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.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Pre Solo written mean now?

This isn't an FAA thing, it's just an FBO thing.

Wednesday March 4th, 2012.  (Weather Skies clear, 66*F, Winds were 040@12knots gusting to 16-17knots)

Our flight was scheduled for 3:30pm but since I hadn't heard from mike I figured it would be more like 4:00pm by the time we got going.  So I got the keys to the plane and went out and did a very through pre-flight inspection since the previous flight I found the frayed cable on the other plane.  Not that I wasn't doing a very detailed look before, but finding that cable really made the pre-flight that much more important to me than before.  These are planes that are maintained by an FBO for the reason of renting them to pilots to take out and fly.  So of course they're inspected every 100hours and well maintained.  But that really doesn't change what I found.

Once Mike told me he was almost there I let him know I would be out at the plane going over things.  Mike walked out to the plane with no headset, which didn't surprise me since we were, as I thought, going to review for the pre-solo written test.  We walked in and said he was going to grab some stuff off the printer and he'd be back in a second or two.  So I sat down at the table and waited for 30 seconds or so before he showed back up.  Very nonchalantly he tossed me the test and said, ok go ahead and answer as many questions you can if you're stumped let me know and we'll review the question.

I guess he thought I was ready for the test.

Here I am sitting down looking at this two page test thinking...A) I thought we were going to review this material before the test at some point B) Wait...some of these I know we've never covered.

But I get out my pen and answer the first question, the second and so on.  There are a few questions I could answer only because of another book I've been studying out side of our flight time together.  I make it through the test and give it back to Mike, whom I'm thinking is going to start saying..."close but not quite" or "it's 1,000 not 2,000".  Except he starts mumbling all my answers as he's going over saying "that's right", "yup", "correct"....Are you kidding me, I answered almost all of the questions correctly, you mean I PASSED?!  Holy Crap I wasn't ready for that, or so I thought.  As it turns out Mike knew I was ready for it.

Then...we went flying!  The runway at Bolton field runs from 220 degrees Southwest one way and 40 degrees Northeast the other way.  And since the wind was blowing right down runway 4 it made for a very short take off.   So we flew out to the training area just South of London and started out the flight with basically the entire private pilot check ride. Which is what I have to do with an FAA official in order to obtain my Private Pilot Certificate.  After that Mike wanted to introduce me to cross wind landings and he knew just the place.  Madison County Airport.  Just a short five minute flight from Bolton field.  Madison's runway runs pretty much East/West.  And with wind coming from the North East it made for one wild ride!  I made the first attempt at it, but Mike took over when he knew I was having too much difficultly, and the other I did with a little help from Mike.  He said "not to bad for your first real cross wind attempt".  So that made me feel pretty good about it.

We flew back to Bolton field and I landed, taxied and parked the plane.  After we got out and he entered the flight info into my log book, again we talked about when I'd solo.  We set up some a couple more times that we could fly, and we scheduled them for later in the day so that we might not have as strong of winds if any at all.  My next lesson should be my solo, since Wednesday was too windy.  I can't believe how far I've come since we started!

11.6 hours in and a life time to learn!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Way too long.

It has been way too long between these flight!

April 2nd, 2012 almost three weeks since my last flight!  Oh but what a story! 

We had scheduled the flight for 3:30pm  today, as Mike was supposed to be back around 2:45 or 3:00pm.  We talked later on and he said he'd be ready by around 5pm but no later.  Which was alright, I'm not doing any thing any way.  So today he's texting me saying he'll be there by 5:15 but no later than 5:30.  Still I'm alright with this.  I told him not to worry because I'm just hanging out at the airport getting ready for our flight.  Around 6pm I'm starting to think that his day has gone a little longer than even he anticipated.

I'm walking around the plane, N1694E, doing my pre-flight inspection and I'm looking in all the little nooks and crannies.  Most of these are dark and can hide just about any thing, which is why I always have my flashlight ready.  This proved life saving today! I had just looked at all the bolts holding the flap on its track shoes and noticed something out of the ordinary in the cavity where the flap push rod extends out of.  At first I thought it was a piece of grass, or some thing like that, and I almost dismissed it.  But I raised my hand to pull it out and it was stuck pretty good, although I didn't really pull that hard.  So I tugged a little harder and found that it was not going to move.  So I shined my flash light in the hole and wouldn't you know it a busted cable!  This particular cable extends from the yoke all the way to the right aileron.  Now in this picture I've pulled the broken part of the cable out so you can see it, but as you can see it's not that visible in the cavity.  I called the mechanic who was leaving for the day to come over and look it over, and as we were talking I was wondering how many people have flown this plane with the cable like this and never caught it.  Then I thought, "have I ever flown this plane with the cable like the?"  It's a good thing that I did catch this.  According to the FAA you must replace any cable that has any frayed strands in the cable (14CFR43.13 Ch7 Par 149(a)(b)).  Needless to say I didn't fly that airplane.

But I did get introduced to a fourth airplane, N738HD.  All the planes I've flown so far are Cessna 172s.

By the time I've got everything sorted with the new plane and pre-flighted it the time was around 6:10 or so.  I haven't heard from Mike for a couple hours now, and I'm not worrying, but I am starting to wonder if we'll be able to fly at all today.  At   I get a txt from him saying he just landed and he's on his way.

Around 7pm Mike shows up to the airport and extremely apologetic of how late he is, but i assure him there's no need to worry.  As it turns out he's just spent 7.5 hours flying out to West Virginia and up North from there and back West to Columbus.  He had been flying around a aerial photography company around taking pictures of what ever and missions kept getting added onto his list so his time kept growing.

I did all parts of the flight this time, with help from Mike of course.  But I got taxi clearance and we made our way out to runway 4.  After we did our run up checks and were ready to take off I called the tower and let them know we were ready for out departure.  The tower abruptly asked which way I wanted to go in the pattern.  At first we decided that we would do a right hand pattern because we haven't really done that before.  So we told him and our response back was..."Bolton Field Traffic tower services are now terminated.....adtl info.....".  Well I guess this means we're doing a left hand traffic pattern now doesn't it?  Mike laughed and said yes, so we announced our intentions to the rest of the traffic around the field(of which there was none). 

All in all we made it a short night with only 6 almost perfect landings.  Now it would have been 7, but it wasn't because it was getting dark that I didn't do one.  As I was on final approach for runway 4 and I was around 100' off the ground I noticed this brown thing running across the grass headed right for the runway.   It was a DOG!  Here's a dog on the airport property running right for the runway, how crazy is this? So I watched it for a couple of seconds thinking well maybe it will turn and run away...but it didn't.  I made the call for a go around and put full power in, raised the flaps and turned the carburetor heat off and proceeded to fly down the runway and climb back to pattern altitude.  Mike was very happy with my performance tonight, and said after I take my written test I'll be ready to solo!

10.2 hours in and a life time to learn!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pattern/Pre Solo work.

On  Saturday I wrote that I had some "good" and some "ok" landings, about 50/50.  After what I did on Tuesday...they were all crap I think. :P

Tuesday March 13th, Pre solo training and pattern work. 

     Mike had said I was doing good with the landings but wanted to smooth them out.  I wasn't sure how, but I knew I could do it.  The first couple I did I had squeaked the tires and dropped the nose when we touched down.  Unbeknownst to me...I had my toes pressing on the brakes when we were touching down.  NOT a good idea.  An easy fix for that...just keep my heals on the ground.  Yup, no more squeaky landings, and I held the nose up til it settled on its own.  I had a couple other things to work out to get my landings down smooth.

1)  Mike had noticed that I hadn't been using the elevator trim while landing, and I was fighting the controls every step of the way, which made any correction I made unsteady, and sudden.

2)  I was also having a little difficulty judging when to really start my flare.

     The first problem was a mental game of just forcing my self to use the trim....and when I did it made a HUGE difference in my landings, immediately they smoothed out...A LOT!!!!  The second problem was also pretty easy to fix.  Once I'm at flare height Mike said look all the way down the runway and use my peripheral vision to judge how much and when to really pull back on the yoke.  Once again, it helped so much!  The touch downs were getting even smoother AND the last 5 or 6 were almost right on the center line!

     Next we'll do a ground lesson on radio communication and then another flight lesson to put everything I've learned together.  I'll do every thing for the flight with Mike sitting right seat.  Then after solo!

8.3 hours in and all I want to do is fly!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pattern work!

March 10th!  It's been i think 19 day's since the last time I flew and the last time I landed.  Way too long. 

     Today's weather was great!  We had relatively calm winds, and not a cloud in the sky.  I did my first radio call today and didn't mess it up.  We stayed in the pattern the whole time and I got some great practice in on my landings.  My landings were about 50% ok and 50% good.  Nothing great nothing too terribly bad.  Well I take that back on my 12th landing I nailed it, it was just about perfect.

     Flying the pattern starts with taking off, today we used runway 22 and stayed in a left hand pattern the whole time.  We climb at least 500 feet before making our turn on to the cross wind leg.  Since the airport is at 900'ASL that means we're turning at around 1400'ASL.  Today, since it was so nice, was a little different.  We had some traffic to deal with so as it turned out we were turning at around 1500' to 1550'.  The pattern altitude for this airport is 1700' ASL so by the time I was at the cross wind turn I was almost at pattern altitude. 

     The biggest thing I learned today was that once we were over the runway and I started to pull the nose up was to let the plane settle on it's own and not to let the nose drop once it was up.  Two very big lessons that I think  I finally got a grasp of by my last two landings. 

     Be smooth and don't jerk the controls.

8.1 hours in!!  Another lesson or two and Mike say's I'll be ready to solo!  We'll work on using the radio and I'll take a pre-solo written test and I'll be good to solo!

(Thanks to Wikipedia for the use of this picture.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

A suprise at school

     My buddy Chris and I got to school this morning around 8am.   After we had been there for ten minutes or so one of our class mates came through the door.  Pat is a pilot for Delta (I think it's delta any way) and is a CFII (Certified Flight Instructor Instruments).  After he set his bags down he asked us if any of us wanted to go for a airplane ride later after school.  Of course we said yes.  Now he knows that I'm working on my Private Pilot Certificate.  So he told me make sure when we go up that you sit right seat and I'll let you do the flying.  Now I'm not going to pass up a chance to go fly, especially when he's offering to log it in my log book!

     The plane he flew in on is a Piper Comanche (PA-24-250).  Now just for comparison sake the Cessna 172 I usually fly has a 360 cubic inch engine and has a top speed around 120Knots(and that's pushing it!)100 - 110 knots is a more realistic speed.  The Comanche has a 540 cubic inch engine and has a whole lot more get up and go!  We were doing 130knots and not breaking a sweat!  I think I need a fast plane!

    Now the other great thing about flying this airplane is that it counts not only as training for my private certificate BUT it also counts towards my complex rating once I have my private certificate!  A complex aircraft is one that has All of the following.  1) Retractable landing gear 2)An adjustable prop 3)Adjustable flaps.

   That just blessed my socks off and I'm still excited about it!

Now I've got 6.9 Hours in (.7 hours for complex) and a life time to learn!  This is getting REALLY good, I'm sooooo glad I'm doing this!

Good weather?? FLY FLY FLY!!!!

     So this past weekend was great for flying even though Saturday was pretty breezy.    Even though I've been up in windy conditions before Saturday was pretty unique.  The wind wasn't blowing very hard, around 11-12 knots and gusting around 16 - 18 knots (which made it pretty fun/difficult to land in!).  But it was my first day dealing with cross winds!

     So far in my training I've done most of the take offs except for the beginning and the one on Friday and Saturday.  Mike demonstrated a "cross wind" take off and then I took over and flew out to the practice area just west of Columbus.  While we were up we only practiced a few maneuvers because it was so windy.

     But because it was so windy we got to practice cross wind landings!  While out in the practice area we flew to another airport and did some touch and goes where the wind wouldn't be at exactly 90 degrees perpendicular to the runway.  So I did about 3 touch and go's at the other airport before we headed back to Bolton Field.  I did one touch and go there and one full stop landing.  By this time the gusting was more prevalent but erratic.  Mike had to help me a LOT!  But for my first cross wind landings he said I did pretty good.  He thought better of me than I did. 

     All in all a great day for flying!  An hour up, 5 landings and all this on a Saturday, just after a great flight lesson the day prior!

6 Hours in a life time to learn!

Friday, February 17, 2012


February 17th, 2012!  So it's only been two weeks since my last flight!  I'm believing this means the weather is improving! 

     Well I recently purchased a few books that will help me with written, oral and practical tests I'll have to take.  One book for each of the tests.  I also got the FAR AIM which holds the rules for all portions of flight and a new pilots flight log book!  Up till now i had been using the one they gave me which had one page in it and was barely just a stapled kids book.  But awesome none the less!  Well on with the story I suppose!

     Today was fantastic! Today was the first time, by my self, that I did a preflight on the aircraft and called for a weather briefing from 1(800)wx-brief.  We discussed briefly what we were going to do today and just got right to it.  Mike demonstrated a short field take off and then I took over once we were airborne. 

     Once we were up we practiced a bunch of maneuvers.  We started with slow flight, went right into a power off stall then into a power on stall.    Then we went back down to 3000' from around 3500'+ and did some clearing turns.  Once we knew there was no one around us I did a perfect 360 degree turn to the left and kept my altitude with out it wavering one bit!!!  Then I did one to the right and it was ok, but I wanted to do one more just to do it better.  I did the second one a whole lot better, and Mike was pretty pleased as well.

    Oh lets see, then I did some turns around a point and S-turns over a road.  I'm pretty good at the turns around a point and the 360 degree turns, but I'm having a little trouble with the S turns.  I've only done them a couple times so I'm believing that with practice it will come more naturally. 

    After we were done in the practice area we headed back to airport for some traffic pattern work.  But before that mike did another simulated engine failure.  This time I was a little more prepared for it than the first time he did it.  He quizzed me on what to do and I don't want to brag or any thing but I kinda aced his quiz! :D  Approaching the airport the tower had us approach from the right, Mike did the first landing since it's been two weeks since our last flight.  We did a touch and go and Mike had me take control again and I flew the pattern.  I turned on the cross wind, downwind, base and final.  We got down to 65 knots and I made an 'ok' landing.  It wasn't the greatest but it was ok.  Mike said I was doing great but I dunno about that.  Then I made another pass at it and made a much better landing with very minimal verbal and no physical input.  I put it down just past the numbers and right on center line!  Oh man what a rush, I love this whole flying thing! 

I gotta say, taking off and flying is a ton of fun, but landing is a real thrill!!!

5 Hours in and a life time to learn!

Great aviation links.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Private Pilots Resource Page

Friday, February 3, 2012

My first landings!

Friday February 3rd!  Just to start off with, today was absolutely amazing! 

Just as any session starts we checked the weather online and received a weather briefing over the phone.  We reviewed some material he wanted me to check out from last Friday.  Let's talk about the weather very quickly.  The skies were clear, we had 7miles of visibility and there was almost no wind.  Just about a perfect day.

Since the winds were calm the tower had us taxi out on the Bravo and Alpha taxiways to Runway 4.  Today was the first time I taxied from start to finish!  I know that might not seem like much, but to me it was great!  We held short of runway 4 and did our preflight checks.  Once we were ready we radioed the tower and he cleared us for take off.  I taxied onto Runway 4 and double checked the compass and off we went!  We flew out to our practice area and practiced a few maneuvers.  We did "steep turns" at a 45 degree bank, slow flight, stalls and ground referencing maneuvers.  We did two ground ref. maneuvers today.  The first was flying a 360 degree circle around an object on the ground while maintaining the same distance all the way around.  Which means correcting for wind.  The other was doing "S" turns on a road.  That one is where you fly perpendicular to a road or straight line on the ground and turn 180 degrees and fly back the other way over the road.  Then turn and fly back.  All while maintaining the same distance on either side of the road.

Then it was time to come back.  Before we took off however, we discussed that I would get to do my first landing.  Which I was absolutely ecstatic about.  He did the first landing and walked me through all the procedures.  The second time around was all me...until we were on base about to go to final approach.  Another aircraft, a Cessna 210, called in for a full stop landing.  Mike took over and got us down and down and took off again.  After that touch and go the it was all me...For REAL!  The first landing was incredible!  Just past the numbers and right in the middle of the runway!  The second was almost as good but just to the left of the center line!  This is awesome!  I have 4 hours of flight time and I'm getting to do landings already!

Then we taxied up to parking and tied the airplane down!  I couldn't be more happy!  We talked for a bit and Mike said I'd be soloing in the next few lessons, after I get my 3rd Class medical of course.  All that was left was to settle the bill.  Oh what a rush!

4.1 Hours in and a life time to learn! :D

Aviation Resources
Private Pilots Resource Page
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hundred acre woods type wind!

     Friday the 27th was supposed to clear up in the afternoon, but alas it was rainy and snowy all day.  So Mike and I rescheduled for Saturday around 330pm.  Right around noon or so, the clouds lifted, the sun came out and it was an absolutely beautiful day.  That is until I walked outside.  Those of you who have read or watched Winnie the Pooh probably remember Pooh or Christopher Robin carrying or wearing something that gets taking by the wind and they spend the rest of the story searching for it?  That's what Saturday was like.

     I walked out side and put my hat on a little loose, rounded the corner and almost lost my hat.  Before leaving for the airport I chatted with Mike about the winds and he thought that this might be a "ground only" training day.  Winds were steady at around 19knots with 30+knot gusts.  Then the higher you went the faster the gusts became 40+ knots.  For a little plane like we're flying...that'll really knock you around.  So a ground lesson it was.

     So for twenty minutes we reviewed all the information we've gone over since we started.  Since we were on the topic of weather and wind in the area, we decided that would be a great learning topic.  We covered just about every topic of weather we could.  Not every thing but alot!  We covered clouds, wind, fog, temperatures....the list goes on and on.  Fog...I never thought about fog before.  Except it stinks to drive through and it's there.  I never knew there were a bunch of different types of fog, or that they form under different circumstances.

      Then after about 40 minutes of weather we started talking about the systems in the plane.  We covered most of the systems used to tell you "where" and how "fast" you're going.   I'm flying the little 4 place Cessna 172.  I've flown two types of this particular plane and even though they look exactly alike from out side they are quite different in respect to each other.  One is the O-360 and the other engine is the IO-360.  The IO-360 is the fuel injected version, both cylinder displacements are exactly the same, 360cc.  But both have just about the same indicators on the front panel.

     An hour and half had gone by and we thought we'd check the weather one more time to see how the winds were doing (hoping they had died down a bit).  He gave me a couple of resources to use to do this.  Both are actually operated by the same organization, N.O.A.A.  The first was a numbered we called which is first routed through Lockheed Martin and on to a specific state office.  1(800)WX-BRIEF  The second of which,, is a website that you can get weather reports uploaded by individual airports.  After the phone call and weather updates online, it was clear that we were not going flying that day.  We have another flight scheduled for this week Friday the 3rd.  The forecast is looking good so far.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

2.9hours down a life time to learn!

Some great resources of aviation information are listed here.
Private Pilot Resource Page
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


     Every once in a while you run across a resource that helps you along and keeps you going.  A good friend of mine got his bachelors degree a while back.  One of his senior projects was to develop a web site.  As he is a private pilot he decided to make his website about everything flight.  His site has every thing from regulations to what to expect on your final check ride with the FAA.  He's still developing it but it's really cool and makes the information you need to know very easy to access in one spot.  Here's his site if you want to check it out.

Private Pilot Resource Page

His name is Alex Murphy, he has his private pilot and he's a Crew Chief in the United States Air Force Reserve.

Check it out.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

16 Knots True Airspeed

     January 6th, 2012 was a great day to fly!  We had a 20 knot wind out of the south west that we took to our advantage, and clear skies for all intent and purpose.  All that and I had a blast!

     We started out with a half hour ground lesson about traffic patterns and the workings of them.  We also reviewed information that we had gone over the previous few lessons.  After that we headed out for the plane and almost didn't make it.  We got about half way there and one of the guys came out of the building and motioned us over.  He thought that some one had already booked the plane we were about to use before we had.  If that had proved true that meant that we wouldn't have a plane to use for the day.  Two of the planes were down for maintenance, two were already rented and flying and the last, ours, was apparently already booked.  That did not sit well with me as I haven't flown since December 16th.  So we checked it out in the rental program and found that who ever was scheduled to fly it, had canceled.  WE HAD A PLANE!

     We did a preflight and started it up and I taxied out to the runway and Mike showed me how to check to make sure the magnetos were both working.  After all checks were good I taxied on to the runway and pushed the throttle to the firewall and let her roll down the runway.  At 55 knots I pulled back on the yoke and took off into some cool, yet bumpy air.  Wow what a work out!  I was sweating by the time we leveled off at 3,000 feet.

      After flying out towards London, OH I was eager to start doing the maneuvers we had been talking about!  First we set up the airplane like we were going to land and did some slow flight while maintaining our current altitude.  Then we proceeded to go into a power off stall and just pulled back on the yoke and let the plane slow way down and drop! Wow what a rush, that's all I can say!  After a few stalls we did some steep turns.  We were banked at 45 degrees and to keep our altitude I had to pull back on the yoke quite a bit.  Boy was I pinned to my seat!

     So like I said we had a twenty knot wind from the South West, and since an airplane stays aloft due to air flowing over the wings it doesn't matter if it's from forward motion or from the wind.  So we pointed our nose into the wind reduced our power and lowered a little bit of flaps to increase lift.  As we reduced our power our airspeed indicator said we were still flying at about 100 knots, but we looked down and it didn't look like we were going any where!  We had one thing that let us know exactly how fast we were going, a GPS.  I looked down and would you look at that 16 knots!  Mike said we could go up when the wind was a little faster and we could fly backwards!  I can't wait for that!

     After about an hour or flying we headed back to the airport where I flew the pattern a couple times while Mike did a touch and go and I got to set us up for landing the last time.  Mike put her down with finesse, and barely squeaked the tires when we touched down.  I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day to fly and was psyched that we actually finally went up!  I now have 3 hours and am learning so much every day.

    3 hours down and a life time to learn!

I'll take pictures next Friday when we go up and post them here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


It has been since the 16th of December since I've flown last.  There has been bad weather on top of clouds on top of mixed schedules and timing has just been awful.  But the forecast for tomorrow is mostly sunny with a high of almost 50.  I've got school til 1pm and then it's a short trip around the airport for the lesson.  There has been way to much time in between lessons, and I'm believing for the weather to be a little nicer to me as the winter progresses.  I will update you all tomorrow on how the flight went!

Look at the radar! No precipitation!