Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Unusal Attitudes

Nothing to do with the people here but lots to do with aviation. Today's lesson was about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on. Basically, the instructor made me sit in the brace position with my eyes closed and not touching the controls. He then proceeded to throw the aircraft up, down, left and right to try to disorientate me/make me dizzy. After about 10-20 seconds of this he told me to open my eyes and regain control of the aircraft which by this time was banking at 45 or more degrees and hurtling towards the ground at a rate of knots. We did this two or three times and clearly I managed to regain control by virtue of me reporting it on my blog. The highlight of the lesson, though, was the demonstration of zero gravity. He put a pen on the dashboard, pitched the aircraft into an almost full power dive, and we sat back and watched the pen float up off the dashboard (or slam into the windshield on the first occasion as we did some inadvertent negative "g"). Not for the faint hearted or weak bladdered. Pity the airlines won't let us do this occassionally. Apparently they all want something called "straight and level"

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Air Cadets Story

Those that have been in or around aviation for a while have usually got some good stories to tell but one I heard recently I thought was excellent so here it is on DrapesinPhoenix.

Many of the trainee pilots here gained hours through the Royal Air Force air cadets whilst at University. Some of these guys reported that they would often fly behind the planes of fellow air cadets and then come on the radio and shout "dugga dugga dugga dugga dugga dugga" (mimicking machine guns). This was quite common practice until the head of the air cadets happened to be listening in on the frequency one day resulting in an air cadet being summoned for disciplinary action.

A very angry head of air cadets (I don't know the technical title) proceeded to lay into the cadet and asked "Why did you fly up behind your class mate and pretend to fire a machine gun at him?"

The quick thinking cadet replied "Sir, I was too close for pretend missiles"

The stunned head stood frozen for a few seconds and then a hint of a smile apeared on his stern face and, with this, disappeared the momentum of the bollocking. The cadet was then politely asked not to repeat this behaviour and dismissed with no further action.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Drapes goes Solo - Part 2

Going solo for the first time is both exciting and nerve wracking in equal measures, however, it is restricted to the Goodyear airport "circuit" (The holding pattern around the airport that aircraft have to enter before landing). The next progress step is the first solo mission away from the airport which I completed today. The feelings of apprehension and excitement were exactly the same as my first solo but once airbourne the nerves were no longer present as I was consumed with checklists, radio calls, monitoring instruments and radios and generally pointing the thing in the right direction. The 40 minute flight seemed more like about 5 minutes as no sooner had I taken off and completed the circuit departure procedures I was levelling off and beginning my arrival procedures. Thankfully, I got my radio calls right although the landing was a bit bumpy but OK considering it was my first crosswind landing. I would have gone up again immediately but for the instruments simulator lesson I had to attend immediately afterwards....It's all go here.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Drapes goes Solo

It hardly seems anytime at all since my first lesson and my initial doubts that in a few short hours we would be flying one of these things on our own. Well, around 12.5 hours of tuition later and there I was sat in the left hand seat of an aircraft as the PIC (pilot in command). I could barely concentrate on the pre-take off checks such was my excitement but I composed myself and was soon holding short of runway 21 requesting clearance for take off. As I hurtled down the runway (if you can call 60 knots hurtling) I began laughing like a child on christmas morning. The take off, crosswind and downwind legs went as smoothly as I could have hoped and then I got to the base leg. It's at this point that you realise "Sh*t, I've got to land this thing now" and that's when a few butterflies creep in. I was a bit low and slow on approach but quickly corrected and was bang on the centre line and, how shall we put it, made a "positive" touchdown (That's slamming it down on the runaway for the non-aviators reading this). I didn't care, I'd done it !!!!

On my way

Coming in to land

The scene in ATC as Drapes comes in to Land

Done it !!