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.

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!