Monday, January 18, 2016

Well it's been a long time since I've made a post. It was May 20th 2013... My flight instructor and I flew IFR out to Springfield Bexley KSGF for my check ride.  This isn't starting out great.  But I was able to fly my first true IFR approach down to the runway.  And although my approach was horrible, I was able to recover and make a good landing.

With the clouds forecast to lift we proceeded with my examination.  I'm quizzed on all things private pilot and I suppose I did pretty well.  There was more training and teaching than I was expecting but over all it was a great experience.  I had only hoped not to memory dump after the test.  But the clouds decided not to lift or go any where, which seems to be a thing on trips with me, and we had to fly back to Bolton Field IFR.  So Mark and I load up and I shoot an approach back into Bolton.  Granted the clouds were higher, just not high enough.

May 21st, the day after my birthday, Mark and I fly back out to Springfield and hope the weather is good enough for the rest of my test.  I want to show the examiner I have what it takes, but I'm also very nervous.  The clouds are broken up and high enough that we can go up where I can demonstrate I know how to handle the airplane.  Which I'm very happy to get started.

We take off after I show him what my flight plan, and we start to fly it.  I point out my first checkpoint and we deviate and climb to a safe altitude and do some maneuverers all while flying North.  I make an emergency approach and touch and go with simulated emergency calls for an ambulance upon landing due to my examiner saying he has "thrown up every where and had a heart attack".

After all that we head over to Mad River airport.  Which is a grass strip with a large hill covered by tree's on the West end of the runway and a river with tree's on either side on the East.  The river side also had a small hill about 6 feet high with a power line on top of it.  This all comes into play very soon.  We approach the East end of the runway.  It goes trees, river, trees, hill with power line and then finally the runway.  The tree's are gone from either side of the river where the runway is, because you descend down through the trees over the power line and land on the grass.  As I pass through the trees on the east side of the river ever thing is ok, but as soon as I pass over the river the airplane went from straight and level to about a 20 degree bank to the left.

I immediately leveled the airplane added power and started to abort the landing.  But after recovering from that abrupt rotation and ensuring we climbed over the power line and didn't crash I realized...screw this, I can make this... flew past the power line pulled the power out and nailed the landing.  But...the entire time I thought I just failed this test, I can't believe I just screwed this up.

We finish the ride and get back to Springfield.  The entire ride he was stone faced and never said a word except to tell me to do something.  Mark asked me how I did and I said...I have no idea, I thought I completely failed this.

Here's the good news.  I passed with "flying" colors. 

More good news, I've been flying a little bit and have had some pretty amazing trips.  And like most pilots who start out and dream big, I got caught in the I'm busy and I'm saving for things net.  I'll be getting back into flying in the next few months.  More on that later.

In 2013 I took my check ride and now it's 2016.  I have over 90 hours under my belt and while that might be not that many hours for the average pilot, I've grown so much.

I've recently started my IFR training with ground training...but flying will have to wait...TILL WE BUY A HOUSE!!!

Until the next adventure!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quite the update

I can't believe it has been since the beginning of August since I last updated my blog.  The last time I wrote I had flown a total of 29 hours, now I'm over 40.

Where to start, my oh my.  I've accomplished every aspect of flight training I need and I'm about to schedule my oral and practical exams which is the last of the hurdles between me and my Private Pilot Certificate.

 This past month my flight instructor Mike got a job offer and accepted it down in Memphis, TN.  He started his ground school this past week and is enjoying it so far.  Before Mike went down there for his own training both he and I went on a night cross country from Bolton Field up to Ft. Wayne, IN.  Along the way he had be put on these things called foggles.  They allow the student to only see the instrument panel and nothing out side.  This was pretty fun as he had me do an instrument approach into Ft. Wayne.  Well it would have been much cooler if we had been able to pick up the glide slope on our instruments.  Since we couldn't we cut that part of the lesson short.  The flight it self was pretty good and a great experience.

Now since Mike has been away I got linked up with a new instructor, to me, Mark.  Mark is a great teacher as well and has some great pointers.  We've been up twice this week and are looking for one more on Friday(weather depending).  Both flights were more instrument only flights which finished my requirements for training.  But we did things a little different today.  I've always wanted to land on grass strips as this training can open up a wide variety of "off airport" opportunities for landing and back country exploration.  All I can say is it's one hell of a ride!  Even on a nice manicured landing strip  at Marysville airport, KMRT, it was quite the ride.  It really helped me nail my regular landings and was a blast doing it.  Mark would ask me if I was having fun since apparently I wasn't smiling.  Of course he was asking me this right after we had landed and I was turning us around on the runway to taxi back.  This of course brought me back into the moment and gave me a huge smile because I was in heaven doing these landings.

With every thing done I'm looking at a potential test date of next week.  So it's time to study hard and get ready for the exams.

Around 42 hours in and a lifetime to learn....I can't believe it's so close now.  I can hardly wait! 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Initial Solo Cross Country Flight

"What I'm working towards"

My first solo cross country flight was on Monday July 30th, 2012.  Yes that's right....I flew across my self....WOW!  This is going to be along entry so be warned.

There I am sitting in the training room making sure I have all the information I could possibly need on this trip.  I don't feel nervous about this trip, as I have flown it before with Mike, but there is quite a bit to think about now that it's all on me.  There is now correction by my instructor if I screw up a radio call or fail to turn on a transponder.  But I'm not feeling the pressure, yet.

Mike and I review my flight planning and I he say's it's all good to go, and so am I.  I take my gear out to the plane and plug in my head set and set up the cockpit for my trip.  I walk around the plane and do my pre-flight.  I run through my check list and hope in the pilot seat...all by my self.  Mixture full rich, throttle slight, avionics off, CB's in, prime the carburetor a couple times, master and alternator on and turn the ignition key to start.   The prop starts to turn but the engine doesn't catch.  Prime the carburetor again and start the engine again, this time it catches and roars to life.

I turn the avionics master switch on and run through the rest of the start check list and get all my frequencies all set up on the radios.  As I'm sitting there tuning in the Ground Control freq. there's a sudden realization of what I'm about to do.  Now my heart starts beating a little faster my brow starts perspiring a little bit more than just being in the hot sun and my brain starts to over speed.  Ok this is it, I'm actually going to fly this today.  After two previous attempts canceled due to weather this was finally my time.  I'm finally ready to go.  My instructor waves bye as he's working with a friend of mine Lee Hox.  It's now or never I run through a mental list of things I need before I get going  and grab my pen and take a  couple deep breaths.

"Bolton Ground Cessna 738Hotel Delta ready to taxi in front of hanger bravo"...."38HD roger taxi via Alpha and Bravo to runway 22......".  I copy down the information I need and respond back with the taxi instructions.  I wave bye to Mike and Lee, add a little throttle and roll on out.  I get to Runway 22 and do my run up check list with no problems.

"Bolton Tower Cessna 38HD at runway 22 ready to go North Departure"...."38HD roger north departure approved turn right on course cleared for take off runway 22"....holy shit here I go, I'm actually going to do this.

I taxi out on the runway and line up making sure my gyro compass  is oriented correctly and pour on the gas.  Fifty five knots and I rotate my nose up a little and start to climb gently off the ground.  All the weather forcasts that were giving to my self, Mike and Lee said calm winds every where we were going.  Even the tower reported calm to 1 knot variable, so I wasn't expecting what happened immediately when I nosed up.  My right wing get shoved down and the whole plane gets thrown to the left of the runway, as I start to sink back towards the ground I can't help but think....WTH??? Where did these winds come from?  There wasn't even the slightest bit of information to indicate this might happen.  That thought seemed to last for ever but I'm sure it only lasted half of one second.  I turn the yoke to the left to correct for the sinking of the wing and give it right rudder to correct for the cross wind breeze that came out of no where and I pulled the nose up a bit steeper than usual and got some altitude as this airplane has a 180HP engine it climbs like a bat outta hell!


After that excitement I turned right on course and headed on my way out to Mansfield, OH (KMFD) via the FULLER NDB(non directional beacon).  This got me on my way and let me avoid Port Columbus and OSU airspace while I gained altitude and obtained flight following.  Once I was established with flight following I flew my route as planned and made it to my first stop which was KMFD Mansfield, OH.  Arriving there on time and on course gave me a huge boost of confidence that yes....I can do this on my own.

I took off from Mansfield and was passed back off to Mansfield approach for the short hop to Marion airport.  I made it there with no problems and landed safely at this non towered airport.  I landed and wanted to taxi back around to the same runway I just landed on however there was a J-3 Cub taxiing down my way and I couldn't taxi towards him so pulled up to the ramp and let him taxi by.  He was headed to a different runway than I wanted to go to but he wasn't talking to any one over the radio so I figured since I didn't know what his intentions were I'd be safer off by following him to the runway of his choice as the winds were calm runway choice didn't really matter.  *Sighhh....... this guy sat at the hold short line...for forever.  Long enough for me to do my runup checklist and a few min more.  I think he may have been giving a lesson, but I'm not really sure.  Finally he creeped out on the runway and took off headed North....thank God because I'm headed South.  Sigh.... :)


A little behind schedule due to the cub but none the worse for wear.  I'm headed home, I can't believe I'm about to complete my solo cross country.  Any nerves that were jittery earlier had settled a while ago, actually as soon as I was airborne I was all business and didn't stop flying the plane until I parked it back at Bolton.  Then I had time to think about what I had just done.  I was extremely excited about this and couldn't stop thinking about it, and how much I wanted to go back up and fly some where else!  Oh it was amazing, the feeling of successful navigation to and fro, and the enjoyment that I had was just amazing!  It was a pretty uneventful flight as flights go, but was a tremendous accomplishment for my self.  I was literally and figuratively "flying high".

If you've ever wanted to learn to fly do, take $100 bucks and go to a flight school and ask for an intro flight, you'll be hooked and have a great goal to work towards.

29.5 hours in and a lifetime to learn!

P.S.  That Friday after my flight I scheduled my written test for Thursday the 2nd of August.  I PASSED IT!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

3rd Cross Country

Well yesterday I had my 3rd cross country trip, which has completed the required hours that I needed to have for "dual" cross country time.

June 25th, 2012 

The weather was pretty nice out, but very breezy.  The sustained winds where 15kts and gusting to around 25 kts.  These are the worst winds I've ever flown in.  With that being said I now have more trust in my ability to be able to land in those conditions.  Mike even mentioned that I did very well and my cross wind landings are getting really good.

Where to start...

I mapped out a course from Bolton Field here in Columbus out to Mansfield, OH, then over to Marion, OH and finally back to Bolton field.  Just after we left Bolton field I picked up flight following, rather I screwed it up and Mike fixed it.  I couldn't make my mouth say what my brain was thinking.  Oh well, c'est la vie. 

Having flight following was a great help as we were in the Columbus airspace and just North of the City.  There were several business jets that we were alerted to that were ahead of us.  We spotted them pretty quick as they are a little larger and faster than we are.  Funny though some of them couldn't see us.

It took us 40 minutes to fly to Mansfield, about 15 to fly to Marion, and then 20 to get back to Bolton.  It was a great flight and was pretty uneventful.  I had my best cross wind landings and did pretty good with ATC the rest of the flight.  I can't believe I'll be able to fly solo cross country here pretty soon.   I can't wait!

25 hours of flying experience and a life time to learn!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Crossing the country.

Well lets see here, I did my first solo flight on the 18th of April which was the last time I updated the blog.  I guess this post will be a three for one!

June 8th, Maneuvers, solo's and cross country trips.

After my first solo flight I had one more flight exactly two weeks after that.  It was a pretty good flight all in all but nothing too amazing.  I won't go into great depth and detail of the flight.  We flew from Bolton(ktzr) to Madison County's airport (kuyf) did some maneuvers and three touch and goes and then back to Bolton for a full stop.  About an hour flight but nothing new.

Then about three weeks later we flew again on May 29th.  We took off and headed out towards Madison County airport, while on our climb out of Bolton Mike looks over and says ok we'll do a couple of touch and go's then it's all you again for your 2nd solo.  I did a couple of touch and go's and one full stop landing to go pick Mike up who was waiting on the ramp.  He got in and said he we have some time left, you want to fly up to Ohio State and use "Flight Following"?  Uh...yeah!

This was my first experience with a service called Flight Following.  It is a service provided by Air Traffic Control where they give you traffic alerts and other pertinent information while you're flying around. It's a pretty nice service considering were just a little plane flying around the Columbus area.  This was also my first experience flying to another towered airport and away from Bolton field.  Compared to Bolton field the Ohio State University Airport is pretty big.  After taking off from OSU we headed back to Bolton and called it a flight. 

June 8th

A car ride down 71S to Cincinnati from Columbus take around two hours. 

Now we've been trying to do this Cross Country trip for the previous two lessons, which turned into ground lessons as one day was IFR only flights and the other weather just wasn't good enough.  C'est la vie right.  I got to the airport early enough to eat some lunch at JP's bbq.  After that amazing lunch I got to planning the flight with the winds aloft from 3000' to 6000'. 

At first planning was a little confusing but I quickly got the hang of it.  Honestly "easy" on my part is an understatement of the amount of Math that goes into planning a flight.  If I had to calculate every single component of math to plan a flight I may just go crazy.  But thanks be to God for some one invented this computer called an e6b.  This manual computer will calculate any portion of your flight that you could ever want to know.  Now that being said every piece of information is on this little 6"x8" slide rule computer.  Now this is great and every thing and it takes tons of work out of planning a flight.  But....there's an app for that. Seriously...there is.

Flight following in Columbus wasn't really needed but it was fun to use.  As we got closer to Cincinnati today it was a blessing to have.  Lets just say that the traffic down in Cinnci is 10-20 times more than in the Columbus Area.  We landed at Lunken airport, where by the way P&G's and Kroger's aircraft are based, taxied around and got ready to leave as we taxied around to the same runway we landed on.  Flying back was great as Mike started to show me some navigational instruments.  It was a pretty short flight back and we lined up like we were doing an instrument approach to Runway 4.

It was a blast flying today and I couldn't stop from smiling from ear to ear I was having so much fun.  I'm now up 19 hours and there isn't a whole lot left to do as far as training goes.  We'll do a couple more cross country flights during the day and some at night, then I'll do just about the rest of the flying on my own.  I think that's what I'm most excited about is being able to do all the planning and flying on my own.  But even more so exciting after that is once I get my Pilot certificate I'll be able to take any one up with me, and that is just awesome to me!  I can't wait!!!

Oh and remember how I said it takes a little more than 2 hours to drive down to Cincinnati? 

We flew there and back in less than that time.

19 Hours in and a lifetime to learn!

Friday, April 20, 2012


As many of you may have read my past post on what a terrible flight I had you know that I was pretty bummed.

April 18th, 2012

The weather today was absolutely fantastic.  I couldn't have asked God for a better day if I tried!  The temperature didn't rise or fall that much and the winds stayed from calm to 5knots.

Mike briefed our lesson and we went right to it.  We'd be working on my pattern, speed and altitude.  So pretty much every thing to fly around the airport.  We started up and I called the tower to taxi and we made our way out to Runway 4.  By the time we got to runway 4 the time was 7:30pm and the tower announced that it was closing for the evening.  So that was one less thing I had to deal with. We did our run up checks, checked final approach and announced that we were departing on runway 4.  I was really working hard to make sure that A) I made the proper turns for the traffic pattern and B) that I was maintaining about 100knots when I was at 1700 feet.

Now one thing I have noticed when I have been turning the base leg of the pattern I haven't been letting the plane descend very much if any at all.  This led to a too high of an approach and a wide variety of speeds and touch down points.

But this time around I let the nose dip and the altitude decrease while maintaining a specific speed.  I crossed the runway threshold at 60 knots, right where I should be, started bringing the nose up a little letting the plane start to settle down on its own.  More nose up more nose up, just a few feet off the ground the stall warning horn goes off and starts buzzing in our ears, then touch down smooth as silk.   A couple more times around the pattern doing the same thing.  Then Mike takes control when we're on the ground and say's we're going to make it a full stop landing.  And we taxied over to the ramp.

Now Mike and I knew that I was ready to fly solo but I needed to prove that what happened last time was what happened last week and wasn't what was going to happen this time.  We pulled up to the terminal and he asked "Are you ready to do this on your own"?  There was only one answer "Hell yes I am".  "Ok taxi out do two touch and goes and one full stop and taxi back here", "Can do".  Mike got out and walked to the terminal where there was a radio that he could talk to me if need be, but there would be no need for that though.

I'm here alone in the plane and it's a very weird feeling to not have some one next to me.  I'm call out my taxi intentions and start back for runway 4.  I check final announce my take off and make my way on to the runway...alone.  I can but at the same time can't believe this is finally happening.  Power in all the way,  rotate at 55knots and I'm off the ground!  I call my turns keeping 100 knots and 1700 feet.  Same as before I let the plane descend turning base and line up for a good looking final approach.  Over the threshold I'm right at 60 knots I bring the nose up little by little letting the plane continue to settle down to the runway all on its own.  The closer I get the more I pull.  The stall warning horn goes off and I'm almost to the ground.  Touch down is pretty smooth.  I let the nose gear settle to the runway on it's own and I push the carburetor heat to off and put the flaps up to 0.  Full throttle and I'm off again!

Three times around the pattern and I'm done with my first solo!!!!!!!!!!!  I am ecstatic to say the least!  I'm nothing but smiles!!!!  Cloud nine the whole time!!!  Mike says it's all down hill from here but I'm just so excited to have done my solo!

13.9 hours in and a life time to learn!
*First Solo* in the log book

Mike and I in front of N738HD after my first Solo

Me in front of N738HD after my solo

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Not a set back, just not good flying.

So I think I've been doing really well up til now, but my flight the other day was pretty bad I thought.

April 13th.

So we took off at 3:30pm and started flying around the pattern.  The previous flight prior to this one Mike wanted me to start flying faster around the pattern so that I would A) Not be a clog in the pattern forcing others to fly slower and B) be able to fly around the pattern faster.  So like he wanted, I sped up, and speed up I did.  I went from flying around 90 to 95 knots to flying around 110 to 120 knots.  Now for around the pattern 120 is....too fast.

With these new speeds It got some getting used to for prepping for landing.  So needless to say....I SUCKED!  Hardcore epically bad flying at that.  At least that's how I felt about it.  It was one of those flights where I wanted to land shut down and get out of the plane and figure out what the hell I was doing.  Mike actually assured me that I was doing well, but I was fouling up my landings with being too high and too fast.  Which when I flared at the correct height did all sorts of terrible things to my landing.  I would flare and then rise up so when I stalled before touch down I would end up being too high and make a harder landing than anticipated.

With 7 landings in for the lesson I know I'm not soloing today.  I'm not to bummed about that, I'm bummed about the terrible flying I think I'm doing.  Granted I'm my toughest critic, but none the less it's not good.  So for the last 3 or so I decided that I'm going to fly slower at the pace I'm used to, just to make some semblance that I am a good pilot.  The last few landings were better, not great but better.

Time to think this through.

12.x hours in a life time to learn.