Fullfilling a life dream of flying, I have started taking flight lessons working toward a Private Pilot License. These are my thoughts and experiences of my flights/lessons.

Getting Close

Tuesday, 17 January 2012 16:35

It’s been a while since my last blog entry. Most people would be done with their lessons and would have their license by now, but not me. I am too poor to do it that fast. I absolutely love to fly. Landing, well that’s a different story. I like the challenge, but depending on certain conditions I still get pretty uneasy with it. The good news is I have a great, and incredibly patient, flight instructor. I think the most terrifying yet exciting moment so far is my 1st solo flight. For those of you who don’t know what that is, I will explain it now. A student’s solo flight is when he/she has shown their instructor that they can safely handle the airplane by themselves. So since nobody but the instructor knows exactly when that is, it’s usually a surprise to the student, as it was for me. I knew it was coming, but I just wasn’t sure which day it would be. We had been doing some practice take-offs and landings (staying in the traffic pattern doing touch-and go’s). After touching down my instructor asked if I had my medical/student pilot certificate with me. I did, and told him that I did. He then told me to taxi off of the runway. When I did, he got out and said go ahead and do 4 more!! If I were to go through everything that went through my mind at that moment I would probably max out my storage quota for this website! Simply put, like before, I was very excited, and very terrified at the same time. If fact, I considered declining and asking him to get back in, but then I thought that if he was comfortable letting me take the plane by myself, then I should be as well. I said a quick prayer and away I went. The sense of freedom was absolutely incredible. It couldn't have been a better day for it either. The wind was calm and the sun was getting close to setting so it was reflecting off of the highway (I-80) making it look like a ribbon of gold. In the western sky there were some cirrus clouds that were also taking on the gold coloring from the sun. It is really hard to put all of this into words, but I am doing my best at it. Guess you'd have to be there.

Since my solo flight, and getting the required solo hours completed, I have started on learning about navigation, weather, all sorts of charts, taking practice written tests and going on “cross-country” flights. Yesterday I took my 2nd cross-country to Waterloo and Fort Dodge. The weather was trying really hard to shut me down, but wasn’t successful. It’s still a little overwhelming with the amount of tasks that must be completed while piloting the airplane safely. Just like being a paramedic, I will just have to find my groove and it will all come together.

I have decided to use this part of my website to share some of the resources I have found online, or elsewhere about flight training, general aviation, and maybe even some flight sim stuff. See the link to the left says Aviation Stuff? That’s where it will be.








Studying Airspace

Friday, 21 January 2011 14:44

Currently I am sitting at Saints Rest Coffee House & Art Gallery taking an online course about airspace. Yesterday I read through it in my textbook (Guided Flight Discovery by Jeppesen) about it and seemed like the more I read, the more confused I got. I know someday i will look back at this and think "Why was this so difficult?". I am happy that I joined AOPA so I have access to so many resources!!! Looking forward to to a new episode of Flying Wild Alaska on the Discovery channel tonight at 8 (central). Well, I better quit blogging and get back to studying.


Intro Flight

Saturday, 14 August 2010 00:00

Today is the day that I got to see what it's all about. The introductory flight. I went to the Newton Municipal Airport and met with the flight instructor, Jack. He asked me several questions but the one that sticks out the most was "Why do you want to learn to fly?". With so many thoughts that come to mind when answering a question like that I was not sure what to say. I said that I love being in the air and that I love the view from up there. It's a feeling of freedom, excitement and exhilaration. He also asked what my goal is. At that point I wasn't sure what he meant. I have a tendency to over analyze questions like that and wonder what the motive is of the person asking. My goal is to earn the right to rent a plane and go flying when I want, and to take my family for "airplane rides". Much more than that, is my life long desire to fly. My only experience with flying before this intro flight was a few commercial flights. I have flown from Omaha to Ontario International in CA, with a stop in Vegas on the way out, and a stop in Phoenix on the way back. Then years later, flew to Las Vegas with a friend of mine with a stop in Dallas both ways. In 2007, took Allegiant Air on a direct flight to Las Vegas and back. Finally, in 2009 my wife and I flew to Las Vegas for our honeymoon. I have to say that the flying was much of the fun for each trip. I really noticed this on our direct flight to Las Vegas. I was a little disappointed that it was so quick, no additional take-offs or landings. So when we went back out there, I specifically found a flight that had 1 lay-over. Lucky for me, my wonderful wife does not enjoy sitting by the window. I LOVE sitting by the window. I spent my time looking at the ground, trying to approximate how fast we were going, looking for landmarks to try to track our progress, and then trying to guess our altitude. I don't know if everyone does that or not. I would like to think I'm not weird in that, but then again, if that makes me weird then I can live with that. I guess i should also mention my two helicopter flights, one because of an anaphyllactic reaction to a bee sting, and the other for a scenic tour of Wisconsin Dells.

Before today I had never been in control of an airplane except for the hours and hours spent on Microsoft Flight Simulator 98, 2000, 2004, and X. I had also never been on a small airplane. Today is the day that everything changes. We went out to the plane, a Piper Warrior II (PA28-161), low wing, single engine plane. The plane is small, 4 seats including the pilot seats. When Jack and I are in the plane it is shoulder to shoulder. Tight fit! We took of on runway 14. Once we got up to about 3000 feet MSL we leveled of and Jack let me "take the wheel". He had me use the foot pedals, controlling the rudder, to turn left and right. I also used the yoke to turn. We flew around for about 20 minutes or so then Jack lined us up for the runway and we landed. I know we talked a bit while we were up there but I have no recollection of the conversation. I was so hyped about flying that nothing could ruin my day. It was the first day in my life I got to actually control an airplane. It was also the day I realized that I would do whatever it took for it to not be the last. Any doubts in my mind about taking flying lessons and eventually earning a private pilots license were gone. It's all up from here.

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