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Flight Training

A place to record my experiences as I work towards my Private Pilot License

Last Build Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:50:30 +0000


The burnout

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 00:21:00 +0000

Its been a while since my last post. One of my readers put it well when he suggested I was burnt out... indeed that is exactly it. My checkride was extremely stressful and came at the end of an even more stressful month. Fortunately, I passed. I want to brain dump before I forget everything but to be honest, most of the oral flew by until I got totally stumped on a really simple airspace question. The FE used a simple trick, he pointed at one place on the chart and asked "you are flying along at 400ft AGL what airspace are you in". G of course (up to 1200 ft unless in Class E starting at 700ft AGL). Then he pointed to another point on the map and asked the same question but this time stated I was at 1500ft. He didn't specify MSL or AGL. I assumed MSL, but I was stressed and getting confused. I said "Class G". Of course the FE was looking for the answer of Class E, because his intent was that I was flying along 1500 AGL, though he never stated so. I spun around on that question for a while. I didn't ask him to clarify AGL or MSL I just spun. He moved on to the jaggedy lines that mark the change in base of class E and hit me hard on that question. He didn't like the language I used to describe the line, "A change in class E" he wanted me to say "A difference in the start of class E airspace across the line" or something to that affect. I really couldn't see the difference to be honest but after he pounded me on it, I complied and said "its a difference in the base of class E airspace". At this point he turned back to the Class G question to which I still was answering the wrong way. He was getting irritated and I could see his dissastisfaction in his face. He pondered for a bit and said, "this is something you must know!" and wouldn't let me look at the key to verify my answer, even though it wouldn't have change, we had a basic failure to communicate. He then said that he was going to let me continue, though he wasn't sure, and based on the rest of my test he would decide. I slammed out the rest of the airspace questions he asked and then he turned to pilot responsibilites and FARs. I did pretty well through the rest of the questions I, he said a high 80% during the de-brief. Then he said, "let's go fly". I didn't realize that meant I passed the Oral. My head was spinning and my stomach was growling, I really needed to chill for a bit before I went flying. My instructor caught me in the hallway and asked how it went. I was pretty shook up over the airspace question and wasn't sure if I passed. She told me that if we were going to go fly, then I passed. She then offered to go grab some food for me and told me to take a breather. In the meantime the FE was waiting downstairs, thinking I was pre-flighting the airplane. Just as my instructor was prepping to get something from Wendy's he came up, obviously irritated, and wondering why I wasn't pre-flighting. I told him I needed to eat something before we went flying. He thought that was a good idea and asked my instructor to pick up some food for him as well. During the 15 minutes or so that she was gone, we sat somewhat uncomfortable, across from one another. I tried to make some small talk about airplanes and he started in with the questions again. This time he asked about the NTSB stuff. Unfortunately, I hadn't looked at that stuff in a very long time and answered poorly. He asked what the difference between an accident and an incident and which one you were required to report. I hadn't a clue. It had been months since I review NTSB stuff and there is so little we are required to know that I just blanked. Fortunately he had already decided to fly with me otherwise I might have been in trouble, I thought. The food came and we ate in silence then I headed out to preflight. My nerves were pretty thrashed by now and I was shaking from the low blood sugar.When the FE came out he started quizzing me on the details of the airplane. He asked about the flight controls, the pitot system, the air filter and a few other things. Then he pointed at a hatch on the left side of the cowli[...]

Checkride, whew....

Tue, 03 Jun 2008 01:51:00 +0000

Well, today was the day. I started out at my normal time, 6:00 am, with a dog walk down in Oaks Bottom with the Orbit. Then back home to load up and get myself out to the airport for a 9:30 am start. When I got here I finished the flight plan by plugging in the numbers from the weather and looking over my practical test standards (PTS) one more time. The examiner showed up around 9:45 am and we headed up to the room. After several formalities he began by asking me what is a safe taxi speed. I responded with a non-standard answer but he agreed with my assessment yet corrected me with the "98%" answer, at the speed you can walk. The rest of the oral was moving along swimmingly until I got hung on an airspace question. The examiner helped me to tie myself into a knot then just pulled on the ends until impossibly to unravel. After some time spinning around the airspace questions we adjourned and took a lunch break. After lunch I preflighted and we went flying. He asked me a couple of questions about the airplane, what was the hatch door on the ft left of the cowling. I flailed and admitted I couldn't remember what was under it. He nailed me on that, saying I should know this airplane inside and out. Then he asked if you could take-off with no air in the ft wheel shock. Uh... I reasoned out that you could but landing would be problematic. He said you couldn't due to the risk of damaging the airframe, to which the ft wheel assembly is connected via the firewall. The rest of the flight went so-so, I had some problems, admitted that I screwed up and moved on. I am hard on myself so was fairly convinced that I blew it and started mentally preparing for the pink slip that I was sure I was going to be handed after we got back to the FBO. The FE de-briefed me and had me go over all the things I thought I screwed up. I listed them off as we went through them and for all but a couple he said I was within tolerances and showed that I understood that by admitting my issues as they happened. He also acknowledged how nervous I was and that he understood how difficult the process can be under pressure. He had a few words of wisdom and said I did very well on my oral and began filling out a white slip... I passed. I am now a FAA certified Private Pilot.


Freakin a little

Sun, 01 Jun 2008 03:48:00 +0000

I know I said my next post would be something about my check ride but I needed to do a little stress redux so here is my brain dump... I started freaking a little last evening about my readiness for the check ride after a very bad flight with my instructor. I couldn't seem to do anything right, blew all my steep turns and couldn't get a stall for crap. Then I got a little panicked when we started practicing diversions as I had been under the hood doing unusual attitudes and as soon as I took it off she had me do a diversion. I had no clue where I was and was having a lot of trouble figuring it out. She pointed out Mulino and suggested I fly over to it and then divert from there. I did and I found my bearing and estimated time but winds blew me way south of course and I was getting frustrated because I was still uncertain about where I was exactly.I hindsight, I was fine, i knew where I was in general and was heading in the right direction and was able to get a VOR signal from Newburg but I was getting flustered. Then I blew the two short field landings I attempted at McMinnville, my diverted locale. As we departed McMinnville she had me calculate another diversion to Happy Valley and while enroute quizzed me hard on emergency procedures.Now that I am typing this I realize how much she was throwing at me, just like one would expect on a check ride I suppose. However, if it was supposed to instill confidence in me, she failed completely. Oh did I mention that I spent the 8 hours prior to flying yesterday cramming?! Go figure. I came home feeling dejected and questioning whether or not I am really ready for this. Of course I am, I have been studying my brains out and have over 60 hours in now.Today, after I got shelled by scuddy weather in the am, I spent the time between my time blocks not studying but just sitting watching people do touch and goes for a couple of hours. By the time my 3pm block came I was feeling pretty relaxed so I grabbed the book and started my pre-flight. My instructor came and discussed what I should go do and took another student up to do his solo prep. As I was completing my pre-flight, I stood up and tagged my head against the wing strut. It knocked me on my ass and it hurt. I took a deep breathe and was getting up when I realized I had blood streaming down my face... friggin perfect. I ran into the bathroom and I could tell I freaked out a couple of people who where sitting around studying but I had to get some paper towels on the wound to stop the bleeding ASAP. After I put pressure on it for a few minutes I cleaned it up under some cold water and looked to see if I was going to need stitches. The cut didn't look too bad and the bleeding was slowing so I just kept pressure on it and headed back outside. I decided to wait until my instructor came back to decide if I should fly. I felt ok, not freaked out just kinda pissed that Murphy stuck his big fat law in my face today. We went flying and I nailed my steep turns. Then we practiced emergency descents, a bunch of them... Pitch for best glide and look for a field. Begin troubleshooting: Fuel valve, Mixture, Carb Heat, Primer, Restart. Circle down on field and prep for off field. I think I have got the flow now. Then back to practice short fields and slips. I nailed the short field and the second slip. I am ready. Tomorrow I am going to fly with another of the instructors for a cross-check then go do some more ground reference maneuvers for last minute tune up. Monday is the day, just another lesson my instructors says to me! I will do great, I just need to relax, it's only flying after all ;)Oh, and I met one of my readers today at the field. He was just finishing up a lesson with my instructor. He wrote me a while back asking about my experiences both in Bend and here and where would I suggest he go. I of course suggested Gorge Winds because I like the folks there and the attitude and he took my advice. I guess I have learned a thing or two about flying over the past 13 months.-- it is al[...]

Long Days

Tue, 27 May 2008 02:29:00 +0000

I forgot to post last week after my three days of intense training. Last weekend I began the final hours of my PPL training with review of stalls, spins and slow flight. Then a few short and soft field takeoffs and landings. Later on, I went out and practiced my ground reference manuevers. On Sunday of last week I went out again for a morning flight with my instructor to work on simulated instument time and short/soft fields again. Then after a few hours of study, went back up on my own to practice short and soft field stuff. It was wikked hot and I got frustrated with the lack of my performance so called it quits after 6 laps in the pattern. 

After taking most of the week off from aviation for work/school obligations I got back out to the airport last evening to work again on simulated instrument and short/soft fields. My instructor discussed setting up my checkride mid June prior to our flight, but when we got back she told me it was time and she called the Flight Examiner to make the appointment for next weekend. HOLY CRAPPOLY!!! I have in the past 24 hours been cramming like there is no tomorrow, even though the appointment isn't even confirmed, I need to be ready for my CHECKRIDE!!! Today I spent the entire day at the FBO studying and quizzing with other students of various degree. Fortunately, one of the guys I got hooked up with is prepping for his CFI and spent an hour quizzing me directly out of the Practical Test Standards book, PTS for short, which describes in detail what will be expected of me on the checkride. By 4 pm my brains were melted and I took Orbit out for his afternoon walk along a dike just east of the airport, a very nice place to walk and watch airplanes land.

The remainder of this week will consist of work during the day and studying in the evening, except for tomorrow because I have class.

Also, just in case anyone reads this thing, who is the cute girl my CFI solo'd today?  I sure would like to get to know her ;)

The next post will be titled "Checkride: " followed by some description adjectives.... till then

Fast Fast Fast

Tue, 13 May 2008 17:33:00 +0000

Last night I got to fly a Piper Arrow with another pilot who needed some left seat eyeballs while he practiced landing from the right seat. He took me out to the practice area and showed me how to do Pilon turns, Lazy 8's and Chandelles. This airplane hauls butt, even for a 34 yr old. The pilot I went flying with is getting his CFI and I think I am going to have  him help me get my complex endorsement.

Final Hours - Point Turns and S Turns

Mon, 12 May 2008 15:46:00 +0000

Yesterday I lucked out and grabbed a couple of hours abandoned by another renter. I went up with my CFI and practiced short field takeoffs and landings. Then we headed out to the Boring practice area to test my turns around a point and S turns across a road. My first attempts at keeping the elevation and airspeed and distance weren't great but that's why we were out there. We did a set of each then headed back for a couple more short field attempts. My instructor was telling me that the Examiner that I will likely be check riding with is pretty hard on landing pattern airspeeds being right on the numbers and that he wants everything about 10 kts slower than I have been practicing. So I played around with 75 on downwind, 65 on base and 45 - 55 on final. It felt pretty strange initially since I have been hitting base at 60 and slowing to 50 for touchdown. I will get it for sure, but yesterday there was a 8-10kt headwind right down the runway making it hard to maintain the glide path without adding power and increasing my airspeed. I dropped off my CFI and headed out for a few solo turns on a point and s turns. I dialed in the right turn first as I was having the most trouble with it. The NNW wind was good because it really accentuated the need to change the degree of roll through out the turn. I also found myself using power to maintain altitude within the 100ft range. I need to review the procedures to see if this is the recommended way. I have three days of training scheduled for this week and need to get started with studying for the oral. The date is closing in fast...

As a bonus, a guy I met via an email list who recommended Gorge Winds offered to take me up in the Piper Arrow tonight. He is working on his CFI and thought it would be helpful to have someone in the left seat who could call out numbers as he practices flying from the right seat since the view is funky from that side. We have been trying to meet up for some time but keep missing each other at the FBO (sometimes by minutes I am told). I had scheduled the 152 for myself but decided it would be nice to get a couple days off after and intense weekend.

XC Hours DONE!!!

Sun, 11 May 2008 03:36:00 +0000

Today I finished off my Cross Country hours with a 1.9 hr flight up to Chehalis (CLS) with a touch and go at Scapoose (SPB). It was a bit misty in places as some weather moved through but overall a good flight. Ceilings at 4000ft gave me plenty of altitude, though as I got higher up the visibility quickly became worse so I settle in at between 2500 and 3000 ft. Chehalis has rt hand traffic for 16 so I entered the pattern straight in on the downwind leg. There was a Skylane on a left base, apparently they didn't read the Flight Guide of AFD regarding the right hand pattern. As they turned final I turned base and followed them in. It must have been an instructor and student on a cross country from the radio calls. I ended up following them all the way down to Scapoose. They were moving a bit faster than I and made it in and out about 10 minutes before I got there. Upon my return to Gorge Winds I had a conversation with my instructor about the next few weeks as I prepare for the checkride. I need to get a paper copy of the PTS and a 2008 FAR/AIM, time for a Sporty's Order. Wow, its finally feeling real!!! I am going to be a private pilot before summer :)

FYI: Picture taken for Mother's Day @ 2500 ft over Kelso, WA.


Fri, 09 May 2008 14:38:00 +0000

Got another cross country out of the way last night. I flew down to Corvallis and back. Originally I had planned to stop at McMinville on the way back but I thought I was running out of time. Turns out that I had the airplane for another 45 minutes beyond my touchdown time back at Troutdale and could have easily fit in the TAG at McMinnville and probably cleared out all my solo xc time... DOH! Well I like flying so I don't mind have to do a .5 hr cross country to finish out my solo time. I think I will fly up to Kelso, WA or go out the Gorge to Hood River. I am going to start prepping for my checkride beginning this weekend. I have an Oral study guide, will be reviewing the King DVDs and Sporty's DVDs. I have a few days scheduled next week to work on the Prep time and finish up my instrument time. I think I am on target for the week of the 21st as long as the weather holds... YA!

Cross County #1

Sun, 04 May 2008 20:46:00 +0000

FINALLY!!! Today I got lucky, I both had an airplane and decent weather and managed to eek out my long cross country. I flew down to Bend (sorry I didn't have time to call anyone) and on the way back hit Madras. I departed Troutdale at 10:20 am and arrived at Bend around 11:30, pretty much right as I calculated. Going over the mountains is a bit of a clincher in the 152. I could only get up to 7000 ft, then as I came over the crest the scattered layer started to come down and I ended up between 5500 and 6000 ft. The farther south I got the fewer they became and by the time I did my full stop and taxi back at KBDN most of the clouds had blown out or whatever. On my way back I landed at Madras to make sure the three stop requirement was met for my long cross country. I picked up Flight Following just after I got off Madras for the trip back over the mtns. I was able to push the 152 up to 8500 ft on the way back, but it took some time to get up there. Once at altitude I took some time to look around. I didn't do much sightseeing on my way over so I wanted to take it all in. Mt Hood was epic. I didn't even think to take a picture, DOH! I did however get to use the GPS that I purchased from a reader last summer. I used it to verify my position relative to where I thought I was based on my pilotage skillz. I understand that some CFI's (mine included) don't want students to use them and I really didn't need it at all, but it gave me some reassurance and that is worth it to me. The whole round trip took me less than 3 hours, which is less than half the drive time ... flying is awsome! Only 2.3 more hours of XC time and I will be done with all but a couple hours of prep and instrument time. WOOHOO!

6 Laps

Mon, 21 Apr 2008 00:29:00 +0000

I squeezed in 6 laps in the pattern today. The weather has been icky and I am once again in a holding pattern for solo cross countries so today I decided that I had better at least get back in the airplane to keep my skills up since I am only getting in a day every ten or so. When I called to check in before I made the drive out to Troutdale, my instructor told me that a couple of guys had asked about me. They flew in from Bend in a C206, though I have no idea who it could be. Maybe instructors from ProAir? Maybe readers of this blog? Anyone? Anyone? Does Anyone know the answer?

Night Cross Country

Sat, 12 Apr 2008 15:08:00 +0000

Last night I finished up my night training with my night cross country. On top of that I got to fly a Cessna 172 with a Garmin 430 on board. I sure miss having the G430 available in the 152 but I realize that it forces me to be a more active navigator. The 172, N172MR, has a 180hp engine which made the trip go very quickly. From Troutdale (KTTD) we flew down to Independence State (7S5), landed, taxied back and headed back to KTTD. We made good time down with a 10kt tailwind. Navigating in the Valley is pretty easy with all the various towns around. I am not as familiar with the terrain but I do know where towns are located relative to each other from obsessive chart study. My instructor covered the moving map as we neared so that I had to use my pilotage skills to find the airport, which can be surprisingly difficult with some of the smalled fields that dont have a beacon. It took me a few minutes to locate 7S5 but I found it and got us down into the pattern. My first landing in the 172 at night... not so hot. The bigger airplane requires a lot more rudder on touchdown. The trip home was much easier as I could see the towers on the west hills as soon as we were at altitude. As we passed over Aurora, I started my descent from 5500 down to 1500 to get under Portland Class C airspace and picked up I-205 @ Oregon City. My second landing in the 172 was better, but still far from an A, more like a C, but my instructor complimented me that for not having flown a 172 before, I did very well considering it was night time. I am getting very close, I can feel my successful completion of my PPL at hand. I am shooting for a mid-May checkride if the weather holds out... stay tuned.

Second First Solo

Mon, 31 Mar 2008 01:09:00 +0000

Today I solo'd in N5355Q, the C-152 I am finishing my private training in. My instructor told me two weeks ago that she was ready to sign me off but weather has been pretty bad the past two weeks so I was just waiting it out, trying to get a night cross country done in the mean time. I tried scheduling a flight last night and again tonight but storm systems in the area kept blocking me. Fortunately, I decided this morning that I should just go out to the airport and do some laps in the pattern just to stay sharp. The winds were light so my instructor had me drop her off and I did my obligatory 3 lap. I decided to keep going but after my forth landing, the engine in the airplane died on the runway. I coasted as far as I could and alerted the tower that I was having trouble. I checked the systems, electrical and mixture controls. Nothing struck me as unusual. The first thought was that I was out of fuel as we started out with only a half tank, but I had been up for less than an hour so that didn't make much sense. I tried leaning the mixture and repriming. I almost got it going but just couldn't get it to catch. I asked the tower to call the FBO for some help getting the airplane off the runway. My instructor showed up just as I almost had the engine turning over. She had me cut it off and began push while I steered onto the taxiway. I suspected fouled plugs but the engine had given me little indication of fouling. I had carb heat on full when I landed. After I got a tow back to the parking area, the FBO owner came out and pulled the plugs. They were slightly fouled but not so much that I would have thought it be a problem. Regardless, I am glad it happened on the ground rather than just after take-off and I am solo current again!!! The next step is to get my night cross country in then get my solo xc time done. The check ride is in sight, Private Pilot certificate here I come

Busy weeks

Mon, 24 Mar 2008 20:40:00 +0000

The past two weeks have been busy with flying and work and I have been neglecting to post my experiences so here's the up-to-date coverage. Last weekend, March 15/16, I flew both Saturday and Sunday in hopes of getting my solo status renewed. While my CFI signed me off as current, the winds were pretty difficult (18-22knt crosswinds) so rather than go up on my own, I had her come with me and I got to practice crosswind landings for the first time. Exhilarating and hard work!!! Then on Sunday I went back out with the hopes of getting up for my solo laps but once again winds fouled my plans. We did a 8 laps in the pattern and called it a day. I took Monday off work in hopes of getting another flight in but it was raining pretty hard when I got out there and the crosswind was blowing hard, 90 degrees to the runway. I hung out and studied for a while before calling it quits and heading back to Sellwood.

This past weekend, March 22/23, I got a double dose on Saturday and shelled again by weather on Sunday. Once again I headed out in hopes of getting my solo laps in but winds were blowing hard, this time straight down the runway at 18 kts gusting to 24. So we went up for a few laps and I practiced landing with a gusty headwind, very challenging once again. After 5 I was done, concentration spent. My instruction asked if I wanted to get a night flight in that night since it was forecast to be clear below 12000 ft under a high pressure cell. I came home, took a nap, did some cross country planning refresher study and headed back to TTD at 8 pm. I showed up a little early so tuned my scanner to the tower freq and listened for 55Q to come in. The wind was still blowing but it settled down to 14 kts and was changing from easterly to southerly. After a SNAFU with the instructors FBO keys, I retrieved the book for 55Q and did my normal preflight with some extra attention to the lights. As we taxied my instructor (DP) told me to ask for a different departure, Lackamas Lake. As we climbed out I flew over Vancouver for the first time. DP dialed int Portland Approach and told me to request a stop and go at PDX... Kewl, flying in with the giants. I was a little disoriented having not been into PDX before but once I figured out where 10L was, it was really hard to miss, that's a big ass runway with a nice light strip down the center so no guessing where i was on the tarmac. The wind was giving me some trouble as it was forcing me to crab pretty hard to get onto final but as we came down, I performed one of the finest landings so far in the 152, a true greaser. After the full stop (required for night currency) we were of to Aurora, my first foray through Class C airspace. I executed a go around and a good landing at Aurora then hit Mulino on the way back to Troutdale. What a great night, a full moon, pretty clear (though so high clouds). I was concentrating so hard on flying I forgot to look around. Next time I will get some more gawking in I hope. Hopefully I will get my solo laps in soon so I can start going on some "missions" to outlying airports on my own and get back to cross country time.

The Home Stretch

Fri, 21 Mar 2008 04:37:00 +0000

Last weekend I flew two days in a row and had the plane scheduled for a third but low ceilings kept me from going up. My CFI said she's ready to sign me off for solo work and will be pushing me towards the checkride asap. So I spent some time with my logbook and the FAR's to make sure I am where I think I am. To date I have 37.7 TT with 4.7 Solo, 1.7 Simulated Instrument and 1.3 night. So I just need 5.3 hours of solo 5 of which needs to be cross country, some more simulated instrument time, and night time, which needs to be cross country. Then I need 3 hrs of checkride prep time. So I am getting pretty darn close. My CFI said I can pretty much do the cross country time in one wack if I so choose, so I may make a big day of it and fly for five hours... wow that sounds like a LOT. If not I will do a short one out to Hood River and a second tour of the coast.  

Consistency being the key to success, I have secured a loan to help me finish up. Thanks go to my very supportive family for helping me achieve this dream of mine. 

I have the plane reservered both days this coming weekend but weather on Sunday isn't looking too great, but I am learning that valley weather is much less predictable then the Central Oregon weather so its anyones guess. If all goes well, I will do my solo thing on Saturday and maybe XC to Hood River or elsewhere Sunday. Til then ...

Almost solo again

Sun, 09 Mar 2008 23:11:00 +0000

Today I went out in N5355Q for 1.1 hrs of air work, and some landings at Valley View, a very skinny runway in Estacada, OR. I did a couple of Short Field Take-offs and one Short field landing there. Its a little field with not much of a taxiway and you have to taxi back from midfield on the runway to takeoff on 34. After a couple of those we headed back to Troutdale. I felt my skills sharpening today and I was a lot less tense. I took about 30 minutes before my lesson just sitting in the airplane, feeling her out and getting in synch. My landings are still ... meh, but I felt much more comfortable in the air. My mom wanted pics so I took a couple with my DV cam, which I had intended to use to get a little video but it didn't work out cause I forgot a tape. Doh! Regardless, I did get a couple of pics of the cockpit and one external photo. I was given a copy of the Pre-solo quiz today. Its the same one as before but now there is new airspace and aircraft that I must prove my knowledge of. So hopefully I will be solo again after my next lesson and I can finish this sucker up!!!

School Project

Sat, 08 Mar 2008 17:32:00 +0000

In January I began taking classes at Portland Community College to help keep me interested in my career until I can make a living as a pilot (yes I do understand how difficult that can be). For my first series of classes, Multimedia Design, we had to create a project using audio, video and graphics in Macromedia Director. This program is targeted at applications that will be deployed on kiosks and distributed on cds, not necessarily for the web. For my topic I chose (big surprise here) learning to fly. The idea was to create an interactive environment to generate the same kind of excitement I felt when getting ready to go for my first flight. The project presentations are today, so here's a sneak peak of the content. You will need to have Apple Quicktime and the Macromedia Director plug-ins installed for you browser and Intel Mac users have a couple of hoops to jump through. Http://

Handy Notes

Fri, 07 Mar 2008 21:16:00 +0000

In keeping with the intention of acting more like the PIC for my upcoming lesson, I created a handy checklist out of a few 3x5 file cards and two clip rings (actually someone at Mead had already thought of this, I just bought the color coded cards/ring combo pack). The cards have a color strip at the bottom which I used to seperate them into categories; Pre-flight, Engine Runinng, Emergency, and General Aircraft Data (Fuel, Oil, VSpeeds) checklists. I made a checklist for the walkaround, inside cockpit per start, Engine Start, Taxi, Climbing and Descending and After Landing. This was a useful exercise in learning the C152 and now I have a handy little binder of the critical checklists. So no more uncertainty for me when I get to the lesson this week.

Stalls, Slow Flight, TAGs and Turns

Mon, 03 Mar 2008 19:30:00 +0000

Seems like I have been here before... back to the basics of air work in the C152 yesterday. A new plane, new FBO, new Airport with a tower and totally new area definitely challenged my ego. I did manage to get a couple landings in on my own control, though I am having a tough time with feeling the ground effect in the Cessna. I think I had the same issue in the Diamond initially, so I am racking it up to inexperience in the airplane. The 152 stalls a bit differently than the DA20, the shudder is much more subtle. I also noticed that the 152 doesn't float like the Diamond, and am guesstimating that this has to do with weight (the Diamonds being 300lbs lighter)? One lesson that took me some time to absorb and caused me a bit of frustration in the air is that I am PIC, and my new instructor has an interesting way of reminding me of that fact. I noticed last summer that when my instructor was in the plane, I tended to rely on her for "corrections" in cases where I was unsure of a procedure or my flying. I found myself doing this again yesterday as I am unfamiliar with the new airplane and the procedures of the FBO and the Portland area traffic patterns. In one case I didn't hear clearly what the tower had said, though I knew from my position that it was a "leaving my airspace" call but didn't hear it clearly. I couldn't remember if I should respond, so I asked my instructor, rather than asking the controller to repeat. My instructor reminded me that it is my responsibilty (meaning not hers) to be sure I understand the instructions given by ATC. Ultimately, I realize that I need to give myself some time to build my confidence back up, but also realize that I do know what I am doing, and just because there is a CFI in the other seat shouldn't distract me from that fact.

Lastly I did want to mention how much nicer the controllers are at Troutdale vs. Redmond. The guys seem to be very accomodating to students in clarifying their instructions and just plain friendlier on the radio than the guys In Redmond. I mentioned this to my instructor and she laughed and said that Redmond is notorious for the cranky controllers.

Conflicting information

Thu, 28 Feb 2008 04:59:00 +0000

At the end of last summer I subscribed to Aviation Safety, a monthly journal of accident and safety related material. I find it interesting how very critical the authors tend to be of modern flight training techniques. It makes me wonder about the quality of training I have received up to this point. From the tone of some of the articles I have read, the author expects the readers to be masters level aerodynamics students. Is having this level of scientific understanding of the airplanes flight dynamics necessary? Do all pilots need to be able to explain the fluid dynamics involved in aileron deflection?  What about the "seat of the pants" feeling? That indescribable sixth sense I get when I am too high on base, too fast on final? Its the same thing I experience barrelling down a steep singletrack, faster and more precise that I can explain. Primal. The literature doesn't give much credence to the "feeling" of the machine, instead it concentrates on the physics of why this accident happened or who was at fault, the pilot or instructor. I wonder if this is just me or if other pilots just don't get it?  Am I being obtuse?

Back for real!

Wed, 20 Feb 2008 04:06:00 +0000

Today I flew N5355Q, a Cessna 152. She's a bit of a beast when compared to the Diamonds, but she's a solid flyer and will teach me some very crucial skills and bring me inline with most of the pilots in the world in terms of what they trained in. She flies a bit easier than the diamonds, mostly because of the actual useful trim operation. I never got the hang of properly trimming the Diamonds as there is no physical sensation to the trim other than the change in attitude. We did some slow flight, turns on a point and tag's. My new instructor is very pleasant and knowledgable. One really great thing about KTTD is that it is towered. Not so busy as but its a good training ground. I kept thinking to myself that those controllers must get pretty bored, I saw fewer aircraft than on a slow day at KBDN, but at least I will get some more practice talking to ATC. I am very excited to be back in the game, though I am not sure how long it will be before my next day up, it will certainly be fewer days than have gone by since Sept 19, 2007

My new FBO

Tue, 19 Feb 2008 02:58:00 +0000

Today I got back in the left seat at Gorge Winds at KTTD (Troutdale). I flew a C172 after getting the primo tour from the chief instructor of the FBO and all the aircraft, way more thorough than was dealt me at Pro Air, not to say they didn't take care of me in Bend, but this new place felt like home right off the bat. They have a fleet of 7 or 8 birds of all types from a 152 up to a 310 and beyond. KTTD is towered but not terribly busy, which will add just the right amount of additional challenge and performance to my pilotage. The winds were 30 gusting to 40 mph so instead of flying my first day back in ferocious winds the instructor offered to let me fly their FRASCA flight simulator... this thing is very fun!!! I can see doing my Instrument rating in it as she explained that pt 141 students can do up to 40% of their hours in the simulator @ a substantial hourly rate savings. Pro air didn't have one of these as far as I know, but like I said above, I got the full tour and was made to feel very at home. I did three touch and go's then landed and taxied back to the terminal. I am very excited to get back to it ... the end is once again in sight. Thanks to all those folks who answered my requests for input on where to base out of to continue my training.

Back to the cockpit ... sorta

Wed, 06 Feb 2008 00:18:00 +0000

Well it's been a while since my last flying post but things have been changing and flying took a back burner for a while. So here's the short version... I put my PPL on hold so that I could save for and execute a move out of Central Oregon for greener, literally, pastures in light of an employment situation that was brewing. I am now working and living in Portland, OR, taking classes in Multimedia design/development and working from my substantially larger apartment. I have begun looking for a new CFI and plan to start back to my training in late March or early April. I have been flying Microsoft Flight Simulator X for a few weeks to get my head back in the game as much as I can. I have also made learning to fly the subject of a school project I am doing. Here is a small sampling.


I miss the sky :(

Tue, 09 Oct 2007 23:56:00 +0000

Its been a couple weeks since I flew last and I don't know when I will be able to go up again. Due to some circumstances beyond my control that necessitate having to re-arrange my financial priorities, I am Grounded. I haven't been able to get myself out to the airport though I know I should at least go sit and watch people fly, maybe this weekend?? I could make a video of other people flying around or something.

Shelled Again!!! but kewl videos

Sun, 23 Sep 2007 01:05:00 +0000

Today I was planning to do my solo cross country but once again I was shelled by the weather everywhere else but here. Instead I decided to go to Redmond and work on my towered airport stuff. I also decided to make a vlog post to go along with my day, which was fun, but I need a better way to hold the camera. any suggestions?


Also, a friend sent me this...


Big Break

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 20:17:00 +0000

Today was my first day flying in over a month... wow that was a big one. I took N380GF for 1.2 hrs of steep turns, slow flight, turns on a point and S-turns. I started my day off with a quick tour over the new Tetherow developement/golf resort just to see what they have done. Holy cow, all that space that used to contain some kewl singletrack and lots of walking space is now a bunch of roads and golf hole. Ce la vie, such is the price of "progress". Anywho, everything went pretty well today considering the break. My first steep turns were a little sloppy and my s-turns suck, but my turns on a point were pretty good. I got a little spooked doing slow flight, the diamonds engine was a little cranky at lower rpm and it was gusty so I decided I had better terminate before I got into something I couldn't handle. After I got a little dizzy flying in circles I decided to head back for some touch and goes to see how my landing feet felt... not so hot there either. The light gusts coming straight down 34 kept me floating a lot longer than anticipated. The diamonds have such a high glide ratio they will float forever if you let them. After one touch and go, and one go around, I decided I had enough and called my full stop. Good enough for me right now. Don't know when I will be able to fly again. Money has gotten tight and some other things need priority in my life right now. Hopefully I'll get my elusive first solo cross country out of the way next weekend but since it seems to be evading me I am working on having no expectations.