Saturday, June 26, 2010

Movin' on up.

I'll spare the suspense - I passed the checkout flight so now I can fly the two Cessna 172s at Yankee flying club.

The checkout flight was pretty straightforward. The CFI gave me a briefing on the plane's communications and navigations systems, went over the differences between the Warrior and the 172, and taxiway navigation at Crystal Airport. Then we took off and headed to the west.

First he started me with steep turns...haven't done those in a long time. I deviated from my altitude a bit on the first run, but the second one was a lot better. Then we did some power-on and power-off stalls, and a simulated engine out to a landing at Buffalo airport. Amazingly, I never did a simulated engine out to a landing during my primary pilot training - we'd approach some hay field and then throttle up and fly away. It was fun, and a little hairy, but my first landing in a 172 was a dead stick landing. Sure it was a little rough, but the plane was flyable afterwards so I counted it a success.

We headed back to Crystal and did 3 landings. The first one was kind of rough...I found it a lot harder to pull the yoke to flare, and I didn't want to pull too hard. The second landing I put some muscle into it and got a good flare and soft landing. The third one was a no-flaps landing, yet another first, and though the speed was higher than what I'm used to, and the landing roll longer, it wasn't too big of a deal.

After wiping off the bug guts and buttoning up the plane, Kevin signed my logbook and said he was very satisfied that I could fly the 172 safely. If the weather is good this week I'll take one of the 172's up and get some pics and video for all the world to see.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

All good things must come to an end.

I can definitely say that I had fun while it lasted. Many of my loyal blog readers have noticed a lack of flying on my part, and now I will explain to you why.

Renting is great for taking flying lessons, but not so great for anything else.

A few months ago I started scouting some flying clubs in the twin cities area, limiting my search to Lakeville, Eden Prairie, and Crystal. I found a great club in Crystal (at Crystal Airport, KMIC) that had a good combination of affordable share price, very nice planes, and reasonable plane hourly rates. So the past few weeks I've held off renting so that I could use the money to get going with the Yankee Flying Club.

Now before the nice people who run the club will let me fly their nice planes, I need to do a "check out" flight. Insurance requires a designated instructor to verify that I can fly the plane safely. In this case, I'm going from a low-wing Piper Warrior to a high-wing Cessna 172. Sadly, the last four scheduled checkout flights were cancelled due to daily thunderstorms. Tomorrow is attempt #5...and the morning looks t-storm free so I'm confident that I'll be able to get checked out.

Hopefully this will allow me to fly a lot anemic logbook is begging for more ink.