Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, ....

Look at the sky. SMILE!!
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 autumn leaves.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Third solo!! (And, no, my stuff does NOT stink!)

I must say that my confidence level is once again escalating. Before I leave for the airport I find myself doing more of the routines that the pilots should do. For instance, I logged on to the weather portion of the AOPA website and checked the weather for the area. Since now that I am pilot in command it is a requirement to obtain a weather briefing for your flight. But this was the first time that I did it as a requirement, or should I say as a responsibility.

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.
Oh by the way, that the door on the passenger side opened up again on our first takeoff of the day.

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

Second solo, I really CAN do this!!

As usual, when coming from the east side of Cleveland it is a hassle for me to quickly get to the airport. I finally made it, 10 minutes after my start time which is what I really hate to do. Before going flying I like to relax, have a thorough inspection of my aircraft, and talk to the other pilots about the weather conditions.

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.