Posted by: Brian | December 24, 2010

Emergency Procedures

It took me awhile to get this video posted, but here it is.  This session was shot last weekend, which was simply practicing emergency procedures.  We flew out to Easton (ESN) to practice the engine-outs.  Did about four of them before heading back.  On the way out, I practiced some slow flight with stalls (approach to landing and departure).  It was a good review.

~ Brian

Total hours: ~ 68 (my CFI has my logbook, so I’m not sure on the exact number)

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Posted by: Brian | December 12, 2010

Back in the Air

Between work and the weather, it’s been a month since I’ve been able to get back to the skies.  It’s been sorely missed, might I add.  This was the longest break in training I have had since starting.  I was on the schedule over the past couple of weekends for some solo flight, but winds grounded me.  One of the days was borderline, but just decided not to risk it.

This video was actually taken yesterday.  I wasn’t too sure how I’d fair with the break in training, but I must say, it wasn’t bad.  I thought that I’d forget a lot more than I actually did, so I impressed myself.  We were going to fly over to Easton and practice some Emergency Procedures (engine fire, engine outs, etc), but was too hazy over the Chesapeake Bay to fly over there.  So instead, we just stayed in the pattern and practiced some short and soft field takeoffs and landings.  The video is of one short field takeoff and landing.

Today, I met up with my CFI and did a mock FAA oral.  It wasn’t too bad…I still need to study up some more on cloud clearances and airspace minimums.  What throws me off a bit is Class G, but I’ll be fine.  I was only able to get through 1/2 of what we planned to.  I will knock the other part out sometime prior to my checkride.

Next Saturday, I will take my FAA written exam.  Sunday morning will be VERY busy:  I’ll be up with my CFI from 8-10.  We’ll be over at Easton (ESN) doing the Emergency Procedures we were going to do yesterday.  Then from 10-12, I’ll be up taking my final progress check.  The progress checks are separate from the FAA checkride.  They are conducted by other flight instructors, simply double checking that I am where I am supposed to be in my training and verifying that I am able to move on to the next phase.  In Sunday’s case, it’ll be to sign me off to schedule my FAA checkride.  If I do well Sunday, I’ll make an appointment to do my checkride with the FAA.  It’ll be an ALL day affair, starting with an oral exam, followed by a practical exam.  It’ll literally be all day…ungh.  But if I pass that day (whatever day it may be), I’ll be a full fledged pilot!  I started my training on December 31, 2009.  I think it’d be awesome to do my FAA checkride on December 31st, 2010, but we’ll see if it works out that way…

~ Brian

Hours logged: 1.0

Total hours:  65.1

Posted by: Brian | November 14, 2010

Soft & Short

Last night, I stayed in the pattern alternating between soft and short field landings.  Basically a soft field landing is landing on a, well, soft field.  The technique is a bit different.  What you are trying to avoid on a soft field landing is the ground/grass/mud grabbing on to your tire and slinging the plane.  So you try to come in flat, add a smidge of power in ground effect and lightly come down.  Short field technique is landing on a short field.  My home airport is 2420′ in length, and I was stopping the plane in half that (prior to the mid-field marking), so that was pretty good.  I just need more practice…more reps.  It became easier with each one.

My next flight is a mock-FAA checkride.  Should be interesting.  I will be basically flying the route I’ll be flying on my checkride, so that’s good…

~ Brian

Hours logged: 1.1

Total hours:  64.1

Posted by: Brian | November 9, 2010

Dual Flight to Easton

I wasn’t sure if I’d be flying today due to the high winds.  They were hovering around 12 knots, gusting up to 25 knots.  My CFI wanted to take me up so off we went.  It was a simple flight to Easton, MD, where I performed three touch & go’s, before heading back to Freeway Airport.  It was great crosswind practice.

After today, I have two flights left: my next being soft/shortfield practice in the pattern and then a progress check with another instructor.  If I do well on that, they schedule my FAA checkride.  Not too much longer!

~ Brian

Hours logged:  1.3

Total hours:  63.0

Posted by: Brian | November 6, 2010

Local Solo

After a long week at work, I was able to get back to the air this morning.  It was a beautiful day; a bit choppy at lower altitudes with the winds picking up, but great overall.  I got in just before 8am to do my pre-flight inspection, had an instructor review my logbook ensuring that I’m authorized to fly solo and off I was.  I decided to shoot the video out of the aft of the aircraft this time, to change the view up a bit.  Pretty interesting view during takeoff and short final through the landing.

The objective of this mornings flight was to practice stalls, slow flight, and steep turns on my own.  I got out to Deale and set up for slow flight with full flaps right away, which then set me up for an approach to landing stall.  I must say, this was the most nervous I’ve been on a solo flight (and I am not typically nervous at all on any flight).  The only thing that made me nervous was that I was practicing maneuvers on my own.  I didn’t have anyone sitting next to me to say, “More right rudder” or “WTF are you doing?” (not saying that my CFI says that, just saying).  Although I wasn’t performing full stalls (which if aren’t done properly, can lead to spins), they still made me a bit uneasy.  I am sure the next time I go out and practice these on my own, I won’t be as nervous.

Since the winds were picking up a bit, I made it a point to get back a bit early to fight through a few crosswind landings.  While the wind did pick up and was a bit gusty, it was nearly straight down the runway (not much of a crosswind).  Most of my practice came on short final fighting the winds over the trees.  I just added a bit of power and ensured I didn’t get low.  The landings turned out to be pretty good, which is a good thing when you have 3 planes on the runway watching you, using the landing as teaching points for their students (both good and bad).

I have another flight tomorrow around noon.  Heading out to Easton Airport to practice short/softfield takeoffs and landings, as well as engine outs.  At this point, I am just tightening up loose ends, ensuring I am ready for the FAA checkride.  I may have another progress check with another instructor, but other than that and the FAA written (which I hope to knock out this week), I am ready…

~ Brian

Hours today: 1.1

Total hours: 61.7

Posted by: Brian | October 30, 2010

Solo to Ocean City, MD & Easton

Today was my last hours-requirement for my private pilots license!  From here, it’s just practice until my instructor feels comfortable enough to send me to my checkride.  One thing I do have left is the FAA written exam, which shouldn’t be an issue.  I’ve been going through the practice tests on Sportys.com (free) and doing fairly well on them.

The flight took me to Ocean City, MD with one landing, on to Easton Airport (one landing) and finally back to Freeway Airport.  Fairly straight forward and took me about two hours to complete.  Beautiful day to go up (once again).  This time of year with the changing of the leaves makes for a great view (which you are able to see in the video).

~ Brian

Hours today: 2.5

Total hours: 60.6

Posted by: Brian | October 24, 2010

Solo X-Country (GED)

I enjoyed a beautiful day alone in the airplane this morning, flying to Georgetown, Delaware (GED).  It was a relatively easy flight; just a bit bumpy below 1000′, which made for more involved landings.  With the winds aloft at 3,000′ sitting at about 250 degrees and 35 knots, my groundspeed was nearly 120 mph.  That was not the case on the way back, providing for a near-direct headwind.  My groundspeed on the way back from Georgetown was averaging about 68 mph.  Needless to say, it took me nearly twice as long to get back as it did there.

As the winds were a bit choppy at the lower altitudes, I came in with a bit more power on final approach to avoid being sucked down to the ground or into the trees.  The consequence of that, however, was being a bit faster on final approach and more floating down the runway.

Overall it was a good flight – uneventful which is what you strive for.  Next weekend, I have a couple of more solo’s: Saturday is my long cross country solo.  I’ll be flying out to Ocean City (landing), on to Easton Airport (landing) and back to Freeway Airport.  On Sunday, I’ll be doing a solo to our training area, practicing stalls and slow flight on my own.  Following that, I will have just a couple of more flights and then I’ll be on to my FAA checkride!

~ Brian

Hours today: 2.0

Total hours: 58.1

Posted by: Brian | October 23, 2010

Night Flight & Local Practice

* The audio didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped so I only got the video.

As I wasn’t able to post after my last flight, I figured I’d combine the two.  Last Sunday evening, I flew from Freeway Airport to Lancaster, PA (LNS) to Baltimore Washingon International airport (BWI) and back to Freeway Airport.  It was an amazing flight.  I did get video, unfortunately, I tried to get footage out of the front instead of the side of the plane – yeah, didn’t turn out that great.  So unless anyone REALLY wants to see the back of my CFI’s head at night, I’ll just avoid taking the time to make the movie.

It was my first flight where I was able to get Bravo Airspace clearance on my way to Lancaster.  It’s pretty funny to listen to ATC vector us around the much….MUCH larger aircraft in the area.  Other times, they just informed the larger aircraft of my wee-little whereabouts.  We got into LNS, landed and taxi’d back for a southbound departure to Baltimore.  I was extremely excited to get back on our way to BWI, but also very nervous.  I knew that I would have to be on top of my game once I got back into Bravo airspace.  It’s one thing to fly the outskirts of Bravo, but to fly into the central nervous system is another.  The sweet thing was being vectored into 33R at BWI, flying over downtown Baltimore (Pratt Street).  Simply amazing.  Something else that was fairly cool was being on final approach on 33R while a Boeing Southwest Airline flight was next to me landing on 33L.  Surreal…

Fast forward to today, I was able to get back up this evening for a local practice run with my CFI.  I am closing in on the end of my training, we went out to our practice area and worked on slow flight (clean and with full flaps), approach to landing stalls, departure stalls, steep turns and instrument work (unusual attitudes).  We got out to Deale, MD, and immediately jumped into slow flight with full flaps.  After not having done them in awhile, I wasn’t too sure how it’d go, but it went very well.  Muscle memory is starting to kick in so these maneuvers are becoming second nature to me.  While I did do very well today, there is room for improvement.  While doing the departure stalls, the first two I did, I wasn’t using the proper amount of rudder.  I got out of the stalls, but could have done better – which I did my last two stalls.

We moved on to steep turns.  I did two – one 360 degree to the left and one to the right.  Finally, I strapped on my foggles for instrument work (unusual attitudes).  I placed my head in my lap, closed my eyes and basically got disoriented.  My CFI made a few turns, climbs, descents and asked me to “recover” based on what I saw my instruments doing.  We did about 4 iterations of that before heading back to Freeway Aiport.

Tomorrow (Sunday, 24 October) I am doing a solo cross country to Georgetown (GED), Delaware.  It’s a 136 NM round trip journey and should be fun.  I hope to have some good video to show.

~ Brian

Hours from last two flights:  3.8

Total Hours:  56.1

Posted by: Brian | October 14, 2010

First Night Flight

Yesterday was my first night flight.  I got to the airport around 5pm and started my flight planning for a 6pm-ish flight (we had to wait until it got dark since it was supposed to be a night session).  We were due to fly up to Lancaster, PA, then down to BWI, however, the winds started to pick up pretty good, so we decided to just stay in the pattern.

The requirement for night flight in the syllabus is 10 landings to a full stop [at night, of course].  Last night, we knocked out 7 of those landings.  Sunday I’ll do the other three (landing in Lancaster, BWI and Freeway).  It’ll be just over 150 miles, and should be pretty fun…looking forward to it.

Ok, so I did film last nights flight.  While it is dark, you can see some of the city lights (Washington DC).  The Sunday flight should be pretty sweet with the Baltimore City night life.  Looking forward to it!

~ Brian

Hours Logged:  1.2

Total Hours:  52.3

Posted by: Brian | October 10, 2010

Solo Cross Country

This has been an extremely busy weekend for me flying-wise.  The good news is, I am moving into night flight this coming week, so I won’t have to get up at 6am on Saturday & Sunday mornings to get weather briefings (and that also means that I am almost done)!  On Saturday, my first flight was at 8am.  My instructor wanted to head out to Easton Airport (ESN) to practice some crosswind landings.  Of everything I have done in these last 9.5 months, crosswind landings have given me the biggest headaches (as they do with most student pilots).  My issue lies in the rudder/aileron usage; not enough of one or the other.  So we went out to Easton and did about five or six landings with a crosswind.  My CFI wanted me to practice a bit more prior to my progress check with another instructor (a few hours later), who would certify that I can do my solo cross country.  I did just fine with the additional practice, so he signed me off for the progress check to do my solo cross country.  After getting back in to Freeway, I got my updated weather briefing for my upcoming progress check (was told to plan to Salisbury, but was also told that I wouldn’t make it there due to a diversion). 

About an hour after my first flight, I went back up with another instructor (Paul).  Knowing that I am somewhat ‘lazy’ on my feet when it comes to using the rudder, my CFI scheduled me with an instructor who’d get on to me for it – that would be Paul (he was great though).  We climbed out of Freeway and made our way towards Salisbury.  At one point, I realize that I can’t move the yoke, so I look over at Paul and he slid his knees up to prevent me from “driving” the airplane.  It was his technique to get me to use my feet more, which I think worked for me.

As we approached the Eastern Shore east of Poplar Island, I was told to divert to one of two airports (I will omit the options I was given for the integrity of the syllabus).  I picked an airport that I hadn’t yet been to so I started my planning for there.  It went fairly smoothly, with no issues.  I did one touch & go and headed back home.  Upon returning, I was signed off to do my solo cross country flight this morning. 

For today’s flight, I was told to plan a flight to Salisbury Regional Airport (SBY), about 70 nautical miles away.  I was also told to do three to do three takeoffs and landings before heading back, to get some experience with towered operations.  I left out of Freeway solo at about 830am, picking my way along to Salisbury.  As you can see in the video, my flight started with Potomac not able to see me on their radar.  Eventually, I reset my transponder and was cleared through the area.  A bit uncomfortable, though…

It took my about 40 minutes to get to Salisbury.  I was told to report a 2-mile base off of runway 5, which I did.  I got in, did my three takeoffs and landings and headed back to Freeway with no issues.  I must say, though, that it was a beautiful day to be out.  Between Cambridge and the Chesapeake Bay, though, was a TON of traffic.  My head was constantly on a swivel, looking at the radar and then out of the windshield.  Everyone was certainly out today.

My next scheduled flight is for next Saturday, but as I stated in the beginning, it’s my first night flight so I get to sleep in (past 6am that is).  I’ll be flying from Freeway to Lancaster, PA (will land there) and then will land at BWI, before heading back to Freeway Airport.  Baltimore Washington International at night should be pretty sweet!  I think I have a night flight or two, followed by a couple more cross country flights (a bit longer ones), then it’s all review ensuring that I am ready for the FAA checkride!

~ Brian 

Hours logged Sat & Sun: 5.1

Total hours: 51.1

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