Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Learning to FLY!

Now that I've been back for a couple of months now, and was tired of sitting around the house, I decided now would be the perfect time to learn to fly. About 7 years ago I seriously considered learning to fly, but the problem was I didn't want to quit riding my bike. Not that I would have to quit, but with a full-time job the only time I could do it would have been after work and on weekends. Now that I have time on my hands, I figured this was the best chance I would get. I am working part-time with my good friends Jason and Matthew Morris helping them finish building 2 houses and a renovation. They have other projects going and just couldn't spend the time on-site to really see these things across the finish line. So oddly and perfectly enough, I have been doing that for the last three weeks and really enjoying it. IF they have more projects down the line that I can help them project manage then this could become a full-time gig! We'll see how it goes, but the housing economy isn't the best right now, but maybe renovations will be.

To try and make a long story short, I "interviewed" 3 potential instructors and different flight schools at Peachtree-Dekalb Airport (KPDK). I was going to go with the third outfit because I liked the instructor and my friend Paul Helmbold learned there and instructed. But they never called me back..... I am not going to beg someone to take my money, so I decided to look elsewhere. I found on AOPA's (Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association) website a thing called Project Pilot. Basically you find someone local to you and introduce yourself via email. I have found a mentor with a guy by the name of Bill Hotch. He was very helpful and encouraged me to try SkyBound Aviation and recommended three instructors. I chose the one with his best description which was, "she is knowledgeable, fun, and really compliments when you do something right, but doesn't chastise you when you do something wrong". So to make another long story short, I am now flying with Melissa Bermudez and things are going REALLY well. He was right on the money and she is everything that he described. And it doesn't hurt that we have similar smart-ass personalities!

We have now flown 4 times and she feels I am progressing very rapidly. My dad said 7 years ago that I must have learned a lot by osmosis flying right seat and just observing over my entire life. I think she was impressed that I just knew how to steer the plane and could taxi it to the end of the runway. And since then all of the "basic" aspects of flying seem to come natural. My second lesson was cool because she made me fly without looking out at the horizon, by wearing a "hood" which is like a visor you wear on your head. You have to accumulate 3 hours of this type of instruction and it was fun to only use the instruments on the dash to navigate. She would give me a heading direction (from 0 to 359 degrees), and altitude (from 2500' to 3500'), and then mix it up with doing turns, climbs and descents. A few times we would climb or descend and also turn, then "roll out" to a fixed heading and altitude. Hopefully all of that makes some sense. It's actually almost easier to fly that way because looking out at the horizon is hard to judge what degree of bank (turn) or amount of vertical rise or descent you are doing. As you might guess, I was pumped! Although she had her hands on the controls and basically helped make minor adjustments, we landed the plane together with me setting it up on the final approach pretty well. We have since had more "hood" time and practiced power on and power off stalls. But NO spins and spin recovery, it's no longer required in the final flight exam. Today we were supposed to fly, but a small bit of rain started pouring right when I yelled "Clear" to start the engine.... Tomorrow doesn't look good either.... So much for getting three days a week of flying in....

Melissa and I taxiing back to the North Ramp at PDK.

The latest in flying fashion. Wear your kneeboard out for a night on the town! I was actually just getting out of the plane, hoping that the skies would clear and we could go up. But damn, I do look good with that kind of fashion statement!

And if you REALLY want to impress the ladies, just flash them your credentials. That's right, I know my checklist and ATIS frequency!


Sandy & Dick said...

Hey, flasher! Glad you are having fun poking holes in the sky. My very first flight was with a friend out of PDK...small world that my son is now taking flying lessons from that very place:-) I'll yield my co-pilot position to you the next time you are home and let you get some time with Dad. I'm proof that he is also a good instructor!...xoxo, Mom

Joy said...

Yay! The email thing worked!

HaleyD said...

What's happening, hot stuff?

The girls & I want to fly w/you & Dad one day soon!