Friday, July 23, 2010

Crappy Cross Country (It was only a test)

This evening I decided to take a short cross country from one unfamiliar airport to another. This flight made me see exactly what I have forgotten over the past few months.

Well, before I get into the story, I will warn you ahead of time that this flight was on my Microsoft Flight Simulator, which also has Ultimate Terrain software. What I really like about the software is that it adds in many landmarks that the regular flight simulator does not have.

I started from Bolton airfield in Columbus and flew to route direct to Stewart Airfield which is approximately a 52 mile flight direct.

I will have to grade myself a C- due to a few mental errors. And while some will laugh or roll their eyes at simulating a flight such as this, to me and many other pilots this allows us to work on our routines and procedures such as using the check list, navigation, and get used to many procedures, many which are mandatory, and the simulator allows us to learn on the ground when it is not going to get us killed, or written up by the FAA.

I had a few minor glitches from the beginning such as not having the correct frequencies written down, but that will clear up as soon as I start using this flight planning sheets. My taxi, take off, and climb out were pretty much within guidelines and I was able to maintain the compass heading fairly well most of the flight. Also keep in mind, I am using the magnetic compass and not be directional gyro on the panel. The funny thing is that when using the magnetic compass you are always turning in the opposite direction to achieve the correct compass heading.

My first landmark pretty much was within two to three minutes, but absentmindedly I had climbed to 3500 feet as planned, but should have planned for a climb to 4500 feet due to my true course heading. Even though the 3500 foot altitude I was still legal because I was just about 2000 feet above ground I still have a cushion before I had to adhere to the even and odd altitude assignments.

My second checkpoint came a lot sooner than I figured. After I completed my flight I figured out what the problem was. Pilot error, garbage in, garbage out. After I got to my final reference point which is located about 4 miles east of the airport I had to search for the airport for a few minutes before I found it. From there, I entered a 45 into the upwind leg and everything after that pretty much was routine. And by the way, the landing was good, and the right beyond the threshold which is where I went to idle on the downwind leg.

Once I get back up in the air in a few weeks I should move right into my dual cross country.

And one final note. When my friend Steve flew up from Stewart, I was at the airport waiting for him. But when I landed at Stewart tonight on my flight simulator I expected to at least see a little animated pilot waving at me as I landed. I guess I was asking for a little too much?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Waiting is almost over

Okay, I know that I have not blogged for a long time, but that is because I have not been flying.

I SHOULD be back up in the air in the next 2 weeks after I get back from Madison, Wisconsin, from the Transplant Games. My plan was to have my license by now and to fly up, but, as things go ...

I been in the books, and watching vids and will be taking a couple of sample written exams to get back to speed. I have to get signed off to solo again and then do my cross countries.

I MAY be switching to a friend's Piper Cherokee, and have a new instructor, but that remains to be seen. For now, 94400 is waiting for me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Wounded warrior gets new wings
By Dave Hirschman

Tammy Duckworth, a former U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk pilot severely wounded in Iraq in 2004, is now an FAA-certificated private pilot in fixed-wing aircraft.

Duckworth passed her checkride July 19 at Manassas Regional/Harry P. Davis Field in northern Virginia, and she hopes, eventually, to return to helicopter flying. Her husband, Bryan Bowlsby, is an instrument-rated private pilot.

“Tammy is a very rare person, and she was fun to teach,“ said Ben Negussie, Duckworth’s flight instructor at Dulles Aviation in Manassas. “She’s incredibly self-disciplined and hard working. She’s got a great sense of humor, and she made my job easy.”

Duckworth lost all of her right leg and most of her left when her helicopter was struck by an insurgent-fired rocket-propelled grenade. She currently serves as an officer in the Illinois National Guard but her amputations prevent her from military flying. Duckworth lives and works in Washington, D.C., where she is an assistant secretary at the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.