Rich's Quest For Flight

My father was a pilot. He died doing what he loved to do. It has been a goal of my life to become a pilot. Now I have chance to do so. Follow me as I pursue my dream.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Final Polishing

KRYV 261517Z AUTO 29006KT 10SM OVC018 M03/M07 A2994 RMK AO2

Approaching the airport today, there were a couple of indicators that I might not fly. First, the ceiling was about 2000', so we certainly weren't going to fly anywhere except around the patch. Second, I was still not fully recovered from a stomach virus that hit me hard Friday night. The first problem was no problem as Adam said we'd just focus on takeoffs and landings with some oral review tossed in. So out to the plane I went for preflight. It was quite cold today, and in my rush to get to the airport, I only had a medium jacket. So at least the preflight checks weren't lazy. But I still felt a bit groggy, and a bit sore from being sick. I wasn't completely sure I wanted to fly. But I wasn't at all nauseous, so I decided to go forward as we'd only be local and we could scrub at any time.

Turned out to be a good decision. Winds favored Runway 29, so most of our time was spent practicing the takeoff and landing variations. Short field, soft field, no flap, forward slip to landing. Then we switched to Runway 23 for some light crosswind work. Out of 6 landings on the day, only one could be considered less than satisfactory and the passenger probably wouldn't be able to tell. It all feels so coordinated now, very natural.

I need one more solo session, and Adam is sending me up with another instructor for a final phase check, then it's on to the practical exam.

That close.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Mild Day In December

KRYV 171835Z AUTO 29007KT 10SM CLR 06/M05 A3008 RMK AO2

After my solo time last week, it was time for some more scrutiny from Commander Adam. The script today was much the same as it was the last few instructed flights. Get up, clean up, practice flight maneuvers, finished off with takeoff and landing practice.

As has been the trend the last several times we were up, the air maneuvers were just a shade easier and performed a shade better than the previous times. The only hitch came when we initiated an engine out landing over Dodge County Aiport. I was about 1500' AGL when Adam pulled the power, and my initial reaction was to just do a couple of circles over the field before turning base then final so as to lose altitude. But another plane entered the pattern, and Adam directed me to turn to base now. This proved to be a distraction, and while I managed to get it around to final, I was way too high, and by the time I decided to enter a forward slip, it was too late. I was still 300' AGL crossing the threshold, so Adam ordered a go around, and we cleared the pattern to the south.

On the way back I practiced the ground reference maneuvers, and they're coming along much better. A few cross wind landings back at Watertown and we taxied back to the ramp. And so it was. Adam is very satisfied with my airwork. Now it's back to finishing up the oral review preparation and starting on the paperwork for the check ride. Just a couple of more hours to go.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


KRYV 101614Z AUTO 19012G16KT 10SM CLR 03/M04 A3010 RMK AO2

It's been so long since I've flown, I wouldn't blame any of my readers if they thought I had given up, or just taken a break for the winter. The time between my last flight and now was filled with weather scrubs, maintenance problems, and sometimes no availability at all. It has all but assured that I will not get the practical exam done this year, what with the holidays and all.

But the weather today could not keep me down, and it was time for some solo work. The breeze was stiff, but the crosswind component was within my limitations. With the light load, the plane nearly jumped in the air, and I reached 3000' very soon after leaving the pattern. After clearing turns, I set up for some slow flight practice. With the air clear, setting up for slow flight was a snap today. Throttle down, first notch of flaps, let the plane increase attack angle as it slows without gaining altitude, put in rest of flaps, then pitch for speed and control altitude with throttle. Trim as necessary. Why it's so hard with another person in the plane is beyond me. Did some turns dirty, then set up for slow flight clean with the same results.

Now was a good time for a special break from routine. Today is the anniversary of my father's fatal plane crash, so I held a brief ceremony which you can see here.

After that was some ground reference maneuver practice. Rectangular course is not a problem, but I still need a little work on S-turns. After finishing that bit or work I headed back to Watertown for a little landing practice. The air got real bumpy again below 2200', so I knew these landings were going to be a workout. The first landing was not far from a mess. I landed along the centerline, but the plane was somewhat crooked, and I briefly teetered on one main before settling down. I think my mistake was turning the left aileron up prematurely, causing that wing to dip. I got the plane back up and the second and third landings were much better. I still carry about 5 knots extra into the threshold, but I'll give myself the pass today due to high winds. The crosswind component was near my allowable limit.

So I'm down to less than one solo hour to go and that requirement is met. Just some instrument training to go and a pre-checkride phase check with another instructor.