|Part 1||Introductory Flight to lesson 19|
Solo to Cross-Country
Lesson 27 to Night Cross-Country
Test Preparation to Checkride!
|Introductory Flight||Lesson 11||Lesson 22||FAA Written Exam|
|Lesson 1||Lesson 12||Lesson 23||Long Solo Cross-Country|
|Lesson 2||Lesson 13||Lesson 24||Night Cross-Country|
|Lesson 3||Lesson 14||Lesson 25||9-11|
|Lesson 4||Lesson 15||Lesson 26 Cross-Country||Lesson 31|
|Lesson 5||Lesson 16||Lesson 27||Lesson 32|
|Lesson 6||Lesson 17||Lesson 28||Lesson 33|
|Lesson 7||Lesson 18||Lesson 29 Cross-Country II||Checkride!!!! (part1)|
|Lesson 8||Lesson 19||Flight 35 Solo Cross-Country!||Checkride!!!! (part2)|
|Lesson 9||Flight 20 Solo!||Lesson 30 Night Flight|
|Lesson 10||Lesson 21||Progress Check|
Click here for my Logshare Entries
2.2.2002 Introductory Flight
Jeff is the pilot, a young guy who is busy finishing-up with a student who has just done his first solo! Jeff snaps a picture of the proud pilot as we go out to the plane and explains the pre-flight procedures. I get in the plane (left seat!) and with Jeff's help actually start the plane, taxi to takeoff (It was cool steering with the pedals!) and then Jeff puts us on the runway & says "give it full throttle". Very exhilarating shooting down the runway, pulling back on the yoke, and FLYING! (they let amateurs do this?!?). We climb to about 1500 feet & Jeff asks me if I'm nervous. "Nervous, no. Excited, yes!" He says that reactions vary, and some people shriek at him to take back the controls. I smile & tell him "I'm not giving them up..." We tool around for a few minutes doing turns & head back. Jeff lands the plane (whew!) although with the dual controls I can feel what's going on and how it's done...
Weathered-out (high winds), what a bummer!
2.18.2002 Lesson 1
I'm really excited to be doing this! We go over preflight, starting the engine, taxiing, takeoff, traffic patterns, straight& level flight, turns, climbs, descents with & without flaps... Sensory overload! I love being up in the air. Very comfortable, and it is beautiful! Plus I get my first entry in my Pilot's Logbook: 0.8 hours! I'm on my way...Return to contents
2.19.2002 Lesson 2
Another beautiful day, 8am & no winds. Jeff has told me that I can start preflighting without him if he's not there, but the Piper is in the hangar so I go out & see if I can help bring it out. They have a little tractor that the use to tow the aircraft. Today was more of the same maneuvers, basically getting familiar with the plane. After landing, Jeff and I discussed some of what we did and then said "why don't we go around one more time". He didn't need to say it twice! I gave it full throttle and we went around the pattern one more time. Two landings today! 1.0 more hour in the logbook.Return to contents
Weathered-out again! I was actually at the airport already, had preflighted N9182W, and was back in the office with Jeff when we pulled a weather report from ABE and I got a good lesson on weather. It was iffy, a Cessna had fueled and taxied to the hold-short, then aborted & returned to the parking area after receiving the second ABE special weather update. We wouldn't fly today...
A Piper 28-161 Cadet, like the one I fly...Return to contents
2.27.2002 Lesson 3
Another iffy weather day. I've begun pulling aviation weather reports before heading down to Braden. I really didn't think we'd be flying. Jeff quizzed me on the METAR & TAF reports to see what I'd remembered from yesterday. I think I did okay. Jeff felt we could get up for a bit and it turned out to be a great flight. Great because I got to see what it looks like up there in the gray, with a bit of chop. The weather sure was changing fast, one moment it looked like it was going to close up, the next there was 20 miles of visibility. We did ground maneuvers where the idea is to turn around a fixed point on the ground (in this case a farm silo) and you have to adjust the bank of the airplane to compensate for the wind. Great fun! It felt good to be flying again. I've been studying, cramming lots of stuff into my brain, and that is actually more stressful than flying the plane. 0.7 hours log time (total so far 2.5 hours...)Return to contents
3.05.2002 Lesson 4
Back in the saddle again! I've been out of the area for a family vacation in Myrtle Beach. It was interesting to fly commercially again. I tried to ogle the cockpit as we boarded without arousing suspicion... I followed-along as we taxied EWR (Newark), watching and for the first time understanding the taxiway markings.
Anyway, I got to fly today. Jeff had a student in the air as I arrived at Braden airfield. They landed and went into the back office for debriefing, and I went outside to preflight the plane. A beautiful cold day, with a pretty good crosswind. Went back in and Jeff quizzed me about stalls. He's got a little Styrofoam airplane that he uses to demonstrate maneuvers. "Any questions or comments?" No, I'm in a hurry to fly, let's go! Run through the checklist, fire-up and taxi. No problem. We pause at the windsock to figure out which runway to use. The windsock isn't sayin', it's a direct crosswind! We decide to use the runway that others have been using this morning, although either one would have done... Jeff likes to small-talk as we taxi and he asks me about products I carry at Radio Shack as we taxi down to runway 18. At the hold-short, I ask if I should make the call on the radio ("Braden traffic, cadet 8-2-whiskey departing runway 1-8, Braden"). I screw up and cross the hold-short line before the call. Oh well. Full power down 1-8, I remember to apply aileron into the wind as we barrel down the runway. Jeff comments on it, doesn't know if I'm doing it on purpose (I am). Lift-off and a tad too much aileron has the Piper snap right as we leave the ground. A little left aileron and rudder, we got it back on track. I love this! We climb out, turn left 45, and at 3000' level-off. Stalls are on the agenda and I'm not a bit nervous. I know the little Piper is a tame aircraft and as Jeff demonstrates the first maneuver, a power-off stall (meant to replicate what happens when you get too slow when you're landing) I'm surprised at how subtle the event is. A bit of shaking, a shudder really, and the plane stops flying. You recover by pitching the nose down and applying throttle. No big deal really, and this lesson is designed to let me know what it feels like so that I can avoid it. The stall warning horn is a little disconcerting, but I'm loving every minute of this! Next the power on stall. This is the stall that can occur on take-off, with full power. This is wild! Jeff demonstrates by slowing to 50 knots (take-off speed), then full power and nose up, as if we were taking-off. As the yoke is pulled back (hard!) we pitch up further then I expect, stall horn blaring, until the angle of attack exceeds the Piper's will to fly. A little shudder and she gives up, nose settling. A little power, pitch down, recover. Now my turn. We do about a half dozen of these stalls. I'm grinning! Head back to the airfield. Where is it? I finally spot it and we practice the approach. I'm awkward with landings. We do a couple of go-arounds as Jeff explains the crosswind procedures. We plop down on 1-8 and the lesson is over. I hope these landings click eventually. I think they will with practice. Definitely my weakest part though... 1.0 hours log time (total so far 3.5 hours...)Return to contents
3.07.2002 FAA Medical
You need a medical exam, administered by a FAA-approved doctor, before you can solo (class 3 required for Private Pilot). Although I'm quite a ways off from that, I decide to get it out of the way. No use continuing flight lessons if the FAA is gonna find some medical condition & ground me! No sweat, it turns out that our local examiner is a very cool guy (thanks Dr. Casale!) and the test is passed with no problems. I now hold a Student Pilot Certificate & Medical Certificate. My first FAA paper!!!Return to contents
3.08.2002 Lesson 5
The ground school stuff is getting harder. So far each flight has been preceded by a chunk of study, or "lab" that I do on my own. The nice thing about the interactive computer-based instruction is that I can learn at my own speed, and pause or review materiel that is more difficult. The downside is that there is no instructor and no classroom discussions. It definitely requires discipline to set aside study time... Flying is much more fun! Today was a beautiful, calm day with a bit of haze. I'm happy to see the plane out on the grass when I arrive at Braden early. This means I'll be able to start preflighting immediately, without waiting for the ground crew to pull the plane out of the hangar. Maybe more fly time! Jeff is there early too, sweeping the hangar. I like that. The people at Moyer Aviation are all down-to-earth, sensible people with no attitudes. A quick briefing in the office and we're out to the Piper. There's no conversation as I know what to do by now: I run through the checklists, start the engine and begin taxiing. I see one of the mechanics pointing up at the sky and I lean forward to look up. There, about a hundred feet above the field, is a geese convention! There had to be over five hundred, flying in multiple V formations. Jeff says to concentrate on taxiing. Duly chastised, we proceed to our runway. Jeff asks me which one I'll use. Easy question. The wind is calm out of the Northeast. Everyone knows you use runway 36! Full power and we're airborne. We're going to work with the instruments today so I don a pair of foggles. They're basically a set of safety glasses with the top and sides opaqued-out. You can see the instruments, but not outside. Jeff has me do turns, climbs and descents using only the instruments. No problem, it's actually quite interesting. Bonus: I get 0.5 hours simulated instrument training hours in the logbook! The I remove the foggles and we review slow flight, stalls (I love those!) and turns around a point. On top of the usual continuous stream of instructions from Jeff ("watch your altitude, a little more right rudder, keep scanning for traffic, turn to a heading of 240, maintain 70 knots, keep you throttle around 2300 RPM, a little more back-pressure, did you see how you lost altitude just there?, etc...) he is trying to distract me today. "wow it's warm today, imagine what it must be at ground level!" as he points to the thermometer above the windshield. I fall for it and lean forward to see what the temp is... Later: "wow!, look at all those birds down in that lake!". He pulls the throttle back to idle and says: "your engine just quit, what do you do?" No problem, I know this: set optimum glide (73 knots), look for a place to land, and try to restart the engine. "OK, where do you want to land?" "right down there" I say, pointing to a field. "OK, set up for it". We spiral down, engine at idle, with Jeff pointing and saying: "what about there, wouldn't that be a better place to land?, what about that field there?" He tells me later that he was just trying to distract me. The lesson is that I am the PIC (pilot in command) and I need to make decisions and not get distracted.
There is (understandably) a big emphasis on collision avoidance, and we scan continuously. I told Jeff that we haven't encountered any traffic so I don't know what I'm scanning for. He tells me not to worry, the first time will put my heart in my stomach! Sure enough, a few minutes later a small plane goes whizzing by about a mile to our left. Not close, but at least I've encountered my first traffic. We head back to the field and as we approach I hear a radio call from a plane departing. I'm watching for it and it takes off North as we're approaching South. No problem except that he turns toward us as he climbs. I'm a little green for this so I call out: "your controls". Jeff takes over and we avoid our second traffic encounter of the day. Downwind, Base, and as we turn final I spot the geese convention! They're right in front of us, climbing as we're descending. I pitch the nose down a bit and hope they'll keep climbing. I hear a faint "jeez" from Jeff, but all's well. The first approach has me all askew and too high. Jeff demonstrates a slip, which is a maneuver designed to bleed-off altitude, where you put the plane almost sideways in uncoordinated flight. Too much going on at once, and I'm relieved to hear him call out "OK, go-around". Full power, we zoom over Braden and go around once more. This time I hit the final much better, keep the runway lined-up in the windshield, and bring her in for a landing. Not a great landing, but a landing. My landing. Well, maybe it was a great landing, after all: "a good landing is one you walk away from. A great landing is one where you can use the plane again..." 1.3 hours log time (4.8 total)Return to contents
3.15.2002 Lesson 6
The weather looked OK when I left Mt Pocono, but down in Stockertown the ceiling was dropping. Jeff and I pulled the reports from ABE and surrounding areas and decided to go up and have a look. We needed to stay in the pattern but I was happy for the practice. Two take-offs & landings. No bicycle moment though, I still want to raise the nose if we're coming in too low instead of increasing throttle. I am more relaxed in the pattern and approach though :) 0.5 hours log (5.3 total)Return to contents
3.19.2002 Lesson 7
I was sure I wouldn't fly today. Very cloudy, low ceilings, and Tom from Channel 16 said that rain was moving in. I even called Jeff on his cellphone but got his recording, so I told him I would head down, giving him my number to call if we wanted me to turn around. As I got closer to Stockertown, it looked better. Jeff had me call FSS for the first time. I was nervous as I told the briefer that I was a student pilot requesting conditions for a local VFR flight. I copied as much info as I could, but a lot of it went in one ear and out the other. Lingo sure is like a foreign language... Anyway, Jeff said "let's go preflight". N9182W was in for maintenance so I would be flying a new plane today! N9163Z is Moyer Aviation's instrument trainer so it has more equipment, but otherwise is just like my trusty Cadet. Jeff makes a point to tell me he's got a special surprise for me today. Oh boy, what now?!? The field is a bit muddy so Jeff asks me to back-taxi on the actual runway. This necessitates a radio call to let traffic know we'll be on the runway, please don't land on us! Pre-takeoff run-up, into position, and we're off. Ah, now the juices are flowing. Did I mention that I really like flying? Around the pattern, practicing the most workload-intensive part of any flight. Radio calls for the turns, nailing turns at the correct altitude, scanning for other traffic, pre-landing checklist, flaps, turn final, approach, first landing. Not too bad. I'm really focusing on each landing because it's what I feel the most uncomfortable with and they really go by quick. There isn't much time to think about any individual step. You just have to land the plane. There is no pause button. "OK, let's back-taxi & do another one". Yay! I'm thrilled to hear that. Let's practice this stuff! Up again, Jeff increases the workload and I overshoot my altitude. Then he covers up my airspeed indicator with a little paper doily. I'm not too worried. I don't tell Jeff that I'm not making full use of the instruments as it is. How do these guys look at all those dials while flying anyway? Actually it's not too bad. I can gauge my airspeed by feel and the other instruments. I'm getting a little more familiar with Braden's traffic pattern and ground references. The second landing is just as ugly as the first. Taxi back, and another takeoff. Around the pattern and down again. This is GREAT! On the fourth go, just before the base turn, Jeff pulls the power to idle. "You just lost your engine, what do you do?" I know this. Set glide speed to 73kts. "Head for the field". I realize that sticking to the pattern is probably a stupid thing to do in an emergency, so I cut across and make a beeline for the runway. Jeff makes the radio call "Braden traffic, cadet 63zulu simulated engine out, final runway 3-6" I try to be smooth, but I keep screwing-up, not keeping a smooth glide, lowering then raising the pitch too much. We're not gonna make it. Jeff applies a bit of throttle. "Hey, you just got back a bit of engine". "You're too kind" I reply. I've deliberately not lowered flaps in an effort to conserve altitude, so the approach angle looks all wrong. We do make it however, with a bit of help from Jeff the throttle genie, and plop down most unceremoniously onto 3-6. "That was ugly" I say, but Jeff is more complimentary. On the next taxi he proposes getting out of the aircraft. "Jeff, am I scaring you that much?" "No, I think you're doing great and could handle it on your own!" He's being nice, and I'm months away from that moment, but it was good to hear... Six takeoffs and landings today (14 total) and 1.0 hours. (6.3 total)Return to contents
Weathered-out again. I drove down to Braden and Jeff had me call flight service. It was a forecast that could have gone either way. In the end we didn't fly because the winds were just too much. .I got an hour of ground school logged in my book though, as Jeff went over ATC communications, airport facility directory info and more weather stuff. Return to contents
3.25.2002 Lesson 8
Jeff and I were in telephone communication early today trying to reach a go/no-go decision. The weather forecast was for snow and ice, but at 6:30 it didn't look too bad. 10 miles visibility at ABE, and an acceptable ceiling. Jeff has me call FSS and wait until the 7AM weather is posted, then I call him and we discuss. I'm going to drive down to Braden and we'll decide there. Still OK when I arrive, so I preflight and we discuss the lesson which has been eluding us: crosswind landings. We haven't had the right wind for them and they are holding-up the syllabus. Today is the day. It seems that Jeff and I are more comfortable with each other and I'm glad. Less tension and more accomplishment. We get right to business. I don't wait for any cues, I do my job with the checklists and the taxiing, and we're off. We'll do multiple takeoffs and landings again today, staying in the pattern. My job is to learn crosswind landings. My brain knows all the materiel, it is just a matter of applying it in real life. The wind is from the East, so we'll use 3-6. I need to crab into the wind on approach, then transition to a slight right bank while applying left rudder to keep the plane aligned. We do 4 landings, then Jeff demonstrates one, then I do two more. The last one is not bad, and we decide to quit on the upbeat. Jeff offers much encouragement, and says I'm progressing just fine, although it seems a bit less illustrious from my seat. Still no bicycle moment, although I'm getting there... 1.3 hours (7.6 total)Return to contents
3.27.2002 Lesson 9
Again with the weather! I got up at 5:30 and started checking the internet aviation sites weather sites. The ceilings were sort of low, but the main problem was wind. I called the automated ABE and Mt Pocono airport reporting lines and finally spoke to a flight briefer. I decided to drive down to the field and if I didn't fly, perhaps I'd get in some ground work with Jeff. At Braden things looked fine, the wind sock showed a mild crosswind out of the West and after a short briefing, we got going. Today would be pattern work again, which is fine by me. Up, around and down, then again! I'm starting to remember to do things without being prompted like applying carburetor heat on downwind, then turning it off before final. I even ignore one of Jeff's attempts to distract me. The workload is so high and I understand why airlines have a "sterile cockpit" policy during takeoffs and landings. Pilots seem cool and collected, passengers don't realize all that is going on. So don't talk to me when I'm landing! Speaking of landings, we did 6 of them today, with crosswind. I'm working on visualizing the descent, setting up the proper glide path. I'm still over-controlling the airplane but I'm at least seeing what is wrong... We did another emergency engine-out approach. I cut right across the pattern and tried to make the field. No flaps so the approach was at a higher speed. It is a much different perspective but I managed to land OK. We did one aborted landing with a go-around (actually touched the runway before lifting-off again!) and one aborted takeoff: halfway down the runway Jeff says "does something sound funny to you?" and pulls the power. For a split second I actually consider what might be wrong with the plane. No problem though, just keep it straight and brake to a stop before you run out of blacktop! He says "I like to do those once in a while". What a cut-up! 1.0 hours (8.6 total)Return to contents
4.02.2002 Lesson 10
A gorgeous day, with high clouds and a rosy mist on the horizon. We're going to do steep turns and forward slips, which will complete the pre-solo flights as spelled out in the syllabus. That hardly means I'm ready to solo, but most of what will happen after today and before solo will be proficiency training. N9182W is in the shop for a new engine (I jokingly ask Jeff if it was something I did, but it's just a planned maintenance) so we take out 63-zulu again.
I'm feeling like an old pro as I run through the pre-flight, start-up, taxi and run-up. We take off into calm air and instead of turning crosswind at 900' into the pattern, we fly straight out, climbing to 3000'. This is great, we're actually going somewhere beyond the airfield! We fly to the practice area and Jeff demonstrates a steep turn. It's basically just that, a steep turn. The trick is to smoothly enter and exit the turn (which is done at a 45-degree bank) while maintaining altitude. This requires a bit of back-pressure and throttle. Jeff coaches, and I have no trouble, in fact we hit my wake on the roll-out. Jeff feels the little bump and offers an "excellent!". After a few more, Jeff finds a tiny private airfield with a grass strip, points it out and cuts the power. I guess he's trying to tell me something! I trim for 73 knots, and begin descending. I sure hope I never need this skill! At about 500' Jeff gives me back my engine and we head back to Braden. I'm pretty happy that I can find the field by myself, and I even know how to enter the pattern. We do two landings today, practicing forward slips, which go surprisingly OK. The second landing is unassisted and we end on that high note... 1.1 hours (9.7 total)Return to contents
4.05.2002 Lesson 11
As soon as I get to Braden I call FSS for a weather briefing, no sense waiting to be told! The weather is fine, as I know from checking the various internet sites this morning, but it's good to get into the habit of getting an official briefing "on tape". Jeff arrives, I show him my weather notes and he says "great, lets go fly!". He tells me that today we'll be flying to ABE airport. This gets my attention because up until now I've only flown from/to Braden, an uncontrolled airport. ABE is the big leagues, class C airspace, with Air Traffic Control and everything! We discuss the various radio calls that I'll do and what I can expect to hear and do. I'm nervous but ready. After all, I've been listening to the scanner for a month now, it's just a matter of making the same calls I've been hearing. I preflight, and we board the plane, but there's a problem: my shoulder harness won't feed out of the take-up reel. The belt is jammed like a cheap roll-up curtain. "Damn!" Jeff seems overly excited, and I realize that this jeopardizes not only our trip to Allentown, it might ground the plane. As we wait for a mechanic, we go over the FAR regulations concerning shoulder harnesses. We both agree that they are called for for take-off and landings, but I'm certain my ground school course said that they can be removed during flight. Jeff thinks they cannot. The point is moot since we're still on the ground, but I break out my palmpilot which has the FAR regulations and we try to figure it out. Jeff mumbles something about, "we could probably get away without it" and I'm not sure if he's testing me or not, but I address it right away. "How? How can we fly without it? The FAA requires it!" "Good answer" he says... Dave, one of the mechanics, finally shows up and squeezes into the back seat with a screwdriver and after a few minutes manages to free the dang thing. Thanks Dave! We've lost a lot of time and Jeff calls a change of flight plan. No ABE today. We'll stay in the pattern again and work on landings. No problem, I need it. On the first approach I dive-bomb the light towers and houses South-East of runway 36 and Jeff takes the controls. Ooops... Ok, I need to concentrate. Stable descent pattern, small corrections, maintain a consistent pitch attitude... The next three go much better and except for a rudder correction on the second landing's flare, I'm pretty much on my own. "That was beautiful, I think I want to cry" Jeff says after number three. I'm feeling better about the approaches, I'm working some things out that seem to be helping me. Back on the ground Jeff is very complimentary and mentions that it looks like I'll probably be solo-ing in the next few weeks. Wow!, I guess I knew it was coming eventually, but that's the first time I've heard the word "solo" associated with me! 0.8 hours (10.5 total)Return to contents
4.09.2002 Lesson 12
Again I thought we wouldn't fly. Winds were fairly frisky and scheduled to pick up later in the morning. The windsock was pretty stiff and FSS said "probably not the best day to fly", but Jeff felt we could get a lesson in so we were off to Allentown! I thought I was fairly well prepared. It intimidated me greatly to be flying to another airport, especially a class C field, and to have to talk to ATC for the first time, but I had prepared as much as I could by reviewing the radio calls. I'm not particularly prone to "mic fright", but this was the big leagues, and I had heard horror stories of Air Traffic Controllers chewing-up poor student pilots and spitting them out... To make a long story short, I choked. Not on the outside, on the outside I was cool and collected. On the inside, a lump formed in my throat soon after take off. Jeff took the controls as I listened to ATIS. ATIS is an automated service that is broadcast from the airport giving weather and runway information. It relieves the load of the controllers and gives pilots an idea of the conditions and what to expect when flying into an airport. ATIS is periodically updated when conditions change and each ATIS broadcast comes with it's own phonetic letter designating it's timeframe. We had "information charlie". It gave us the runway in use, wind conditions (gusty!), and various other stuff such as "watch for birds" and "taxiway alpha is closed between alpha three and echo" (they were re-paving). After copying ATIS, I was ready to call Allentown and begin the fun. There are many structured radio calls that need to be made so that Air Traffic Control can provide traffic separation and safely control the many planes that fly into and out of airports everyday. Lets just say that I was anything but structured. My brain knew what to do, I just could not make my body comply. When I say I had a lump in my throat I'm not kidding, it hurt to talk! Hours later, as I type this, I have a sore throat so maybe it wasn't just nerves, but boy, I felt like a babbling idiot. I managed to communicate what I wanted to ATC, and they responded, and with Jeff's help we made it to into Allentown's airspace and were handed over from ABE Approach to ABE tower. Tower cleared us to land on 24, number two behind commercial traffic which they requested I spot visually and report. It was kind of neat actually, out to our right (at three o'clock as they say!) was a 737 coming in. We were number two and ATC told us to watch for wake turbulence. Jeff quizzed me, and I knew of course that wake turbulence from large planes, which can really mess-up your day, will sink behind the landing aircraft. We need to land in front of where the 737 landed to avoid it. I watch from 2000' as the 737 touches-down and visualize that I'll land well in front of that spot. Runway 24 at ABE is 7600' long, compared to 1900 at Braden. I'll have plenty of room and the flying is not what's making the large wet spots under my arms, it's the damn ATC interactions. Learning to fly at Braden, an uncontrolled field, has advantages. The disadvantage is that you don't learn to communicate with the tower. I call in a request for multiple landings, and to be fair, the female controller was helpful and clear. We did three touch-and-go's, which was cool. Tower had us pattern to the right, which was new for me, and even had me do a 360' to let incoming traffic get past me. I couldn't understand all the communications, and Jeff helped with some. The wind was picking up and after the third landing we told ABE we'd like to return to Braden. The gave us headings and altitude settings and we headed back. We did a few landings at Braden and finally I said "uncle"! I was wiped, mentally drained, and the crosswinds were making my landings a thing of ugly. Jeff said I did great today, but I wish I had done better. I'll spend a good deal of time "armchair flying" as they say, going over what went well and what didn't. The workload in the plane is just too great to allow for reflection. Jeff says that the plane is not a good classroom, and he's right. I'll try to think today's experience through and be ready for next time... This flying thing is not easy... 1.3 hours (11.8 total) Return to contents
4.16.2002 Lesson 13
Not only is 9182W back in service, but Moyer Aviation has purchased a plane to replace the one that went swimming in Atlantic City. Actually 9182W now has that plane's engine! The new one is a Piper Warrior, 1974 vintage, very similar to the Cadets. I spend a little extra time preflighting, as the checklists are a tad different. Jeff coyly asks me "what airports have we flown to?" Only ABE , Jeff. "When you call FSS, tell them we're going to East Stroudsburg". Alright, this is good, we're actually going to fly somewhere!
I'm pretty comfortable boarding, starting, taxiing and taking off. We spend some time on the different instrumentation (the Warrior has an autopilot and a few other differences). I try to really be safety-conscious, and delay the take-off while I secure the POH binder which is sitting on the back seat. Ok, I make the radio call, using the new airplane's type and tail number, and we're airborne. It's a great feeling, taking off into the sky, early in the morning with the world below you. I heartily recommend it to anyone. If you have any inkling of desire, head down to Moyer and book an intro flight. You never know, you might get hooked!
Ok, we're headed north, over the ridge. Along the way Jeff has me do a power-off stall, no problem. After crossing the ridge that separates Bangor from Stroudsburg, we're heading right over Delaware Water Gap and Jeff starts quizzing me about our destination. I've cleverly folded my sectional chart so that I can whip it out at a moment's notice, opened to the right area. Damn I'm good! :) We fly just East of East Stroudsburg and the approach to East Stroudsburg is fine, I overfly the field, check the windsock and we do three landings. I might have gotten away quicker, but I made the mistake of repeatedly calling "Pocono Stroudsburg" instead of "Stroudsburg, Pocono" on the radio calls. Jeff made me stay in the pattern until I got it right... Then we headed back to Braden and I managed to find the field and correctly figure out the approach into a 45-degree downwind on the pattern. I did miss 9182W which was already in the pattern until I heard his radio call. Whoa! Slow down, let him get ahead, extend our downwind until he turns final. We turn final and he calls clear of the runway. A pretty good flare and some sloppy rudder work and we're home. 1.1 hours (12.9 total)
P.S. Jeff was available later in the day so I went to work for a few hours then returned for another lesson. There was some ground school work that needed to be done, and I took the pre-solo written exam. I'm drained!Return to contents
4.17.2002 Lesson 14
A beautiful hot day. Jeff is busy with someone as I arrive so I call FSS for a weather briefing. I've learned that Jeff expects that to be done no matter how it looks outside. We sit down and I give him the report. I've become comfortable with FSS and it shows, Jeff remarks... We finish going over the pre-solo written exam and before I preflight N9182W, Jeff asks me if I have my logbook and medical certificate. I do, and smile as he tells me to carry them with me from now on. (For the lay-readers: the instructor will sign-off your logbook before solo flight, and on your solo you are person-in-command, so you need to have your credentials with you).
I notice that things are beginning to feel different, in the way I preflight the plane and contemplate the day's lesson. It's difficult to describe, but I'm feeling like less of a "newbie". The jitters have been replaced by a purpose, and even though in the scheme of things I know just about zero, I'm beginning to see the course that this challenge is taking. I've reached a point where I can dig in and hoist myself to another level.
There's a fair crosswind today and it's hot. I know to expect a performance hit from the Piper and sure enough, the takeoff rollout is longer than usual. I actually make two takeoffs with one rollout as the downwind wheel decides it wants to tap Earth a second time. Finally we're off into the pattern around the field. The wind is messing me up and on final approach I tell Jeff I don't feel comfortable and call a go-around. Jeff pulls the throttle and says: "engine failure". OK, we WILL land I say and do my best to line up and slip down from my too-high approach. Jeff chuckles and says "no, go around..." Am I allowed to hit the instructor? Second time around Jeff takes the controls and demonstrates techniques for dealing with crosswind landings. He maintains a stream of conversational instruction, and I pay attention, but even his landing is a bit challenging, so I decide to call it a day. (0.4 hours, 13.3 total)Return to contents
4.23.2002 Lesson 15
I think Jeff would have solo-ed me today if it wasn't for the wind (10 knots, gusting to 18 knots). Instead we did more take-off and landings practice. The strong wind made it interesting. Lucky for me it was a headwind for runway 36, so I avoided the crosswind nasties... 6 takeoffs, 5 landings (Jeff did one demonstration landing), one go-around and two simulated engine outs on downwind and one engine failure aborted takeoff. (1.1 hours, 14.4 total). Return to contents
5.04.2002 Lesson 16
I had the pre-solo jitters today. Jeff began by going over my logbook, verifying that all the required maneuvers had been taught and filling out the pre-solo aeronautical knowledge and flight training endorsements. I can't imagine flying without the instructor next to me, prattling-on incessantly: "right rudder, watch your speed, etc..." I guess all students feel that way. I have to trust that I won't be turned loose until I'm ready. And today wasn't the day. Jeff wanted me to do power-on stalls since we had only done them once before. After that we did pattern work. 5 more landings. (1.1 hours, 15.5 total)Return to contents
5.07.2002 Lesson 17
I wasn't on the schedule for today, but someone cancelled and Jeff called me. "We're going to do nothing but pattern work" he said, and the implication is that once I'm proficient with landings, I'll be cut loose for the solo. As we taxi we see 9163Z starting it's takeoff roll and popping up on to it's back wheels. "soft-field takeoff" Jeff says. I know since I've been plodding ahead in my ground school training. A soft-field takeoff is a maneuver where you get the weight off the nose wheel as soon as possible. "That's next!" says Jeff. Yeah, as soon as we get the solo out of the way! I'll be relieved to reach the big S milestone and start learning more new stuff. 8 landings today. (1.4 hours, 16.9 total) Return to contents
5.10.2002 Lesson 18
Today went really well. After takeoff, Jeff asked if I wanted to fly to Stroudsburg. Sure! Always glad to actually fly somewhere. The Stroudsburg field is one I've been to before (see lesson 13) and I like it as it is quite a bit longer than Braden. We did a couple of full-stop landings and then touch-and-gos. You can really get in a lot of landings when you don't have to do a full stop, taxi back, pre-takeoff checklist and roll out. Just put it down, retract the flaps and throttle into the air. We did about 8 landings at Stroudsburg before heading back to Braden. As we approached, I called Unicom to ask what the active runway at Braden was. No answer. "Call again, Jean doesn't always hear on the first call" Jeff says. Uncontrolled fields such as Braden sometimes have a Unicom radio at the FBO, and you can call for airport information, to order fuel or even a hamburger! General Aviation in America is still fairly accessible, although it is changing rapidly since 9/11. But I digress... Jean gets on the radio and lets me know that 36 is the runway currently in use. Roger, 36, thanks... Back in the office we discuss my upcoming solo. Jeff is downplaying the event, and says that had the winds been calmer today, he would have solo-ed me. (1.6 hours, 18.5 total)Return to contents
5.17.2002 Lesson 19
Strong crosswinds today. This is the stuff that would have grounded me a while back. The first two landings are pretty good, and unassisted too! But the winds are getting stronger and we start bouncing around pretty good. On one takeoff we encounter some wind shear and the plane jumps around like a roller coaster. No problem, dip the nose a little to pick up speed and ride it out. We listen to ATIS and ABE is reporting 270 at 12 knots. We've done 4 or five landings but it's getting a bit rough, this will be our last one. As I cross the runway threshold and begin the flare, wind gusts knock me out of shape. Go around. Next approach, same. Go around. Jeff decides to take the controls on the next one (I guess he didn't want to stay up here forever!) He gets jostled around as well and we plump down pretty hard! "See, don't you feel better now?" he offers. Thanks Jeff, you didn't have to do that for me! I guess even instructors can have some ugly landings... (1.1 hours, 19.6 total)Return to contents