Thursday, May 8, 2008

Stick time

Lesson 1

Well my student pilot training got off to a bumpy start but it's all behind me now. I went up today with my new instructor and I had a blast! Also, I learned some things.


Since I had gotten very detailed training on preflighting the 152, my instructor (I'll call him "Jimmy") handed me the 'tin' and the fuel strainer and told me to preflight the airplane. So with my checklist in hand, I went over the plane like he showed me, and it was pretty easy with the checklist in hand. I did find some sediment in the right hand fuel tank which Jimmy complimented me on. When I was done, Jimmy double checked my preflight (do you blame him?) and we got in.

Point of No Return

We did our runup and when we got to the checklist item for testing the right and left magnetos, I held my breath. The other 152 had failed this test and we had been forced to scrub our flight. This time, though, there was barely a flutter in the RPMs and we proceeded onto the runway.

Pilot in Command

Jimmy shoved the throttle to the firewall and we were soon airborne. We climbed up to 1500 (~500 AGL) and turned south to the practice area. He explained some things to me, like how you have to "pull up" when you are turning and apply rudder to counteract skids and slips. He then turned the controls over to me and had me bring us up to 2K ASL. We did some shallow turns, with Jimmy making sure I was keeping altitude and turn coordination. Then we did some medium turns, some climbing, and he showed me how to maintain attitude and altitude by using outside references, which I found to be much easier than I expected.

At that point Jimmy did a 45 turn to show me what the plane was capable of. The g-forces were a bit disorienting at first, but I adapted quickly and it wasn't a problem. I suspect that Jimmy was try to see how my body reacted to higher g-forces. One cool note is that up until that time I was not at all tempted to try to find my house (as the practice area is right over my house) but when we did the high-g turn I looked straight down and saw a grass airstrip that a farmer has about 2 miles from my house. That was it for familiar landmarks, the rest of the countryside looks all the same from the air.

"Flight Simulator Promotes Bad Habits"

My flight instructor pointed out a number of times that my ability to hold a course and maintain altitude was very good for a beginner, and asked if I'd ever flown before. I said "not a real plane, only flight simulator". He said that some students were more naturally comfortable with the mechanics of flying, and others it was a lot harder. I've been using various combat and regular flight sims since I was 15, and I think that has given me an advantage. So I would have to say that although MSFS is not a substitute for real pilot training, it certainly gets you familiar with the basics of flying an airplane and it definitely helped me. As Jimmy said, it's probably going to save me a few hours of training.

Wrap Up

Jimmy let me fly the plane to the downwind leg of the pattern and turn the base leg. He said he'd let me fly the approach but the whole part about using attitude to govern speed didn't sink in fast enough and he took over for the final approach. Landing was uneventful and we debriefed a bit before I headed home.

All in all, it was a great flight. I learned a lot, I did a good job flying, my instructor is very good at what he does, and I had a lot of fun. Best of all, I have .9 hours of flight logged in my book now. I fly again on Monday!


Jim said...

Glad to hear you finally got to go out, that is awesome. I have this question though. You had a section that stated, "Flight Simulator Promotes Bad Habits", but you don't explain any of the bad habits you picked up. Left me completely confused. Do you have another blog cued up we should be anticipating, explaining all of those bad habits?


Keith K. said...

Sorry, I should have explained that further. A popular myth that pilots pass on is that MSFS promotes bad habits. I was being sarcastic but without proper background, it's hard to pick up on. I think MSFS really helped me a lot, and will save me at least some training time.

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said...

Sorry, yes, I did not understand that said myth existed. Maybe you need to lay your sarcasm on a little thicker in the future, or give a little more background for the common folk that read your blog.
Ahh forget it, I think I will just go find myself another blog, one that has a little less complicated sarcasm and writes for simpleton's such as myself! Maybe I will run in to Mike over there.


Keith K. said...

This is the only blog you'll ever need. Don't bother looking for another one.

Jim said...

Too late, I already looked. Unfortunately I could not find any as stimulating as this one, so I will be hanging around here for a while, I guess.

Jock said...

I'm really glad that someone posted on this entry so now hopefully the whining will stop.

That being said I'm glad you finally got some time in the air.

Also everyone knows that my blog is better. When I write in it that is.

Jim said...

Yeah, I would say Jock. Looks like you last entry is a little outdated.

"July 29, 2007
Wow I'm really bad at this whole blogging thing I average about one post per 4 months. Well that's life
I guess."

Hmmm, I would say that one in ever 4 months would be an improvement. What the hell have you been doing? Watching basketball!

Susan said...

here, i'm posting. are you happy now?

Keith K. said...

Yes, thanks!