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.

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.

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.

Ground School Done!

I finished the 45 hours of Private Pilot Ground School on Monday and made a 94% on the final. Now is the time to take the real deal – the FAA PPSEL (Private Pilot Single Engine Land) exam. I will hopefully get that scheduled next week.

I was also able to fly with Richard for the first time in weeks. The weather has been horrible for a summer in the South. Thunderstorms or rain every day! We practiced takeoffs and landings for the entire time. He says that this is coming back to me and I should be ready to solo again fairly quickly. I am glad he has confidence in me because I feel like I’ve been riding a bull for the entire morning!

Flying!

I went up with my instructor, Richard Taylor, on Memorial Day and again on Thursday.  I logged 1.9 hours of flight time.  Since I trained for 38 hours in 2007, we reviewed what I learned back then and worked on some new stuff.  Richard says that I am not that rusty for laying off 6 years.  We worked on coordinated turns, steep turns, stalls, and landings.  Cessna 152’s seem to drop faster in a stall than the Diamond DA-20 I trained in back in Little Rock.  Maybe I just forgot what it feels like.  Makes for quite the roller coaster the first time!

Here is a picture of my hot rod.

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Richard has been flying for more than 50 years and has flown everything from crop dusters to corporate jets.  He was also an instructor in the Navy.  He said that I would learn to land again on a nice BIG 6,000 ft. runway but that the airport was shutting down the runway to repave the runway and I would takeoff and land on the taxiway.  That will really teach me to land, he said.  We are also going to go to a 2,500 ft. grass strip surrounded by trees later on to, as he says, make flying fun!  I think I’m going to enjoy training with Richard.

Joined Wings of Carolina Flying Club!

On May 20, 2013, I joined the Wings of Carolina Flying Club (www.wingsofcarolina.org).  That night I started ground school, which lasts for 15 sessions, 3 hours each!  Luckily, I enjoy aviation, but no break in studying this summer!  John Hunter is our instructor and he has been flying and teaching aviation for 50 years.  He is also the chief mechanic for the flying club and uses volunteers to help maintain the aircraft each Wednesday night.  Wings of Carolina has been around for many years and is one of the largest flying clubs in the United States.  I am very blessed to have a club like this nearby to keep training costs lower and instructional value very high.  Well, back to the books to study aerodynamics (or as Marissa called it, “automaniacs”).