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About 80% of general aviation aircraft fly using Lycoming engines. Clearing the trees at the end of the runway. Leaving 4500ft for 6500ft. Maintaining airflow and generating lift across the wings. All are impossible without a reliable engine. Lycoming powers my training aircraft and so fuels my quest for a private pilot certificate. This blog is a record of my thoughts and experiences on life, flight, and learning.

31 October 2006

PTS Practice

I logged another 1.5hrs today. It was sunny and windy and about 71°F, very odd for October 30th. At ground level there was about a 10-12kt wind coming straight down the runway and since I needed to practice some of the PTS requirements prior to my checkride, I figured that a nice windy day would give me a solid challenge on maintaining a rectangular course or turns around a point. It was pretty hard, and when executing the turns around the point, I only had about 3-5 degrees of bank dialed in when I was transitioning across the cross-wind portion of the turn. I think that the winds at 3000ft were probably more like 13-15kts, because when I was flying with the tail wind, my indicated airspeed showed just about 100mph and I was hitting 108-110kts ground speed. Fortunately for me, this was only a slight crosswind (10-20degrees off the runway heading), so no major problems. However, given that stiff breeze, it took me a couple of landings to get the glide slope down. On final, it was like I was flying into a brick wall...I kept descending, but I didn't seem to be getting any closer to the runway. When getting closer to the end of runway 22, there was some serious ground turbulence that wanted to twist and hop the C172 all around. A little disconcerting when you're on short final, but I'm just glad that I wasn't taking someone up for their first flight today. It was fairly bumpy, given the sun and the wind and the hills that surround Coshocton. 5 landings were made, with the last two landings being ultra-smooth. I think that I'm ready for the checkride on my maneuvers, just need to brush up on the FAR and my C172 knowledge. The setting sun sure looks nice on 06G, don't ya think?

30 October 2006

Autumn Golf

A little late on the blogging here recently...so I apologize to my extensive readership: sorry for the delay. Anyhoo...I have been enjoying some golf in the crisp fall weather of late. I think that early/middle fall may be one of my favorite times of year (well, aside from the blizzard that dumps 24inches of snow). The air is cool, the sun is bright, and the grass is a deep shade of emerald not to be matched by any human creation. The photo here is of River Greens golf course in West Lafayette, OH. It's the nicest golf course in the county, impeccably maintained and reasonably priced ($27 for walking 18). It also has the right mix of wide open fairways and challenging holes. So far, I have yet to break 100 on this course, but no matter my score, it is always a pleasant experience to just pace around the green, green carpet of the fairways...on my way to the rough under the trees to search for my ball among the leaves:). Two weekends ago, I was out with my dad and my father-in-law (aka The Outlaw). You can see The Outlaw lining up his putt in the image above. My wife's family was over for an extended weekend and we managed to avoid the Apple Butter Stirring Fesitval in favor of 18 frustrating holes of golf. Well, it was about 16 frustrating holes for me, because I did par two holes, but I flubbed the rest of them. What did Bobby Jones say? "The secret of golf is turning three shots into two" I think that I need to work on turning 6 shots into 5:). My Dad, shown here making contact on what turned out to be a very nice straight drive, has managed to turn that corner from double to single-bogey golf, despite my wise admonitions about "how hard it is to score that low consistently". You see, Dad was determined to be a bogey golfer after only one summer of playing. I think that he has successfully made that goal. We'll have to play some other courses and see if the play holds up when we're not playing on the home turf. Speaking of the home turf...it sure is beautiful, isn't it?

13 October 2006


I took my FAA Knowledge Exam on Thursday and scored 92%! I didn't use a home study course or attend a ground school. I guess I listened to a lot of podcasts, read the FAA exam book, and I have to put a formal thank-you out to Sporty's FAA Exam for their on-line practice test exam, because that really made the studying a lot easier. Now, just to get 1.3hrs under the hood, and 2 more landings at a towered airport, and I'll be ready for my checkride.

09 October 2006

Under the Hood

This past weekend in Ohio has been simply specatular for flying. Fortunately, the weather held off today, and I got 1.3hrs in. The end is in sight, and the objective of today's little flight was to gain more time towards my required 3hrs of "simulated instrument". It was all fairly straightforward. After I got used to flying with the hood on, which took about 5 minutes, it was all a series of turns, climbs, descents to test my ability to find and hold headings, altitudes, and bank angles.

Most of the work we did was between 2500ft and 3000ft MSL, just underneath the poofy clouds starting to build up. This made for some light bounciness and the occasional thermal which would wreak havoc on my ability to hold altitude. I'd be bouncing around, trying to keep a coordinated 15° bank, and I'd look over at the altimeter, which had just jumped up 50ft in the last 5 seconds. It was crazy. Fun, though.

After instrument time was completed, we did a short field landing, a short field takeoff, and a soft field landing. I really need to differentiate the differences between all those in my head. It makes my head hurt, trying to remember which is which. I got them all right without prompting, but it's not a natural conclusion in my brain.

I'm scheduled for my "knowledge" exam this Thursday. I've got my letter of recommendation, and I'm ready to take it.

07 October 2006


Sitting in a conference call yesterday, I heard it. A five tone steam whistle! My ears instantly perked up and I glanced at the clock. 12:10PM. Time for lunch. Since the call was over, I ran outside and looked up and down the railroad tracks. No train. Hmmm...........did I miss it? At that moment, the whistle blew again, and it was coming from the direction of the East Coshocton spur. Quickly, I ran and got in my car and sped off to see if it was too late or if I coul get a good look at a steamer. Crossing the East Coshocton spur very carefully, I looked down the tracks and saw my target. I drove down the alley alongside the tracks and snapped a couple of photos. I really can describe what it's like to be standing about 10 feet from a steam engine as it is huffing and puffing it's way down the track, blowing the whistle with the bell going ding-ding-ding-ding-ding......it's just enough to bring this huge grin to my face. I wish that I could have a job where I flew an airplane to different locations where I would drive a steam train. That's what I need to do.....until then, I'll just look at the pictures and remember the sights and sounds.

03 October 2006

DA40 at I40

Was lucky enough to be up at the airport on Monday when a DA40 was on the ramp and flying around the pattern. Man, is that a good-looking airplane!

02 October 2006

Long Cross-Country

Last Tuesday, it was perfect flying conditions! A big H on the weather map had camped out over the state of Ohio, and I was going flying again! I thought that September was supposed to have this really incredible flying weather, but it was fairly rainy and stormy this September. Anyhoo....it was nice last Tuesday and I was taking a REAL trip in the 172!

My trip was from Coshocton (I40) to Findlay(FDY) to Fort Wayne(FWA) to Piqua (I17) to Holmes County(10G) to Coshocton (I40). I logged 4.4hours, flew 385 miles, and burned 31 gallons for a fuel burn of only 7gal/hr. It was really fun. Like, REALLY REALLY fun. Did I mention it was fun? Planning and successfully executing a flight of that duration to locations that I hadn't been to before was really satisfying.

My first leg of the trip, from I40 to the FDY VOR started out well. After the fog cleared to 7 miles visibility, my CFI approved my departure. After climbing the short distance to 2500ft, there were some light clouds above and then they cleared up. The visibility was great. Just outstanding and after I passed Mansifled, it was really neat to see all the Ohio farmland....aka 12,000ft emergency landing strips. I flew over the new four-lane US30 under construction, and watched all the earth movers frantically transferrring piles of dirt from one pace to another. In the picture below, you can see the roadbed under construction and some bridges half-way through construction.
Continuing on, I found my waypoints right on time, and turned right over the Findlay (FDY) VOR. Look at all those suckers driving up & down I-75. Been there. Done that. So glad I'm in the air.

On to Fort Wayne! Part of my flight planning involved a little Google Earth to help out with visual landmarks around the class C airspace. It was really helpful to pick up landmarks and buildings and to get a picture of what the final approach would be into FWA. Thanks, Google!

FWA approach controllers were great. I'm just a student stumbling over my radio calls after practicing them five times out loud, and they were really helpful. I didn’t have any problems at FWA, other than that the tower did not give me clear taxi directions, and they didn't like the taxiway turnoff that I chose. So, the call came out...

“Ahh..Cessna 06G....can you turn around and head back across the runway onto C-3?”

“Sure, no problem.....can you give me progressive taxi instructions?”

After taxiing back, I took off runway 23 and headed for the ol' homestead. I had picked St. Mary's Lake as a waypoint, and it was a very visible one. It just kept getting bigger and bigger, and I terminated my radar contact with FWA departure so I could get a closer look. I'm told that this lake is only about 10ft deep, and there are places in the middle, where you can get out of the boat and stand in waist-deep water. Aren't Ohio lakes awesome? Between St. Mary's and Buckeye Lake, I think that we've really got some tourist destination lakes to rival the Boundary Waters in MN.
I refueled in Piqua, and evacuated my bowels. I arrived at Piqua just before noon and the airport was dead. Just after lunch it was like the whole airport was swarming with people. There were a couple of planes in the pattern (Warrior & Cherokee) and somebody pulled their Stearman Bi-Plane out for a flight. I think that Hartzell Propeller must take lunch at 12:00PM...and that everybody is just itching to fly all day. I considered buzzing my old office at Goodrich Wheels & Brakes in Troy to wake my old co-workers from their chinese-food induced slumber, but what's that antidote for Antiauthority? The rules apply to me? Me? You can see the photo of Echo Hills Golf Course below, where I lost many a golf ball during my days in Piqua. Also, I overflew my first home, the apartments that I occupied immediately after graduation. It seems like forever ago, but there they were, just sitting on the ground, soaking up the rays.

I flew back at 5500ft, with an indicated 105mph airspeed, but an indicated 115kts groundspeed. It was a nice tailwind all the way back home. It was a great flight and a great experience...made me itch for the next time that I can get out in the 172 and REALLY go somewhere. Maybe I'll take a trial run up to Oshkosh to get ready for next year!