My 1979 Cessna 172N

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mornings Were Made for Flying!

It was another fine morning for flying as CFI Bob and I took to the skies around Provo and Spanish Fork once again to practice that all too critical phase of the flight called the landing. It is beyond me how these instructors remain so calm while student pilots put them in situations that put their lives at risk but they do… Bob sure does. Bob is an extraordinary CFI and I trust him explicitly. He has given me freedom where needed and has allowed me to learn by making and realizing my mistakes.

 We flew the pattern at Spanish Fork most of the morning doing more touch and goes for a total of 6 landings. The time we spend flying in the mornings is short because of the later sunrise and my need to get back to work before things heat up and meetings start. These mornings have become something I really look forward to and even though there is added pressure to learn and improve, I’m really enjoying the experience.

 Provo Tower was asleep when I contacted them this morning on the way back from Spanish Fork. Spanish Fork is out of the class D airspace so I couldn’t enter that magic 5 mile ring and join the pattern for landing until ATC woke up and granted me permission. The G500 (I really love this new gear) allowed me to know exactly where the D airspace started and I circled until Provo got out from his potty break.

 We took video of the flight this morning but I misconfigured the camera and it was rotated 90 degrees to the right making it a bit hard to watch. Need to spend some more time with these cameras and get some good footage of my comical landings. They are actually improving but I’d like to be able to show those of you who follow my blog just how fun this all is. We’ll get it all together soon!

No flying for a few weeks… Lonnie and I are off to Kauai for two weeks. This may be about the only other thing that holds a candle to flying; time with my gorgeous wife on my favorite island. Aloha!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Fine Morning for Flying!

CFI Bob and I took to the skies again this morning and a fine morning it was.  First... a little rant about some stuff that has just really frustrated me. 

My dad (love you Dad!) has been gracious enough to help with two issues that have been a thorn in my side since basing my plane at Provo (KPVU); access to the gated hangar area and opening the doors of the hangar I'm renting.  Dad met me at the hangar access gate at 0630 this morning because I still do not have an access badge.  I took possession of N9478E on 31 June and still do not have an access badge.  It took me a few weeks to get the paper work back to the airport office but one would think they'd have it done by now.  Security, rightfully so, needed to be upgraded because of the Frontier Airlines presence with a daily flight from Provo to Denver and the process to get an access badge became more complex.  After waiting three weeks after my original submission it was decided my paperwork had been lost.  Numerous calls to the Airport Manager's office resulted in negative contact and still no access badge.  Dad even paid numerous visits to the airport manager's office to try and straighten this all out but it has just gone so painfully slow with no returned calls and no action.  This, combined with the fact that the left door of the hangar I'm renting is impossible for one person to open and close has injected a high level of frustration in the whole experience.  I'm on the list to get a different hanger when one becomes available.

PROGRESS! I just now called the Airport Manager and he today states that my paperwork is ready and will be at Provo City where I can pay my $15 dollars, get a photo and get my badge.  I'll have faith that this is indeed true but will not report success until I have badge in hand. 

Enough of the frustration and bureaucracy of the airport... it was a great morning for flying!  CFI Bob decided (at risk to his life) that I needed more pattern and landing work.  He's right of course as landings are to date my weakest skill.  Just in case you are reading this and not totally familiar with flying, landings are pretty dang important.

We took off from PVU at about 0715 and flew direct Spanish Fork Airport which is only about 6 or 7 miles to the Southeast of PVU.  It was much cooler this morning than previous summer flights and climb out performance was awesome!  This 180 hp engine does very well even when it's warm and density altitudes are higher but in cooler air it climbs like a home sick angel.

We flew to Spanish Fork and practiced touch and goes completing 5 landings before coming back to PVU.  I'm getting the hang of the process but still want to start that flare way too early.  There is a lot going on that I just need to build coordination and muscle memory for and it will just take practice.  My landing at PVU when we returned from Spanish Fork was my best landing of the morning so there was some progress made but... still needs work.

Notes for this flight:  Remember to close the window before rolling for takeoff and those cameras you bought for recording your flights don't work worth a dang if you don't turn them on.  I need to relax a little more and concentrate on the task(s) at hand. 

The newly updated panel continues to give me what I had hoped it would (increased situational awareness) and I love it!

All in all an awesome morning with good weather and a fine running aircraft but then again flying is just that.... AWESOME!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Today's Flight

Bob and I took 9478E up today, the first flight since the panel upgrade.  I received my newly updated airplane back from Flight-Deck Avionics Wednesday morning, August 31st but have not been able to fly until today.  One word... WOW!  This new panel is fantastic and well worth the wait.  The work took a bit longer than originally planned (about 4 weeks) but I'm very satisfied with the end result.  Situational awareness has increased considerably and I have already noticed I'm able to scan for needed information much quicker.

We practiced slow flight, S-turns, rectangular patterns and tight turns all of which went very well.  I have a very good feel for my airplane now and instructor Bob was happy.  Best of all... I am home safe and sound back with my beautiful wife AND... without giving Provo Tower cause to laugh.  My landing was much better this time but still not good.  Must practice landings!

Below is a picture of the completed updated panel; Garmin G500 primary flight display and multi-function display (left side), GNS 430W GPS, GTX 330 Transponder with traffic, SL-40 COM Radio, GMA 340 Audio Panel and then of course analog instruments from the old panel as backups.  AWESOME!