Flight to Downtown Kansas City (KMKC) & Solo @ Midwest (KGPH)

I got to the school early morning and got to work! I wrote 14 or so pages to catch up on all my notes and started working with the gleim software for my written exam.

Brandon and I made a plan on how much flying I need to do, as in how many hours at night, at a towered airports, instrument flying (when you wear foggles so you can only see in the cockpit) and so on. We decided on the day for the check ride and discussed my cross country solo. We were trying to plan everything as efficiently as possible since I only have a couple of weeks left. So for the cross country part of the licence, I need 150 miles, landings at three separate places and more than five hours. So the plan is to fly to Miami County, do three landings there, then back to Midwest, few landings there, then to Columbia (towered airport), three landings there and then back! It would be 300mile all round trip, but would knock out all the requirements needed. So that was the plan!

For today, I am meant to be flying at 5pm, doing some instrument flying, then going to Kansas Downtown Airport to practise landings at a towered airport. Then I’ll fly solo for an hour practising my manoeuvres.

So at 5pm, we headed south towards downtown. We were going to the same place Karthik and I went to that museum remember?

On the way there I flew under the hood to practise instrument flying. I absolutely loved it. It’s so much fun – watching your instruments, mainly the 6 in front of you and making sure everything is perfect and I really enjoyed it and I’m not too bad at it too! Probably all the hours I spent on flight simulator as a teen.

It feels a little weird when you take the hood off – it can feel a little disorientating. Nevertheless, downtown airport is SO awesome. You have all these sky scrapers and then this super big river around the airport and this pretty bridge connecting either side. It’s very pretty. This airport is towered so you’re told where to go and given permission to land, as opposed to just telling traffic where you are like at Midwest.

I did three landings there, which was great fun. It’s quite bumpy because of the flow disruption of the air because of the sky scrapers but good fun! Also, we were flying right hand patterns at downtown, which I’m not used to, so that was interesting to experience too.

We departed, flew around the sky scrapers, then I flew all the way back to midwest under the hood. I did slow flight and the turns in slow flight whilst under the hood too which was really quite amazing doing all this stuff without looking outside. I used to be quite scared of slow flight and doing it blind to the outside gave quite a thrill!

I was under the hood right up until landing and then I landed. It was great! I really enjoyed that flight.

Brandon got out and I stayed to do some pattern flying at Midwest. I didn’t end up going into the practise area because it was a little hazy.

I took my time – it was quiet and the weather was mild. I did 6 landings – 2 normal, 2 soft and 2 short. I really enjoyed that time to myself. I was just singing away in the airplane and enjoying the sun setting, also taking a few pics on the ground and some videos before taking off. I need to join them together and create a little blog post out of that.

Rahul arrives pretty much as I finished. He absolutely thrashed me at pool then we headed home. As usual, I wrote some notes on my day so I wouldn’t forget and I went to sleep.

Click HERE for Fullscreen! :)

Thursday 1st September | Cross Country to Columbia/Night Flight back

I studied in the morning for my written exam, although I was distracted with hearing that my broadband at home had been disconnected so I had to sort that out with various other things, bills related. Snore.

I studied for my written then had a ground lesson on flying at night. I planned the flight to Columbia with Brandon just for the way there with the intention of planning the trip back at Columbia whilst the sun went down so the return flight could be at night.

Brandon and I went to Midwest alone since we’d be coming back quite late.

We filled up the tanks and set off! There’s a lot to deal with for the cross country which I experienced when going to Miami County but I was encouraged to do more for this flight so I was experiencing more of a challenge. This includes:

Filling a flight plan, after making a flight plan of course.
Asking for weather
Getting flight following (where air traffic control follow you on their radar and notify you of other traffic near to you)
Speaking with Approach/Centre, asking for clearance through different airspace.

There are so many frequencies and things going on. Of course, at the same time, you’re trying to navigate to every checkpoint, using a timer to get to each checkpoint to adhere to the flight plan made to make sure you’re on course.

There was this guy on the radio I wish I could have recorded it he sounded JUST like Clevland from Family Guy/Cleveland Show…it was SOOOOO funny he was our specific controller for when we were handed over to centre. It was so hard not to laugh!

We landed at sunset at this massive airport, Columbia (well, massive for me). It is towered so we were given permission to land and the lights came on automatically for us. It was so awesome landing there.

The FBO (Fixed Based Operator – building for general aviation) was very nice! There were free drinks, phone, HD TV, lazy boy chairs etc. Pretty sweet! So whilst Brandon sat in this reclinable chair in another room and watched American Football, I did the flight planning for back to Midwest. This was the first time I was doing it on my own but I’d done it three times with Brandon now (for the trip to Miami County, on the way to Columbia and in ground school as a practice too). I felt more confident – I calculated everything and I think everything went well. Planning at night time is different too, because you can’t pick rivers, railways or any unlit landmarks as your checkpoint. So you can only pick towns, airports, big highways with lighting and perhaps clusters of towers which are lit.

It was absolutely pitch black when we left. It was our intention to fly in this of course – you need night flight hours to complete the PPL course.

The landing light wasn’t working when we did the preflight! So that kinda sucked! But we managed – you’re not allowed to fly at night without a landing light with an aircraft that’s being used for instruction unless it happens during the flight, obviously. So we set off without breaking any rules and it was okay actually.

Flying at night is quite amazing. You can see other traffic more clearly and the stars are very pretty. It’s nice seeing the cities and highways lit up too. It was very difficult to take pictures and videos. It’s pitch black after all. We have to use a torch in the cockpit to see our flight plan and map. I couldn’t see the timer and I wasn’t following the checkpoints as much, but I was told to stop fixating on the numbers, map and planning and just focus on looking for the checkpoints and checking the gps to have a general idea where you are – this is called pilotage.

If you are unfortunate to have an engine failure at night – you really are screwed. Your life saver would be an airport nearby or a lit up highway. But if you don’t have air traffic control to help you, you’re in trouble. So it’s a bit scary not being able to see the ground with that thought.

At Midwest, Brandon did the first landing to show me how to land at night. It’s quite different – the lights on the runway which are a foot above the ground make you feel like you’re lower than you actually are, so pilots tend to bounce or hit the aircraft off the ground causing accidents, like propeller strikes. The correct method to land at night is to descend to where the lights are on the runway and then slowly let the aircraft sink into the runway naturally.

Brandon did a lovely landing then I did one landing to a full stop and it was very good too! It felt weird I had absolutely no idea where the tarmac was – I could just see the lights and if a deer came or anything, you’d be screwed – you use have to have full faith it’ll all be okay!

It was like 11pm so I went home and there was some food for me which my Dad organised so I was happy for that. I went straight to sleep after that.

Here’s a video of us landing back at Midwest. How pretty is the lighting?!

Can you see the four lights to the left of the runway? They are called VASI lights. They show you your glideslop.

Four White: You’re high
Three White One Red: You’re a little high
Two Red Two White: You’re just right
Three red One white: You’re low
Four Red: You’re dead.

It’s always good to be a little higher than lower, especially at night. You’ll see here we come in with four white lights. :)

You may here me say: “Cool! Alright! Now it’s my turn!”


Wednesday 31st August: Solo | First Cross Country | Black Hawks

Hey All!

So yesterday I rendered my first solo flight throughout the night and I uploaded it to YouTube in the morning. Click Here – First Solo Take-Off/Landing. As I left it uploading, I headed to Midwest with Brandon and we did four touch and goes together and then I went off by myself to log some solo time. I did 6 landing/take-offs in the pattern – 2 normal, 2 short-field and 2 soft-field. It was nice to be solo again, feeling more confident and enjoying flying alone. I would have gone flying in the practise area to go through my manoeuvres but the weather wasn’t too great hence why I stayed in the pattern.

After my solo flight, a few students and Rahul were kicking about and there was also a charter pilot chilling. I struck up a conversation with him and had a great conversation with him. He flies a citation jet for a private company. Basically like a taxi driver for a very rich company. I got his details so he might just be the guy who can asset me with an opportunity. Getting a job in aviation is always about knowing the right people.

I headed back to the school, getting some lunch and then started flight planning for my first cross country to miami country. It’s quite a lot of work to plan a flight. First you have to get a weather briefing for your departure and destination at the surface and at the altitude you’re going to cruise at. Then from the winds you need to work out which heading you’re going to go on. Then on the map you need to look for checkpoints at least every 10miles so you know you’re on track. eg. airports in sight, big highways, rivers, landmarks etc. Then you need to work out the time for each checkpoint and the fuel burn per checkpoint. Eventually, you have this very detailed flight plan which is a big picture of the trip. It’s quite time consuming and hard work, but quite satisfying too. Remembering back to my first flight, it took me like 50minutes to preflight the aircraft which now takes me 10minutes so I suppose it’ll be the same with flight planning.

Nevertheless, Brandon and I went to Midewest and finished off the flight planning together, then headed off for Miami County.

There was a lot to take in. Talking on the radio the whole time to traffic, tower, area, centre, whilst looking for traffic outside, whilst flying the airplane, whilst timing each checkpoint, whilst looking for the next checkpoint. It was a challenge, but I took it all in and Brandon did what he knew would be too much for me.

We got to Miami County Airport and landed on the tarmac to a full stop. There is a grass strip there too, so we took off on the tarmac runway and Brandon showed me how to land on a grass strip which is a part of my training. Then after landing, we taxied back to take off on the tarmac runway to land on the grass runway, which I did this time. It went well.

Meanwhile, two black hawk helicopters were 10miles inbound for this airport and were talking to us asking us about the winds and stuff.

After I landed on the grass we waited on the runway so we could film them coming in.
They landed like right beside us – it was SO awesome. They asked, “we’re not in your way are we?” to which we replied, “No no go ahead we’ll wait for you to land and then taxi out” to which they replied, “Aw thanks!”

It was so awesome.

Brandon says I’m always so lucky. I get the best weather and get to see the best things it was so cool. :)

We took off and headed bad to Midwest. We stopped by OJC (Johnson County Airport), which is a towered airport. I needed to practise some landings at a towered airport, where you’re told what to do rather than just telling the traffic what you’re doing.

It was quite hard to communicate since I hadn’t done it before but it was a challenge and it was fun. I got permission to land which makes you feel quite special and I did a few touch and gos. On my last touch and go when I was cleared, there were two aircraft holding on either side of the runway waiting for me to land and so Brandon said, “you better make this a good one since you have an audience” – it was PERFECT! Yay!

When we left OJC, I got to say, “Good Day” on the radio for the first time ever! It was so exhilarating! I loved it haha! I have been waiting for that moment since I was 16. I went to Glasgow International Airport for work experience for a week to shadow the air traffic controllers at the tower. It was so great. And after they handed off the pilots they’d say good day and I just really wanted to say it. So this was my first time and I was really happy with that! hehe.

So we flew back to Midwest, it was getting dark but it was very nice. Brandon was singing Star Wars and pretending to shoot things whilst throwing the aircraft about by rapidly turning the yoke from left to right adding rudder at the same time too!

Midwest lit up so beautifully when we arrived. Wow. :) Wish I got some pics of that time. Although I have a video of a landing there in pitch black which I’ll show y’all soon! :)

I was SO tired after – 2.3hrs flight in total.

Met a guy, Paul who came to fly our CRJ 200 Jet Simulator. He arrived in a lovely Porsche. We talked about careers in aviation and perhaps he’s another possible contact for the future. He’s currently an airline pilot and wanted to do some sim training in preparation for a check ride for another airline or something.

Got home quite late, made some notes for my blog so I don’t forget. Went to sleeeeep!

Whilst having to study for the written exam, and trying to work on this website, my days are long and busy. The new logo is almost ready – was really hard making it without the original psd…but it’s done now so I can use it for twitter and youtube and facebook etc.

Need to start building the website!

Flying comes first though. :)

Tirring lifestle…but I’m so happy! :D

Right now I’m done!
Only like 6 more blogs to write (I’m like a week behind – writing this on the 7th september!)

Click HERE for Fullscreen! :)

Cross Country | Solo | Written | Checkride

Yo yo yo!

Quick update since things are getting very busy now.

With my ground school over, now it’s about flying flying flying! I have to fly an hour solo a day at least, just pottering about in the practise area doing all my manoeuvres. I also need to do a couple of cross country, dual and solo. I also need to have a night flight (although this will probably be integrated into one of the cross countries). I also need to sit my written in exam. Then I’ll have my check ride. Oh by the way, all of this in less than 14 days. Oh I forgot to mention – I have to build a website too.

*head explodes*

Yesterday, Monday 29th August:

Didn’t have a good day. Stayed at school all day – had ground school, studied, went home early, didn’t get anything done, couldn’t sleep much. It was a downer.

Today, Tuesday 30th August:

Stayed at school all day again – finished my ground school, studied, worked on the logo design. Now I’m at home and I’m trying to create an action plan so I do things in priority order and hoping everything gets done, since everything on my list is really important!

If the website doesn’t get built, then that’s a big bummer because It’ll be easy for me to build it and set it up but really hard to develop it with the team since I’ll be in Scotland. I guess it was too much to train to become a pilot in 6/7 weeks and be a web designer and IT support at the same time. Well I created a flight schedule system and a way for the staff to share documents easily, so I guess that’s the starting point. The new fancy website will eventually come.

As I said, I’m so bogged down with work, this is a short blog post. No pics or vids. Oh man I just remembered I have to still finish making that first solo take-off/landing video! Argh that’s so time consuming but it needs to be done! And I need to share pics from the FAA safety event with that director! Eeeek! It’ll all have to wait – Studying for PPL is my priority.

Peace Out!

Weekend Update

I had my big ground lesson on Friday afternoon on Airspace. There was a lot to take in! There’s still another part to Airspace left. I have two more big ground lessons then from that day when I finish my ground school, I will be sitting my written test a week from that date. I have this software for preparing for the written where you can do test exams, study the subjects and monitor your progress (the exam is multiple choice) – kind of like those interactive dvds you get for sitting your driving licence theory test. It’s very good. I thought I’d sit the whole exam just to see how I’d do by guess work and I got 60%, which I don’t think is that bad since most of the stuff I was just figuring it out by logic! So I don’t think it’ll take much work to get it up to 70% which is the pass rate, although I obviously want to do well so I have a good overall knowledge, since it’s not just about passing a test, it’s about having knowledge of everything to do with flying so I can keep myself alive.

We went home at around 6:30 and had a quick snack, then Rahul, Rohit and I went to a local school to play some football (soccer). It was fun! Just relaxed – kicked a ball around and took shots. After, Rohit came over and we had a lovely english dinner my Dad made – mashed potatoes, pinto beans, sausages and a fruit salad. It was lovely! After, the three of us went to Midwest to play pool. It’s such an awesome atmosphere at the airport. The FBO is just so cool! The pool table is really nice, there’s free tea and drinks, it’s really clean and nicely cooled. We had a good time!

We got back quite late so we had a bit of a lie in and then after lunch, Onon, Rohit, Rahul and I went to the Country Club Plaza at Kansas City. It’s just an area of Kansas City with nice shops and restaurants and stuff. It’s really nice there. We did a spot of shopping, went to the Apple Store, of course! When we came out of the Apple Store, there were some Hari Krishna people singing away! There were three of them – one with a portable harmonium, one with a dholki type drum and the other with some bells. I took a video – it was so awesome I wanted to join in! Hehe!

Brandon lives quite near to the Country Club Plaza and he was running so he found us and chilled with us for a bit before he carried on with his work out. I didn’t buy anything :( …but it was just nice to be out somewhere new! Rahul took us to Loose park, which is near to downtown which had some nice ponds and fountains, so we had a bit of a walk around there and took some photographs.

After that, we went to a view point which looks over the skyline of Downtown Kansas. It was a bit of a trek after having walked all day around the shops and then the park and now up loads of steps, but it was worth it! Got some great photographs up there. :)

After that, Onon needed to get some earphones so we headed to Best Buy back in Liberty, which is similar to Currys but so much better! We had a browse around and I made the mistake of trying on these amazing noise cancelling amplified Bose Headphones. They were AMAAAZING! So I’m set on researching that and saving up for a pair! Daym I need to stop seeing things I want! Best Buy is a geek’s heaven. It has EVERYTHING electrical and gadgety you could ever ask for! We had good banter in Best Buy – there was this big dude(although everyone is big from my perspective) who works there who had a massive cast on his leg and I asked him, “Oh no! What happened to you then?!” …and he said “Oh I hit a massive sledgehammer off it, nahh kidding….it was basketball!” I asked him if he wanted a hug and he said “Yeah okay!” So I gave him a big hug and by this time a couple of his colleagues had come over! He was like, “wow this guy is magic I already feel better!” America is so much fun! You would NEVER get that banter in PC World or Currys.

We came home after a grocery shop at Wallmart rather tired, but we wanted the fun to continue, although Rahul probably would have preferred to go out clubbing and meet some girls!! Onon and Rohit backed out, but Rahul and I headed to Midwest again for some pool! We played a few games but we had agreed to do some work too and then play pool again before we go home. After we sat down to work after having a few rounds of pool, three other guys came and took the pool table so we didn’t play again, but it was so awesome chilling at Midwest. I didn’t get much work done because I got carried away by watching classical raag/tabla videos on YouTube. Once you get started you just keep clicking and clicking on the next thing! I was watching some awesome Zakir Hussain & Taufiq Qureshi videos and also Raag Jog on violin and bansuri and guitar too!

Plans for today, Sunday:

Heading to the school to study. I’ll hopefully get those photographs from the FAA Safety event ready and get my solo take-off/landing video edited and rendered. But thats quite a lot so even if I just study, it’s fine.

Hope you’re all having a splendid weekend!

Click HERE for Fullscreen! :)

Flying (Like a Commercial Pilot) | FAA Safety Event | Studying | Photography | The Bank

Good day to you all readers!

Tuesday 23rd August:

I predicted that I wouldn’t fly in the evening because there were thunderstorms but it cleared up super quick! It’s not like Scotland like where when it rains, you expect it to stick around for a week. The heavens open and it’ll rain with some real epic-ness and then it’ll completely clear up after a couple of hours, everything cools down and it’s lovely clear blue skies!

So I went to the airport with my Dad because Raul, our mechanic was changing the oil in the Cherokee and also fixing one of our other aircraft. Raul also lubed the yoke and the primer in the Cherokee so I was looking forward to flying to see if I could fly better with everything set up nicely.

Brandon and I taxied over to get some fuel. We bought a fuel stick when we went to Lee Summit the previous flight, which basically is a tube with readings on it, with holes on both sides of the tube. You put the stick in the fuel tank, covering the top hole of the tube, so when you lift the tube out, the fuel that appears shows a certain value on the stick. When you buy it, you need to fill up the tank from empty adding 5 gallons at a time so you can calibrate it and draw a graph so next time, whatever the fuel level is, when you put the stick in, you can read off the graph created and the number on the stick will correspond to a number of gals, giving an accurate reading of how much fuel there is, since the gauges in the cockpit are inaccurate.

So the tank was empty and I put 5gal in and Brandon put the stick in to take the first measurement, he dropped the stick in the tank expecting it to catch on the edge or float or magically hover or something, but it just fell in the tank. For 20 or so minutes, Brandon got a hold of a torch and a few bits and bobs and tried to get it out but we had no luck. Thankfully, Raul, our mechanic was still about so we a hold of him and he came to help. He had this fancy instrument specifically designed to grab things that you can’t reach. It was a long metal coiled rod with a grabber at the end which could be actuated by a button at the top – so he managed to get it for us.

After an hour, we filled up and we were off. It was a little darker and we were both a bit flustered and tired from the fuel stick event so we decided to just stay in the circuit to practise landings. My landings were really good and it’s mostly down to the yoke being a lot smoother. The last landing, Brandon wanted me to do a perfect short field landing, which is hard enough as it is. Just as I reduced power to descend, he cut the power and said he still wants a perfect short field landing. I wasn’t overly phased and I focussed as much as I could. Turns out it was absolutely PERFECT and Brandon was so annoyed at me for being so good haha! It was really funny. I obviously played on this and after we landed and we were coasting to get off the runway, as I was being cursed, it was saying stuff like, “Who’s the daddy?!”…

Hehe! Brandon was playfully annoyed at me because this landing which I did is actually a commercial manoeuvre, called a power-off 180 which commercial airliners would do – so on the downwind, cut the power, make a turn on to finals and land on the numbers. I did it perfectly! I obviously didn’t know this but it’s still awesome knowing that I carried out a perfect power-off 180 hehe!

When we were playing pool whilst waiting for Rahul (there was a communication error so we were waiting for an hour), I expressed my feelings that I just wished my last landing was a bit better. Brandon expressed his anger at me. :)
Brandon understands my sarcasm and humour – it’s good banter. :)

It was a long long day. After getting home, I went straight to sleep.

Wednesday 24th:

I studied in the morning, continuing to write up all my ground school notes. In the afternoon I flew – we went through the maneuvers – slow flight, stalls, steep turns, turns around a point, s-turns and then on the way back, Brandon said I had to fly all the way back (15 or so miles out) without him saying a word. So I made all my radio calls as I should and flew in how I should and landed! We did a few touch and goes at Midwest, perfecting soft-field/short-field take-off and landings. The flight was just an hour.

There was an FAA safety talk at Midwest so we stayed back for that. We got down just before all the traffic started to build up. We landed at around half 6 and the talk was starting at 7 in the biggest hanger at the airport. It was a national event where there were presentations on how we can be better pilots and instructors, looking into the main causes of accidents and how we can avoid them. The presentations were very good and I learnt a lot from them – I’ll definitely use the lessons shared and taught which will help me to become a better pilot. Also, someone was awarded with the Wright Brother’s Award which is a big deal. It’s when someone has had more than 50 years flying experience and has contributed towards the aviation industry. It’s not often these are handed out so it was nice to experience that. I got some great pics and vids for the website and I was approached by a director of an aviation based business to pass those photographs on for their next newsletter, so it was good to start networking too!

It was a really hot day – there was free pizza and drinks, but I just took advantage of free drinks! When I got home, which was quite late, I set up a few domain names whilst eating my dinner, sent some emails out, wrote some notes for my blog and went to sleep! Knackered again!

Thursday 25th:

In the morning, I caught up on all my notes, writing about 14 or so pages. It was hard work but I was keen to catch up and I was relieved when I got up to date. It means I can focus on the now when in my lessons and also dedicate more time towards the IT side of things too.

I flew at 4:30pm again, practised short-field/soft-field take-off and landings at Midwest. With the yoke a lot more smooth and accurate, my landings are getting better and better. We headed over to Roosterville, which is quite close to Midwest. It’s a tiny tiny airfield. The runway is basically a road. The runway is hilly, has bumps and it also cambers to one side. If you don’t land on the centre line, you’ll land on the grass. It’s RIDICULOUS. I didn’t’ take my camera but next time I’m going, I will take a video and some pics just so you can see how crazy of a runway it is. Brandon did the first landing just to show me how to land there because the approach has to be precise. We were practising short-field take-off and landings at Midwest because it’s a big runway but here, we had to do it for real. Anyway, so Brandon did a landing, then we had to taxi back on the same runway all the way back to the beginning and take off – there isn’t a taxi way! My first landing, by Brandon’s words, not mine, was better than his! So obviously he was frustrated haha! So he was cursing me and I obviously made it a point to press his buttons! Roosterville was fun! You HAVE to be precise and so it helps you become more focussed and accurate. At Midwest, I had a tendency to land wherever on the runway, because you can, but at Roosterville as I said, the width of the runway is the span of your rear wheels, so there’s no room for error!

I was happy with that lesson and as we were taxing back to park up, I was talking away to Brandon asking him about how my progress is and I didn’t notice he took his headset off so he was just sitting back watching me to see how long I’d talk to myself before I realised! I guess that was his payback for my better landings! Anyway, he put his headset back on and we discussed my progress. I’m more than half way through the training now and the next two big ground lessons will be important – Airspace and Navigation. Both of them are big topics and apparently quite difficult. I’ll be planning for my cross country flight and then getting ready for my check ride.

I found out in the evening that Mike Garrison, our examiner is away for the last week that I’m here. So I didn’t get much sleep that night (last night) because I was just worrying that I have to completel my training in like 14days. But Brandon this morning said it’ll be okay – we’re on track and we can find an examiner who can do the checkride on my last week here so I have maximum time to prepare.

Today, Friday 26th August:

I went to the bank with my Dad to set up a bank account. My Dad has dealt with the same lady every time since he’s been to the bank quite a lot to set things up and apparently, it’s rude if you go to someone else, as if it’s some kind of epic betrayal! Anyway, when the lady was finished with the other customer, she came over to us and said it’s lovely to meet you and she gave me a hug! She gave me Dad and hug and then we went over to her desk! Imagine going into Lloyds TSB or Royal Bank or something and the cashier giving you a hug?!?! HAHA! You’d probably press charges! None of this, “next please…”…and you just tell them what you want and then leave. You sit with them and have a chat and talk about your family and life and they discuss their family and stuff and it’s just so friendly! Anyway I now have my own personal account which is sweet! It means I’m prepared if I come back without my Dad some time!

As I said, I have a big ground lesson this afternoon, so no flying. I have been given an interactive website which I can look at to start to get my head around it. The next few lessons will just be theory and then I guess my next flight, we’ll be going into controlled airspace and speak to an air traffic controller! Exciting!!!

I have SO many awesome pics and vids to share. But I need to edit them and put a watermark on them before I post them anywhere online, because I am sharing it with that director who wants to put it in their newsletter, so I want to watermark it with my name so I can maybe get some web/hosting business from that. So have patience all – I’ll have some piccies for you soon! I know none of you read my blogs – you just scroll down and want to look at the piccies! I don’t even think I’ll read my blogs on my return because they just go on and on and on!…It’s a good way to keep a journal and remind myself how busy I am, but how much fun I’m having. :)

[Got too busy and never bothered with watermarking...so here at the pics from this event!]

That’ll be all.

Click HERE for Fullscreen! :)

Lee Summit & Longest Flight so far

My second flight after going solo, we flew out to a new airport this afternoon, Lee Summit which is about 20nautical miles south of Midwest National.

It’s a lovely airport and because we took off on runway 18 from midwest and the runway at lee summit we were landing on was 18 too, we did like an airliner type decent from a few miles out directly on to the runway which was SO cool! There were beautiful lakes in the surrounding area and it was just really fun to go to a new place. We parked up and bought something we needed for the aircraft from the FBO. We took off and practised short field/soft field take off and landings and then headed back towards Midwest, practising slow flight, stalls, turns around a point and emergencies before heading back. My first slow flight wasn’t so good – was a bit rusty but my second was good. My emergency was pretty good, just need to be a bit quicker with knowing where the winds are coming from so I can choose an appropriate place to land. We did a few touch and gos at Midwest too, again working on short field/soft field take off and landings.

We flew for 2.2hrs which is a record for me! I kept rechecking my addition when working out the time to make sure I was adding it up right! Tt didn’t feel like 2.2 hours and yesterday when we flew for 1.4 it felt like forever because it was so hot! It was pretty hot today because it was humid after the thunderstorms but it was bearable.

A long long flight – covered lots and from now on, no more normal landings – just short field/soft field take off and landings!

I fell asleep in the car on the way back! I am knackered! Just sitting at the school now with Rahul as he works on an excel sheet and I update and download a few things since the internet is terrible at the apartment!

I think that’s about it! Probably head home soon, work on making a video for my first solo take off/landing in Final Cut Pro X if I can figure out how to use it – may consult Lynda.com…do a spot of studying and hit the sack!

Ciao! x

The Day I Went Solo

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I totally relaxed on Thursday evening but ended up going to sleep quite late! So I ended up having a bit of a lie in on Friday morning and got to the school for around 11:30am. I went straight to a spare office rather than a study room so I could get to work without any distractions.

Because no one saw me come in, everyone assumed I was still at home. So whilst I was working away in the office, a jet pilot had come in to see our CRJ Simulator, which is $500,000 piece of super high tech kit!(Pictures on http://www.careerpilotschool.com) Two of our students got to fly it and one of them even landed it(Onon)! And I missed it ALL!!! I could have even had a shot! Hopefully it won’t be long until the instructor comes back and we can all learn to use it! :)

Due to weather, Chinzo wasn’t able to do his cross country. I wasn’t actually meant to fly at all because Brandon was busy all day and I was taking a day out from being tired from flying twice the previous day and also having a large todo list I wanted to catch up on. My Dad came through to my office (hehe I love saying that) and said that Brandon isn’t flying with Chinzo, it’s perfect weather, he’s free – do you want to go solo today? I was like urrr, YEAH! He said right we have to go right now then! So I gathered my things in a rush with the emotions of excitement and nervousness running through me. My Dad came back through shortly after and said they’re actually coming back for lunch and we’ll go afterwards. I calmed down a little and it meant I could freshen up since I kinda got ready in a rush and was looking like a bit of a mess! We quickly went home for a sandwich and then headed to the airport with Brandon, Onon (who was going to have a lesson after my solo) and my Dad, who was going to come along to take pics and vids.

We got to the airport and I did the preflight for the aircraft whilst my Dad recorded the whole thing narrating what I was doing. After starting up, we refuelled and on the way for take-off after I did my passenger and emergency briefing, Brandon said we’ll go out for a few touch and gos then he’ll decide if I’m good to go solo.

So off we set in the pattern. It was very hot – the sun was shining and there was absolutely no clouds – clear as you like! There wasn’t any traffic and there was a very light crosswind, so really just perfect conditions.

I felt calm, relaxed, alert, focussed and confident. My turns were a little steep at the beginning of my touch and gos – perhaps I felt in a rush to complete the circuits or something, but I was working on making my turns less steep, around 20degrees, when I was banking past 30! Also, when on base my airspeed was low, I had a tendency to increase power but since we need to lose altitude, we should really just pitch the nose down, because this will increase our airspeed as well as allow us to descend. Anyway on my 3rd/4th circuit with Brandon, I was controlling my airspeed better and all my landings were pretty sweet. On the 3rd touch and go when we landing, I didn’t have my feet firmly on the rudder peddles and so as we were rolling along the runway slowing down, the aircraft started to skid and started to twist as if it was about to start drifting and perhaps tip onto one side! I mean it could have been a close call, but at another level, it was easily fixable – we just pressed the rudders straight and gained control of the aircraft slowing it down smoothly trying not to lock the brakes. I totally panicked when it happened since I’ve never experienced it but it was a close enough call to always remember to have my feet firmly on the rudder peddles when I land and always apply the brakes smoothy without locking the brakes.

Anyway, the four touch and gos were over and I was pretty sure I was about to go solo and as we cleared the active runway taxiing back to the ramp, Brandon said he’s happy and he talked through exactly what was going to happen – I’d do three take offs and full stop landings. So I wouldn’t just land then put full power on and take-off – I would take off, go around the pattern, land, taxi off the runway, do my after landing checklist, taxi to the beginning of the runway, do my before take-off checklist then take-off and do this three times!

I dropped him off at the ramp, he shook my hand and wished me luck and got out the aircraft. There I was, with my own aircraft on my own, with the engine running away at 1000rpm – I was Pilot in Command and I was about to fly this machine by myself, just after 12 hours of flying.

My feelings? – Still calm, relaxed, focussed and confident.

I taxied to back to the beginning of the runway, passing my Dad as he was taking videos of me at the edge of the taxi way near the runway. I could see that Brandon was sprinting to the main building to get a portable radio so he can speak to me if I need any help or advice. I stopped short of runway 36 and did the before take-off checklist. I checked for traffic left and right and sat back in my seat for a moment to take things in. Looking at the runway in front of me without Brandon for the first time, I took a deep breath realising what I was just about to do alone and made my radio call. “Midwest National Traffic: Cherokee ThreeFourEightZeroQuebec, taking off runway ThreeSix, Midwest.”

The parking brake was released and I taxied onto the runway, lining up the nose wheel on the centre line and applying full power. I didn’t feel nervous, scared or any of those feelings which perhaps someone would think someone would feel if they were flying for the first time themselves. I just felt ready and confident! As I accelerated, I could see Brandon sprinting towards my Dad with the radio to see me take-off! I waited for Vr (52kts) at which point you apply back pressure and allow the aircraft to begin to lift from the ground. My take-off was gentle and smooth. I made my upwind call(to tell traffic I have taken off and I’m climbing and I’m going around in a pattern to land back on runway 36. Climbing to 1,300 ft, turning to my left crosswind leg, I felt relaxed and quite simply content to be flying. It felt quiet in the aircraft. Brandon and I are always talking, whether it’s following instructions, learning something, asking questions, making radio calls or just having a joke, there’s always something going on. But when I was by myself, I was doing the flow checks in my mind and after I was all done with my checks, radio calls and I was flying straight and level, everything felt very quiet. I felt a peace and serenity being in the air on my own and I didn’t feel rushed or nervous or that things were going too fast, which is what I was perhaps expected when I used to think about flying – I just felt confident and things were as they always are! When I became a beam with the beginning of the runway when I’d come all the way back downwind, the power was reduced to 1700rpm(from 2400 cruise) and one notch of flaps were activated. This initiates a descent and just before turning base, 300ft should have been lost by dropping the rpm and also adding 10degrees of flaps. Continuing on the downwind leg, waiting for the runway to be at a 45 degree angle behind me, which I usually judge when I pass a highway near to the runway, I make my base turn, along with the radio call. Adding another stage of flaps and reducing power, it’s important to have control of both airspeed (80 knots on base), preparing for an airspeed of 75 knots on final. On the base leg, another 300ft should be lost, leaving just 300-400ft between you and the runway. Judging my last turn on to finals, I make my call for my first solo landing. “Midwest National Traffic: Cherokee ThreeFourEightZeroQuebec, Finals Runway ThreeSix Full Stop, Midwest.”. My airspeed and altitude are a little high which is alright – I reduce power and point the nose at the numbers on the runway. I scan the runway making sure there isn’t traffic and keep the runway in view on the dashboard so I have a steady and fixed glide slope for landing. There is a slight crosswind pushing me over to the left of the runway so I compensate by pointing the nose into the wind, readying myself to add rudder as I flare. I committed to landing and as I drew closer to the runway, I made sure not to push the nose towards the runway and flared at the right time. The power came back slowly and I kept adding back pressure to bring the back wheels down first. With the stall horn sounding for just a moment before I touched down, I knew it was a good landing, on the centre line and no bumps. It wasn’t perfect – I tend to flare a tad early and climb a tiny bit but there wasn’t a thud so it was pretty sweet!

My Dad maxed out the camera memory and also the camera overheated due to how hot it was on the taxiway so he didn’t catch my whole circuit, but there’s a video of my first take-off and landing which i’ll DEFINITELY make the effort to upload! So that’ll be up soon! Although I’ve been saying for ages about videos – I need to sort it out man! Nevertheless, some folk don’t get any digital memory of their first solo flight so I am grateful for those vids and pics, even though chunks are missing from my flight. The still pictures of one of my circuits in the gallery is on my second touch and go with Brandon – I hadn’t gone solo yet but I still was in control and landed and took-off by myself. :)

The next two short flights went great and I enjoyed every minute of it! On each landing, Brandon got on the radio and gave me lots of encouragement. On the first landing he said, “Well done Preet! Give me two more like that”, to which I replied, “Yes Sir!”. On the second landing, I got, “Well done! Two down, one to go!”, to which I replied, “Wayhay!” and finally on my last landing Brandon cheerfully says, “Congratulations Preet! Well done! We’ll see you at the ramp.”.

I taxied over to the ramp and Brandon did the air traffic control thing with his arms to bring me into the parking spot, which was really cool! I felt like a fighter pilot coming from a mission, like in Top Gun at the end when they land on the aircraft carrier and everyone comes to the aircraft to cheer them on! It’s a shame he didn’t have the table tennis racquets but yeah it was awesome hehe. There’s a pic of Brandon doing that which I’ll include in the album!

I shut the aircraft down and took down the tachometer/hobbs times and got out the aircraft, to be greeted by my father, Brandon and Onon. Brandon put the epaulettes on me and we got some pics and then headed back for the main building.

Whilst Brandon went off for his next lesson with Onon, my Dad and I sat in the FBO (Fixed Based Operator – which I call the main building for my blog) and looked at the pics and videos and cleared the camera. My Dad is in the process of expanding the school by having an office at the airport too. So we spent some time taking some photographs for our website and also went to our hanger to take some pictures of the hanger and our mechanic who was working on one of our aircraft. I’ll include them in the gallery too.

After that, we went back to the school together (with Brandon and Onon aswell) and I was congratulated by Rahul and the other students. I was taken out by my Dad and Rahul to celebrate in the evening and I really enjoyed going out into town in my uniform, no longer looking like a waiter!

We got home quite late. I was pretty tired but I washed my hair and did some laundry and then stayed up until like 3:30am just on Skype and chilling, reflecting on my awesome day!

And that’s about that! Apparently, it’s all ‘downhill’ from here. The solo flight is meant to be the biggest day of a pilot’s aviation career. Guess what? – it was almost a non-event for me! My Dad actually felt the same way when he went solo in South Africa when he went to train to fly Microlights, or ultralights as they are called in the USA. The fact that it was a non-event shows that I was ready for it and I am ready to push on to the next stage – preparing for a cross country flight!

I’ll be printing some of the pictures that were taken on Friday, probably of the one me shaking Brandon’s hand beside the aircraft and send it to my mum, grandparents etc. It’s a big day so I think I should frame it and have it in my bedroom when I go home! If you’d like a framed picture of me with my instructor after my solo fight, feel free to get in touch and make your order! hehe! :)

Reflecting on my first solo flight, I feel confident and ready to get back in the aircraft excited to continue my learning! I feel I really accomplished something on Friday. Whilst reflecting on this over the weekend, I have realised that becoming a pilot wasn’t just a childhood dream, but it still is my dream and it’s coming true. I’ve also realised it’s what I see myself doing for the rest of my life.

Click HERE for Fullscreen! :)

The Weekend | 20th & 21st August

A pretty lazy weekend with not much of an update. There was a massive thunderstorm on Friday night so we went out and recorded the fork lightning – it was pretty epic! On Saturday I wrote all my blogs and started organising my photographs. I cleaned the apartment with Rahul and after that, I just relaxed.

Sunday, I finished writing my blogs and started watching the Lynda.com tutorials for Aperture, which Ive been meaning to do for a year. I needed to edit some pictures for my next blog post because I want these specific photographs to be perfect – you’ll see why very soon!

I had ground school in the late afternoon, covering ground reference manoeuvres (turns around a point and s-turns) and short field/soft field take-off & landings.

I had a flying lesson in the early evening and we practised all those things at Midwest and in the practise area. My landings are getting better and I feel more confident in the aircraft after going solo.

Things are good. :)
I’m enjoying not looking like a waiter with my new stripes. :)

Today – meant to be getting a lesson this evening but with the weather, I doubt I see that happening.

That’ll be all.