Sunday, January 27, 2008

Flight training is almost complete!

As most everyone is aware, especially if you live in Atlanta, we are running out of water. Well, with as much rain and craptacular weather we have had in the last month, I think our water situation is changing. It better be because I have had to cancel a lot of flights over the last few weeks.

About 2 weeks ago Melissa and I were able to do my night time x-country and we flew up to Habersham airport near Clarkesville. Flying at night is so cool, although scary because you can't see anything on the ground except lights..... I think I mentioned this the other night flight we did, but it actually is "easier" landing at night. I still don't know what it is about it, but maybe it's the fact that the lights really lead you to the end of the runway. So with that flight I completed my 3 hours of night flying with a total of 15 takeoffs and landings at night. The requirement is 10, but the first time we went up I was having too good of a time to not do a few more!

So finally this past Friday I was able to do my long x-country (over 100 nautical miles) and finish up all of my flight time for that requirement. You have to have a total of 5 hours of solo x-country to meet the requirements and I got 3.7 from this flight. I mapped out a route that was not a perfectly straight line between points going to Augusta. The first reason was to stay below the Atlanta Class B airspace (5000' ceiling to fly under it and I was trying to get to 5500') and the second reason is that there are 3 airports lined up between Monroe and Augusta that would be perfect for a forced landing, so safety was the other concern. For these flights you are only using the sectional chart, the proposed heading/ground speed/minutes between checkpoints, and literally looking at the ground to find those points. Ideally you want to have a point on the ground spaced no more than 20 nautical miles between points and sometimes that means the only thing is a lake or a power line. But both are actually great references! Since the longest leg of my journey was to Augusta, I was really hoping that I would hit my points along the way, and I did. I hit all of them within about 30 seconds, give or take a little. I even called Augusta Approach and requested Flight Following. This is a voluntary deal where you contact them and they will basically help you look out for weather and other traffic along your route. I did a touch and go at Daniel Field in Augusta and then went around because I didn't really like my "technique". :) The other one wasn't so great either, but they were both "safe"..... So then I was off to Athens! The second leg was even less eventful than the first so I stopped there and had a vending machine lunch while they topped off the plane. I spoke with my instructor and she said it looked like there might be some weather in Atlanta moving in, so I needed to get up and go. GREAT! I had just checked the weather myself and had already concurred the same thing, but it was nice of her to call. The only problem was, I needed it to take 1 hour to fly what should take about 30 minutes.... So I flew to Lawrenceville (where I soloed!) and did 4 touch and gos then headed on back to PDK. As luck would have it, it never rained and I ended up with .2 hours more than I needed with 3.7 hours total!

Now I really have to prepare for the written exam, the oral exam and the practical. The last two are what you do with the Designated Flight Examiner as your final "check ride". Melissa and I have a few maneuvers to practice in the air, she needs to quiz me on some of the oral stuff, and I still need to get 2 more hours solo time to meet the 10 hour minimum. So I'm getting close and really anxious. Who's ready to go flying somewhere?????

Blue skies


Joy said...

Wow, Brian, you've been busy! I'd been missing your posts, wondered what you were up to. :-) Congrats on that long flight and good luck prepping for the exam!

HaleyD said...

Study hard! We love you (even if we're maybe not quite ready to take off w/you)!!!