Friday, March 11, 2011

Wish me luck I'm going in

Well thats it, the study time is all but over, I am getting my plane via North Carolina to London, a bit of revising over the weekend and then its to Gatwick for the exams on Tuesday.
With my scores the way they are I'll still be happy with 3 out of 5 passed, Met is such a huge subject I really have to treat the exam a practice run, then hopefully it will be just one last trip to Gatwick in May for the final subjects and any re takes.
I'm certainly getting some airmiles in with American Airlines this year.
I'll try to post after the exams if I can from there, but I'm going for a couple of days chill out in France once I have finished the last exam, to go and see my friend Sue Virr the flying instructor.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Less than a week until the damn exams......

I have spent a lot of time this week worrying about the silly things in this whole process of getting this CPL/FI rather than concentrating on the things I can actually control.
I have been stressing over how many solo hours I have in my log book and when I am going to get the rest done, which school I am going to do my CPL at and what accommodation there is at the school, whether I have enough annual leave left to get all this done.
ALL complete nonsense. I should be concentrating all of my energy into Air Law, Operational Procedures, VFR Communications, Human Performance & Limitations and Meteorology.
Because if I don't the rest of it isn't worth worrying about.
Maybe its too many expressos, maybe its too many late nights studying for these exams next week, maybe I should turn the desk light off, put the books away, grab a beer from the fridge and watch a movie.
Whatever it is, this set of exams is just hurting my brain.
So for the rest of this evening (its 11pm) its time for a bottle bud and a Bond movie......

Sunday, March 6, 2011

So I'm talking and no one can hear me....

So today is Sunday and its time to start building these hours, after some calculating last night with log book in hand and calculator in the other i realized that I have hopped skipped and jumped over the 100 hours mark now, then the realization kicked in that only 40 of those hours is solo time and i need 100 for my commercial license which I hope to do in July/August.
So this morning I rented the trusty light sport N43CT from Tamiami in the hope that I could cross another hurdle that I need for my CPL and thats doing a 300 mile cross country flight landing at 2 different airports apart the starting one.
I was really looking forward to this one as it helps build the hours and isn't straight forward so game, i thought......
I have taken a map picture of the route planned so it makes a little more sense and will include it on the post. All started pretty well, fired up the plane, got flight following clearance (radar tracking organized with miami centre so they are keeping an eye on traffic), hit 3000ft and i popped up on their screens, game on, time for some sight seeing.
Some huge clouds out of the left and some people enjoying fishing and boating around the smaller islands.
I'm also pretty sure I over flew a couple in their boat doing what couples enjoy most, if I had had a horn on the plane I would have honked it.....
So I started to see Marathon airport up in the distance and start to check weather, to my disappointment it was blowing a pretty huge cross wind of 18kts on/over the limits of whats allowed on the aircraft. So instead of trusting these pesky instruments on the plane I decided to over fly the airport to check out the wind sock and ask the local traffic. Local traffic said it was more 8-10kts at the ground.
Ok, I thought might as well get in and get some lunch...... I joined the circuit along with a bi-plane and a Cessna caravan.... I was at the front of the queue.
I got down to circuit height of 1000ft and was getting bounced around quite a bit, in for a penny, in for a pound.... lets get this thing on the ground. I turned onto final approach and the fun began, its was getting a little tricky with the wind directly off the left side of the plane so I was being pushed out over the water so a little battle commenced, to convince the over grown kite that I am flying that its pilot is hungry and wants some lunch and not swim in the sea......
At 300ft I had the left wing down so much i couldn't see out of the window and was coming in at a 45 degree angle. The problem is that this aircraft likes its landing speed.... in fact it loves its landing speed doesn't like to be 5knots faster or slower or you are all over the place. So with lots to consider, namely howling cross wind, landing speed and not landing wing first it was an interesting short finals, there is a balance that needs to be met with wind like that with a plane so light that is with the wind you need to keep some power to fight back or its an early bath in the gulf of mexico.
So I got down to around 10ft waiting for ground effect to take hold and nicely smooch the rubber onto the tarmac, but it just didn't come and i was sailing down the runway at 20 degrees into wind and was just holding the 10ft.... decision time comes and its either go around or put it down, my grumbling stomach won so i put in a touch of power in a pointed the stick to the ground where there wasn't so much of the sound of a kiss between tyres and runway....... I almost felt like I had to apologize to the plane as I taxied in. Upon arrival the general aviation desk showed me the weather info and it was a gusting 18kts  cross wind.
It such a lovely place at Marathon airport, you are welcomed with smile and rather nicely there is a driver there to meet you and take you where ever you want and its all free.
So I headed off to a waterfront restaurant where I had eaten a few months ago with John Stevens, my wife and son. Lovely food and a pleasant view and it was time to get back in the air and onward with my 300 mile trip the next leg being up to Venice beach where I stopped off for my night qualification back in October and is a lovely airport.
Half of the way along my route on the West coast of I wanted to transition Naples Airport so I start on the radio to them only for it not to be working....... Oh shit the radio is down and I am about to bust into their airspace were my first thoughts...... Secondly, I had better turn the plane around and find whats wrong.
Some wiggling of cables, changing sockets and flicking of switches and nothing was happening. So I thought the best course of action would be to start to head back home and work a plan out, to be honest the weather seemed to be closing in up ahead, the idea of being stuck out there with no radio and storms on the way didn't seem like the best way to finish the weekend.
So back over the Everglades, uncontrolled space and a bit of altitude and the next set of wiggling the wires starts, I find out that its the PTT button on the column which is not working, but the one on the other stick is, so its a case of flying along and using the other stick every time i needed to talk, far from ideal, but enough to get me home into a busy Miami airport at Tamiami.
I decided for a low level look at the houses on the lower parts of the Everglades so came in at 500ft and traced the coast line all the way back around the south point of Florida as there were some nasty looking clouds over the land so I traced around Key Largo and when it was time to contact approach at Tamiami I was stretching across the cockpit to use the other column and was lined up for a straight in approach from the east onto Runway 27R and it was with a rather large sigh of relief when this time I heard the kiss of rubber on tarmac and a gentle taxi back to the stand.

After calculating the times there is another 4 hours solo in my log book, only another 56 to go !!!!

A pretty big week of flying with some centreline hopscotch.....

Hours flown this month(FEB): 33 Landings: 8 Countries visited: 5  Continents visited: 3  Quick iron of the shirt and in th...