I owe you a few flight lesson write ups. So grab some popcorn and enjoy:
Unlike other Primary student pilots, I’m not scared on the radio. I haven’t been since that first lesson, but boy, I am making some mistakes. Each time getting better, at least that’s what I think.
The morning call of Lesson 6 I botched by Saying “Page Tower” instead of “Page Ground” Forgot to say that I have the current ATIS Information, Forgot to give my location, forgot to give my direction of departure and also stumbled on top of all that.
My first call for Lesson 7 was much better, I was smooth and only missed my departure information. I guess the luck of the Irish was on my that morning (It was St. Patrick’s Day afterall). I think a major factor has to do with thinking before you speak. Ask any parent and they’ve probably given this piece of advice countless times, apparently it also works in an airplane. So now that I’ll be thinking before I key in the Microphone I should be a lot better. But don’t you worry, I still managed to goof the calls later in the day. During Touch-and-Goes I reverted to calling our plane 321Q. It’s ok, the tower controller kindly reminded me that my call sign is in fact 3521Q. I replied with my correct call sign and thanked her. She seems nice, I think I’m going try to set up an interview with her for this site.
Are there any questions that you would like me to ask her? Let me know in the comments below.
During Lesson 5 Skip introduced me to the closest thing to the a roller coaster without stepping up to a “You-must-be-this-tall-to-ride sign that I’ve felt: Steep Turns. They are in fact just like regular turns but happen much faster, much much faster. The first few times I blew right passed my assigned heading, and because the wings are banked more, it requires more back pressure to keep the craft at the same altitude. But after a few 360s and then a few 180s I was getting the hang of it. This is one maneuver I’m sure to practice more in the future.
On the day we did steep turns I was introduced to view limiting devices or as the aviation industry calls it, Foggles. Think sunglasses that got too much tint at the factory. They block me from seeing out the windows while still allowing me to see my instruments. Skip was asking if I was feeling fine (Air Sick wise) and I said yes. He grabbed his pair of foggles and I slapped them on. We did some basic maneuvers while I was under “simulated” Instrument conditions. Now remember, I am training for my Private Pilot License, There is in fact an instrument rating that comes afterwards, but according to the FAA I need 3 hours under simulated instrument conditions.
I’ve read the dangers about flying in Instrument Conditions or even in Marginal VFR: your brain isn’t getting enough cues from the outside world so it’s not really sure where your body is going, or how it’s facing. After putting on the Foggles Skip wanted to demonstrate this to me. I closed my eyes, and he did a few things to the plane, I could feel the plane make a hard left, then, up then down and left. After a while he asked what is the plane doing? I answered very confidently, turning to the left. I looked at my attitude indicator and to my surprise the plane was flying straight and level. A few of these “Guess what the plane is doing” really showed that you can’t trust your body if you can’t see the ground. To combat “Spatial Disorientation” the FAA recommends to trust your instruments. If my body thinks I’m turning left, and the plane says its flying straight, I need to fight the urge to turn to the left. Trust your instruments.
During Lesson 6 we did a few ground maneuvers and then we ventured north to a body of water that I’ve never seen before. Skip quizzed me by asking, “Over open water how far above the ground can an aircraft be?” I said the surface, so down we went looking for manatees. It was a warm day so not to easy to find. I level off at a comfortable height above the water, and we fly around and enjoy nature. On our climb he said, “take me home”. Those words. Simple enough when you know where home is, it also helps if you know where you are. I was utterly lost. But technology and I are friends, so after pulling myself together I zoomed out on the GPS and pointed the plane towards KFMY. Afterwards he said good job I asked him how would he prefer I navigate. He explained by whatever means. For the exams I’ll need to know many ways. So there is a big study point for me. Right now I’m learning more about VOR’s.
Touch and Goes
You take off from the airport, fly the traffic pattern, and land. Without coming to a full stop, you do it again. We’ve done about 12 total so far. The very last circuit of the day I did without his input both verbally and physically. After a quick glance at Skip on Final,” I focused my attention out the front window and knew I was doing ok. I landed it all on my own.
Skip quickly gave me a few hearty side slaps and I knew that it was a proud moment for both of us. This last landing leads us to our next topic. Solo.
Getting Ready for Solo
We pull off the runway and he tells me to celebrate, he has the plane (aka he is controlling it) We pull up to our hangar, I call for gas, and he starts telling me that soon he’ll give me a pre-solo test, and then it will be time for me to reach a big a milestone, the Solo. I’m a little nervous, but I think I’m doing ok.
GPS Tracks for
Just the Numbers
Total Hours: 8.4
Total Dual: 8.4
Total Solo: 0.0