I showed up at Premier Flight Center on the 17th just before 9:00 am. I booked a Cherokee Piper PA28-140 for a 2 hour window. My new flight instructor Mark showed up right after me. After a quick introduction, Mark informed me that the weather was not going to be cooperating with us today. The cloud levels were at 1200 feet, which was 300′ to low for us to practice any type of maneuvers at the airport. No biggie, we decide to go over to the plane and run through a pre-flight and become familiar with the plane. Â Mark ran me through the procedures that come with renting a plane as well as the various check lists. One of the things I found quite interesting was Mark showed me how to identify water in fuel. I’ve dealt with handling fuel before but never felt the need to dump water in it.
After performing the preflight we sat in the plane for a bit, went through all the controls and instruments. After that we listened to the various airport operations from ATIS (Weather), Ground Control, & Air Traffic Control (Tower). After that we went in and discussed the various things that we would be doing. We went through some basic weather information and I learned how to translate weather reports known as METARs & TAFs. It is amazing how easy they are to read once you learn the layout. I am still amazed though that weather is still reported like computer memory was small & expensive. I have another session scheduled for saturday after ground school.
During Saturday’s ground school we went over general flight environment stuff. Such as required equipment in an aircraft, proper take off and landing procedures, what to do when coming near another aircraft mid flight, taxiing procedures, pattern procedures, Â airport markings, and the different types of airspace.
After ground school I grabbed lunch over at the restaurant located at the FBO. When I got back to school I was amazed to discover that someone changed my reservation from the Cherokee to a Cessna 172R. Apparently the Cherokee had to go in for maintenance and would be down for some time. After some back and forth debating, We ended up taking the 172 out for a bit.
I’ll be perfectly honest, this was the first time I flew in a small GA aircraft since i was 11 years old. It was pretty terrifying at first and I did have some thoughts on whether or not I wanted to continue this. I never did feel comfortable while we in the Cessna. I blame a lot of this on sensory overload. Just way too many new things going on all at once. I remember someone once telling me that flying was 5 minutes of terror, followed by boredom, followed by 10 minutes of terror while landing. This is a great description for a first flight in a GA aircraft. Mark did get to have some fun and he messed with me a bit. nothing like watching the nose of the airplane dive down by spin the trim knob to make the stomach move. Once we landed we had a chat about how I felt. After that we ended up going over some of the maneuvers for Wednesday. To be continued…
|# of Take Offs||1||1|
|# of Landings||1||1|
|Total Flight Time||1.1 Hours||1.1 Hours|
As mentioned earlier, I have started my journey to getting my private pilots license. This is something that I have been wanting to do for quite some time. So in July I bit the bullet and starting making some phone calls. After a while I found a FAA Approved Medical Examiner that was close to me that wasn’t 100% retired. This process was quite simple. He advised me to generate the application for a class 3 medical on the faa medical websiteÂ and to record the application #. When I arrived at his office, we went over the application and a few basic health questions. After words he performed a relatively basic physical and we talked about flying for about an hour. Once I had my Student Pilot Certificate /Class 3 Medical in hand, He walked me over to the flight school that was in the building.
I ended up talking with Gary the owner of Premier Flight CenterÂ for the better portion of an hour. He asked me what my goals were and told me about his program. We ended up discussing that I wanted to fly a Piper Cherokee for various reasons and Gary brought me outside to see the various planes that they had. Unfortunately the Cherokee was out and about, but We did get to look at a Piper Arrow. This was great as it this is close to the plane that I eventually want to fly. Once we stepped back inside we talked about the ground school program that they have. I thanked Gary for his time and headed out to check another flight school which was right down the road.
I won’t bother naming the flight school that I visited next. But anyone can figure it out with a little bit of google. Right off the bat I wasn’t feeling the place. The guy I spoke with would probably be better off working at a used car lot. It was a high pressure join give me your money experience. Literally at one point in time he asked me to give a deposit of $10,000. While they did have the same type of aircraft I wanted to fly. I quickly wrote this place off as a potential school.
Over the next couple weeks I debated back and forth over Premier Flight Center (HFD Hartford/Brainard Airport) or Interstate Aviation (4B8 Plainville Robertson Airport). While Interstate is much closer to me, I elected to go to Premier due to the choice of aircraft and ground school program. When I went down to PFC, I met with Ryan who helped me fill out all the required paperwork. I elected to do the Saturday ground school program which was starting September 28th. The ground school runs for 13 weeks every Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm.
I showed up for the first week of ground school and I was the first one there. Mike our instructor walks in shortly later and introduces himself. He went over the goals of the ground school and passed out a syllabus. We end up discussing the basics of flying and the history behind it. Overall I felt this class was quite boring, but only due to the fact that I already knew this portion due to taking a flight class in 6th grade. But it was good to get a refresher on it.
The next 2 weeks were basically the same, we just went over the basics of instruments in the plane and how they worked. Mike happened to have a few old pieces of equipment in the class room that we got to hold and see how they worked. That was extremely informative. We also ended up discussing the nuances that the equipment in the plane will have depending on various circumstances.
Around this time I schedule my first flight for October 17th. But that’s for later.
I realize I have not updated this in a long time (3 years, 8 months +/- a few days). A lot of thing have change in my life the last few years. I will try to keep it short and run through the last few years with some highlights. I was laid off from my job of 5 years in June of 2010. Not that I didn’t see that coming or anything. I ended up starting my own company, which has pretty much consumed all of my time since then. In April 2011 I decided since I hadn’t been to my house in NC in 7 months that I might as well officially move back to CT. Due to numerous reasons I have retired from Motorcycle Racing. I still have one of my race bikes which I am on the fence about selling right now as I have 2 race tracks opening up within a hour of me, and 3 more within 3 or 4 hours. I figure I can at least do track days from here on out.
in December 2011 I flew out to Santa Barbara for the weekend to visit a friend. She gave me a tour around Santa Barbara and we drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to Monterey Bay. It was quite a trip and I highly recommend it as a bucket list item. In October 2012, I took my first real vacation in years. It started off as half work trip / half vacation. We went to Orlando for a Trade show and realized no one bought the tickets to go. Well tickets went from $450 a head to $1500 a head. So we skipped out and went to NASA & Disney instead. The 2nd week we all went down to Grand Bahama. Here we had a blast. Too be honest though, if we didnt get our SCUBA certifications while there, I probably would of been bored the entire time. I would highly recommend Grand Bahama ScubaÂ ( Facebook ).
In July of this year, I finally got tired of wanting to get my Private Pilots License and finally did something about it. I scheduled my Class 3 Medical Exam and got my Student Pilots License. I will continue more on this in future posts. For now, I am going back to watching Forrest Gump