Monday, March 9, 2009

First Flying Lesson. All Over Again

I was having butterflies in my stomach for two days. The excitement of flying again, that is OFFICIALLY flying again, was clearly taking over my thoughts.
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

Okay, first lesson again!!

Here I am, planning for my first flying lesson.
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!