Flight Training

Tomato Flames...

I was asked this past week what obscure aviation fact I was learning that day. I said I wasn't just learning an obscure fact that day, i'd been learning them all week.  I'd been learning TOMATO FLAMES, FLAPS, ABCDE, UNOS, ANDS, ARROWE and AV1ATES. These are Mnemonics for minimum equipment, night minimum equipment, engine out procedures, mag compass errors, required documents, and required inspections.

Oil pressure
Manifold pressure
Temperature sensor (liquid-cooled)
Oil temperature (air cooled)
Fuel gauge
Landing gear position
Airspeed indicator
Magnetic compass
Seat belts

Fuses (spares) or circuit breakers
Landing light (if for hire)
Anticollision lights
Position lights
Source of electricity

Best place to land



Airworthiness Cert
Radio License
Operation Limitation
Weight and Balance
Equipment List

100 Hour


Chapter two. Continued....

Today was a continuation of chapter two. Basicly at this point they aren't concentrating on take offs and landings, or even the specifics of legal aviation, but more of just the physics of flying. You get in your car and just drive right? That's what they are trying to teache to do in the airplane. Just get in and fly without thinking about it. I'm making progress towards that goal.

So today we flew north to prosper, of course, and did some turn climb and decent training. We worked our way north until we were near Sherman. Once in site of Sherman we landed. We took a look at all the flight services. While we were there we took a look at an old apache that was parked in the weeds rotting away. I've got a video of it that should be up shortly. We the jumped back in and headed to mckinney where we did a couple of touch and go's. It was pretty windy today so I didn't get to do any of the landings.
I've been assinged chapter 4. We skipped 3 since it's a sim lesson. I'm scheduled for next friday at 1. Can't wait.


UPDATE: Here is the video of the apache. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWarzq4mtp8 This airplane is N1065P. A Piper PA-23 Apache built in 1954. In 1969 it was involved in an inncident where it lost an engine and was landed gear up in Plainview, TX. I'm sure it was fixed up and lived a long life. At some point it was parked at Sherman Muni where it's set for what appears to be a number of years. The current cert was issued in 2008 so I know that someone know's it's there. I'm guessing they just don't care.  :(


Chapter One...

Today I went for my first official, on the record, lesson. My homework was basically to just read chapter one and do the quiz at the end of the chapter. If you know anything about flying this chapter is pretty easy. I can't really think of any part of it that was actually tough. Maybe some of the P Factor or gyroscopic effect stuff, but other than that. Easy...  Ground training went pretty smooth. We went over the answers to the quiz to make sure I not only go them right but understood them as well. Didn't really take very long then it was off to fly.

Today we were is N2649J. It's a 1998 172R. Not real sure of it's hours, but lets just say it's well broken it. Preflight was uneventful. One annunciator light was burned out but other than that. Good to go. I did all the taxi out but the tower was in a hurry to get us airborne that my instructor handled the takeoff so we could get going quickly.

We did climbs, descent, climbing turns, descending turns, slow flight, and flying around a point. Since we didn't get to do the takeoff at Addison we landed, taxied, and took off at KHQZ Mesquite Metro Airport. There were a few other airplanes in the pattern which was good experience in finding traffic and dealing with unmanaged airports. 

By the time we headed back to Addison it was starting to get a little windy. I think by the time we landed it was 15 Gust to 21 or 22 knots. Just a bit of cross but with the gust it was a little interesting. Approach and final was pretty good. I got a little low once but it was easily corrected. Actually it was looking like a pretty landing all the way till the end. With all the wind I was constantly fighting to keep on course. Right as we went over the overrun I pulled it back to idle. Just as we were about to touch down we hit a big gust. I handled the gust pretty good but fell into a hole behind the gust. Slammed it on the ground kinda hard and bounced a bit but I managed to catch it and the second landing wasn't too bad.

We taxied back to the hanger and parked it. Ten minutes more of ground training and we were done. All and all I think it was a pretty successful lesson. I'm definitely hooked. Can't wait until next time.


Today I was scheduled for my flight "physical". Since I had already gotten the FAA release it was pretty much just a formality. The hardest part was the drug test. I've never had issues peeing in a cup but for some reason today my body wasn't cooperating. After a couple of bottle of water and nearly an hour of waiting, well let's just say I passed. He signed my physical and issued me my students license right there on the spot.

I headed straight to the airport after leaving the flight doc's office. Signed a couple of papers and recieved my books. So, long story short, I have homework. I've got until next Friday to have at least lesson 1 done. Lesson 1 and 2 would be best. After a quick look at the lesson it should be pretty easy. I think I can pass the test without even reading the chapter but I'll read it none the less. I'm sure there is something in there I don't know. And it begins....

Progress at last...

So today i recieved my FAA release. This means that now if I can pass the standard physical I should be good to go. I've got a appointment on Friday for that. I'm going to take it extra easy until then, ya know, for my hernia's sake. I'm not sure if I'm cleared to start flying on Friday or if it's two weeks from Friday. I'll clear up these questions at the physical. I know this is just a small bit of progress but at the same time it's huge. Plus I've been waiting to see any movement. And this is it...  Yeah me.

Still waiting...

So I'm still waiting to hear something back from the flight doc. I contacted his office and talked with his receptionist. She said it was in his inbox but now the paperwork has been filed away. She said this generally means it's already been sent to the FAA. So she's pretty sure it's on it's way and should be back sometimes this week if I'm lucky. She did say she is going to have the doc call me first thing tuesday. BTW, she also said that first thing Tuesday mean sometimes after 1:30pm.

I also talked with the flight school. Since I'm going to have my hernia surgery on the 30th that may interfer with my training a bit. They said they could come up with plenty of ground school type things for me to do until I was OK to fly again. I really need to get moving on this. I hate making payments for something I can do.

Cessna Two Four Three Two Uniform, Cleared for take off...

So today was flight number 1 for 1.2 hours. The quick and dirty description of today...  Awesome!

So I got to the school a bit early. No worries, I got to check out their new simulators. Very nice. My instuctor was pretty nice. I think her name was Emely. She couldn't have been older than 18 or 19, but she knew how to fly. As a student, I ask questions, lots of questions. She had answers for all fo them. If I ask questions I can then relate that back to my C5 experience and it seems to stick in my head a little better.

We got into one of the sims. They are a bit older sims. They are running X-Plane 8 on some old IBM/Windows 2000 workstations. Their controls, although not set up for a 172 were pretty decent. In the sim we went through an abreviated preflight and check list up to take off. We took off in the sim. Rotated just about 60 knots and climbed out mostly OK. I think it was a bit steeper than she would have liked but I wasn't quite used to the back pressure on the yoke in the sim. After I got that straightened out it was all smooth flying from then on out. I just flew around while my instuctor checked the weather. Weather has been less than perfect all week. We were pretty much the first private pilot flight going up in a few days due to the weather. In the sim she directed me to DFW to do a quick landing. Not that we would ever do that in real life, but that's why we do it in the sim. Cuz we can.

After the sim we went out to the airplane. Hooked up the tow bar and pushed it out of the hanger. Preflight went pretty smooth. Once again I had a ton of questions, she had a ton of answers. Preflight on a 172 is all of about ten minutes top. Preflight on a C5 is about 8 hours, if your really, really hurry. I queezed my big ass into that little cockpit and started running check list. I did a little bit of the radio work. That is more of an art than a talent. Anybody can do it, but some just do it better than others. I'm pretty rusty on my aviation english so I did all the easy calls and the instructor did the more complex calls. Taxi out was uneventfull.

Take off is where all my excitement and worry and curiosity all met. She let me take off by myself. We took off on rwy 33 at Addison (KADS). The winds were right down the runway so it was a pretty easy take off. There were so many things going through my mind that I didn't really get to enjoy the take off. Push in the power, keep it on the center line, watch the airspeed, 55 knots - rotate, 75 knots climbout, 5 degrees climb, keep my heading, what's my altitude, whats my vsi. It all went by in the blur and I wasn't able to really pay much attention to anything else happening.

After we got to cruise I settled down a bit and started to relax. I had less to think about so I could enjoy it a bit more. 2300 rpm, 1500ft altitude, keep my heading, watch for traffic. Much more enjoyable. It wasn't but two or three minutes and we were already at 121 and the tollway. We followed the tollway all the way to 380 and then headed for Prosper. We flew right to my house. Brandt wasn't home yet but we did a 360 right around my house and the neighborhood I live in. Then we headed to the high school to do the same thing. After that we made way for Lake Ray Roberts. A couple of left 360's and right 360's and it was time to head back. Flew down to Lake Grapevine then a slight turn to put us on a left down wind for landing. We were getting a bit bunched up by the time we made it to base we had to hurry things a little bit. RPM 1500, flaps full down, we are over the numbers. Very smooth landing. Little wobbly as I transitiioned from yoke to rudder pedal for steering but I got the hang of it. We didn't stop quick enough to make the first turn off, but made the second. Then it was a short taxi back to the hanger. 

Afterwards I spent some time talking with the finance guys and getting my loan stuff taken care of. We are waiting for that to be funded then I'll be full speed ahead. I guess I could go fly again out of my pocket, but I think I'll wait. No need in speeding my money when I can spend theirs. Today was just enough flying to get me completely addicted, as if I wheren't already from childhood.

Flight Training Update...

Today I went down to American Flyers at Addison, KADS. I got the tour of the place and got to talk with a few of the people there. I also started my paperwork to get things rolling. Basically there are just a couple of things that I need to start now. One, get a loan. I have the cash to do it, but it is a lot of money. I'd rather risk someone else's coin instead of my own just in case things go bad at work or well, who knows in this freaky world. Second, gotta get my medical cert. From what I hear they are pretty basic and shouldn't be a problem.

I also got set up for my first lesson which is going to be Friday at 1pm. Until my loan hooked up I'll be paying out of my pocket. It shouldn't take more than a week or so to get that going.

I got to look at their aircarft today. They have a number of 172's and one 172RG. I'm sure they get a lot of use and based on that use they look like they are in pretty good condition. Airplanes cost an ass load of money so you don't see new ones very often. I don't know how old these are but they all looked pretty good. I'm sure I'll find out more as time goes along. I'm offically starting to get excited.   :)

Flight Training, Info call and tour setup...

Today I made a call about getting my private pilots license. The guy I talked with was very helpful and was able to answer nearly all of my questions. Some of the things we discussed was financing, Scheduling, and their training methodology. I'm unsure right now if I'm going to be financing any of it. I have the money saved up but if they are offering less interest than I'm making right now, or even close, then I may finance a bit of it. I just hate to see that big check come out of the account all at once.

We also talked about when I would train. Being off on Fridays is going to help a ton. Basically go in and fly on Fridays and then study the next week for the next Friday. I'll also have the opportunity to pick up some more time either in the evenings or weekends.

So I've got a meeting for a tour of their facility on Friday. I'm sure I'll have even more questions by the time I get there. I'm one step closer.

Flight Training...

So I'm, once again, seriously considering getting my private pilots license. At least every year I go though this period where I want to get it since I miss aviation so much. Going back to the USAF isn't really an option and at this point in my life it's not really something that I'd do anyway. So I'll never get back to C-5's but that's not to say I can't get back into the wide blue yonder...

I've looked at a number of flight schools online lately. Many have very poor websites, if any, and not any information that I actually found helpful. American flyers was by far the best from what I can see sitting in front of my computer. So I figured I'd give them first shot at me.

My ulitmate goal at this point is to be able to retire some day and go teach others to fly. Anybody that has ever talked with me for more than ten minutes knows that I can talk aviation all day. So teaching others something that I love seems to be a natural progression of my passion.

This past week I contacted American Flyers via the contact info on their website. Below is the response.

Hello William,

Thank you for your interest in American Flyers.  I would be happy to provide
you with some information regarding the private pilot program.

Every private pilot program consists of a combination of ground instruction,
simulator instruction, dual flight instruction, solo flight instruction,
simulator instruction as well as homework and self study.  Every student
learns at a different pace.  There is really no such thing as a "one size
fits all" program.  We find the average student requires between 80 and 100
total hours of education for successful completion of the rating if they
train a minimum of one time per week.  If you consider ALL the necessary
costs and training I have described, including exam fees, the cost for
textbooks and study materials you can expect an investment of $10-12,000 to
successfully complete your private pilot license.  

One of the largest factors affecting the duration and cost of a program is
the frequency of training. The more you train, the faster and more cost
effective your program will be.  It is possible to complete your training in
as little as 2-3 weeks.  American Flyers is available to train whenever your
schedule allows.

Please give me a call when you get a free moment.  I would enjoy the
opportunity to elaborate on our program, especially the differences in
training at an FAA Approved part 141 school like American Flyers vs. a
non-FAA Approved part 61 school.

Blue Skies,

Jeff Omet
American Flyers

As of right now I plan on calling American Flyers Sometimes late this week or early next week at the latest. I'd like to speak with them as well as go down and take a look around. Maybe even a discovery flight if they offer something like that.