Friday, January 24, 2014

So what's next.....?

We are at last experiencing a few days of ground school due to the weather, we are still managing the occasional flight but its certainly been limited.
Its giving me some time to reflect and start to plan for the year ahead.
What am I hoping to achieve by the end of the year and whats going to happen on this roller-coaster of aviation.
Firstly and most importantly to keep my students happy and keep them flying and thats starting well as I am getting lots of good enquiries and am pretty well booked up for the summer months. I've already managed to do more hours in January than I did in the whole of December/January & February last year.
The kind of jet I am hoping to get rated on this year
My hope also is that there will be a couple of new faces to show off for people who are coming to help out here at flying in france bringing different experience to help me with teaching and hopefully increase the amount of students we can keep happy.
Secondly on a personal note I am really hoping to broaden my horizons with my new qualifications and with the help of a couple of friends and colleagues start to fly some bigger and diverse aircraft.
The first of these is I am hoping to be able to do my Second in Command course on a Citation Jet in the spring time and thats something I am really starting to get excited about.
In addition to that I really need to build my Instrument flying time and also multi engine time so I will hopefully be jumping on a few planes for some exotic trips that I will be sure to be taking pictures along the way to keep a log of the adventures.

The most important thing for 2104 is to stay safe, healthy & happy (which helps to keep a class 1 medical)
I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy 2014 too.........
Stu

Monday, January 20, 2014

Home, qualified and in the skies over France once again

Back home flying in January in France


So it was with all of the greatest honest intensions to be writing my blog whilst I was in the US doing my flight training all of the way through, but as with a lot of things with flight training I think U underestimated the sheer amount of hard work and homework  that was needed to achieve these goals in such a short period of time.
My home base in Las Vegas for the flight tests

The Cessna 414 that I have been flying lately here in France
Needless to say here I am back in my office after landing back in France just before New Years eve (which went by in the blur of fatigue, jet lag and a stomach ulcer) getting things into shape with my students and enjoying a relatively mild January so far.
Since the new year I have had the pleasure of flying the Cessna 414 twin engine piston plane based here at the airport that is privately owned and with my new qualifications I am allowed to fly it and log my hours too.
Myself and the owner with one of his work colleagues flew the plane down to Montpellier here in France in real IMC conditions and I was able to do my first real life approach into a busy airport through the cloud which made all of the exhaustion, jet lag and that niggly ulcer all worth while.
Infact on the flight home the owner just asked me to do all of the work as he needed a nap in the back so there I was @12,000ft as a happy as a kid at xmas.........
Back to the end of the story in the US.
After I had completed my IR it was straight into the Complex Navion plane for the FAA CPL. The first flight for the start of this training too place 2 hours after I finished my IR test, so you can get an idea of how little recreation time there was.
After about 9 hours of training on the single Engine complex plane it was time for flight test number 2, and I was happy to have the same examiner as for my IR test, the CPL oral was about 4 hours long and was a real test as there is so much subject matter to go through, but I felt on top of it having studied so much in the passed for my european Commercial Licence. After a good session with the oral I was invited to take the examiner on the flight, and the CPL test is based a lot around precision flying and what mastery of flight...... ummmmm well that basically means flying the plane at the limits of the flight envelope and not breaking it.
The test was 2 hours long including a good navigation where we had a fly by of a squadron of Raptor fighter jets, fire emergencies and flight maneouvers. There were some enjoyable parts to the test with precision landings but I felt that I was really on my game the day of the flight and was chuffed to bits when the examiner said at the end of my flight to my instructor that there was no real need for a debrief as I nailed everything he asked for.
My relief was huge and I was a very happy pilot.
The Beech 95 twin which I trained on
Straight into the Multi Engine IR course, basically learning to fly the plane with 2 engines and also flying it under instrument conditions, oh and then all of that with one of the engines not working too. This was the course I had been most looking forward to and it didn't disappoint. It pushed everything I knew and I had to learn a lot, very quickly. This is a plane that will cause a lot of problems if you let it get ahead of you, particularly when flying under the hood as the speeds are quite different from what I had been used to.
London Bridge in the Mojave desert which was moved brick by brick from London
My particular favorite part of the course and then the test was trying to fly on one engine, under the hood (not being able to see outside) down the Instrument landing system into Las Vegas with traffic all around.
Lake Mead near Las Vegas
By the time the test came around I was really enjoying the plane, and it was with a smile that I found out I once again had the same examiner. When I turned up, he had a smile on his face and accused me of being his stalker......
The oral section for this test was only about 2 hours but it was intensive enough for me but I was relieved when the examiner invited me to take him flying as I hadn't failed it. So off we went for a 2 hour flight in the twin, covering all of the possible emergencies in the plane including an emergency descent with a fire, basically pointing the plane towards the ground at 150mph with the gear down descending at 4000ft per minute, that one got me clenching....... and I'll never fear rollercoasters again.
It was with a huge amount of pride for me that the examiner mocked me at the end of the flight that we don't need to go flying together again and I can stop stalking him as I had passed.
So in short I had managed 3 FAA flight tests over the course of 3 weeks and passed first time and have now FAA IR/CPL/MEIR....... no more studying for a little while.......
Since I have returned there has been some lovely flying with some familiar faces enjoying the mild weather and as I write here the clouds are lifting and its time to hit the skies once more.
I tried to take as many pictures as I could through out my time in the US and will post them with this blog.......
P.S News Years resolution is to blog more......



Limoges in January



A nice navigation flight down to Bergerac






Dawn flying in the 414 @FL110




The return from Las Vegas with the first view being the Thames and London

Lake Mead

Lake Mead

Lake Mead and me getting in the way



Around Needles where I was training there were lovely murals on each of the shops








Up and over the fog over France


Up and away again..... heading North, a long day and then home.....

At Starbucks in Beirut, thinking about where I'd like us to go away holiday this year The phone rings..... "Can we leave to...