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Flying Things

[Frank in a C-172 over Oahu, Hawaii] I'm a pilot. My pilot's certificate says:


So what the hell does that mean? It means that I can fly for hire (commercial pilot), even though, in reality I only fly private pilot operations. I can fly land planes and seaplanes (planes with floats/pontoons on them off of lakes) that have one engine, I can fly a land-based multiengine plane, and I have an instrument rating, so I can fly in the clouds.

At the moment, I do not have a multiengine rating nor a CFI (certificated flight instructor) rating. But who knows...

And I've written up some desciptions of a few of the milestones associated with learning to fly (c.f. either Tom Petty or the post-Roger-Waters Pink Floyd) and some of the memorable flights after I got the license.

Milestones and Tales

[Taking off from Meadow Lake Airport (00V) just east of 
Colorado Springs, CO]

* My first solo flight probably was no more unnerving than anyone else's, but it's probably the biggest first step. (Jan 30, 1996)

* The next event was the first off airport solo. Until that time, I was always within the airport's traffic pattern. (Feb 2, 1996)

* Oddly enough, my first solo cross country flight went fairly smoothly and was so uneventful, that I didn't write anything up on it. However, I did jot down a few thoughts about my second solo cross country flight. (May 2, 1996)

* After that comes the big one. The check ride to actually get my license. Described in painful detail, long, and should be edited if I ever had the time and interest. (Jun 6, 1996)

* And then, there's the tale of taking up my first passenger. (Jun 15, 1996)

* It was 8 months after getting my license that I took my first night flight by myself and landed at a different airport. I wrote down the tale of my first non-local night solo flight. (Mar 7, 1997)

* The flying club recently had an outing to The Speculator Seaplane Fly-In, in Speculator, NY, at the southern base of the Adirondack Mountains. I was able to take a brief introductory lesson in a seaplane. (Jun 14, 1997) (About a year or so later, the CFI, Herb Helms, has since died.)

* And now, about a year after getting my private pilot certificate, I now have my instrument rating. I haven't written up much about the lessons, but I have written up some highlights from the IFR Checkride. I don't know if it was that I knew what to expect this time, but it felt a lot less stressful than the private pilot checkride. (Jun 20, 1997)

* And about 2 months after getting the rating, I finally file and do some practice approaches under the hood, technically my first IFR flight since the rating (even though I've filed since getting my rating and flown under the hood too). (Aug 31, 1997)

* I haven't written up the tale of my first solo ILS approach (and Hudson River VFR corridor trip the day before). It went fine. I'll just say that it was with a pop-up clearance, as I was flying VFR (with the instrument charts and approach plates, just in case). (Sep 7, 1997)

* Well, it's been 2 years since I first started flying as a student pilot. It was bound to happen sooner or later. I guess not everyone likes to fly...and it shows. Sigh. (Oct 12, 1997)

* The flying club requires an annual check out. My night check out was in our Grumman Tiger (AA5B). (Dec 4, 1997)

* Recently I took a quick trip to Rochester with a friend, to pick up another friend. We left late in the day and it was night by the time we arrived at Rochester and had a full night flight back to Ithaca. This was the first time I've had passengers at night. It went well. (Feb 16, 1998)

* I was out in Colorado for a week long vacation in July 1998. While there, I rented a plane and an instructor for a dual cross-country flight to do some mountain flying including a trip to Leadville. Lots of fun, beautiful scenery, and I learned about high performance airplanes, especially when their performance isn't that high. (Jul 2, 1998)

* Most of the tales here are of amazing flights that were fun, enjoyable, and educational. This is one I'm not proud of although I learned a lot about judgement and psychology. I wasn't even flying, but I share the blame. Nothing went wrong, no one was hurt, nothing like that. But I learned how insidious little bad moves can be and how hard it is to break the accident chain. This was a demo ride of a new Mooney with me in the back seat. (August 17, 1998)

* I attended an FAA Safety Seminar on Shallow Water Egress Training (SWET) in which they dunked me in a swimming pool. Here's a description of the event. This appeared in the May Newsletter for our flying club (I needed filler to pad it out that month...). (Apr 20, 2002)

* Our flying club purchased a C-172, located out in Chicago. Three of us flew out there, including a stop at Meigs Field. (June 28, 2002)

* I've started training to get a multi-engine rating, in a Beech Duchess (BE76). (January 10, 2004)

* While in Florida, I took a refresher course on seaplane flying, in a Piper Cub on floats. (January 30, 2004)

* I flew to Rhode Island to visit friends. The return trip involved some winter weather flying. (December 19, 2004)

* I went to England in May 2005. While there I rented a Piper Cherokee from Pilot Flight Training at the Oxford Airport. Here are some pictures from the trip. Note: there are a bunch of thumbnail photos on the page. (May 25, 2005)

* Flying back from Boston to Ithaca, I had to make a stop in Schenectady, NY (near Albany) to avoid a line of thunderstorms. Note that I was on the ground having lunch as they passed overhead, I wasn't trying to go through or around them. (July 6, 2005)

* I was out in San Diego, California, and rented a Skyhawk and an instructor and took a scenic flight of the area. Only I would rent a plane for a scenic flight and then fly under the hood. (January 13, 2006)

* I went to the EAA Air Venture in Osh Kosh, Wisconsin, THE general aviation event and second biggest air show in the world (next to Paris). Some photos of the event as well as a description of the flight out and back. (July 25-29, 2007)

* I flew back to Ithaca from Boston (Hanscom Airport). A fairly routine IFR flight but it required, as most flights do, some in-flight assessment and decisions. Plus, I grabbed a copy of the route and altitute's flown as tracked by (Oct 14, 2007)

* After 4 years since my first multi-engine lesson, I finally got my multi-engine license. More or less, it was yet another checkride. I wrote up a description of the multi-engine checkride, although some details may be a little vague, since it was a month or two after that when I finally wrote it up. The irony of it all is that fuel prices jumped significantly after that and I may not be doing much single-engine flying, let alone multi-engine flying. (Jan 27, 2008)

* And almost 10 months after getting my multi-engine license, I finally flew again in a multi-engine plane, making this my second hour I could log as multi-engine PIC (pilot in command) time. This was an instructional lesson, and we took along a backseat passenger who took some pictures and videos. I wrote up a description of the multi-engine flight complete with pictures and videos. (Oct 12, 2008)

* So with all these ratings and experience, you'd think I'd never have to cancel a trip because I couldn't make the flight. I still have to make the Go/No-Go decision with every flight, and sometimes the No-Go Decisions can be a very difficult, yet necessary, one to make. This is a tale about a trip to Columbus that never happened. (Apr 3, 2009)

* I'm still learning, even after more than 15 years and almost 1000 hours of flying. I've been to Martha's Vineyard a bunch of times, but on a recent flight back, in which I had satellite radar, charts, and GPS, I learned a thing or two about weather avoidance. (Sep 22, 2012)

* I flew a twin-engine piper Seneca from Ithaca to Rochester. First time I've flown a multi-engine plane in a few years, and the first time I've flown something other than the Duchess, the plane where I got my multi rating. With an instructor and passenger aboard, here's a few details on a flight in a Seneca. (Jan 19, 2013)

Upcoming Tales (maybe, when I have time, if I remember)

* Flying in Hawaii (Oct 29, 1998)

* Flying to Quebec (Aug 12, 15 2000)

* Flying in England -- my 500th hour flying! (Oct 13, 2000)

* Getting a Seaplane Rating (Mar 16, 2002)

Cool Imagemap

I also have an image map that I played with of the cockpit of a Cessna 152. Click and have fun.

A Plug for the Flying Club

And finally, a link to the East Hill Flying Club, which is where I learned to fly.

This page last modified Mar 16, 2013.
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