Showing posts from October, 2005

First "solo" flight in complex airplane

Today I took my wife and her brother up for a little flight around the local area. I had the airplane scheduled for tomorrow morning but since the wx was so nice, I called to see if I could move it up to today. Luckily it was available. When we got to the airport we saw the lunch crowd was huge. There was a P-51 called Double Trouble 2 , a Piper Mirage, a chopper "taxiing" down the runway all while 5-6 planes were moving toward runway 31. By far the busiest I've seen out there. Charly's sure is an attractive $100 hamburger joint (it IS good). I preflighted and we all got in to start the engine. However, when I hit the starter I could hear it turning but the prop wasn't moving. I tried once or twice more, then called the owner to get his thoughts on how to fix it. He told me to turn the prop, by hand, a few times to see if that got the starter in a better state. I did that (maybe 1 turn) and the prop turned right over - a few seconds later and the engin

The trials of a Ramp Monkey

I was remembering back to my high school days this evening. One of the jobs I had back then was probably one of the best I've ever had: Airport Ramp Monkey . No, that wasn't the real title - I don't even think I had a title. Generally I was to go-to guy for AvGas fill-ups, push backs, pull outs, and airplane parking at a small airport in Rock Hill, S.C (back when its ID was 29J). I applied for this job for one reason: flight training money. But I ended up enjoying it for much more than just that. A typical day involved me getting to work right after school, at around 3pm, and letting the previous guy end his shift. He'd tell me if anybody was waiting to have their airplane pulled out or if any big wigs were expected to come in that afternoon. When someone called ahead to get their airplane pulled out of their hangar I'd drive a rusted, little VW Rabbit to their machine and ease the airplane out with a little hand tug. Most of the hangars were open-air (lik

A goal reached - complex endorsement finished

After too many months working on the complex endorsement I finally finished it today. The primary delay was 2-fold - 1) I had to get 5 hours dual minimum for insurance reasons, and 2) weather and schedules kept me from flying very much at all. But I have finally gotten it and plan to take the wife up for a quick ride in the local area sometime soon. Overall, getting used to flying a complex airplane was not too hard. After about 3 hours of training I started to feel comfortable. It took those first hours to get used to the proper way to make power changes and to get a good idea of when the lower/raise the gear. The biggest change is the increased importance of checklists. Granted, they are important in the simplest airplane, but their value takes new heights when you have more systems to manage (and potentially forget about). I still need work on checklist discipline but have improved greatly over the last couple months. I’ve read about people doing even their initial primary tr

Taking my complex time to ~4.5 hours

Today I earned another 0.9 hours of complex time in the Arrow. It has been a while since I've been able to fly; the weather has been poor for a week or so. The decent weather today brought the fellow pilots out of the woodwork to work off their pent up need to soar. We had gone through most of the procedures before today, so this flight was to knock out the last two: power-on stalls and simulated engine outs. The stalls were nothing surprising - fairly docile if you keep on top of the rudder input. The engine outs were another story. We practiced a few at West Point airport and when you pull that sucker back to idle you are landing REAL soon. For instance, we pulled it to idle when I was a little past abeam the numbers (coming from too-wide a downwind leg) and we weren't going to make the runway - we would have had to settle for a field in front of the runway if this had been for real. When we were about to add a little power in order to make the runway on that first &qu