Why hello everyone and welcome to 2012! I made a new years resolution to fly more throughout this year. To most that is a pretty vague resolution but for me it is something I have set out to do. After some quick number crunching I figured out that in 2011 I flew a mere 11.5 hours in an airplane (flew many in the Redbird Simulator also)…………. SAD! Personally I find that number to be embarrassing and really down right ridiculous. Many factors contributed to this low number for example, my old flight school was slowly going out of buisness, I had to search for a new school, and I was still not fully confident with my proficiency and abilities.
I am proud to say though, that with a new year has come a rekindled love for flying. I have realized that I would rather be up there than down on the ground almost any VFR weather day! With that being said I have some good news for all of you thinking you are about to read a small number for 11 days into the new year. My current flight hours for 2012 is 9.4 hours in the air. Personally I think 9 hours in the first 11 days is putting me on a great track to building hours, hours, hours.
With all of that being said I shall share a couple stories of my flying in the last 5 days. Saturday to Tuesday I was able to log time each day. This consisted of a 4 hour flight in a Cessna 150 that I fly most now, 3 hours worth of taking friends up flying, and 2 hours worth of cross country time with a fellow flying friend. With so many freedoms in flight these last 4 days really opened up my mind to all I can do with the airplanes I fly. Example: On about a 90 mile round trip cross country that I was flying last Sunday we decided to do a landing at an airport with a significantly shorter runway than I usually land on. As I came in for the approach so many aircraft were in the pattern and it added a new level of fun and professional feel to the flight. As I came in over the numbers I knew it wasn’t looking like I would make it down with enough runway, so the easy solution was a go-around. I did just that and came in to make a better landing into a shorter runway than I have experienced in the past.
The art of flying and navigating has been lost in a sense with these new glass cockpits and fancy GPS systems in almost any aircraft we fly now. This weekend however, I was fortunate enough to one: not have the option of a GPS in the Cessna 150 for the 4 hour cross country, and two: the GPS was in-op on the Piper Warrior II for the cross country described above. This really brought me back to the roots of the private pilot license and made me appreciate the sectional chart a whole lot more. Ever since this weekend I have grown to really love navigating by looking outside and referencing what you see with the chart. Although GPS systems are a great addition to the cockpit and ease of navigation, everyone such as myself really needs to know how to navigate without them. We didn’t know that the GPS wouldn’t work in the Warrior on Sunday, but as any pilot, we didn’t rely to navigate by it (as it tells you not to on the start up page). Instead, we had planned simple routes with easy checkpoints to find in-case we found ourselves off schedule.
Now that I have talked about my flying on the weekend I think it is time to step up on my soapbox for a minute or two. Topic? Communications at non-towered fields or near them.
Yes, I know that communications are not required at non-towered fields and pilots have no legal obligation to make any calls over the CTAF or Unicom. I may be in the minority, but personally I think this just down right doesn’t make sense at all. Yes, I will admit that when it comes to caution and safety I am high up there on the list, but being safe also comes with aircraft avoidance. At my local airport on almost every occasion I find myself making 360’s or something else to avoid low transient traffic going right through our airports area. It really upsets me, the aviator that is constantly looking outside for aircraft, to not always be able to see them right away. So in conclusion, I hope all of you try your best to let any airport you are flying near (within pattern altitude and distance) to PLEASE give them a heads up you are coming through! It will prevent from two airplanes meeting face to face in the air. And isn’t that what we all wish never to have happen!?
END OF SOAPBOX…
My final topic to talk about in this post is passengers. I have had the pleasure these last few days to take some friends and other pilots flying and it makes my private pilot privileges well worth it. With my new NFlightCam+ (videos in next post) I am now able to capture the joy and experience my passengers feel when they take their first airplane ride. I am truly blessed and privileged to give some of them their first rides and share in that experience that they may remember for the rest of their lives! A picture can tell a thousand words, so I will close with a small slide show of photos of this 4 day flying fun time.
Until Next Time,
A small video of a Instrument flight lesson to come soon!