weather is calling for VFR and light winds.
Time to go read my Piper Warrior manual and review the procedures for the aircraft.
Wish me luck!
Monday, February 9, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Yesterday was a bear because I studied for about five to six hours. I finally reached the saturation point around 3:00 in the afternoon. What I ended up doing was housework to keep my mind distracted. I wanted to go bowling but it was too late to get a lane. There is nothing like bowling in the afternoon to break up the stress. And based on my recent scores I need to as much stress relief as possible.
So, I took my leisurely drive across Cleveland to Cuyahoga County Airport. For some reason, I was nervous and I really don’t know why. Once I started to test things came right back to me and I took the test and probably no more than 40 minutes.
I had to go back and review two questions. One was on Tri-colored approach lights, and the other was on cloud conditions. After reviewing the results I got those questions correct and missed the other questions pertaining to terminal in our forecasts and reading weather charts.
So, the next step is complete. 97% I can accept.
Now I see that I could have gotten 100%. DANG!!
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Years ago, something like 25 years ago, I took the test and passed with an 89%.
That was before on-line study, and on-line sample tests.
My Sample Tests with Gleim since I passed GS were 86% 3 days ago (yuck) and 96% tonight. Tonight I missed questions pertaining to weather. Not major weather questions, so there is no worry.
Thanks to ground school I saw a flaw in my calculations of wind direction, time and ground speed. I had the basics, but was doing them out of order. So, now that I have the proper order my answers were within .5% and with rounding I was on target.
I have 3 more sample tests to take if I wish, and I WILL take them.
I want my 96% or better!
I just realized last night that I can get my ground instructor’s certificate and train others. Sweeeeeeeeeet!!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Yeah, I was nervous. Not because I was unsure if I was going to pass. Instead, I wanted that 95% or better.
I got out the tea, and took a sip, and dived right in. This time I went slow and read every question. I was very sure of them all except for 3 or 4 questions.
The end result was a 96%.
A 96% I can live with. It’s one better than a 95%, right?
Now, can I pull this off in February when I officially take the test? I hope so.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Here are my scores for each study section.
Airplanes and Aerodynamics - 96%
Airplane Instruments, Engines, and Systems 92%
Airports, Air Traffic Control, and Airspace 95%
Federal Aviation Regulations 97%
Airplane Performance 88%
Aeronautical Decision Making 93%
Aviation Weather 82%
Aviation Weather Services 87%
Navigation Systems 96%
Cross-Country Flight Planning 91%
2nd Mid-Test 100%
Sigh. I really CAN do better. Next step ... End of Course Test.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
I completed Federal Air Regulations last night in the Man Cave. I missed just a few answers in the 171 question test. Gleim really makes you study and tests you through repetition. I mean, how many times can you ask a question? But, it makes you learn.
I will have to study more on Class and Category, and also watch the questions and stop skimming. One word can change the whole meaning of the question.
Next up is Weight and Balance and Aircraft Performance.