Flew with doors off!!!

English: steep turn to the left
English: steep turn to the left (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After church on Sunday, I found a couple of hours to head up to Louisburg to fly the Remos light-sport again.  It was an absolutely beautiful day around 83 degrees, but windy (luckily the winds were straight down the runway)!  When I arrived, the plane was missing its doors!  This is possible in the Remos.  After strapping in, we took off with skydivers coming in to the airport about 1/4 mile to our left (hope they stay out of my way!).  It takes a little getting used to being out in the open like that with no doors!  Also, at 2,000 feet, it was a little chilly.  We had to turn on some cabin heat to offset the chill.

Let me tell you, doing a steep turn with doors off is a new experience!  A steep turn is a bank angle of 45 degrees to show the horizontal versus vertical component of lift (see picture at right).  At 45 degrees, you look left and you are staring straight at the ground with nothing there!  Nothing fell out though.  It became fun once you get used to it.  We also performed turns around a point around a barn and watched the cattle coming in for feeding time.  It was a blast!

We finished up by flying back to Louisburg (North Triangle Executive Airport, lots of fancy names around here) and practicing some touch and go’s.  I finished the day with the prettiest short-field landing I have ever performed.  Good enough to pass the FAA checkride even.  I came in and landed and was able to turn off the runway at the FIRST taxiway entrance.  I stopped on that high note.

BTW, my instructor for the light-sport has been David.  He has just left Kent State University as a flight instructor and is now in Wake Forest.  He is a nice guy and really knows his light-sports.

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2nd Solo completed!

Friday morning was good weather, so Richard and I took off at 7:30am, flew around for about 30 minutes and then Richard had me drop him off at the flying club.  I then had the plane for about 30 minutes by myself.  I flew to the practice area and just became more comfortable in the plane alone!  I have to say, it is kind of boring with no one to talk to.

After cruising around and practicing some “turns around a point” I flew back to the airport to practice some landings.  It was definitely an off day.  On a cool morning without another person in the plane, it just didn’t want to go down!  I kept coming in too high and fast.  I made 3 landings along with 3 go-arounds.

The forecast was for thunderstorms Friday afternoon (which never happened), so we canceled our planned flight to Fayetteville.  We are planning on doing that on Monday.

Tried Something New!

English: Remos G-3, photographed at Sun 'n Fun...
English: Remos G-3, photographed at Sun ‘n Fun 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had the opportunity to fly with Total Flight Solutions in Louisburg yesterday and fly in a Remos GX light sport aircraft (like this one, well, sort of, this is a G-3 and I flew a GX, but pretty much the same) .   The plane only weighs 700 pounds empty and can’t weigh more than 1,320 pounds at gross weight.  This was the first time that I have had the opportunity to fly a light-sport and compared to a Cessna 152, it is a sports car!  It accelerates faster, climbs much faster and is much more responsive in flight.  This makes me even more excited about getting these type of aircraft into the hands of missionaries.

I am scheduled to fly my 2nd solo on Friday and then immediately fly a little cross-country to Fayetteville with Richard.  Right now, the weather looks acceptable.  Here’s to hoping it holds out.

Weather!?!

Well, I was hoping that I would be finishing my Private Pilot checkride and getting my license by the time that school started back.  Instead, here we are with school starting and I just soloed again.  The weather this summer has been atrocious.  Summer in the south means sunshine!  Instead, we have had low clouds every morning, clear up around 10 am, then thunderstorms begin around 3 pm.  That means good flying weather between 10 am and 3 pm.  Unfortunately, that is when I work during the week and when the other 350 members of the flying club want to fly on Saturdays.

Also, I found out that the flying club will be relocating to Burlington, NC in early September due to the airport at Sanford being shut down to repave the runway.  The “powers that be” state that the runway will be closed for 52 working days (yes, that exact).  However, this is a government contract and we are heading into fall/winter, so I don’t expect the runway to be open again until early 2014.

This will make things difficult as Burlington is a 120 mile roundtrip from Wake Forest.

Finally Soloed!

Today was the day! Liani and the kids came with me to Raleigh Executive Jetport (KTTA) for my 8am flight. I took Richard up for a couple of times around the pattern and landing and then he stepped out of the plane. I took off and landed 3 times for my official solo. The winds were starting to pick up and the pattern was pretty bumpy but I brought the plane down safely, although the last landing was a bit of a carrier landing (look it up on YouTube if you are confused what a carrier landing looks like).

Anyway, afterward, Richard (with the kids) cut off my shirttail.
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According to Wikipedia, “In American aviation lore, the traditional removal of a new pilot’s shirt tail is a sign of the instructor’s new confidence in his student after successful completion of the 1st solo flight. In the days of tandem trainers, the student sat in the front seat, with the instructor behind. As there were often no radios in these early days of aviation, the instructor would tug on the student pilot’s shirttail to get his attention, and then yell in his ear. A successful first solo flight is an indication that the student can fly without the instructor (“instructor-less” flight). Hence, there is no longer a need for the shirt tail, and it is cut off by the (often) proud instructor, and sometimes displayed as a trophy.”

Here is what it looks like:

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Today was also airplane washing and cookout day at Wings of Carolina Flying Club.  Liani got her hands dirty helping to wash and wax a Mooney.

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Up next for me is another solo in the practice area to work on my maneuvers (steep turns, stalls, etc…) and start cross country flights with Richard.  Seems so far to go but happy in the moment.