Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Almost there...

So my internet has been down for a few days and I felt so helpless because nowadays it's so vital in most of the things we do. But now I have it back and all is well again.

Today was my second last lesson that I have to do before going for my first solo (which is the lesson before the solo and then the instructor steps out and all of that). The other is the emergency procedures lesson in the simulator. That shouldn't be a problem because I've got most of the main emergencies down.

The only thing holding me off, are the hold offs (round outs) and flares... mostly the stronger crosswind types.

My approach is getting better: crabbing to eliminate drift and getting set up early (just the minor adjustments there) and then sideslipping when short final.

Sideslip is when rudder is used to align the nose to flight path which should be the centreline for landings and ailerons into the wind to eliminate the drift. All of these are pretty straight forward and again just minor adjustments and improvements needed for those.

As soon as I start to level out for the round out - looking for the cruise attitude and at the end of the runway - my nose starts to go all over the place, mostly go left when I had left rudder input in the sideslip. So then I guess I'd have to put in more right rudder. I don't know why I didn't think of this before but I guess it's because I've slowed down and I'd have to put less rudder input?

Anyways, the other thing is I would either flare too early/too high or too late/too low. So then I would sometimes balloon (so i add a bit of power) but still land hard, or I land flat.

These things I need to work on a little bit more and I'm not pressured by other people solo-ing before me because I'd rather feel comfortable to do these things all by myself before solo-ing than just getting it over with.

In other news, about 7 people from my class have already gotten their PPL, and 6+ more are waiting to get flight tested. Contrast this to a few people who are still in the simulator phase of the training. That seems like a big spread but it's actually better than some years in the past.

My friend was showing me his logbook and I saw that his first two flights were almost back to back and all of the sudden, his third flight was 3 months later. That's pretty long for in between flights. The reason was they grouped his class into 2 groups and they wanted everyone from the first group to solo first before they started the second group, which is pretty weird but I guess now they've improved it quite a bit.

Also, the first airplane (and the 2nd and 3rd) C-GSEQ just finished getting it's new engine. Now I'm not sure why they had to put a new engine on the airplane but I shall find out soon. It took them about three weeks and today it had its first run-up. So that's pretty exciting.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Take her for a spin...

"round and round she goes, where she lands nobody knows?"

well technically you should have recovered a spin at 2000' AGL, but for Seneca and a lot more others they make it 4000' AGL.

So today's flight was awesome, got to do spins and steep turns, was also going to do Spiral Dives but that would just push me to my limits.
I even had to have some straight and level flight in between spins so yeah.

Unfortunately, Seneca College doesn't allow photopgraphic devices in the airplane so I couldn't capture it, but here is a video that is similar, except that I wasn't in formation with anyone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX4lK-ud1fI

On another note:
Yesterday, a captain of a Boeing 747 that graduated from Seneca in 1980 randomly dropped by the hangar today just to visit and talk to students. He said he was lucky that he made it as far as he did and the key was to become a HUMBLE FIGHTER. Fight enough that you make it out alive and remain humble once you get out because we, pilots, never ever stop learning.

I think that was the greatest thing he said that day, anyways he also talked about the bad rep that Seneca pilots have because of past and/or present graduates.
I think it's more of the past graduates that come out thinking they know everything and that they're Multi-IFR rated with their CPLs. It's sad that I have to agree to that because I know SOME, not ALL, graduates come out with an attitude and unfortunately it has given the whole school and the whole program a bad reputation (for some at least)

I'd like to think that bad rep or not, what he said about being a humble fighter is key to being succesful in this industry, whatever school you are from.

Anyways just a few more lessons before my first solo. Still gotta cover: spiral dives, overshoots, runway changes, comm failures, engine failures in the cct. And I think I need more practice in normal circuits.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

With the traffic...

So ever since my first flight, I haven't gone up as much as I wanted, but that's okay I guess. My last flight I believe was my best one so far, I felt mostly in control of the aircraft and the situation. I think this is my situational awareness building :)

This flight was all about stalls and steep turns and man, you could really feel the G's in those steep turns. My instructor said I did it as well as he did and it was good enough because we had limited horizon.

What I was really proud of though, was spotting traffic. On all my previous flights, it took me forever to find traffic around me. This time I even spotted them before my instructor did, without any assistance from ATC. hehe.

On the way back to buttonville, I was calling up from the area of Preston Lake, and with just my initial call, tower told me to report over Victoria Square right away, I guess it wasn't busy yet! I love mornings.

So after that I was told to join the right base for RWY 21 and to follow a C150 just turning left base. I thought, okay traffic spotted and it shouldn't be hard to follow, but once I was close to my final, it was still mid left base, so my instructor asked tower if S turns were allowed. So we planned to extend our base and somewhat make a 180 to rejoin the left base behind the 150. I thought okay, things are good, focusing on the traffic to follow, then BAM! Instructor said, uh AIRSPEED. And I was like oh shoot, I was at 48 kts, and I had full flaps down. So close to the stall. I was focusing TOO much on the traffic that I forgot to maintain management inside the airplane. So I corrected that, and went to final and landed, it wasn't great because I tried to round out and flare to early but in time I will learn to hold off the flare.

And that has been my most interesting flight so far, other than the one before that in which I spotted a hangglider to my right which was pretty cool.