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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 March 2009

VFR Flying!

Well, after having 14 of the last 16hrs behind the stick be under the hood, it was really nice to take in the scenery of a VFR flight! I flew with Dad down to Blue Ash, OH (KISZ) today for an early morning meeting and some breakfast. It wasn't an overly spectactular day, but one that you could tell was just waiting to have Spring come bursting out. Down in Cincinnati, I could definitely tell that Spring was about 1-2 weeks ahead of Coshocton. Pears were blooming, sprigs of green were out, and LOTS of yard has mower tracks on them. Definitely Spring....it's almost Opening Day!

Looking down Main Street towards downtown Columbus, OH - I swear, if I hear "Main Street to Wall Street one more time....."

Downtown Columbus in the early morning light

Blacklick Woods Golf Course - Blacklick, OH

Making the turn for final into Blue Ash, OH (KISZ) - there were 35kt winds about 500ft AGL, dropping to 7-8 at the surface - crazy!

Upon our arrival back in Coshocton, a rare sight - a jet on final for 22!


A shiny gleaming visitor to Coshocton, OH - we're getting 5000ft in a couple of months or so!


We have a new addition to our household - a bird (an American Robin, I believe) has set up a nest in the wreath in our front door and has begun every one of the last few mornings singing very cheerily! I'm counting three eggs so far...I'm waiting until there's at least a half-dozen before I make an omelette!

15 March 2009

IFR Training Update 2

As I mentioned in the previous post, I've been pretty busy at work, but have really tried to stay up with some sort of IFR training. Fortunately, the weather has cooperated, and I've been able to get a few lessons in. I've also passed the 250hr total time landmark, so that's something significant!

BFR/IFR Lesson #5
My biennial flight review was due the end of December 2008, but over the holidays and with all my traveling, it was just to difficult for me and my instructor to get together to do some flying. So, first chance that we got, I had to bust out a BFR first. It was really no problem, and we managed to squeeze in a couple of approaches at Newark to practice.

IFR Lesson #6 - Enter the Meatgrinder!
This was my first lesson flying into Class C airspace and doing multiple approaches to KOSU (Ohio State Don Scott Airport). Fortunately, this is a university airport, so I think that the tower and approach controllers are use to a bunch of slow operators on the radio and the zig-zag needle-chaser student pilots. It was a whole new level to focus on the approach and talk to approach controllers at the same time - YIKES! It was just sheer overload. I managed to execute 3 progressively better GPS-27 approaches into KOSU and didn't irritate the controllers too much, so that was good. My instructor said that I did pretty good, when I wasn't chasing the needle...which wasn't very often. Must. Do. Better.

IFR Lesson #7 - First File
This lesson was my first flight conducted solely under Instrument Flight Rules. It was a learning experience, and actually didn't go too bad. I had filed for a flight into Circleville, OH (KCYO), then an approach into Rickenbacker (KLCK), and finally to end up in Newark, OH (KVTA). It was a whole new level of pressure and intense focus to keep my heading, not chase the needle, and to hold that altitude. I did fairly well (at least my instructor said so!), and it really boosted my confidence level. Flying under instrument wasn't really that bad....

IFR Lesson #8 - VOR Tracking & Holding Patterns, DME Arcs
For this lesson, we were going to go through a couple of procedural items. Tracking and holding at VORs was first on the bill. Since the majority of my flying had been in the luxurious cockpit of a G1000-equipped aircraft, I really haven't used VORs for navigation very much. the training aircraft that I was using (N785SP) was a 172SP with two VORs and a Bendix/King KLN94 GPS, which is definitely NOT as cool as the Garmin product. So, it's been a real reverse learning curve as I've had to re-learn what the heck a VOR does, anyways?:) Add into that the fact that the DG on this particular Cessna has the tendency to precess about 20-30 degrees per hour, and it is a real challenge to make nice oval donuts in the sky. I also did a DME arc...honestly not too bad at all. You just have to know which direction the winds are coming from and you're go to go!

That's all for now - I hope to have a couple more lessons, and maybe a nice long IFR cross-country here soon. Stay tuned!

Seattle & San Francisco

It's been a very busy February, so I haven't posted much recently. I've been continuing my flying, but mostly in a Southwest 737 cattle car type of flying, instead of logging PIC time. My travels at the end of January took me to the west coast for a welcome escape from the cold and snow of Ohio. I think that it's fairly common opinion that Seattle, WA is much more cloudy and rainy than any Ohio city, and after my few trips to Seattle, I'd have to say that it's about the same as Coshocton, OH. If you look at a comparison of total average cloudy and sunny days per year, we're really not that different. I think that those giant bodies of fresh water have something to do with the constant scud blowing across Ohio....I'll let you look at the data and see if the day I was in Seattle was 1 or those 58 days - it was just absolutely beautiful!

Cloudy Days per Year
Seattle, WA - 226 average
Pittsburgh, PA - 203 average
Cleveland, OH - 202 average
Columbus, OH - 190 average
Yuma, AZ - 52 average

Sunny Days per Year
Seattle, WA - 58 average
Pittsburgh, PA - 59 average
Cleveland, OH - 66 average
Columbus, OH - 72 average
Yuma, AZ - 242 average

We had a couple of meetings in the morning, but took some time to take a ferry across the Puget Sound towards Bainbridge Island. and headed towards the Olympics. It was fairly warm (45°F or so) and just so brilliantly sunny.

Mt. Rainer was out for the sun too!

A seagull enjoying a little VFR conditions (and the free ride from the bow wave from the ferry)

Enjoying the sunshine - Ohio had about 6-10 inches of snow falling as this photo was taken. See ya, Suckers!

Here's the typical clouds, taken on Neptune's Beach overlooking the Strait of Georgia, near Bellingham, WA

After all that fun in Seattle, I headed south to San Francisco for a trade show for the rest of the week. I had the opportunity to fly on Alaska Airlines for the very first time, and I have to say that I was pleasantly impressed. Service was great, the newer 737NGs are comfortable, and they serve a real microbrew (Alaskan Amber) in a real glass bottle on board the flight. Awesome! On the ground in SF, I met up with my brother Sam, who joined us for the tradeshow appearance, and to escape the clouds of southern Michigan.

Here we are overlooking the Yerba Buena Gardens in SF, just north of the Moscone Center

Sailboat on the Bay - catching the wind and the sun

SS Jeremiah O'Brien - Last time, I took the tour and had a great time

Cable Cars are Excepted down at Fisherman's Wharf

Heading down the hill to Fisherman's Wharf - the classic San Francisco Cable Car photo.

Dungeness Crab & Oysters at the Raw Bar at the Farallon. Yum!

Heading under the Golden Gate Bridge - this photo was taken from the Extra300 that I rented for the afternoon.

Look at all that beautiful cross-bracing! Again, taken from an Extra 300, cruising at about 20ft above the waves.

What a nice-looking group of people...Uhm...on...an Extra300 Ferry Boat...

8 inches of alternating snow and ice layers on the Passat when I got back - a week of what I missed in the warm California sun. It took me about 30 minutes to chisel my way into that frigid car!