Today in ground school we began learning about the human factor and how our bodies react differently to different scenarios. This was actually quite informative especially when it comes to night flight. We also discussed oxygen requirements for flight above 12,000 feet. After we got done doing that, we began practicing flight planning with sectional charts and plotters. Next we began playing with our E6B Calculators. These are far easier to use than they appear.
After lunch, I requested the can for the new Piper Warrior II that PFC got. This is a newer and more powerful version of the plane that I had been flying. While waiting for Mark I ended up reviewing the check lists and looking for the various differences. Mark comes in and gives me the bad news, the winds are extremely gusty and are right at the limit for us to take off in. Oh well this is not the end of the world. Better to be on the ground wishing I was up, then being up there wishing to be down there. All is not lost though, We elect to do a preflight with the Warrior. After the preflight we sat down and got familiar with the inside. This plane is FAR nicer than the Cherokee I have been flying. It has leather seats, Cabin Air, a modern GPS, 2 VORs. We decided to start it up for a bit and at first we thought it was broken. It turns out we don’t read good and didn’t see the word Push on the ignition switch. After that we call it a wrap and put the cover back on the plane. Afterwards I go into the computer and update all my reservations to the Warrior. Wednesday will be back in the Cherokee as someone already booked the Warrior. Oh well
On tuesday I realized I had a unmovable conference call which would have interfered with flying so I rescheduled with Mark for 1pm. Once I got to the airport I just got a major headache and I just wasn’t feeling flying today. After a half hour it subsided enough that I felt good enough to go out and I pulled out the trusty new ipad air that I recently bought and loaded up ForeFlight. I filed a briefing for us to fly out to Windham. Today I decide I am going to try the radio. I get on the radio “Brainard Ground, Cherokee 569 Foxtrot Lima at Midfield Taxi with Information Sierra, Request to taxi to Runway 20” Ground repeats back instructions and I immediately had a brain fart. Mark begins laughing and takes over the radio.
After I do my post flight check lists and we get on enroute to Windham, I pull out the iPad to check out how ForeFlight worked in flight. I did like how it showed where we were on the sectional chart. I see this being a very handy tool in the future. We quickly arrived at Windham (8 minute flight) and there is no one in the pattern. Mark gets on the radio and announces our intentions. We proceeded to land on runway 9 and got off the first available taxiway. Once we got back to runway beginning of Runway 9, Mark tells me we are going to do some touch and goes. We run through the process of what we will be doing. I take off and reenter the pattern, I performed 2 touchs and goes and headed back to Hartford
Once we get back to Hartford, Mark tells ATC we are going to be performing touch and goes. We performed 2 touch n goes and then came in for a full stop landing. For some reason I really struggled with this today. Not sure why, but I kept coming in low for my landings. Mark commented that I did good right until the last 50′. Just need to get the confidence to pull the throttle back and land.
|# of Take Offs||6||18|
|# of Landings||6||18|
|Total Flight Time||1.3 Hours||11.4 Hours|
Airports visited so far: KHFD, KGON, KOXC, KHVN, KIJD
After many of years, I finally got to see Trans Siberian Orchestra. This was by far the best concert I have ever been to. Our seats were in Row 6, right in the center. I highly recommend anyone to go see them play
Today we continued on learning how to read weather forecasts in ground school. I really don’t recall too much specifically from this class other than we went through a full briefing from DUATS. Mark my CFI has had me doing this part of the ground school class for sometime now.
After lunch i met my Mom, Dick (Step Father), Kaitlyn (Sister), Rob & Linda (Family friends) for lunch at Wings. Afterwards I brought them over to PFC and showed them N569FL while I preflighted it. It made Kaitlyn’s day getting into the Co-Pilot seat and I explained to her what everything did.
After a bunch of fan fare and autograph signing period, I grabbed Mark and prepared to go over todays flight quickly. Mark informed me that he wasn’t feeling well and that we would need to stay low today. No problem. We get in the plane and do some final checks and begin to taxi. Mark asks me if I want to work the radio today and I declined as it was a busy day and I wasn’t feeling comfortable for the first time on the radio with so much traffic. Once we are at the run up area we do our final checks and get permission to take off. ATC informs us there is a another aircraft on long final so we need to make it fast. No problem.
While taking off we noticed that it was quite slugish, but end up blaming it on the fuel truck putting as much fuel in the plane as they physically could. Once we get clear of the airport we begin to head towards Groton. Mark has me keep it under 3000′. I performed some basic manuevers, but we mainly just kept a nice smooth flight. I ended up flying along the coast and checked out all the nice expensive beach houses. We ran into quite a bit of traffic as well. I remember seeing 4 or 5 planes as well as a helicopter.
As we get close to Groton I make sure to keep it above 2500′ to avoid breaking into Groton’s Airspace. Mark starts asking me questions about which runway is what and where we would have to go in order to get to Runway 23. As I am flying around the airport, Mark notifies ATC that we are about 5 miles away and above their airspace. We get a clearance to land. ATC responds asking if we are NW of the airport and to keep heading towards Foxwoods as there is a faster plane on approach. We quickly found the other plane and were granted permission to land after him. I did what I thought was a great job landing and I taxied back to Runway 23. After a quick take off and landing we are cleared back to Hartford.
As the same on the way out, we really did nothing. Just a few turns here and there but thats it. Once back in Hartford we requested a straight in landing and it was granted. This was my first landing where Mark didn’t say anything really. When we got done he complimented me on using my judgement on when to add power and to take it out. I think I might be getting to have this down.
|# of Take Offs||2||12|
|# of Landings||2||12|
|Total Flight Time||1.5 Hours||10.1 Hours|
Airports visited so far: KHFD, KGON, KOXC, KHVN, KIJD
I showed up at the airport and quickly discover that just like at my house. Someone left the air conditioner on outside and its cold outside. 27 degrees out and windy. Mark helps me preflight so we can get out of the cold ASAP. We hop in the plan and taxi out to runway 2. The crosswind is pretty relevant by the time we get on the runway, but I managed to get out of it. As we get upto 600 feet, I get cleared to turn west towards Hartford. As I am ascending Mark has me run through the enroute climb check list ( Shut off landing light & electric fuel pump are the 2 big things I really need to look at ). I head towards UCONN medical center. When I get upto 2700 feet it is extremely bumpy and I propose we go up another 1000′. Mark thinks its a great idea and up we go. Once there its not much better and I say how about another 1000. So we go up to 4700′ and its nice and smooth. Looks like this is where we are hanging out today.
As we are headed west Mark has me perform some more slow flight. This is thrilling as always. Mark notices its getting cold, so he jacks up the cabinet heat. Thankfully because I was starting to get cold as well. After doing some slow flight turns, its into steep bank turns. My left turn is terrible and Mark confirmed it. But I nailed my right hand turn. I tell him how I feel good with the right hand turns, but the left hand ones I know need work. Marks solution? Do a left hand turn, but keep holding it and do until he says stop. This sounds safe I say. I’ve done this in my office chair and it involved me almost throwing up. As I go around I see my left hand turn reference point and announce it. Second time around I announce my reference point and he tells me to level out. Much better this time.
So while we are flying around the Torrington area, we see another plane and it turns out to be another student & instructor from PFC. Mark calls out to him over the radio, but he doesn’t answer. The remainder of the flight isn’t too amazing. Just kept performing steep banked turns & slow flight. Alternating between the two. After a while Mark has me perform a power off stall again. About time, more excitement. We do this twice. That’s enough for Mark. He’s had enough of stalls for the day. Mark is not a particular fan of stalling the plane, but I give him a A for effort in suffering through me doing them.
As we head back to the airport I do some more slowflight & steep turns. Not too bad till we start dropping down for landing. The wind has really picked up and at 2500′ I am getting blown around everywhere. The tower clears us for a left base approach. As I make my final the wind has us pointing 45 degrees to the runway. I tell Mark a little help would not be unjustified here. As I get closer he makes sure I know exactly how to land this and guides me down. Right before touchdown alot of right rudder and a left hand turn on the yoke made us land straight. I gave a nice sigh and taxied over to PFC.
After tieing the plan down, we run inside as it is COLD. We had a good post flight debriefing and discussed Saturday as usual. The plan for saturday was to do power off stalls & power on stalls, as well as trying to do as much pattern work as possible.
|# of Take Offs||1||10|
|# of Landings||1||10|
|Total Flight Time||1.9 Hours||8.6 Hours|
Airports visited so far: KHFD, KGON, KOXC, KHVN, KIJD
Today was weather day. This really was not as boring as I thought it would be. We went over general weather map information. I learned how High & Low air pressure affect flying. High air pressure makes for a nice ride, but can damper visibility. Where as Low pressure is nice clean air but can be very bumpy. There is a lot more to it than that but that’s the gist of it. One of the things I learned was what a dew point was. I may have learned this in school at one point, but that was when this type of thing was not important. The great thing was the correlation of temperature and dew point.
After class I met up with my Dad & Kathie for some lunch at Wings. Dad & Kathie were excited to see some large private jets. Once we got done eating we headed back to PFC and I showed them around. N569FL was just coming back in from a flight so I waited a few minutes and greeted the student & instructor. With the Check list in hand I proceeded to show Dad & Kathie the airplane and how to do a preflight. Dad immediately declared I was flying a sardine can and would not ever be getting in it. We end up going inside & I placed a order for fuel. It seemed pretty important to order that. I introduce Mark to Dad & Kathie and we finish up our preflight. We plan on heading over to Willimantic today.
We hop into the plane and begin to tax off to runway 20. As I am taking off Mark tells me he taking the controls and does a wing wobble to say bye to Dad & Kathie. We quickly turn left to avoid the noise sensitive area. It never amazes me how much people will cry about loud noises areas that were built prior to them being there. While we are heading to Windham mark has me perform “slow flight”. This consists of reducing power as much as possible and lowering the flaps to 30 degrees. Mark told me to bring the speed down to 65 mph (stall speed in this configuration is 54 mph) and keep the nose up to keep generating lift. Okay this is easy enough to do, boring but easy enough. We do this for a little bit and then Mark has me perform a 10 degree banked 360 turn left & right.
After I get done with that Mark instructs me to power up and get ready to perform steep turns. A steep turn is any turn over 30 degrees of bank. My target is 45 degrees. One of the key things to remember while performing this turn is the need to pull back on the yoke to keep generating lift as the plane will want to descend. The first set of turns were pretty terrible, I dropped 300′. Mark tells me to do it again. This time I nailed it, I believe I kept it within 25′ of my starting altitude the entire time. It was also good enough that Mark said if this was a check ride that would of been a perfect passing example.
Next I get told to do slow flight again. Except this time, Bring it down to 60 mph. Now that I am at 60 mph perform a 10 degree bank, 360 degree turn. This takes about forever and a half. It took so long, I had a birthday cake delivered to us. After straightening out, Mark tells me to we are going to do a stall. We go over every step he wants me to do, and I repeat it back to him for confirmation. I slow it down to 55 mph and man this thing does not want to fly. I’m pulling back trying to keep the nose up and it just does not want to stay up. Finally I pull the throttle back and its really trying to fight me. But I win, I see the stall light light up and QUICKLY after the nose dives. I push the yoke forwards and give it some throttle, get some airspeed and pull back. We dropped 3 or 500′ and it felt like nothing. It was pretty awesome and Mark has me do it again.
Mark notices we are pretty close to Groton and advises me to turn north towards Windham. We get there after about 5 minutes or so. Mark sets the radio to the CTAF frequency (Common Traffic Advisory Frequency) and we hear another pilot announcing his intentions to enter the pattern and to land. We quickly spot him shortly after and do the same. This is the first time I am landing at uncontrolled airport. So I am a bit nervous on this one. I land fine and quickly get off the runway and taxi back to the run up area. We hang out a bit and watch some other planes land.
After a few minutes we proceed to take off again. It’s Saturday and we are running low on time so we pretty much B line it back to Hartford. As we made good time Mark had me do some more 45 degree turns. As we approach Hartford, Mark gets us approved for a straight in approach. As we get ready to land we notice that we have a nice cross wind. This was a little bit more hairy than the other day but not that bad.
During our post flight I told Mark that the first 45 degree turn really racked my nerves, but when he showed it to me and how he just threw it into a 45 degree bank, it made it much easier to do. Mark tells me that on Wednesday we would be doing more slow flight, steep turns and stalls.
|# of Take Offs||2||9|
|# of Landings||2||9|
|Total Flight Time||1.5 Hours||6.7 Hours|
Airports visited so far: KHFD, KGON, KOXC, KHVN, KIJD
Mark asked me right off that bat if I have ever been to New Haven. While I have been to the city of New Haven plenty of times, I have never been to the airport. By now I have figured out if Mark asks if I have been some place, that’s where we are going. So off we go. I take off and immediately get up to 2700′. On our way Mark has me perform various maneuvers such as turns, changing elevation, etc.
Eventually I can see the Long Island Sound so we need to get ready to land at New Haven. As we get lower the turbulence picks up and its clear that we are doing a crosswind landing. Landing was actually easier than I thought it would be. Once we get on the runway ATC starts directing us through about 75 different taxiways (which Mark warned me they would do). Mark immediately requests clearance to taxi back to runway 20 for take off.
We take off and once again head back to Hartford. On the way back we practice some more flight maneuvers and turns. Once we get back to Hartford it time for another crosswind landing. This also goes pretty smooth. Mark did a great job talking me through it as usual. Once we get back to PFC, we reviewed the days events and what we were are going to do on Saturday. I am getting really comfortable flying now.
|# of Take Offs||2||7|
|# of Landings||2||7|
|Total Flight Time||1.5 Hours||5.2 Hours|
Airports visited so far: KHFD, KGON, KOXC, KHVN
Saturday was a very exciting day (sarcasm). We got to learn about the Federal Aviation Regulations & Aeronautical Information Manual. This is a very exciting and thrilling read. I would recommend it to those who are looking to find the cure for insomnia. It is pretty much just 1,100 pages of laws and recommendations. Mike tried to make this as interesting as possible, and I give him credit, he tried his hardest. All in all it wasn’t as dreadful as I thought it would be.
Flying was fun and exciting today. We quickly went over the weather (beautiful weather), and created a plan for the day. Once we got done doing the preflight we quickly made our way over to the run way. ATC cleared us all the way to runway 2. Once again I get to take off. I quickly ascend to 500′ followed by a turn west towards Hartford. Once we got to 1000′, I made turn towards the South. Mark asked me to get up to 2700′ and head towards UCONN Medical Center. Once we cleared the 2 large towers over Farmington we proceeded over to Torrington. While we were on our way there Mark had me practice performing 360 degree turns while maintaining altitude.
After a while of practicing turns, Mark asked me to turn directly into the sun. Great and I forgot my sunglasses. Now I can’t see (well) and I am getting incredibly hot. This plane has no air conditioning so my options were to either open the tiny window and get flooded with noise & wind or to sweat it out. I figure I will deal with it. As we approach Oxford-Waterbury Airport (OXC) all I can think about is how hot it is. I end up landing the plane and immediately opened the window. We taxi around and hang out in the run up area as I want as much cool air to enter the cabin as possible.
Once we take off, we immediately head back towards hartford as time is running close, and Mark has another student right after me. As we are flying, Mark notices the Cheshire Prison. I told him that it wasn’t far from my house. Mark’s response? Head towards it. So I start identifying things. I691, Home Depot, Sliders, Dunkin Donuts. My House! Mark says that’s where you live? Do some circles around it. So after some circles we continue our flight to Hartford. Around this time I tell Mark its time for the obligatory facebook photo.
After the facebook photo op I get back on track for landing. We fly by Mark’s house and follow the CT river for our approach. Landing was uneventful and Mark tells me I am doing really good for a beginner pilot. Next flight is scheduled for Wednesday @ 9:00 Am
|# of Take Offs||2||5|
|# of Landings||2||5|
|Total Flight Time||1.3 Hours||3.7 Hours|
Airports visited so far: KHFD, KGON, KOXC
On Tuesday evening I checked the schedule and saw the Plane that I have been trying to rent is out of maintenance. So I get excited like a fat kid that is about to eat a cup cake. I show up and Mark is ready to go. We hopped onto DUATS and got a weather briefing. We got a briefing to fly out to Groton Airport (GON). After that we went out and preflighted the plane. This was a relatively simple process to do considering there is a check list to follow. Basically we just made sure everything in the plane was working properly and that there was no water in the fuel.
Once we got done preflighting, we got in the plane and started to head out to the taxiway. Once we get to the Hold line, Mark hops on the radio and announces our intentions to the Air Traffic Controller. We get cleared to take Taxiway Delta followed by Taxiway Alpha, Crossing over Runway 29 to Runway 2. When we get down to the run up area, I run through the next batch of check lists. We are ready to go, Great. I approach the final hold line and Mark gets permission to take off. I ask him when does he want me to take over. He tells me right now, I am taking off. This I was not expecting, as He took off last time. I end up giving it some throttle and onto the runway. Wow this seems bigger than it did last time. Mark says FULL THROTTLE and down the runway we went. Mark only had to tell me right rudder two or three times. Once we hit 70 mph I pulled back on the yoke and off we went. I proceeded to increase altitude just as we had discussed over the last several sessions.
Mark quickly points me over to the Connecticut river and tells me to follow it all the way to the Long Island sound. In the mean time as I am following the river we go over leveling off, setting cruise speed, and setting the trim, or Pitch Power Trim as Mark constantly told me. While going down the river Mark had me do some 360 degree turns at 20/30 degrees of bank. This was not nearly as bad as it was in the Cessna. The Piper felt a lot smoother to control. When we get close to the ocean Mark pointed out a relatively large tower that we needed to avoid. Okay, We kept to the right of it by 5 miles or so. Once I got onto the Ocean Mark had me fly over towards Groton.
Mark gets on the radio and does his magic and we get cleared for a touch and go onto runway 5. Mark tells me “You have to learn how to land the plane sometime, so here you go”. As we come down I have the yoke and throttle gripped so tight that I could of turned them into diamonds. Mark tells me to relax a bit and I get over the fear of hitting the pylons in the water. All I hear is less power less power less power, your doing good, keep it there and we’re down full throttle full throttle and rotate. ATC immediately hops on the radio and asks if we want to do it again. Mark passes on the opportunity and tells him we are going home. Once we get to altitude of 2700′ Mark looks over at me and asks what I thought of groton, did I even see the airport. I laughed and said I just saw the runway.
On the way back we did a couple more 360 degree turns and I followed Route 2 back to Hartford. This really wasn’t eventful which was good. We quickly enter Hartfords airspace and get an approval to perform a straight in landing. This landing I knew was going to be exciting as Mark and reminded me that only I had the brakes on the Piper. As we came down Mark guided me down and did a great job of it. I quickly felt the main gear touch down and I get on the brakes and kept it relatively straight. We get over to the tie down area and finish up everything.
Once inside Mark proceeds to debrief me on everything we did. I told him that the sensory overload I felt last time, was not nearly as bad this time. I also felt far more comfortable in the piper than the cessna.
|# of Take Offs||2||3|
|# of Landings||2||3|
|Total Flight Time||1.3 Hours||2.4 Hours|
Ground school on Saturday consisted on how to read a Sectional Chart & Talking on the radio. The sectional charts themselves are quite confusing, but once you learn what each type of line its really not that bad. The biggest issue I see so far is trying to translate to ground reference points
The key thing we learned about was identifying Class G, E, D, C, & B airspace. For some reason there is no Class F airspace and Class A is anything flying higher than 18,000 feet and under 60,000 feet.
After that we discussed various radio communications and transponder settings. Really nothing exciting but good to know stuff.
Once again my plane was still in maintenance so we got canceled again. I really don’t remember much about what we went over that day. I do remember myself & Mark going over weather reports again and talking about pattern work.