Skates97

Richard's Training Journey

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone, I'm just a "future mooney owner" working on my PPL. I do have a blog for family and friends where I am posting my adventures but if it's okay with everyone here I would love to share them with you and welcome any advice and encouragement you want to offer. I can post a link to the blog post when I make them or just paste the whole post here for easy reading. I'm fairly new to your forum, so if my posts are too long and laborious just say so. I know a lot of what is in them is basic info but it's mainly meant for family and friends with little to no knowledge of flight. (With the exception of my dad who was a pilot in the Air Force. 

So, here is my latest post from my flight last Friday:

More Landings and Playing Around at Ontario International

Another hot day of flying with the temperature at 95 degrees and the winds out of the West. Today we went up in the Cherokee 180 so it was nice to have a little more power than the 140's. I am comfortable talking with ground and the tower now, although I still stumble around and forget to include some things with my responses back to Air Traffic Control (ATC). Fortunately the folks in ATC are very patient and will continue to ask until they get back the response they are looking for.

I must say that the controllers at Chino (KCNO), Riverside (KRAL), and Ontario (KONT) are great! More on that shortly.

I requested a departure to the East and we were given clearance to take off. We made our crosswind and then turned downwind headed East toward KRAL. It was at that point that my CFI realized his iPad was on the fritz and he started trying to remember the ATIS frequency for Riverside from memory. I told him I had my Pilots Guide binder in my bag behind my seat but he fished around on the dial and found it. In the meantime I had made a turn to the South so we wouldn't end up in KRAL's airspace before contacting them. (He also got his iPad working again).

We listened to the ATIS info and I contacted Riverside requesting touch and go's. My CFI laughed at me as I had reported my location about two miles away from where I really was, which doesn't sound like much but when you are only about 5 miles away and flying about 110mph it can make a difference. The tower told us to enter on the downwind and report when there so we did. We were the only ones in the pattern at the time so we came around for the touch and go. My landings are getting progressively better and I am doing much better staying on glide path and using throttle to make my corrections to rate of descent while maintaining the proper speed.

We did the touch and go and were given "right closed traffic" so made our turn to the right and came around the pattern for another touch and go. The winds were from  270 degrees at 19 knots which was perfect for the active runway, 27. We turned to final and there was a helicopter that contacted the tower. The tower informed them of the "Cherokee on final (us)" and to "Maintain separation." The helicopter informed the tower that he "had the traffic (us) in sight" and would maintain separation. As our ground speed was fairly slow given the 19 knot headwind and our airspeed on final, the helicopter was actually overtaking us. This resulted in my CFI saying "You could get passed by a helicopter" and a friendly jab over the airwaves at us that was all in good fun.

My CFI said the other day he was out here at KRAL and they were the only ones in the pattern so they were doing touch and go's in a figure eight pattern, first on runway 27, then turning to the left and coming around on runway 34, then turning to the right and back to 27. He said he recognized the controller as the same guy from the other day and said he was going to request runway 34 to get me a crosswind landing.

CFI: "Riverside tower, Cherokee 9514J, can we get runway 34 after this touch and go?"

Tower: "14J, you know winds are 270 at 19?"

CFI: "Yes, we'll give it a try."

Tower: "14J, cleared for touch and go on runway 34."

CFI: "Cleared for touch and go, runway 34, 14J."

We made the touch and go on 27, banked to the left and came around for the crosswind landing on 34. I crabbed in and touched down right on the centerline and then we were off again. My CFI said, "Great job, that was a 19 knot crosswind at about 90 degrees and you put it right down the middle." I must admit that I was nervous about trying a crosswind landing but the Cherokee handled it well.

Next we were off to Ontario and that made me nervous. I hadn't been to a big airport yet, and Ontario, while still a Class C airport, gets airliners, cargo planes, and all sorts of traffic. My CFI handed me his iPad with Foreflight running on it and said "Check your position, call into the tower and ask for touch and go's." (My mind went me? Those are the big boys over there. But he wasn't giving me an option so I got my position and made the radio call.) I have to say that the folks in the tower at KONT are super cool. What we did next I can only describe as "Playing around on the runways at Ontario." Keep in mind that we are just a little Cherokee 180 and they have other big traffic coming and going. You will see that yes, they are super cool in the tower and willing to let the little kid play on their playground.

We were given a straight in on runway 26R which surprised my CFI as that is the runway closest to the terminal and he said usually they bring the airlines in there and keep folks like us over on 26L. My CFI said "Just be ready because they may have us shift over to 26L", but they didn't and we touched down on 26R and took off again with right closed traffic. As we were coming downwind to our base turn there was a "UPS Heavy" that had landed on 26L and another big plane take off from 26L so we were advised caution for wake turbulence. However, by the time we came around and were on final enough time had passed that we didn't have to worry. As we were on base my CFI asked the tower if after we did our touch and go, if we could be cleared for a landing on 8R for a simulated engine failure. The tower quickly gave clearance (did I mention those guys are cool?) and after touching down and beginning our climb out my CFI said that we were going to have an engine failure about the time we would be making our turn to crosswind, 500 ft above ground level (AGL).

We reached that point and as I got ready to start my turn, my CFI pulled the power and said "You just lost your engine." He then talked me through it, nose over to keep your speed, watch your bank, stay coordinated, keep the turn coming, watch your speed, over the runway and straighten out... We settled down about halfway down the very long (10,200') runway and then full power and back up in the air. The winds were 18 knots at 260 degrees so that helped a lot in making the turn.

As we were climbing out my CFI asked the tower if we could make a turn and come right back for a teardrop entry to 26L for one more touch and go. Again the tower gave the clearance. After we were back at Chino I told him I was amazed that Ontario let us do all those things. He said that he has almost always received clearance from the folks in the tower there to do whatever he asked for. Like I said earlier, ATC at Ontario is awesome, and the only way I can describe it is that we got to play around on their runways.

Anyway, back to the flight, we were heading for Chino and I called in for a landing and complete stop. The tower gave me clearance for 26R, but then my CFI had one more idea. He told me to call in and ask instead for a touch and go and then a landing on runway 3 for a simulated engine failure. ATC replied with something, which I didn't catch, I looked at my CFI and he said "Just say 14J" which I did and then asked him "What did he say?" He said the tower was basically taking it under advisement and they eventually came back with the clearance.

We made the touch and go and started climbing out. The winds were 13 knots at 260 degrees. We got about 500' AGL and he said "You just lost your engine" and pulled the power. Same procedure as at KONT, watch the airspeed, keep my turn, stay coordinated. This time with the wind coming at an angle to runway 3 we didn't have it pushing us straight down the runway, but it was very evident as we came around that we were being pushed along. I settled it down fairly close to the centerline and we slowed down and turned onto the taxiway. I contacted ground and got the taxi clearance and we headed back to the hanger.

The flight was a blast! One crosswind landing, one with a tailwind, one with a quartering tailwind, and my first experience talking with ATC and landing at a Class C airport. I was making the radio calls, except when my CFI started wanting to do the oddball landings at which point he took over the radios and I just flew the plane. Still a long way to go on my radio calls, but they are getting better all the time.

Next up, I have to memorize the Emergency Procedures Check Lists, some more radio work, and get ready to solo.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*Members that donate $10 or more do not see advertisements*

Excellent post, sounds like lots of good training, experience and Fun flying time!

Keep writing like that and I will keep reading like that...

I think you have a good cfi,,  "THEY" can get controllers to do all the odd things for the training

and get them to treat the trainees with some deference  helping the trainees to not get rattled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I seem to forget "direction of departure" just after ATIS reminded me to include it.   Last week I remembered to include it both with ground and tower.  I should probably fly to towered fields more often.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, mpg said:

Excellent post, sounds like lots of good training, experience and Fun flying time!

Keep writing like that and I will keep reading like that...

I think you have a good cfi,,  "THEY" can get controllers to do all the odd things for the training

and get them to treat the trainees with some deference  helping the trainees to not get rattled.

He's been great. Young kid (just turned 26 but I can call him a kid since I have one of my own older than him) but he has a great demeanor and is good at teaching.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very well written and entertaining. If you end up flying as well as you write your journal you will be a PP in no time. Great story..

 

-Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent post matey. Love it. It is like reading flying magazine. 

Post a pic of your CFI and you in the plane next time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Hyett6420 said:

Excellent post matey. Love it. It is like reading flying magazine. 

Post a pic of your CFI and you in the plane next time. 

Will do, going up tomorrow evening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Went up Thursday and yesterday. Just got to writing up a post about Thursday. Again for all you pilots I know it is in fairly simpleton terms, but most of the intended audience of family and friends don't have much flying knowledge. Will get yesterdays written up later today or tomorrow, depends on how long my homework takes. Family, working full time, finishing up an online degree through Colorado State in Accounting (just 4 more weeks if I can test out of one last class), plus flight lessons makes for a busy schedule. :blink:

Back to the Basics

Hot again... I think that is what it will be from here on out since we are going into July and the only time I can fly in the week is the evening when it hasn't cooled down yet and even if we take off in the morning on a Saturday by the time we come back it's hot.

The last couple of flights we hadn't worked on maneuvers at all so it was time to get back to the basics. Today we were in N4132J which I had not been in before. It's not that it flies much different than the other planes, it's just that I had not been on the radio listening for that tail number which is going to come up later in the flight.

I completed the pre-flight and we taxied down to the end of the hangers listening to the ATIS information so that I could call in to Ground for taxi clearance. Last time I forgot to read back the runway assignment when responding to Ground so I was determined not to forget it this time.

Me: "Chino Ground, Cherokee 4132J at DuBois, request taxi runway 26R, we have information Victor." (I don't remember the letter at the moment but  we'll just say it was Victor.)
Ground: "Cherokee 4132J, taxi runway 26R via Papa, cross 21."
Me: "Taxi runway 26R via Papa, 32J." (Feeling proud of myself that I remembered the runaway assignment.)
CFI: (Saying to me) "Did you say you were crossing 21?"
Me: "Crap, here I was feeling good I didn't forget the runway in the read back like last time, instead I forgot that... Do I need to call back?"
CFI: "No, looks like he's going to let it slide in the read back. Some of the guys are picky, but he gave you the clearance so you're good."

Some controllers are very picky and will make you read back over and over until you get it just the way they want it. I prefer that, especially as a student pilot who is still learning my way around the radios. This controller was not feeling so picky today, and that is going to get me again before the end of the flight.

We took off without event and headed to the practice area over Lake Matthews. I was making all the radio calls, switching radios, etc... I did have to ask my CFI for the frequencies. (After I got home from my flight I made a cheat sheet on a 3x5 card with the frequencies for the Chino Airport (KCNO) as well as the other local airports and the practice area to keep in my pocket so I would always have it ready.) Once out over the practice area I told him what I wanted to do and we started going through the maneuvers.

Steep turns were uneventful but the first time rolling out I didn't compensate enough pushing forward on the yoke and we picked up some altitude as we rolled out. I fixed that on the next attempt. We performed power on and power off stalls. We went through a simulated engine failure so that I could work through the checklist and also get to a lower altitude for ground maneuvers. Then it was turns around a point and s-turns. The whole time I was making the radio calls, reporting in where we were and what we were doing. That may sound like a small step but it's a big one for me to remember to make them without being prompted and a necessary one to prepare to solo.

I had forgotten to do slow flight while we were up at the higher altitude so we climbed back up and practiced slow flight which still has my brain crossed up a little as you control speed with your pitch and altitude with your power (just backwards from the way you would think).

There are those times that you say things you wished you hadn't. Sometimes it is right as the words are coming out of your mouth and yet you can't stop them. Sometimes it isn't until after you have said it that you realize what you said, this was the latter of the two.

CFI: "Okay, let's go through a fire checklist, engine fire or cabin fire, your choice."
Me: "Let's do cabin fire (and that is where I should have stopped but didn't) because I have that checklist down."
CFI: "Then we're definitely having an engine fire, okay what do you do?"

I went through the checklist, was able to remember the steps from memory, and all was good. I think we would have made it down and walked away in one piece...

We headed for KCNO, I made last call to Lake Matthews and switched over to the ATIS for KCNO. After getting the information I called the tower and requested touch and go's. Remember I said the tower wasn't being particular about the read back today? Well it got me again...

Me: "Chino tower, Cherokee 4132J, over the 91-15 interchange at 2,600' heading inbound request touch and go on runway 26L, we have information Whiskey."
Tower: "Cherokee 4132J, enter on base, runway 26L cleared touch and go."
Me: "Runway 26L cleared touch and go 32J" (I forgot the entry into the pattern on the read back and the tower let me get away with it.)
CFI: "Where are you entering the pattern?"
Me: (Crap) "Dang, I missed it. Do I say "Say again" to have him repeat?"
CFI: "No, I got it, he said enter on the base. He let you get by on the read back but if you forget again I'm going to make you call back and ask."

I mentioned that we were in a different plane than what I had been in before. It will be nice when I have my own plane and can just have one tail number drilled into my head. Normally my base is over the wash to the east of the airport so I was angling toward that before turning to base.

Tower: "Cherokee 4132J, turn north to enter base."
Tower: "Second call, Cherokee 4132J, turn north to base."
CFI: "Isn't he talking to you?" (Already knowing the answer)
Me: (Moment of realization, that's my plane today) "Turning north to base, 32J."

We haven't tried short field landings yet so it was time to learn. For a short field landing you need to clear a 50' obstacle at the end of the runway, maybe there are trees there, a fence, building, etc... At Chino there is nothing off the end of the runway which I think makes it more difficult as you are trying to clear an imaginary obstacle and just going by the fact that you need an extra 50' on the altimeter at that point. You come in at a steeper approach angle and need to put the plane down within 200' of a specified point.

We made 3 touch and go's and a landing to a full stop. Two of them were very nice, one was okay, and one I think took a little bit of the lifespan off of the oleo struts on the main gear.

Taxiing back in he said he was glad to see that I was taking the lead in the flight and telling him what I wanted to do next, making turns when needed to stay over the practice area, etc... I told him that was because the first time we were up learning maneuvers he had told me that I needed to figure out what I wanted to do because eventually he was just going to sit there and make me decide. I thought it was better to initiate it on my own than wait for him to tell me to.

Next flight we are going to work on short field landings more as well as learning short field take-offs, soft field take offs, and soft field landings. If all goes well, the flight after that will be my phase check, then the next time up will be with a different instructor for a solo check ride, and then I will solo. I'm almost into double digits in my log book at 9.9 hours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard, can you sense the cognitive overload as it happens?

You clearly are seeing where it Can happen even days in advance.

Every step adds to the work load.  Talking on the radio seems to double the work load.  I have said things that were not what I thought out in advance.... Practice, practice, practice....

read backs, position reports, clearances...  Doesn't sound as hard as it is.  Be ready to write.  The tower is going to dump you to approach one day.  They will throw you a frequency.  Your head is already loaded and a frequency can be a long number with decimal points....  It is OK to ask for help if you don't get the details.  But, it is better to catch it all and act on it efficiently...

I use a full 8.5” X11” clip board for writing everything on.  Two panel mounted radios have two frequencies each a place for ground, tower, approach, and the AWOS...

The iPad is a pretty good device, but can be a challenge if you can't immediately pull up the frequencies you want. Practice with the iPad at home.  It is amazing how well the apps are written to deliver what you have in mind.

Thanks for sharing your learning process.

Best regards,

-a-

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if I can tell as it happens or right after it happens as it happens very quickly. I definitely know when it happens.

Yes, one would think that talking on the radio would not be that difficult. After all, you only need to remember what was just said and then repeat it right back. You would think after all the years that I have been married I would have perfected it. You know, when your wife asks you if you're listening because she can tell by the look on your face you aren't, but you quickly repeat back the last few things she said to prove you are listening? :P

However, every flight things get easier. The first few times up there is no way I could have kept up with the radio calls over the practice area but Thursday it was not a problem.

I don't have an iPad (not an Apple fan) but I have a Surface 3 which has some good apps. I have been playing around with it quite a bit at home, going through different scenarios in my mind and how I would use it. Once I am more comfortable with it I will start using it in the plane. I did just pick up a knee board so I am going to use that the next time up to take notes on to help with read backs.

The one thing that has helped me the most is a "post flight debriefing" with my dad. Really it is just an excuse to give him a call and talk about flying. (I've probably spent more time on the phone with my dad in the past month than I did in all of the last year). He spent 20 years in the Air Force, quite a bit as a pilot, and so it has been fun to share the journey with him. On the drive home I'll talk about my flight and he will talk about when he was in flight training, experiences as he was training pilots in the T-38, and his time flying C-130's. I go back and replay the whole flight with him and it gives me a chance to think through what I did right, what I did wrong, what I need to work on, and how I should have done things differently. The blog is one more opportunity to share it with my family and friends who know how long I have been waiting to fly, as well as go through the flight again in my mind an evaluate it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You will probably find electronic devices that you prefer.  And sizes of paper that are best for you.  How you write and the order you write them in may be different...

The older I have gotten, the more Apple oriented I have become.  They are less effort to set up and use and they share data together really well.  My Dad is the Samsung guy and will never go Apple. Unless I go Samsung....?  My dad is the guy who said he would never have a computer.  Nobody needs a computer....

Pick things that work for you...!

Best regards,

-a-

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's been busy so I figured I should get a post up about my last two flights before I fly tomorrow.

Saturday, June 25th

I did see a Mooney in the pattern, it was tail number N79333. I'm not sure if the owner is here on the forums, but it was a nice looking plane.

Double Digits!!

So what is in double digits you ask? My flight time. After today's lesson I am at 11.4 hours and moving closer to my solo.

Today was the first time I have flown in the morning and the first time I have flown without any wind. The winds have always been blowing when I have flown in the afternoon/evening but this morning it was calm. I think I actually prefer to fly with some wind.

There are some great advantages to training out of Chino, nice wide long runways, plenty of planes so I have never had a problem getting a plane to fly, plenty of VFR days, learning at a towered field with some great controllers, and this morning I found another advantage to learning at Chino. Chino is a very busy airport at times...

This morning after we were given clearance to cross 26R and hold short at 26L we were told to switch frequencies. The airport was so busy this morning that the split up the runways onto separate channels because there were too many planes to be on one channel. There were often 3-4 planes in the pattern on 26L the whole time as well as the ones taking off and arriving. 

With so many planes in the pattern and coming and going I got the chance to handle some different instructions from ATC. They had me extending out my upwind and downwind certain distances. They had me extending out and waiting for them to call my turns. I had to pay attention to the other planes in the pattern and who I was following so I knew when to make my base turns. All in all, some great experience on the radio and in the pattern that I would not have at a slower airport.

Today we worked on short field take offs and landings as well as soft field take offs and landings. The short field take off was fine but on the soft field take off I came up through the ground effect too quickly and almost stalled it, that is going to take some more practice. The landings were okay, but they need some more work too. There is nothing off the end of the runway in Chino so you have to pretend there is an imaginary 50' obstacle there that you have to clear which in my mind is more difficult than actually having something to look at.

We landed and got our taxi instructions back to the hanger. As we turned off 'Delta' onto 'Mike' there was another plane coming towards us.

Me: "What the heck?" (As I pull the power, put on the brakes, and steer to the left side of the taxiway, he was on the right side of the center line.)
CFI: "He sees us" (The guy in the right seat had the door open a little and was waving us forward as they rolled off the taxiway onto the ramp area.)
ATC: "85Romeo, be aware of the Archer on the taxiway who IS NOT ON THE FREQUENCY."
Me: "Thanks, we see him."We never left the pattern today, just around and around which was just fine with me. I really don't care where I'm flying, it's just great to be up in the air...

The plan is to have my phase check the next time up, followed by my solo check ride the next time, followed by my solo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wednesday, June 29th

What's that on the Runway??

Well, I thought we were going to go through my phase check but instead my CFI wanted to nail down the short and soft field take offs and landings which was fine. I would rather feel more comfortable with those before moving on.

One could argue that you could just make sure you were good enough to pass your check ride and then just stay away from the short and soft fields, but I ask why? Who knows if you will find yourself one day having to put the plane on the ground and the closest field is a short or soft field. I don't want to just be good enough to pass, I want to have it nailed. So, off we went.

It was very different than Saturday morning. The winds were blowing again which was just fine with me. It was mostly down the runway. There were also almost no other planes around. After a couple of times around the pattern we were the only plane up there.

My short field take off was fine so we worked on the soft field take off. The first one I did the same thing as Saturday and popped up through the ground effect but the second one was much better.

We did a couple soft field (simulated) landings and those were nice so we moved on to short field landings again. I would come around and my approaches were right on, lined right up on the center line, good speed, good descent rate, and then ugly right at the end. On one of them stalled it out just a bit high... and slammed down on the runway. My CFI said "Well, you nailed it right on the numbers, but you planted it hard enough that an examiner is going to be complaining about his back..." He said he didn't feel the strut bottom out, but to me it was rough. I told him "I just better not ever do that with my wife in the plane or she might not fly with me again.

He said that my approaches were perfect, it was just the timing of my flare. Each time I would say, "Okay, so what did I do wrong there" and the next time around I would make the adjustment. The problem is that I know what to do, but I'm not exactly "feeling" it. Finally I got one just right, the approach, 50' over the imaginary obstacle, and touched down nice and smooth about 50' past the numbers. We lifted off again and my CFI said "What do you want to do now." I said "Let's do it again and make sure it wasn't an accident."

The next one was a little rougher, but the one after that was just right again. I'm starting to get the feel for it...

You may be wondering about the title of the post. As we were getting to the end of the flight time I touched down and before I added power back in I noticed something crossing the runway up ahead. I wasn't quite sure what it was as it was about 3,000 yards up ahead but it was crossing from right to left. So I left the power out and moved to the right side of the runway. It crossed the center line and then sat down.

CFI: "Uh, we have something on the runway up ahead of us, maybe a dog?"
ATC: "Is it a coyote?"
(By this time we were close enough to it to see that yes it was a coyote. As we rolled past it, it headed off the left side of the runway, I put the power in, and we lifted off.)
CFI: "Yes, looks like a coyote."
ATC: "Is it still in front of you?"
CFI: "Nope, we're past it."
ATC: "Ok, thanks."

The very next time around we touched down and I put the power in. We were rolling along, not quite at rotation speed when I see something else in the runway. It looked like maybe a piece of hose but as we got right to it I noticed it was moving, must have been about a 5-6' snake. Well, I couldn't stop in time, not going to try to swerve, and didn't want to just yank back on the yoke so it went "bump, bump" under the nose wheel and main.

Me: "Snake"
CFI: "Aww, I like snakes"
Me: "Seriously?"
CFI: "Yeah, I had a little boa constrictor as a kid. But it only ate live mice so that was not so fun for a kid."
Me: "Well I guess we'll see if it's still there on the runway next time around."
(We came around for one more touch and go and the snake was gone not there.)
CFI: "Maybe he's okay."
ME: "Unless he's wrapped around the main gear waiting for us to get out. I think you can get out first and check. :)"
CFI: "What? Why me?"
Me: "Because you said you like snakes, just tell him it was my fault..."
(Needless to say there was no snake or snake pieces anywhere on the plane after we landed.)

I had asked to transition to 26R for a short final and complete stop. As we were coming downwind my CFI said that when I got abeam the numbers to pull power and it would be my decision how to get us down. So, I pulled the power and began my turn toward the runway. As we had the wind blowing down the runway I headed straight for the numbers. We had plenty of altitude and speed so my CFI said if I wanted I could dump the flaps which I did. We still had plenty of speed and were high as we were coming up on the numbers so I slipped the plane a little and then we set down nicely. 

As we were taxiing back my CFI apologized for spending the whole time in the pattern. I said that was fine with me, I needed the work, and honestly I could spend five hours just flying around the pattern and working on landings and I'd be happy. I don't really care what I am getting to do, I'm flying... and that is the most fun there is.

Next up, my phase check with my CFI on Saturday, followed by my pre-solo check ride with a different instructor, and if all goes well I will solo next week. This is getting exciting, as if it wasn't already.

Some places just have you make a few trips around the pattern for your solo. The owner of the school here wants more than that. My CFI said that I will make a few trips around the pattern and if I look good, I will then fly to another field, land, and come back. He said that the owner of the school wants it to be to a field the student hasn't flown to yet. Since I have been to Corona, Riverside, Flabob, and Ontario, that really just leaves Brackett and San Bernadino. My CFI said we will save San Bernadino for my solo, it's just a trip up the 91 freeway and the airport is right in front of you. I understand, after all, if you are ready to fly solo I think you should be able to fly somewhere, land, and come back. I can't wait!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pre-Solo Phase Check

It was a big day today. Well, not that it was anything different than what I've been doing on my flights, but this time my CFI had his check list to sign me off on everything in preparation to solo.

It started out with a nice sight as we were finishing up our run-up. This beauty was lined up to take off in front of us.

P-51

I configured for a soft field take off as I could use a little more practice on that. (A regular take off is easy enough). This time I managed to stay in ground effect a little longer to build up speed.

We departed for the training area over Lake Matthews and began working through everything. Power-on and power-off stalls, steep turns, and slow flight up high all went well. Next it was time for ground reference maneuvers so we needed to lose altitude. That made for a good reason to have a simulated engine failure and go through that checklist. Up to that point I had been making the radio calls, but here my CFI made the call, and we ran into our first rude pilot on the radio. 

CFI: "Lake Matthews traffic, red and white Cherokee at 3,500 over the quarry descending 2,200 east bound towards the lake with a simulated engine failure, Lake Matthews."

I pulled the power, pitched for best glide speed, headed towards the lake, began working through the engine out checklist and "looking for a place to land."

Unknown plane: "Red and white Cherokee, at your 6 o'clock low, how about you make a radio call with your position?"
CFI: "We did, I called the simulated engine failure, where we were, and where we were going."
Unknown plane: "No kidding?"
CFI: "Yeah, no kidding."

We never saw him, never heard him before on the frequency, and never heard him after that on the frequency with any radio calls.

I worked through turns around a point, s-turns, and then we headed back for CNO. He wanted to see a forward slip to a landing followed by a go around so I stayed high on my approach and tried slipping the plane down. The first time was not so smooth with the slip but the go around was good. We came around the pattern again and were cleared for the option so my CFI said to do another forward slip with a go around. this time I did much better. I slipped it down close and then power up and we were going around.

We were on 26L so got clearance for right traffic to come around and land on 26R. About halfway down my CFI called in for a short final clearance which we received so as we were even with the numbers I pulled power and began my turn, got close with plenty of altitude so dumped the flaps, slipped the plane, and set down fairly smoothly.

Tomorrow I go up with a different instructor for my pre-solo check ride and if all goes as well as today I will get signed off and solo on Wednesday. It is sounding like I will be flying to Brackett (KPOC) for my solo. It fits the bill, close by, controlled, and I haven't been there yet. My CFI had mentioned San Bernadino (KSBD) but sounds like he's changed his mind. He says KSBD is just too easy, it has only one runway which is HUGE (10,000' x 200'). Bracket is more "interesting" according to my CFI, parallel runways (3661' x 75' and 4840' x 75'), there's a lake off the end of them, and I think the real reason is that is where he did his training for his PPL.

Anyway, KPOC is just a short hop from KCNO, staying underneath KONT's airspace. I can't wait.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pre-Solo Check Ride

Back to Back big days...

I went up with a different CFI today for my pre-solo check ride. It was different, but good to fly with another CFI. As is the nature of the pre-solo check ride he didn't give much input at all, mainly just said what we would be doing, which maneuvers he wanted to see, and took notes.

I was nervous, but settled in. We took off and headed out to the practice area. First up was slow flight and that went well, followed by power on and power off stalls. Next was steep turns and I nailed them this time, going to the left has never been a problem, but today even going to the right where I usually shallow out my bank some I was right on the money. I remembered to push forward on the yoke as I rolled out and held my altitude just right.

After that we had a simulated engine failure so I ran through the checklist. That was good, except he pointed out in the post flight briefing that I forgot to state that I would switch the transponder over to 7700 and broadcast a mayday on 121.5, followed by stating the procedure to secure the plane after landing. (I know the steps, but I have to remember that even though I'm not going through the whole checklist that the examiner wants to hear me state all the steps.)

We did s-turns along a road and those were good too, this time I kept from picking up altitude as I rolled wings level into my next turn. (The post flight debrief on that was use a shallower bank. I kept the turns even and kept my altitude right, but he wanted to see longer turns and no more than a 30 degree bank at any point. I maxed out at 55 degrees at one point, but we were fast enough, I was coordinated, and kept the altitude. He said that the advantage of a shallower bank is that it allows more room for error.)

After that we headed back to the airport for some landings, a go-around, and pattern work. The winds were coming mostly down the runway at 9kts gusting to 16kts. The first time I had flown in any kind of gusting conditions, (fortunately it was coming down the runway and only bounced us around a little), but I did miss the center line on 3 out of four landings. I didn't miss it by much, but was disappointed as my landings have usually been much better. The bright spot was that I set it down nicely each time.

I enjoyed the post flight debriefing and the pointers that he gave me. As I said earlier, it is nice to have a different set of eyes on my flying. He said that my radio calls and situational awareness were excellent. My climbs, flight, turns, etc.. were all good. I did come away with a list of things to work on (I had my pen and note paper ready to take notes from him), but he said overall I did very well and that he was impressed. He will go over everything with my CFI and then my CFI will go over them again with me.

Next stop, hopefully my solo flight on Wednesday!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SOLO FLIGHT!!!!

Today was the day. It was a beautiful evening for flying.

First we went through my pre-solo knowledge test and then my CFI filled out my endorsements in the back of my log book so that I can solo. After that he made copies of all of my documents and license, had me sign a rental agreement, and then it was time to go out and pre-flight the plane. I was glad to see we were in N5800U as that is the one I have spent the most time in and I like it much better than N4132J that I flew last time. Every plane, even the same model, is a little different, and I just like 5800U.

We were the only ones left that were going to be flying, and she was parked in the back of the hanger with three other planes in front. But, while I began pre-flight my CFI started shuffling planes around. I suppose we could have just taken one of the others, but he's a good guy and moved them so I could be in 5800U.

I finished the pre-flight and climbed in. I was also excited to try out my new headset. I've been borrowing them from the school, and they work, but aren't the nicest. Yesterday, just in time for my flight today, my Quiet Technologies Halo headset showed up in the mail. It's different than the traditional over the ear headset. It rests on your ears and has foam inserts, like those 99 cent ear plugs, that go in your ears with sound tubes that the speakers send the sound through. I have to say I am in love with the headset. It was much quieter than the others I had used, and I before we even took off I couldn't even really feel them anymore. The sound quality was excellent.

Anyway, I started us up, tuned into the ATIS information, taxied to the end of the hangers, and contacted Ground for taxi clearance.

Me: "Chino Ground, Cherokee 5800U, at DuBois, request taxi to 26R, we have information Charlie."
Ground: "Cherokee 5800U, taxi runway 26R via Papa, cross 21, something, something, something...."
(I looked at my CFI, this was not starting out like I had planned, and he said the last part wasn't for me, so...)
Me: "Taxi 26R via Papa, cross 21, 00Uniform." (Apparently there was only one person in the tower and she was doing both ground and tower. I couldn't hear the tower people calling in and what she tacked onto the end of my call was her answer to someone calling the tower.)

We taxied out to the run-up area and went through the run-up. Everything looked good so I rolled out to the hold short line. (I need to back up a couple of blog posts. My CFI had thought that I was going to solo to another airport, but he had misunderstood the memo from the school. The initial solo would be the traditional 3 turns around the pattern with a landing and taxi back each time. Later before the long cross country solo it would be a shorter solo to an airport I hadn't been to before.)

Me: "Chino tower, Cherokee 5800Uniform, holding short runway 26R, requesting left closed traffic."
Tower: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, cleared for takeoff, runway 26R, make left closed traffic."
Me: "Cleared for takeoff, 26R, make left closed traffic, 00Uniform."

And, just like that we were off. I was nervous. According to my logbook I have 15.6 hours of flight time and 59 take-off/landings. But, I was still nervous. I pulled back a little too much and we rotated off but went nose high a little (stall light didn't come on but it wasn't a smooth roll out). I pushed it back over a little to get some speed and we were climbing out. I gave it more right rudder this time than typical (per the CFI that did my check-ride) and that kept a nice smooth, level climb out.

CFI: "You know you don't have to force it off the runway. If you need a little more speed, let it." (I filed that away for later, hopefully this time it would stick as he's told me that before...)

We went around the pattern and were cleared for the option so I did a touch and go. The touch down was pretty good and my CFI asked if I wanted to ask for right closed traffic so he could get out after the next landing. I said no, I wanted one more first so we went around the pattern again. There was a couple of planes in the pattern with us and I was just following the Cessna. The next one was smoother so I asked for right closed traffic and a landing to complete stop. The tower gave it to us and I came around and we were headed on the downwind.

Tower: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, I have a xxxx (I don't remember what kind of plane it was)  on about a 4 mile final. Do you want to take a short final or extend out?"
Me: "We'll extend out."
CFI: (To me) "You don't want to take the short final?"
Me: (To CFI) "Nope, just a little nervous today."
Tower: "Cherokee 00Uniform, go ahead and turn base, keep it inside the wash (the wash is typically where you turn base for 26L which is the longer runway, basically telling me to keep it a little shorter for final) and you are #1, cleared to land 26R."
Me: "We'll keep it inside the wash, cleared to land 26R, 00Uniform."

This landing was pretty good, just a little slip to get down quicker, and then requested taxi to Flying Tigers to drop my CFI off. He hopped out and I contacted the tower as she had requested me to stay on that frequency, I also identified myself as a student on my solo, just for a little extra eyes on me and help from the tower if needed.

Me: "Chino tower, Cherokee 5800Uniform, Student pilot on first solo, at flying tigers, request taxi runway 26R."
Tower: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, taxi runway 26R via Delta, Alpha, cross 21, good luck."
Me: "Taxi 26R via Delta, Alpha, cross 21, 00Uniform."

This was it! I was all alone in the plane and about to go take off! I got to the hold short line, contacted and received my take-off clearance, and I was rolling down the runway. Two things to note. First, the plane takes off much easier without the extra person. Second, I was no longer nervous at all. Seriously, it was a little strange, but I wasn't nervous. As I lifted off, all that kept running through my mind was "THIS IS SO COOL!" (I even said it out loud to myself a few times over the next three trips around the pattern.)

I just followed the procedures that I had learned. Keep it at about 80mph on the climb out. At 1,100' begin my crosswind turn. Watch my position and turn downwind. Level off at 1,400' (Traffic pattern altitude at KCNO is not the typical 1,000' AGL as we are sitting under KONT airspace) and power back to about 2,100rpm on the down wind. Abeam the numbers power back to 1,900rpm and 1 notch of flaps. Turn base, power back to 1,800rpm and the second notch of flaps. Turn final and line up, add third notch of flaps, watch airspeed, one hand on the yoke and the other on the throttle. Keep it at 80 mph, nose down/up for speed, a little more power to keep the descent rate at 500'/min, cross the threshold, power out, flare, and touch down. Flaps down, pull back on the yoke to help slow down, brakes, and turning off the runway.

The tower was watching out for me and before I rolled to a stop clear of the runway had given me the clearance to taxi back whenever I was ready. No sense waiting around so I taxied back to the beginning of 26L, and... took a couple pictures while waiting for my take off clearance.

Solo.2

That's an empty right seat next to me.

 

 

 

Solo.1

 

Here I am, new Halo headset and nobody else in the plane.

 

 


Solo.3

The second time around the pattern was just about like the first. The only difference was the Cessna I was following transitioned to 26R so while I was #2 to land, I got bumped up to #1. The second landing was not quite as good as the first. Just before touching down I got a little slow so it was harder than the first, but still not bad at all. One more time taxiing back and after a short wait for another plane landing I was given take-off clearance and right closed traffic to come around and land on 26R.

The last landing was the best I have ever made. The winds were coming at 240, 13kts, so there was just a little bit of sideslip to hold the center line. I touched down nice and smooth and even felt each wheel as it touched down, left main, right main, nose. It felt soooo good. As I was rolling off the runway the tower contacted me before I contacted her.

Tower: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, do you want a taxi back to Flying Tigers?" (Where my CFI had been standing  there watching me and listening in on the radio."
Me: "Yes, taxi to Flying Tigers."
Tower: "Taxi to Flying Tigers, cross Alpha, nice job."
Me: "Thank you much!, Taxi Flying Tigers, cross Alpha."

I don't think I could have had a bigger smile on my face than the one when my CFI came walking back over to the plane.

Like I was saying to myself earlier. "THIS IS SO COOL!!!!"

Edited by Skates97
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Skates97 said:

SOLO FLIGHT!!!!

Today was the day. It was a beautiful evening for flying.

First we went through my pre-solo knowledge test and then my CFI filled out my endorsements in the back of my log book so that I can solo. After that he made copies of all of my documents and license, had me sign a rental agreement, and then it was time to go out and pre-flight the plane. I was glad to see we were in N5800U as that is the one I have spent the most time in and I like it much better than N4132J that I flew last time. Every plane, even the same model, is a little different, and I just like 5800U.

We were the only ones left that were going to be flying, and she was parked in the back of the hanger with three other planes in front. But, while I began pre-flight my CFI started shuffling planes around. I suppose we could have just taken one of the others, but he's a good guy and moved them so I could be in 5800U.

I finished the pre-flight and climbed in. I was also excited to try out my new headset. I've been borrowing them from the school, and they work, but aren't the nicest. Yesterday, just in time for my flight today, my Quiet Technologies Halo headset showed up in the mail. It's different than the traditional over the ear headset. It rests on your ears and has foam inserts, like those 99 cent ear plugs, that go in your ears with sound tubes that the speakers send the sound through. I have to say I am in love with the headset. It was much quieter than the others I had used, and I before we even took off I couldn't even really feel them anymore. The sound quality was excellent.

Anyway, I started us up, tuned into the ATIS information, taxied to the end of the hangers, and contacted Ground for taxi clearance.

Me: "Chino Ground, Cherokee 5800U, at DuBois, request taxi to 26R, we have information Charlie."
Ground: "Cherokee 5800U, taxi runway 26R via Papa, cross 21, something, something, something...."
(I looked at my CFI, this was not starting out like I had planned, and he said the last part wasn't for me, so...)
Me: "Taxi 26R via Papa, cross 21, 00Uniform." (Apparently there was only one person in the tower and she was doing both ground and tower. I couldn't hear the tower people calling in and what she tacked onto the end of my call was her answer to someone calling the tower.)

We taxied out to the run-up area and went through the run-up. Everything looked good so I rolled out to the hold short line. (I need to back up a couple of blog posts. My CFI had thought that I was going to solo to another airport, but he had misunderstood the memo from the school. The initial solo would be the traditional 3 turns around the pattern with a landing and taxi back each time. Later before the long cross country solo it would be a shorter solo to an airport I hadn't been to before.)

Me: "Chino tower, Cherokee 5800Uniform, holding short runway 26R, requesting left closed traffic."
Tower: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, cleared for takeoff, runway 26R, make left closed traffic."
Me: "Cleared for takeoff, 26R, make left closed traffic, 00Uniform."

And, just like that we were off. I was nervous. According to my logbook I have 15.6 hours of flight time and 59 take-off/landings. But, I was still nervous. I pulled back a little too much and we rotated off but went nose high a little (stall light didn't come on but it wasn't a smooth roll out). I pushed it back over a little to get some speed and we were climbing out. I gave it more right rudder this time than typical (per the CFI that did my check-ride) and that kept a nice smooth, level climb out.

CFI: "You know you don't have to force it off the runway. If you need a little more speed, let it." (I filed that away for later, hopefully this time it would stick as he's told me that before...)

We went around the pattern and were cleared for the option so I did a touch and go. The touch down was pretty good and my CFI asked if I wanted to ask for right closed traffic so he could get out after the next landing. I said no, I wanted one more first so we went around the pattern again. There was a couple of planes in the pattern with us and I was just following the Cessna. The next one was smoother so I asked for right closed traffic and a landing to complete stop. The tower gave it to us and I came around and we were headed on the downwind.

Tower: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, I have a xxxx (I don't remember what kind of plane it was)  on about a 4 mile final. Do you want to take a short final or extend out?"
Me: "We'll extend out."
CFI: (To me) "You don't want to take the short final?"
Me: (To CFI) "Nope, just a little nervous today."
Tower: "Cherokee 00Uniform, go ahead and turn base, keep it inside the wash (the wash is typically where you turn base for 26L which is the longer runway, basically telling me to keep it a little shorter for final) and you are #1, cleared to land 26R."
Me: "We'll keep it inside the wash, cleared to land 26R, 00Uniform."

This landing was pretty good, just a little slip to get down quicker, and then requested taxi to Flying Tigers to drop my CFI off. He hopped out and I contacted the tower as she had requested me to stay on that frequency, I also identified myself as a student on my solo, just for a little extra eyes on me and help from the tower if needed.

Me: "Chino tower, Cherokee 5800Uniform, Student pilot on first solo, at flying tigers, request taxi runway 26R."
Tower: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, taxi runway 26R via Delta, Alpha, cross 21, good luck."
Me: "Taxi 26R via Delta, Alpha, cross 21, 00Uniform."

This was it! I was all alone in the plane and about to go take off! I got to the hold short line, contacted and received my take-off clearance, and I was rolling down the runway. Two things to note. First, the plane takes off much easier without the extra person. Second, I was no longer nervous at all. Seriously, it was a little strange, but I wasn't nervous. As I lifted off, all that kept running through my mind was "THIS IS SO COOL!" (I even said it out loud to myself a few times over the next three trips around the pattern.)

I just followed the procedures that I had learned. Keep it at about 80mph on the climb out. At 1,100' begin my crosswind turn. Watch my position and turn downwind. Level off at 1,400' (Traffic pattern altitude at KCNO is not the typical 1,000' AGL as we are sitting under KONT airspace) and power back to about 2,100rpm on the down wind. Abeam the numbers power back to 1,900rpm and 1 notch of flaps. Turn base, power back to 1,800rpm and the second notch of flaps. Turn final and line up, add third notch of flaps, watch airspeed, one hand on the yoke and the other on the throttle. Keep it at 80 mph, nose down/up for speed, a little more power to keep the descent rate at 500'/min, cross the threshold, power out, flare, and touch down. Flaps down, pull back on the yoke to help slow down, brakes, and turning off the runway.

The tower was watching out for me and before I rolled to a stop clear of the runway had given me the clearance to taxi back whenever I was ready. No sense waiting around so I taxied back to the beginning of 26L, and... took a couple pictures while waiting for my take off clearance.

Solo.2

That's an empty right seat next to me.

 

 

 

Solo.1

 

Here I am, new Halo headset and nobody else in the plane.

 

 


Solo.3

The second time around the pattern was just about like the first. The only difference was the Cessna I was following transitioned to 26R so while I was #2 to land, I got bumped up to #1. The second landing was not quite as good as the first. Just before touching down I got a little slow so it was harder than the first, but still not bad at all. One more time taxiing back and after a short wait for another plane landing I was given take-off clearance and right closed traffic to come around and land on 26R.

The last landing was the best I have ever made. The winds were coming at 240, 13kts, so there was just a little bit of sideslip to hold the center line. I touched down nice and smooth and even felt each wheel as it touched down, left main, right main, nose. It felt soooo good. As I was rolling off the runway the tower contacted me before I contacted her.

Tower: "Cherokee 5800Uniform, do you want a taxi back to Flying Tigers?" (Where my CFI had been standing  there watching me and listening in on the radio."
Me: "Yes, taxi to Flying Tigers."
Tower: "Taxi to Flying Tigers, cross Alpha, nice job."
Me: "Thank you much!, Taxi Flying Tigers, cross Alpha."

I don't think I could have had a bigger smile on my face than the one when my CFI came walking back over to the plane.

Like I was saying to myself earlier. "THIS IS SO COOL!!!!"

I still remember my first solo like it was yesterday and not nearly 30 years ago. I recall the quicker take-off as well without the extra lard arse in the plane. My reaction to being airborne solo for the first time was a little different. Mine was "You did it now! Don't screw up!". It was like driving for the first time except for the fact I couldn't pull over to the curb if there was trouble.

Keep plugging away. After your solo comes the perfecting of the skills needed to get your license. There will be times when it will get frustrating because you will hit a wall or struggle how to perfect something. It will come along. It sounds like you are flying on a regular basis -- that will help. When I got my private I scheduled to fly 5 nights a week and averaged around 3 due to weather or other factors. The more frequently you fly, at least for me, will be easier to develop the skills.

Good job!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the club, Pilot.  The first solo is the day you become a member of our exclusive little club. All the certificates and ratings to follow are just paper with various privileges attached... and they never end. There will always be another certificate, rating, or type, to acquire. But as of now, you can call yourself a Pilot.

Congrats!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done sir,  and you can look forward to an even higher satisfaction when you venture out on your first solo X country. Have enjoyed reading your posts as well as Sam H's keep up the good work, Pilot.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

X Country and Checklists...

With the solo flight done, albeit a very short flight, it was time to start some cross country flying. The airport my CFI likes to go to is Ramona (KRNM). Ramona is about 67 nm southeast of Chino and is not a difficult flight to navigate. In fact, you basically follow Interstate 15 south and when you get to Escondido turn east. You can actually see the Ramona airport when you are over Escondido if you know where to look.

He wanted me to put together a VFR flight plan the best I could so I spent some time a couple of days before going over the sectional and mapping out my route, check points, etc... (After flying the route today I have some ideas about how I want to plan it for next time.)

We went over my plan and then went out to pre-flight the plane and get going. This was not only my first experience flying more than 15 nm from Chino, but my first experience with flight following (which is very cool and very fun) and since we were actually 'going somewhere' I used my knee board for the first time. My CFI explained to me how to let the tower know that I had a "VFR request" and to ask for flight following.

For those that don't know, flight following is basically getting handed off from one controller to another along your route with them looking out for you, providing traffic and weather advisories as their workload permits. Their primary responsibility is the IFR traffic, but the try to make time for VFR traffic as well.

I got our taxi clearance and taxied out to the run-up area. Everything looked good on run-up so I got our take-off clearance and we rolled down the runway. It was a nice smooth transition to flight and we started climbing up at 80mph (just below Vy), wings nice and level, when about 150' up, still over the runway it felt like something just hit the plane in the right side and the right wing dropped on me. I quickly corrected for it with some left aileron and rudder and looked over at my CFI and asked what that was. He said it was just an air pocket, no harm done.

I made our turn to the south-east and we were handed off to Socal Approach. Another cool thing about flight following is that they can handle your transition through other airports airspace. Socal asked what altitude I wanted to fly at so I told them 3,500 and they gave me clearance to climb. That was nice because normally I have to stay below the 2,700' shelf of Ontario's airspace until I am about 6nm south-east of the Chino airport.

The flight down was fairly uneventful. We were told by Socal to stay clear of the jump zone by lake Elsinore (CFI said always just stay east of I-15 and you're good) which we did and got to see some folks skydiving as we went by. My last checkpoint was Escondido where I would turn east towards Ramona. As we were about 10nm north of Escondido the following conversation began.

CFI: "So what's your next checkpoint?"
Me: "Escondido."
CFI: "How will you know it's Escondido?"
Me: "I know about how far it was from the last point, and there's nothing between that one and Escondido. (Now I'm second guessing my plan) Why, is that a bad checkpoint?"
CFI: "Nope, just wondering how you would know."
Me: "Well, we're following the 15 freeway and there's a major freeway interchange where another one goes out to the west, that's where I'm planning to make my turn."
CFI: "Sounds good."

He dialed in a VOR and had me set it to a radial that he likes to use as a checkpoint and I made my turn at my checkpoint about a mile north of his. We could also see the airport about 10nm away when I was making my turn.

I contacted the tower, we entered the pattern on the right downwind and came around for a nice landing. (But this is where I missed a checklist and it was going to bite me in the tail shortly.) As we were rolling toward the first taxiway exit I asked where he wanted us to taxi to (Something I should have asked about beforehand so I wouldn't be distracted when I should have been going through my after landing checklist) and he said to just ask for a taxi back so we could take off. I did and we were taxiing back, with me completely distracted by CFI as he was pointing out to me the firefighting planes on the ramp and the Pilatus they had there. (I'm sure the whole time he was grinning a little as he got ready to point out my mistake.) 

We waited for another plane to land and then got our takeoff clearance. We rolled out onto the runway and as I got lined up and started to push in the throttle he said "So what's the maximum flap extension for take off?" (Crap, I immediately realized I had forgotten to raise flaps upon landing.) I quickly raised flaps, finished pushing the throttle in, rotated about halfway down the runway and we were off.

Me: "Can't believe I missed that..."
CFI: "Yep, you would have figured it out when you couldn't leave the ground and ran off the end of the runway."  (He said with a grin on his face.)

I'm glad he didn't point it out when we were taxiing back, instead he waited until it was obvious I wasn't going to catch my mistake and then pointed it out. I know it sticks in my mind better that way.

On the way back he showed me how to use the VORs to navigate.

Me: "So why not just use VORs instead of all the ground checkpoints?"
CFI: "Because then you would be flying IFR. And they want to make sure you can navigate with pilotage and dead-reckoning."

About half-way back he asked if I wanted to try shooting the ILS approach to KCNO for fun. Sounded good to me so when we got closer he asked Socal Approach if we could fly the ILS (I don't remember the term he used with Socal) and they gave us the clearance.

It was cool flying it. I got lined up and he said to just watch the instruments and try not to look up until we hit the minimum, I think it was 886' for 26R and KCNO. I'll admit, I cheated and glanced up a couple of times, but it was fun. When I finally looked up for good I was a little to the right and a little high. I made corrections and we landed nicely. 

Next flight we will go to Ramona again, this time he's going to bring the foggles along so I can fly some of it with them. The goal is to work as much into the cross country flights as we can so we don't have to just fly around the training area to do that. We'll be flying it Wednesday evening so if we get back a little late I can get in some night landings as well. One more flight to Ramona after that and then I will fly it solo, followed by planning my long cross country and flying that.

Moving right along, I just need to remember my checklists.....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Skates97 said:

X Country and Checklists...

With the solo flight done, albeit a very short flight, it was time to start some cross country flying. The airport my CFI likes to go to is Ramona (KRNM). Ramona is about 67 nm southeast of Chino and is not a difficult flight to navigate. In fact, you basically follow Interstate 15 south and when you get to Escondido turn east. You can actually see the Ramona airport when you are over Escondido if you know where to look.

He wanted me to put together a VFR flight plan the best I could so I spent some time a couple of days before going over the sectional and mapping out my route, check points, etc... (After flying the route today I have some ideas about how I want to plan it for next time.)

We went over my plan and then went out to pre-flight the plane and get going. This was not only my first experience flying more than 15 nm from Chino, but my first experience with flight following (which is very cool and very fun) and since we were actually 'going somewhere' I used my knee board for the first time. My CFI explained to me how to let the tower know that I had a "VFR request" and to ask for flight following.

For those that don't know, flight following is basically getting handed off from one controller to another along your route with them looking out for you, providing traffic and weather advisories as their workload permits. Their primary responsibility is the IFR traffic, but the try to make time for VFR traffic as well.

I got our taxi clearance and taxied out to the run-up area. Everything looked good on run-up so I got our take-off clearance and we rolled down the runway. It was a nice smooth transition to flight and we started climbing up at 80mph (just below Vy), wings nice and level, when about 150' up, still over the runway it felt like something just hit the plane in the right side and the right wing dropped on me. I quickly corrected for it with some left aileron and rudder and looked over at my CFI and asked what that was. He said it was just an air pocket, no harm done.

I made our turn to the south-east and we were handed off to Socal Approach. Another cool thing about flight following is that they can handle your transition through other airports airspace. Socal asked what altitude I wanted to fly at so I told them 3,500 and they gave me clearance to climb. That was nice because normally I have to stay below the 2,700' shelf of Ontario's airspace until I am about 6nm south-east of the Chino airport.

The flight down was fairly uneventful. We were told by Socal to stay clear of the jump zone by lake Elsinore (CFI said always just stay east of I-15 and you're good) which we did and got to see some folks skydiving as we went by. My last checkpoint was Escondido where I would turn east towards Ramona. As we were about 10nm north of Escondido the following conversation began.

CFI: "So what's your next checkpoint?"
Me: "Escondido."
CFI: "How will you know it's Escondido?"
Me: "I know about how far it was from the last point, and there's nothing between that one and Escondido. (Now I'm second guessing my plan) Why, is that a bad checkpoint?"
CFI: "Nope, just wondering how you would know."
Me: "Well, we're following the 15 freeway and there's a major freeway interchange where another one goes out to the west, that's where I'm planning to make my turn."
CFI: "Sounds good."

He dialed in a VOR and had me set it to a radial that he likes to use as a checkpoint and I made my turn at my checkpoint about a mile north of his. We could also see the airport about 10nm away when I was making my turn.

I contacted the tower, we entered the pattern on the right downwind and came around for a nice landing. (But this is where I missed a checklist and it was going to bite me in the tail shortly.) As we were rolling toward the first taxiway exit I asked where he wanted us to taxi to (Something I should have asked about beforehand so I wouldn't be distracted when I should have been going through my after landing checklist) and he said to just ask for a taxi back so we could take off. I did and we were taxiing back, with me completely distracted by CFI as he was pointing out to me the firefighting planes on the ramp and the Pilatus they had there. (I'm sure the whole time he was grinning a little as he got ready to point out my mistake.) 

We waited for another plane to land and then got our takeoff clearance. We rolled out onto the runway and as I got lined up and started to push in the throttle he said "So what's the maximum flap extension for take off?" (Crap, I immediately realized I had forgotten to raise flaps upon landing.) I quickly raised flaps, finished pushing the throttle in, rotated about halfway down the runway and we were off.

Me: "Can't believe I missed that..."
CFI: "Yep, you would have figured it out when you couldn't leave the ground and ran off the end of the runway."  (He said with a grin on his face.)

I'm glad he didn't point it out when we were taxiing back, instead he waited until it was obvious I wasn't going to catch my mistake and then pointed it out. I know it sticks in my mind better that way.

On the way back he showed me how to use the VORs to navigate.

Me: "So why not just use VORs instead of all the ground checkpoints?"
CFI: "Because then you would be flying IFR. And they want to make sure you can navigate with pilotage and dead-reckoning."

About half-way back he asked if I wanted to try shooting the ILS approach to KCNO for fun. Sounded good to me so when we got closer he asked Socal Approach if we could fly the ILS (I don't remember the term he used with Socal) and they gave us the clearance.

It was cool flying it. I got lined up and he said to just watch the instruments and try not to look up until we hit the minimum, I think it was 886' for 26R and KCNO. I'll admit, I cheated and glanced up a couple of times, but it was fun. When I finally looked up for good I was a little to the right and a little high. I made corrections and we landed nicely. 

Next flight we will go to Ramona again, this time he's going to bring the foggles along so I can fly some of it with them. The goal is to work as much into the cross country flights as we can so we don't have to just fly around the training area to do that. We'll be flying it Wednesday evening so if we get back a little late I can get in some night landings as well. One more flight to Ramona after that and then I will fly it solo, followed by planning my long cross country and flying that.

Moving right along, I just need to remember my checklists.....

Once back in 1995 i was doing a checkout ride with my cfi in a plane i had 100s of hours in and so I thought i knew the checklist,  as i lined up on the runway he put in takeoff flaps and said "one day hyett not using a checklist will kill you". I have ised one ever since.  As regards your cfi telling you all about the fire trucks etc.....next time when you are in the pattern declare "quiet cockpit till after we shutdown". That will tell him you want no distractions unless they are critical to flight safety.  I do this with my pasengers ALL the time and it helps a great deal.  If he keeps on yabbering tell him to shut up.  Fly the plane first, navigate second, communicate third.  IN THAT ORDER!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, CFIs are sneaky. Examiners too. When instructed to close your eyes while being set up for "unusual attitudes" don't be surprised if your trim ends up out of whack!

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Performing a T/O with full flaps and trimmed for T/O....

the first half of the T/O run won't be any different.  The additional drag at low speed is minimal.  The hint about something being amiss won't give you much time to make a change.  Discuss with your flight instructor how to handle T/O with incorrect configurations.  Mooneys can fly with full flaps down and full power.  Similar to a go-around.

depending on the plane you fly you may get a strong nose up or nose down force that would be different than usual.

Check lists are key. Touch and goes are an amplified challenge for the same reason.  Changing configuration and trim in a short amount of time/space.

Additional drag can increase the length of the T/O roll.  The additional lift and change of the center of lift may cause the plane to lift-off early.  

Avoid flying slowly, il-configured, with improper trim forces....  Use your checklist! :)

How does it feel to be proven a human being?

i'm glad you shared your experience.

Best regards,

-a-

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I prove that I'm human on a fairly regular basis...:rolleyes:

The Cherokee does not like to climb at all with full flaps so I wouldn't have been going anywhere. Two notches of flaps (25 degrees) for short field take offs and you pop right up into the air, but the full 40 degrees is a no-no. On a go around you go full throttle and immediately take out the first notch of flaps so you can get positive rate of climb.

I don't like the way the school has their checklists laid out. They are on a couple laminated sheets, front and back, with two columns on each page. For me it's just not that easy to follow, and I want it simple. So, I reformatted them and put them on tabbed 4x6 cards with one aspect of flight on each card, (ie: each part of the pre-flight, start-up, taxi, run-up, take-off, cruise, etc...) The tabs are colored, green/preflight, blue/flight, red/emergency, black/specs. I like it much better and it is much easier for me to see what I need to. Flew again today and made good use of the checklists... :) I'll have to write about it tomorrow,

Thanks for the advice and words of wisdom!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now