Thursday, January 29, 2009

Checkride scheduled.

Well folks, it's been a long road full of updrafts and downdrafts, but I'm on the schedule for my checkride. The date is Feb. 6 from 12 to 4.

While there were some frustrating times, I'll have to say that learning to fly is overwhelmingly fun and rewarding. There's just something about nailing a landing that is unlike anything else I've ever done.

So, now I have a week to study for the oral portion of the test, and probably fly at least once more solo to polish up some rough spots. But, I feel confident that I'm ready.

This will be my last entry until after the checkride. Catch all you cool cats on the flip-flop!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stage Check.

Today I completed the last item in the syllabus, the Stage 3 Checkride.

The check instructor, Dan, had me depart the pattern and head to the practice area for some maneuvers. We did a steep turn, in which I gained 150 feet in altitude (100 is allowed) so he let me start over. I did a steep turn in each direction and stayed within the speed, altitude, and heading constraints. We then did some slow flight, which is flight near stall speeds. That also went well. My power off and power on stalls were good, as well as my response to a partial-power emergency.

After that, we did a nice little turn-around-a-point, which I nailed and then we headed back to the airport for takeoffs and landings. I did a short-field landing, hitting my mark PERFECTLY (thank you very much), and a soft field takeoff, which was a little shaky but adequate. Dan had me do a soft field landing (land as softly as possible, no brakes) and I managed to set the plane down as smooth as silk.

We filled out some paperwork and Dan, signed me off to take the final Check Ride. The next step is an "audit" with my CFI to make sure my paperwork, lessons, and endorsements are all in order. Then I'll schedule my checkride with Marsha (head CFI) and I'll be a Private Pilot.

Logbook: Logshare

Total Hours: 53.0
Solo Hours: 12.2
Cross Country: 9.8
Simulated Instrument: 3.0
Day Landings: 111
Night Landings: 10

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wayback machine.

Awhile ago I posted my long solo xc landings video, but I've had some requests for a takeoff video. Here is my takeoff from Brainerd (BRD). It's not the straightest takeoff in the world, but I assure you my takeoffs now are a lot better. Enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quick before the snow gets here!

After not flying for a few weeks, I finally flew again today with Peter to knock the rust off and get my mind right for the remaining items in my student pilot career.

Sadly, the batteries in my GPS tracker went kaput so again, I don't have a track for you (boo hiss).

We did a review on short field landings and ground reference, and overall flying the plane. We also did a soft field takeoff which, in the past, I've been shakey on, but today I nailed it pretty good. Overall I'm feeling pretty good about finishing up, but what worries me is the weather.

Take today, for instance. We had partly sunny skies with almost no wind, but snow flurries to the west. The weather was moving north to south, so it looked like we'd be fine in the practice area. After our maneuvers, we started heading back to Flying Cloud Airport. Both of us noticed the clouds and snow tightening like a noose around the airport. The snow wasn't heavy, but visibility went from 10+ miles to maybe 3-5. The funny thing was, though, that the airport was this isolated island of clear weather. It was the darnedest thing I've ever seen. We flew a normal pattern and I did what would have been a good short field landing, except I held it off too long and floated unnecessarily. I was trying to make a soft landing again...which is NOT a requirement of the short field. If I would have just let it thump down on the runway, I would have been fine.

So, Wednesday I'm flying solo to Glencoe airport (GYL) to practice short fields at an unfamiliar airport so that I can concentrate on doing it right. And yes, I'll put new batteries in my GPS tracker.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thirty Below.

That's right, it got to -30°F last night and it's still only -27°F right now (9am). So, no flying until next week when it warms up.

Global warming my ASS.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ice Road Pilots.

Screw the ice, it's time to fly.

I slipped around the taxiways and runways today and finally figured out the short field landing, I hope. Anyway, I did three landings, and hit my target all three times.

I'm going to fly again with Peter to review a bunch of things I haven't done in awhile, and then take the remedial stage check and the checkride. Again, the weather will dictate the time frame but I'm hoping to have my certificate before Christmas of 2009.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A new perspective.

It's been awhile since I last flew, so when the weather turned out to be gorgeous today, I was fairly upbeat. On the way to the airport, Peter called me and said the runways were pretty icy. I said I was on the way and let's evaluate the situation when I get there.

Well, there were some pireps saying that the runway braking action was fair, so we gave it a shot. The taxiways were glare ice so I had to be super careful. It turns out that the runways weren't much better. After a white knuckle takeoff (the plane wanted to skid down the runway), and a tense but successful short-field landing, we decided to abort the flight. I'd hate to tempt fate by being too impatient to wait for better runway conditions.

I'm flying again tomorrow, so hopefully the ice will have retreated a little by then.