Aug 25 2012

Second Biennial Flight Review Complete

Category: Lessons,RamblingsDaniel @ 9:17 pm

Last week I completed my second Biennial Flight Review (BFR).  In other words, it’s been about 4 years since I first earned my Private Pilot License.  I find it hard to believe time has passed so quickly, but it has!  I guess technically it’s not called a BFR any more, but per the FAA, you need at least 1 hour of ground instruction and 1 hour in-flight training with a qualified flight instructor in the last 2 years to continue to fly (so how is that NOT a BFR?).

Anyway, like last time, my instructor uses the FAA WINGS program to track progress and create the official endorsement.  A few weeks ago I completed the ground portion by dong a few online interactive classes, and then the in-flight was last week.  I must say I highly recommend a course by the AOPA Air Safety Institute called “Essential Aerodynamics: Stalls, Spins, and Safety.”  I must admit I’m VERY hesitant to practice stalls when I fly solo, and in all honesty the last time I stalled the plane it was during my LAST BFR (when my instructor requested it).  Of course we practiced them again this go-around as well, but this online course helps describe a lot of the underlying aerodynamics that relate to stalls and spins.  And it’s completely free for AOPA members!  Definitely check it out…

Well, I’m good for another 2 years, so now it’s time to fly some more!!

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Apr 23 2010

Guest Blogger Post #2 – Scary Spins

Category: Guest Blogger,LessonsDaniel @ 7:24 pm

I thought after flying Saturday on such a windy day, nothing could scare me anymore about flying.  After all, you did such a good job landing us.  But yesterday I went for my lesson again.  I had a total of 10 hours and felt really comfortable.  The day started really nice.  The winds were 7-10 knots,  not bad.  I did the pre-flight and we took off.  After climbing to 3,000 ft. we did some hand-leg coordinated maneuvers and then it happened.  The instructor told me that “we are going to do some power off and power on stalls.”  I thought “nothing new” I was very comfortable, since we have done many of these in the past.  First was a power off stall, it went smooth.  Next was the power on stall.  As we were starting to approach the stall, the instructor tells me “let go of the rudder and start turning to the left.”  I did not know but this is a spin.  As the plane started to roll and we lost control of the airplane I screamed as loud as I could, let go of the flight controls and grabbed the instructor’s arm.  I felt powerless.  The ground was coming at us very fast.  It was the scariest thing in my life so far.  I look at the instructor and he has his arms crossed at his chest.  I’m thinking to myself “why is this guy not grabbing the controls?”  After about 5 seconds the plane recovered BY ITSELF and leveled off.  I was shaking, scared and all the sudden my body temperature was really high.  I was sweating at 40 degrees Fahrenheit with the heat off.

After I was able to gather my thoughts again, I asked him: “What happened?  Why didn’t you grab the controls?  We could have died.”  He looked at me calmly, and said this was nothing dangerous.  He asked me if I wanted to do this during take off.  My response was I NEVER want to do this period.  And he said “that’s why we have to do this so that you can recognize what happens and you don’t do it during take off.”  Unfortunately, I let go of the controls and it was only a half spin and before he releases me from training we have to complete a full spin.  YIKES!  Not looking forward to that.

Next thing that he said was: “Do you want to try this again, or do some landings at Kenosha?”  I was scheduled for a 3 hour lesson and this happened 15 minutes into it.  I was asking myself, “is he kidding?”  Let me go back and walk on the sweet ground again.  I was done for the day, but my ego didn’t let me do that.  So we ended up flying to Kenosha and did about 10 landings.  After the first 2 landing we started doing emergency procedures.  First was engine failure.  I was on the down wind leg and all the sudden the engine went quite.  I was like oh crap!  The spin must have done some damage to the engine.  And then he tells me “lets pretend that your has engine failed, land us.”  We also did flaps failure and all other sorts of emergency procedures.  On the way back to Westosha, he told me to fly without the yoke.  So the ailerons and the rudder were not functional.  I was impressed with the airplane.  If something fails, you still have options.  You can fly and land with engine failure, or other failures.  Again, the plane functions as a glider.  We concluded our day with some cross wind landing at Westosha.  Let me tell you, I was glad to be on the ground again.

Later, Kenan

[This post authored by Dan’s friend Kenan]

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Mar 26 2008

Challenging Windy Fourth Lesson

Category: LessonsDaniel @ 4:59 pm

I’m told that wind can make flying a very difficult experience. I quickly learned yesterday during my fourth lesson how true that is! There were steady west winds of 20+ mph during my entire flight experience. Besides the challenge of the wind, we worked on some pretty complicated stuff (or at least seemed complicated to me at this point). By the end of my lesson, my head was spinning for a variety of reasons:

Wind Blowing Cloud1) We worked more on stalls and recovery procedures. This time my CFI had me stall the plane in various situations (power on, power off, while banking) and recover quickly. Luckily, the plane literally DOES indeed want to fly itself and making the corrections came very natural to me (they are all pretty logical anyways) and the plane reacts fine. However, going up and down in altitude as frequently as we did did twinge my stomach of steel even.

2) My CFI demonstrated a spin/spiral and how to recover. Thankfully, I’LL hopefully never be forced into this situation, but my CFI urged me to experience it (even though it’s not necessary). I must admit, heading straight for the ground and spinning (although I knew I was safe and it was indeed thrilling) is not really fun. I’m glad my CFI had the controls and literally had to work to get the plane to do something this unnatural. I’m always glad to see how much the plane wants to fly straight and normal.

3) S-Turns and Ground Reference Maneuvers. These aren’t normally that difficult, but the winds make it really “fun”. Lots of extra compensating to keep the plane from drifting and going off course.

4) Finally, we had to land in a strong crosswind. This is the “most difficult thing to do in flying” and I guess I did pretty good. Obviously my CFI helped me a ton (honestly, I think he landed)…but seeing the amount of extra that goes into a crosswind landing definitely makes me want to review a few chapters in my reference book again!

Needless to say, this was a very busy and complicated lesson and when we landed I had a LOT to think about and process. I AM excited to get back in the air on Saturday though (if the weather plays nice).

This lesson I logged 1.4 hours of flight time.

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Mar 15 2008

Third Lesson

Category: LessonsDaniel @ 1:13 pm

This lesson I ran the pre-flight checks completely by myself. My CFI was busy in the airport doing other paperwork. After a thorough walk-thru, I was confident the plane was airworthy. Apparently my CFI was confident too because he barely walked around the plane to spot-check my work. Once in the plane, we ran through the internal procedures and we quickly found ourselves on the runway and me taking off!

Stall DynamicsThis lesson we started by practicing normal flight and 360° turns. Those are quickly becoming second nature as muscle memory takes hold. After climbing to about 4,000 feet, my CFI began to teach me about stalls. I was happily surprised to see how difficult it is to actually cause a full stall (where the wing doesn’t make you fly any more). You really had to force the plane to do bad things. Anyways, after forcing some stalls, I learned how to quickly recover. Everything makes logical sense. It’s also again nice to know the plane will usually naturally recover from a stall if left to its own devices. These planes for general aviation are built for stability…they WANT to fly normal.

We practiced pattern fly as well and I’m starting to learn the local geography and landmarks. After approaching Westosha airport, we landed and logged our time. Another great time in the air…I’m simply loving this!

I logged 1.0 hours of flight time today.

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