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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.

17 December 2006

Grove City Cross Country

Yesterday was my first cross-country flight in the DA40. I got up early on Saturday morning with my dad for some flying around, and we ended up heading to Grove City, PA (29D) to grab a landing and a quick look at my Alma Mater, Grove City College. I was struck by the sight of the light streaming from the open hangar door and the DA40 peeking out, and had to grab a picture. This was the first time that I had actually flown in the DA40 since we got it, and I am now officially in love with the G1000. Can you say "Suh-WHEET!"??

Climbing off the end of the runway at 1000FPM, and getting up to about 5000ft MSL in a hurry, we could get a nice look at the Conesville AEP Powerplant. Check out the different wind directions swirling the water vapor around coming out of the cooling towers. It was fantastic visibility and the effects of all the mist laying in between the hills, coupled with a low angle of light from the rising sun really was beautiful this morning. We dialed in a heading of 058° and headed for 29D. At 5500ft, we cruised at about 135-140kts true airspeed and landed at Grove City in about 45 minutes. It was really quick, and the G1000 just has so much neat data available - it calculates wind speed and direction on the fly, the moving map is awesome in detail, the engine instrumentation is complete and accurate....everything at your finger tips.

Upon arrival at 29D, we landed and I got out to take a photo of the FBO for the CONUS Challenge. It's not taken yet, so I'm hoping that my claim gets taken! We got back in the DA40 and flew over my Alma Mater, Grove City College, and I was surprised at how the campus has changed since I was last there about 5 years ago. They have done a tremendous about of building, just look at all that white, new concrete. Calderwood (center left) is unrecognizeable as the 1960's era flat-roofed building that it was when I was a student there. It's like they are trying to undo all of the architectural mistakes that were made in the 60's and putting a uniform look of late 19th century high gabled roofs on everything. I expect that in another 5 years, they will have bulldozed Hicks Dining hall & dorm, and put a 4 story brick gabled cafeteria/starbucks/apartment complex. Anyhoo...the football field looked nice, but I must say that I'm really not a big fan of the new stylized shield logo for the college. I liked the old burgundy shield logo a lot better. Call me old-fashioned.

Total time to and from Grove City was about 2 hours, even with a 35kt headwind on the way back. We tuned in the VORs and played with the autopilot - pretty cool, and would really take the hard work out of a long cross-country for maintaining altitude and heading. I could really see flying this airplane all over the country. Time to play with the G1000 simulator and learn how to really make that work....

12 December 2006

Golden Ticket!

After 4.7hrs in the sky today, I finally acheived my goal; A Golden Ticket! That's right - no more Student Pilot Dan.....you can now refer to me at Pilot Dan. I've logged a total of 58.3hrs TT, with 2.1hrs of that as PIC carrying a passenger!

A big thank you out to all the people who helped support me throught the last two years of my pilot training as I kept answering questions like "When do you think that you'll be finished?" and "Why did 2 hours of flying cost $120?" and "How long do you think it would take you to fly from Coshocton to (insert place name here)?"

First of all, my beautiful wife Beth, who understood my dream/malady and helped make it financially possible for me to pursue this most expensive of all expensive hobbies. She spent many a day walking around the neighborhood with me, trying to talk with me, as I looked ever upward, trying to pinpoint the location of that faint rumble or drone, or while I bemoaned the fact that it was a beautiful day for flying and I was confined to the solid earth. Thank you for your patience and support. I'll fly you somewhere sunny and warm this spring:).

Secondly to my Dad, and fellow Mr. Toad, who supported my habit and the required absences from work when it was a CAVU day and shares my enthusiasm for slipping the surly bonds. It's so nice to have someone with which to listen to aviation podcasts. I hope to go some neat places with you over the next couple of years!

Thirdly to my instructor, Walt, who was brave enough to fly with me throughout all my learning phases, the good, the bad, the uncoordinated, and the hard, hard landings. I could not have completed this training without your help and willingness to fly on a nice day instead of drive your tractor around. Thank you!

I'd also like to thank the people at UND Aerospace for their fine video podcast, and to Jason Miller at The Finer Points. Your podcasts helped me in so many ways to become a better pilot, and ultimately to help me pass my checkride.

As a board-certified professional engineer, I have taken many tests that have taxed my mental abilities, but this test was the first time that I have been tested on both my mental abilities and my physical abilities (at least as they apply to controlling the aircraft according to specification). It was a good experience overall and I am glad to be free to roam the skies as a pilot, not just a student pilot.

There are many other people that I would like to thank and need to thank, but I won't take up any more of this blog entry. I'm tired and going to bed soon. Now that I have a Golden Ticket, I need to plan that trip to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Mmmmmmm......Chocolate....

05 December 2006

Cold Morning

I went up to the airport today to do a little practice flying with my instructor. It was a beautiful day, about 65 degrees and the sun was shining, wiht no clouds. Oh wait...sorry, I forgot that it's winter:). It was about 18°F this morning, with a brisk 8kt wind coming right down the ramp. C-c-c-c-o-l-d!!!! I'm used to preflighting in a T-hangar! What's this nonsense?

Well, I dragged 7106G across the ramp early this morning, so that I could get within 100ft of an electrical outlet to get that Tannis heater up and running. It was a lot harder to drag the C172 600ft than I thought it would be. I guess my only experience with hand-towing the C172 was to pull it 25ft outside the hangar for startup.

After heating nicely for a couple of hours, I went back up to the airport, where the sky had cleared nicely, and the temperature had come up to about 25°F. After preflight, I tried to start the aircraft, and it just wouldn't engage the starter. Walt thought that it just needed to be preheated, but at I40, the FBO doesn't have a good winter preheater. Given my iminent checkride next week, I figured that the best thing to do would be to get that plane inside where it could thaw out and I could make SURE that I got it started next Tuesday.

I talked with Tim and Dwight at MMS and they were kind enough to agree to let me park the Cessna in their hangar over the weekend to let it all thaw out, since their King Air was gone over the weekend. That was really nice of them, and I think that I'm going to get something for those guys at Christmas.

01 December 2006

Checkride Scheduled!

10:00AM, December 12th, 2006.

I've got to plan a flight from Cambridge Municipal (CDI) to Toledo Express (TOL) for my cross-country, do performance landing & takeoff charts for the trip, and figure up a weight and balance. It shouldn't be too bad....I just hope that the weather holds out. The best Christmas present that I could get is a passing grade on my checkride!