Fall is Here!

Fall is Here!

As my title may infer, tomorrow is the first day of October which means fall weather has arrived and brings the season of better performance.  However, that better performance comes with a catch, you are bundled up in a four jackets, gloves and a scarf and blasting the floor heat in the plane.  My opinion is that it is most definitely worth it!  Anyways, I got checked out in the Cessna 172 and absolutely love it, probably staying away from the Cessna 152 for a while and adjust to the much needed leg room.  It sure is nice not to have to grope my passengers leg just to add 10 degrees of flaps when coming in to land, but nonetheless, I saved a lot of money on my Private Certification using those airplanes.  I have noticed that when flying the Cessna 172 that you need to use trim to your advantage, but I have it all figured out to a science and am getting more comfortable with it all as I go.  The past few days I flew around doing some basic VOR instrument approaches into places like KLVN (Air Lake, MN) and KFCM (Flying Cloud, MN).  I am understanding the basics of briefing my approach plates and getting setup well in advance for each procedure as required to reduce the workload during critical phases of flight.   Some of the challenges that I am faced with right now are making very minor corrections when intercepting my approach course as the wind is always blowing me away from the needle and I find myself over-correcting and screwing up my final approach fix, but I am sure as time goes on that this habit will correct itself.  Overall, my progress towards flying the airplane on some basic instrument procedures is going beyond what I expected.  Tomorrow, my CFII Joe and I will be working on some ILS and Localizer approaches in the Simulator and I will try to get some pictures and walk you guys through my learning process.  As always, enjoy the luxuries life has given us, and never take them for granted, not even for a minute.

Blue Skies, and Safe Landings for All!

My favorite part of the preflight is pulling the fuel strainer…  The satisfaction of pulling it out and saying to myself…   “Make it pee.”
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Learning IFR Low Charts and Approach Plates

During my ground lesson this morning, Joe and I discussed some of the different things that are located on a low Instrument Flight Rules chart.  I am starting to understand how all of the Navigational aids work together to set yourself up for an approach, but I am not quite sure I am ready to hop in the airplane and shoot an approach.  However, I do have the luxury of the flight simulator which has a feature that allows you to freeze the entire situation and discuss/brief what events are to come next and what I should be doing typically when entering an approach to land.  Joe and I briefed the Flying Cloud KFCM VOR approach for runway 10R and I got a basic understanding of what I am looking for, and when I should consider what the minimums actually are based on whether I am using the VOR and DME, or just the VOR. (I will attach the approach chart so you get an understanding of what I was working with)  I am getting an information overload of useful things to remember and of course the FAR/AIM’s never seem to escape my mind.

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As we were flying the Simulator today, Joe gave me specific instructions on what altitudes, headings and how long I should be flying a specific heading which all came together to form a nice pattern that actually turned out much better than I expected.  I definitely need to keep my scanning habits up, because as I figured out today, the second you forget to check something it’s probably gonna be wrong.  In my case, I was worrying about my altitude as I accidentally descended almost 100 feet and after the fact I noticed I was off of my assigned heading by nearly 40 degrees!  Another thing that I think would help is to write every single bit of information I receive down so that I don’t forget any instructions or misinterpret something important like a heading.   Anyways, hopefully we get some better weather in the near future so I can finally do my checkout in the Cessna 172.  I am planning on flying up to Duluth International Airport sometime next week, so look forwards to some nice pictures!

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Instrument Basics and Flying the Sim

Now having my Private Pilot Certification under my belt, I understand that moving forwards with the Instrument Training is my next step, and I couldn’t be more excited!  I was given access by one of Inflight Pilot Training’s Manager to videos that were recorded from a previously hosted Instrument Ground School.  I am slowly working my way through the material, but it sure is a lot of new information and FAR/AIM’s that are tough to understand at times.  I’ve learned about the Basic Requirements to be ready for the Instrument Written and Practical Exams.  I also took many notes on how to stay current as an Instrument Rated Pilot which was a little confusing at first, but I now understand the specific Non-precision and precision approaches that must be performed within six calendar months.  Also discussed were the definitions and different types of weather such as IMC and what is required to operate an aircraft under an IFR flight plan.  After getting a basic understanding of IFR, it was straight into the dry specifics of the Part 61 and 91 Aeronautical Knowledge Study Area.  Knowing regulations isn’t just required for the certifications, they could very well save your life providing great incite on how to do something more efficiently/safely.  I am a big advocate for safety and maintaining professionalism as a pilot, so I will do my best to study everything carefully and retain the knowledge before I take the deemed “Hardest Written Test in of the all.”  I will blog about some of the specific things I am learning about in these ground training videos and post any questions I have towards the subject matter that may require an explanation or example.  Feel free to comment with any questions or advice towards things I could do to improve on my learning process or what you think overall.  Straying away from the Ground portion of my training, I stepped into the Cessna 172 Flight Simulator for the first time today and had a great time simulating flying in the soup!  My instructor ran me though the basics of how to work the Garmin 430 GPS, and explained each item briefly so I at least had a basic understanding of how a good scan should be performed and what to look for.  We did some timed turns and ran through a few climbs and descents.  I have to say that the most difficult part about it was making sure that each instrument is looked over, otherwise I found myself chasing the VSI needle up and down trying to figure out the trim settings because I lost or gained altitude.  I plan on getting into the simulator more often as it saves a lot of money during the Instrument Training and isn’t too much different from flying the actual airplane.  I’ll take a comfortable office chair over the 1970’s fabric seats any day, however the flying aspect verses sitting in a cramped cubicle, no way!  I have flown the Cessna 152 throughout my Private Pilot training to cut costs as I am not a Part 141 student and will be transitioning into the Cessna 172 tomorrow.  The difference between the two airplanes might seem minute, but there is a slight learning curve towards understanding the avionics and transitioning to higher V-speeds.  Let me know if there is anything critical to know at the beginning of my Instrument training or things you would like to see/hear in the future!

Pleasant Skies and Safe Landings for All.Simulator Garmin 430

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