Passenger on Board

9:12 PM Monday, September 19, 2011

So this post isn't exactly aviation related, but I am pretty excited about it so I feel like the announcement belongs here. My husband and I are expecting our first child around March 26th. :) So for now I guess I am a passenger carrying vessel for the next 6 months :)

Long Overdue Practice Session

11:22 AM Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Location: KDVN Local
Weather: KDVN 071452Z AUTO 36009KT 10SM CLR 16/10 A3026 RMK AO2 SLP248 T01610100 51010 PWINO $
Runway in Use: 03

Time got away from me this summer and I haven't been up flying in almost 6 weeks. I didn't really have time to go today either but the longer I wait the less safe I feel. I know that I am a good pilot and if I just settle down and fly the plane everything goes smoothly, but I also have a bad habit of over thinking things and being extremely self critical.

Anyway, today went great. I went in just wanted to get some time in and enjoy the beautiful day. I took off on runway 3 and headed to the north climbing to 2500 feet. I leveled off and enjoyed some scenery. Everything looked beautiful this morning. The fields are green, the light was great and I was once again reminded of how amazing it is to be a pilot. I try to hold on to that feeling because someday I am sure I will think of it as common place to be up in the air floating around and it certainly isn't commonplace. Knowing that just a little over a 100 years ago people didn't even think it was possible to fly reminds me of what a miracle it really is to be up there.

I did a few ground reference maneuvers and flew over the wapsi river for a while. I turned back to the south and headed back to the airport to get in a few times around the pattern. I was very disappointed in my approaches last time I was up. This time my first approach was a bit messy because I was very close on downwind to avoid a plane departing on the the cross runway (33). But I extended my downwind a bit and got her stabilized and made a very nice landing. The next three were just as good, I even got a "very smooth" from 874MA while he was waiting to depart during one of my landings :)

Cross winds have been a bit of a nemesis for me during my time as a pilot. Today there were a few times where the wind was probably a bit closer to 33 and it was about 10kts most of the time I was up. I concentrated on lining the plane up and less on where and how much wind there was, what I found was that if I stop thinking so damn much about the wind that it really isn't that hard to get the correct crab in for landing :) Note to self, stop thinking so damn much!!!

Today was good, can't wait to do it again! Also, there will be some exciting news on the blog next week, be sure to stop back and read it!

Duration of Flight:.8
Total Flight Hours:92.0

Go Arounds and Pattern Practice

11:01 AM Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Location: KDVN Pattern
Weather: Winds Variable @ 5-7 kts
Runway in Use: 03

I have been trying to fit in a quick flight to practice some pattern work and go arounds lately and I finally got a chance on Friday. I had recently read an article about how more deaths and injuries occur during go arounds than during any other phase of flight. The theory the article went from was that people don't really practice go arounds and when one is needed they may make a crucial mistake that costs them their life. I talked to a few people at the airport about it and they agreed vehemently that go arounds are extremely dangerous when not performed correctly. One instructor stated that recently a student removed all his flaps at once when he applied full power for the go around. Given that removing those flaps also suddenly removes lift the instructor rightfully feared for his life. So after reading the article and hearing the story I have go arounds on my list of things to practice occasionally to make sure I am proficient in the instance that I need to use one.

My go arounds went well during practice. Full power, back pressure, climb, clean-up (slowly), do it again. No problem. The thing that didn't go well were my landings. I just couldn't get comfortable with my approach on Friday (guess it was a good thing I was practicing go arounds). All my approaches and landings were safe but not the pretty little chirps that I strive for. I have been over and over my practice session in my head and I think I can pinpoint it to my trim work. I wasn't getting it trimmed well so I was fighting the plane the whole way up and the whole way down. Which meant I was extremely unstable on approach which always leads to bad landings. Since this was a short practice session I might try to get up on a day in the next week or so and see if I can get a couple of good landings in.

Duration of Flight: .5hrs
Total Flight Hours:91.2 hrs

Flying Anniversary

1:42 PM Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One year ago I sat in the pilot seat of an airplane for the first time! By the time I landed I was addicted! 6 months later I had a license and now 1 year later aviation is a huge part of my life. I wouldn't trade a single second of the time I have spent learning about airplanes and flying in them and I wouldn't take a single dollar back that I have spent.

For those of you keeping track of my summer goals you will remember that one of my goals was to fly on my anniversary. Well it didn't happen. For one, there is a major heat wave happening right now. The temp was 102 today and the heat index was 115+. I was still planning on flying until both 545ca and 547ca went to the shop one for its 100 hr and one to get the engine rebuilt. I guess that settled it, I would have to wait until next week to get my flight in.

Flying with my Brother!

10:00 AM Monday, July 11, 2011

Weather: VRB05 Sky CLR
Runway in Use: 03 and 15

For the past few months I have been trying to get my brother to go with me on a flight, but our schedules never quite worked out. Although last Friday rolled around and it was supposed to be pretty nice. I booked a plane for 12-2pm and let my brother know I would be flying if he was going to be free he could join me. Turns out he could go but not until 1pm. That made our flight a bit short but we got it done!

I arrived at the airport a bit early so I could have the preflight done and we could head out as soon as he got there. The preflight looked good, albeit very hot! I went back into the airport and chatted with the airport folk until Ryan arrived. In the meantime I watched the b-17 that was on display take-off, not a bad looking airplane. I was tempted to go get a ride, but for $400 I think I will save my money for PIC time.

Ryan arrived. We hopped in. I gave him my usual speech about staying out of the way of controls, if he sees traffic/birds/obstacles in our flight path to go ahead and point them out, I may or may not see them and two sets of eyes are better than one. The winds were 070@05 so I taxied to 03 did a quick run up and then lined up to take off. The door was a bit of a problem, the top latch didn't want to lock, but we got it taken care of and then we were off. It was a pretty smooth lift-off if I may say so myself. We were headed to the north east but I went a bit north first to avoid the Met Life blimp that had just lifted off and to avoid QC airspace.

The rest of the time we just cruised around at about 2500ft doing some sight seeing. We went out by the Mississippi, up around the Clinton area, circled and headed back. We did a quick touch and go on 15 with a very pretty chirp then went around for a full stop which was a bit harder but still nothing to be ashamed of.

All and all it was a good day of flying. I enjoyed sharing it with my Brother and can't wait to do it again.

Duration of Flight: .08
Total Flight Hours: 90.7

Photo Credit and Copyright: Ryan Lenger

New Job & Met Life Blimp

12:19 PM Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Just a quick little post to say that I am now a proud employee of Carver Aero! I am only working the front desk but it is still a job around aviation and I can't wait! I should have a lot more posts about interesting planes that come into Davenport.

Also, while I was at KDVN today the met life blimp was tied down at the ramp. I wish I had had time to go see it up close but it was still pretty impressive from the hanger.

Air Force One

11:57 AM Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Yesterday the President was in town to give a speech. I watched the speech and I have to say it wasn't really about anything. I thought he might have something pertinent to say but really it seems he just came to the Quad Cities to start his campaigning for 2012.

Anyway, I don't live very far from Quad City International which is where he landed. So I thought after his speech I would head out there and see if I could get close enough to watch Air Force One take-off. Well at first glance this looked impossible. They had choppers in the air and police cars all around the perimeter fence of the airport. I thought there was no way that I would be able to stop and watch him take off. Well I drove around to the FBO entrance and there were no cop cars stopping me from entering. I drove in and parked in a gravel pit area that many people stop at to watch planes arrive. I parked and got out just as the president was taxing. They pulled up and stopped with a building between us and the plane (very tactical or extremely coincidental, I am going with tactical) and then I heard the engines roar and Air Force One was rolling. He lifted off and made a left climbing turn and was out of sight quite quickly.

It was impressive to see. And I am glad I went even though everyone told me I wouldn't be able to get close. As an aviation nerd I found the whole thing quite exciting even if it only lasted about 60 seconds :)


3:23 PM Friday, June 24, 2011

Location: KDVN - KOQW - KDVN
Weather: KDVN 241852Z AUTO 33005KT 10SM OVC037 20/12 A2986 RMK AO2 SLP110 T02000117
Runway in Use: 33

I really wanted to get in the air today. The weather was supposed to be beautiful, but it wasn't. I postponed this morning because the clouds were at about 3500 MSL and I wanted them to be a bit higher. Well 1pm rolled around and I had a plane scheduled and wouldn't you know it, the clouds were lower. I stood on my deck and looked around a bit and decided that they weren't going anywhere and they were high enough for me to putz around like I wanted so I decided to go. I had wanted a nicer day, but you can't always get what you want!

I preflighted. I started her up. I listened for weather and then I went to radio in my taxi intentions and the radio wasn't working. I flipped all the switches off and back on and I still wasn't getting anything on my headset. I pulled out the input jacks and put them back in and still nothing. I messed with the jack input for the in-plane speaker and still nothing. So I picked up the hand mic and radioed my intentions. I headed out figuring I could trouble shoot the headset on the way.

I took off, and it was beautiful. She practically leaped from the runway today since it was pretty cool out. I grabbed 75kts on the climb and turned to my heading. Maquoketa airport is only about 25nm to the north north west so it was a short hop. I had the field in sight and went to radio my landing intentions and the hand mic didn't work. So I pressed the button for the headset and it worked. Hooray! So I set up to land and did a poor job of it. I was high coming in and I was fast and I wasn't lined up well. Instead of pushing it to get everything in order to get her on the ground I did a go around. Came back and made a very pretty full-stall landing. I was a bit fast so I had a bit of float but it was still a really nice landing.

A back taxi was required since I landed super long. On the way back down the runway there was a deer standing on the side of the runway. I halted and played chicken with him to see if I could get him to get off the runway. Eventually he left and I turned around and took off again. It was a quick flight back to davenport where I made a terrible landing. It was much more of a thump than a chirp.

I learned a few more things today. I need to get in the air a bit more frequently because my skills are getting a bit rusty. When the A/FD says wildlife on and in vicinity of the airport they actually mean it. And lastly I still really love to fly!

Duration of Flight:.9
Total Flight Hours:89.9

Airbus vision for 2050

10:26 AM Thursday, June 23, 2011

Now I know this will never happen. Even Airbus knows this will never happen. But it doesn't stop any of us from dreaming! If they made a glass topped plane I would have my ticket booked in a heart beat for a sunset flight. I may only be able to afford to do it once, but you can bet your life I would be make it happen. For now I will just dream of watching the sun set from FL350 and being so close you feel like you can touch the stars outside the glass canopy.

Quad City Airshow 2011

10:48 AM Monday, June 20, 2011

Yesterday I took my Dad and brother, Ryan, to the Quad City Airshow for Father's Day. It was a really good time. I haven't spent a whole lot of time with either my Dad or my Brother in the past few years and I really enjoyed spending a day with them doing something we all enjoy quite a bit.

I was pretty disappointed in the static displays. There wasn't a whole lot to look at or tour, but we still managed to see a few nice planes and enjoy that part of the day.

The airshow was pretty decent. The beginning aerobatics acts were good and the F-15 demo was really nice. In fact I enjoyed almost all the acts except for otto the helicopter. Most of the time you couldn't hear the announcer and without the "voice of otto" it was just a helicopter flying back and forth. Now I will be the first to admit that my attention span is kinds of small and if you don't grab it quick then my mind tends to wander, so I spent most of the time Otto was in the air watching people instead.

The Blue Angels were the closing act and they did a great job. As always their performance was spot on and a great demonstration of what it means to be a precision pilot. Their airspace was probably no bigger than 10 miles by 10 miles (probably less) and they were always aware of their position, everyone else's position and where they needed to be for the next maneuver. There were only a few times in which I lost them in the sky and I am pretty sure it was intentional on their part because the surprise flyover is a pretty cool move :)

The folks from Quad City Airshow did a great job. It was my first time at this airshow which was celebrating their 25th year, I hope they do it again.

On a quick closing note, I was appalled while leaving and I looked around to see all the garbage people left on the field. I was appalled not only because this is my home airport and I don't want to see it dirty and marred but because also because as humans we are pigs, why do we expect someone else to clean up after us. Next time you are at an event pick up after yourselves!!

Remember the Joys of Flying

8:09 PM Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Location: KDVN - 8C4 - KDVN
Weather: KDVN 012252Z AUTO 24006KT 10SM CLR 27/08 A3017 RMK AO2 SLP212 T02720083
Runway in Use: 21

Today was beautiful and it has been forever since I got to fly (ok only 26 days, but again, who is counting), so I headed to the airport. When I arrived my plane reservation was no where to be found. Luckily 547CA was on its way back so I waited for it to come back and I was on my way.

The AWOS was reading 230@09 when I was ready to taxi. Someone was coming in on 33 for a full stop so I decided to head out to 21 since the winds favored that a bit more. Once he was cleared of 33 I departed on 21, turned out to the north and was on my way. I decided to just take a leisurely flight up to Tipton (about 27 miles Northwest). Since I didn't really have an agenda and had plenty of time to spare to I spent some time playing around. I climbed a bit, descended, did some s-turns and just took in the sights and generally enjoyed myself. When I had Tipton in sight I decided I would land. I could have done a straight in, and I wish I would have, but headed off to the south and entered on a 45 to the left downwind. As I was turning base someone on the ground asked if I was a full stop or a touch and go. I said touch in go. Well it ended up that it was a full stop. I landed a bit long and chose to back taxi instead of trying to get it off the ground in too short of a space. I apologized to the waiting plane and they were very understanding. We had a quick conversation about the weather and they seemed very nice. I love meeting really nice people when I am out flying. In fact I love the flying community!!

I headed back to davenport. I just followed the road that goes from Tipton straight back to davenport. As I was flying it I realized I have never flown into Davenport from the west before. I had flown out to Cedar Rapids plenty of times on cross countries during training but I always went somewhere else and came back to Davenport from either the North or South. Anyway everything looked a bit different coming in from a new direction but nothing to worry about, just something I noted. There was a Baron Beechcraft landing and he was much faster than me so I took my time going to the south a bit so i could cross midfield for left downwind on 21. Another plane took off as I was on downwind then I was all alone in the pattern. My landing was a bit flat, but I was still proud of it. I taxied in and shutdown. Even my parking job, which is often my weakest point, was awesome. All in all, my day was awesome.

There were tons of pilots in the air today. It kept me on my toes but I loved it. Hearing all the radio chatter makes me remember how much I love to fly. In fact everything about today made me remember how much I love to fly. Chatting with the folks at the airport. Soaring in the smooth air. Chirping the tires on the landing. All awesome, now I am just counting the minutes until I can do it again.

Duration of Flight: 0.9 hrs
Total Flight Hours: 89 hrs

Summer Flight Goals

11:31 AM Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I have been making a mental list of flight goals I want to accomplish this summer (June-August 2011) and I thought it was time to write them down.

  • Land in two more states (probably MN and MO)
  • Get my Tailwheel Endorsement
  • Have 110 hours in my flight log (currently at 88.1)
    Added .9 on 6/1/11 = 89.0
    Added .9 on 6/24/11 = 89.9
    Added .8 on 7/08/11 = 90.7
  • Take up two new passengers
    Took Ryan on 7/8/11
  • Fly on my 1 year anniversary (July 20th was my intro flight)
  • Fly at least one new type of aircraft (this goes with my tailwheel endorsement I guess but it is still a goal)
  • Land at 5 new airports
    Landed at 8C4, Tipton, IA, 6/1/11
    Landed at OQW, Maquoketa, IA, 6/24/11

Of course all of this depends on having some money so I guess I better get some work done :)

So after a weekend of hoping (aka: praying and begging) for good weather so I could take my brother up for a ride, Monday comes along and rubs its lovely weather in my face. Saturday was rainy with ceilings never getting much higher than 1200ft. Sunday cleared up nicely at the end of the day but my Brother was only available in the morning so we didn't get to go. Then Monday comes along and we all go back to work and stare out the window at CAVU skies and winds straight down the runway 030 at 12kts. Ugh, life is cruel! There are little yellow sunshine shapes (I think that is what those are, I haven't seen sunshine forever) on everyday of the forecast this week, and although my Brother is out of town, I may have to hit up the airport if I manage to get my work done :)


2:06 PM Friday, May 6, 2011

Location: KDVN - KPVB - KDVN
Weather: KDVN 061452Z AUTO 29012KT 10SM CLR 17/04 A2991 RMK AO2 SLP130 T01720039 58004
Runway in Use: 33

It had been a while since I had gotten to fly (24 days to be exact but who's counting) so I had been watching the weather all week and today looked like a beautiful day to go. I had originally planned to meet my aunt for lunch up in Platteville, but I got buried in work and decided I should be responsible and get my butt back here and make some money so it was just a quick flight there and back.

I had my wheels up at davenport about 10:30 this morning. The AWOS was reporting 280@12G19 on take-off. That had me a bit concerned because although I could handle that no problem on take-off it was pushing my comfort zone for landing. I evaluated the situation and decided I could handle the landing if the winds were still at that level when I returned.

The flight up to Platteville (KPVB) was uneventful. It was pretty bumpy, visually evident by the clouds that were quickly forming. I had some traffic to contend with around Dubuque (KDBQ) which had me wishing that I had called for flight following, but I didn't feel that I was in the air long enough to make it worth the effort. The AWOS was NOTAM'ed out of service for KPVB but I was hoping it was back up, it wasn't so I overflew the field at 3500 to check out the windsock. It was straight out and probably about 280-290 (looked it up when I got home and it said 280@12G20). I descended and called for left downwind entry for 25. The set-up was good and the bumps held up long enough for me to make a decent stabilized approach. I had a very good landing that I was proud of. Then as I am back taxing someone calls asks me for a 5 count in platteville. I waited to see if maybe they were talking to unicom because I didn't know what that meant. Then when no one answered I asked him to clarify and he said how do you read. I said loud and clear, felt like kind of an idiot but whatever. I guess I can put that one in my book for next time.

Take-off was smooth and I made a left turnout to head south. Climbed to 4500 feet, leaned and trimmed, I skirted DBQ airspace and then headed for home. I spent the next 40 minutes bouncing around but of course I loved every second of it.

I came back into davenport and crossed mid field for left downwind on 21. The AWOS was reading 260@12G20. I wanted a bit of extra speed for the gusts but I came in a bit too high so my landing was a bit long and not my best but it was decent none the less.

I exited on Bravo and Mike was outside to park me (another first) and I managed to do alright.

Although today was not my favorite flight, the bumpiness kind of takes a bit away from the magic, I did enjoy it a lot. I got back in the air. I got to see a bit of different Terrain, I landed at a new airport in a new state. Overall a very good time.

Duration of Flight: 1.6
Total Flight Hours: 88.1
Log book entry

Wednesday rolled around this week and it marked the end of my two week hiatus from flying. All my tests check out so my medical is officially valid again! So I called up my instructor and scheduled my 60 day currency check (that I was informed I needed to do last time I rented the plane) for this morning. When I talked to him, he didn't think I needed to do a 60 day check as long as I had flown in the past 60 days, which I have. But we scheduled it anyway. Then last night he called and said that he looked up the policies and I did not need to fly. Yay, that is awesome, although I was looking forward to flying with Tim again I didn't want to pay him :)

So long story short, no currency check, valid medical and sad Beth because the weather is beautiful (KDVN 291452Z AUTO 17007KT 10SM CLR 10/02 A3004 RMK AO2 SLP174) and I chose to be responsible and work today instead of flying just because I can.

This is the best example of somebody trying to promote general aviation that I have seen in a while. I wish more companies would do things like this. All you have to do is submit a photo that displays your passion for aviation and you could win a sponsorship to earn your pilots license. I saw a few great photos so far but I feel like there could be some better ones. Sign up at the link below and be sure to give props to Breitling for trying to help out the general aviation world.

Holy Winds, Batman

11:44 AM Friday, April 15, 2011

Still grounded for medicine changes. But as it turns out I wouldn't want to be up the past couple of days anyway.

KDVN 151552Z AUTO 08029G36KT 10SM FEW080 09/00 A2967 RMK AO2 PK WND 08040/1541 PRESFR SLP048 T00890000

That translates to winds from 080 degrees at 29kts gusting to 36kts with peak winds at 080 at 40kts.

Not something I want to go flying in with a little piper cherokee. It might not be so bad if the wind were blowing down the runway but it is not. Closest alignment is 03 giving a 50 degree crosswind component = 25kts. The forcast has it being windy for the next few days, which I am fine with, get it out of your system while I can't go flying :)

Touch and Goes at KDVN

10:48 AM Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Location: KDVN Local
Weather: KDVN 121352Z AUTO 10007KT 10SM CLR 09/03 A3012 RMK AO2 SLP201 T00890033
Runway in Use: 03

Today was an excellent day. I really wanted to practice some touch and goes since I haven't been feeling very good about my landings lately. The wind was pretty calm and continued to get more calm throughout my half hour in the air. When I took off the awos had 080@08 so I choose to take runway 03. My first circut was kind of blah and not very rectangular, but it was a good landing and I settled in for an awesome second landing, followed by about 4 more that I am decently proud of. One of them was a bit flat, but all of them were good.

I am pleased with my landings and my crosswind correction now. I realized sometime over the last week what was wrong with my landings last time I was up, I wasn't looking down the runway, I was looking closer in. Which is a habit I had in the beginning of my flight training. Today I made sure I was conscious of where I was looking on final and it helped a lot. Next time up I want to work on holding my airspeeds on approach, I was kind of all over the place between 85kts and 70kts and I want to be more consistent at holding those.

When I paid today they informed me that I needed to do a 60 day check with an instructor, which sucks, because I didn't know I had to do one every 60 days. Oh well. It will just be another chance to learn some things from someone who has a lot more experience than I do.

On a not so awesome note, I am grounded for 2 weeks. I need to change up some of my meds and one of the conditions of my 3rd class medical is that I stay on the ground until my tests show that I am stable and don't have any side effects from them. So I guess that means I will be day dreaming about flying for the next 2 weeks.

Duration of Flight: 0.6
Total Flight Hours: 86.5

ForeFlight HD Review

5:51 PM Monday, April 4, 2011

My review made the ForeFlight testimonial page :)


1:51 PM Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Location: KDVN Local
Weather:KDVN 302052Z AUTO 28005KT 10SM CLR 09/M13 A3003 RMK AO2 SLP175 T00891133 56019
Runway in use: 15

Goals for this flight:

  • Work on Stalls - Check, went well

  • Do a couple of steep turns - Check, sloppy

  • Touch and Goes with concentration on soft field technique - will do next time, today was no good.

  • Work on Rudder Usage - check, still needs work

  • Taxi and Rollout inputs - still needs work

Today's flight did not go so well. It was much bumpier than I would have liked and the wind was quite unpredictable. The active runway was 15 but the winds were often better for another runway. I would rather be safe and take the active than risk causing a problem by choosing another runway when the airport is very busy.

I did a couple of touch and goes, none of which were great. I flew out and did a stall which was good and a steep turn which was sloppy at best. I came back in and did a final landing and called it a day. I wasn't really happy with my performance today, but nothing was terrible, so it was still a good day out. I felt a bit uncomfortable behind the yoke today which hasn't happened for a while. I need to get more time in for practice so I can always feel confident on my flights.

Duration: .7
Total Hours: 85.9

First $100 Hamburger = Bust

3:42 PM Saturday, March 19, 2011

My wheels were off the ground at 10:30am this morning. I climbed to 1200 and turned crosswind. I decided to do a quick touch and go and examine the visibility before I headed south. Mike (works as a line guy) just landed with his grandkids and warned me that visibility sucks because of haze. He was right. I had plenty to stay VFR but it kind of robbed me of the great views on a clear day.

My touch and go went great, I once again proved I haven't forgotten how to land, one of these days I will believe that before it happens :) I took off on 15 and headed North for a few minutes while I got clearance to transition through QC airspace. Once I had radar contact I proceeded on course of 195. Things were progressing beautifully. I requested flight following for QC approach and they switched me off to Chicago Center. Chicago switched me to Kansas City Center and the flight down was pretty uneventful. I did pass over a plane headed perpendicular to me about 1000 feet below me, which was really cool. It is the first plane I have encountered in flight (other than others in the pattern or on my training field). I terminated flight following about 8 miles north of Quincy and descended to land on 13. It was super quiet at KUIN so it was just me hanging out. I landed, a pretty good one, secured the plane, and headed into the FBO (great river aviation).

I was expecting to eat at Tailwinds the restaurant on the field. However, the FBO informed me that it closed a few months ago. Oh no! My first $100 hamburger was a bust. Then Great River Aviation saved the day, they offered me their crew car to head into Quincy to eat something. Not what I had planned, but I thought I had enough time to head into town to eat something. I drove the main strip and didn't see anything other than chain restaurants. So I turned back and decided to stop at Fridays. So my first $100 hamburger was really a club sandwich :)

Once back at the FBO I did a quick weather check and headed out to the plane. On my way out I took a picture of the plane sitting on the field and a very nice gentleman asked if I wanted my picture taken by the plane. AWESOME! He got a couple of good ones too.

I did my preflight and was ready to start up. There was another plane getting ready to go do some training so I was trying to hold off on starting up until he headed out. So I waited and waited and waited. I finally decided there were not going to go anywhere so I started up and wouldn't you know, they started to taxi. GRR. So I followed them down the ramp and waited for the them to run-up and take off. It took forever, I was literally hearing cha-ching, cha-ching as the hobbs meter ticked upward.

Finally off the ground I headed north. I wasn't going to pick up flight following on the way back, but that would have negated one of my goals for the flight. So I called up Kansas City Center and got flight following for the way back. I am glad I did because there was a crap ton of traffic. The ATC guy was like stay on your toes you have targets heading at you from everywhere. I was on the radios like crazy. The first target I didn't have in site and he was unverified at my altitude so I requested an altitude change to 5500 feet. Approved I climbed and saw the traffic as I was on my way up, he passed under me and was no factor. Another plane passed over me at about 6200 feet and in front of me by about a 1/2 mile. The third one was well below me and no factor again. After the Burlington VOR and the traffic was clear, they switched me off to QC approach. They had trouble with my transponder, so I cycled it and they still didn't have it. I was advised to stay at 5500. About 10 miles from QC airport they picked up the transponder again.

With Davenport in sight I was approved for frequency change and started my decent. Winds were more than I would have liked coming back into Davenport. They were 110@12G20. Once I was below 2000 feet it was super bumpy, I came in and landed on 15. It was not my best landing but I was pretty proud of it for being at my personal max crosswind of 10kts (it might be time to bump that up to 12).

Landed, secured, paid, headed home. I have had my fix for a few days at least. Kind of hoping to fly again on Friday, we will see if I have some money and the weather cooperates.

Goals set for this flight

  • Transition through QC Airspace for ATC Practice - Check

  • Pick up Flight Following for ATC practice - Check

  • Land at a new airport - Check

  • Do a couple of touch and goes and concentrate on rudder usage - Didn't really accomplish, the three landings I did I was very conscious of my rudder but didn't get to do touch and goes like I wanted.

  • Concentrate on in air rudder usage - Check, very conscious of it, still needs work.

Proposed Flight - KDVN to KUIN

1:03 PM Friday, March 18, 2011

Hello my name is Beth and I am an addict. It has been 17 days since my last flight. I can't wait to go flying tomorrow. The weather looks beautiful, 50 degrees and sunny with winds 5-10kts. I am planning on flying from Davenport Iowa (KDVN) to Quincy Illinois (KUIN). All of my flights these days have learning goals involved because I am still pretty new at this and I want to be great at it someday. So tomorrow my goals are:

  • Transition through QC airspace for ATC practice

  • Pick up Flight Following for additional ATC practice

  • Land at a new airport (KUIN)

  • Do a couple touch and goes and really concentrate on my rudder usage

  • Concentrate on in air rudder use (coordination) at all times

I am pretty comfortable with those goals for this flight. Looks like it will be about 2 hours of flight time, probably a bit more with run-up and taxi. I will post how I did on the goals later this weekend, and hopefully I will have some pictures. Route image is below.

Women can fly too!

9:26 PM Monday, March 7, 2011

On July 20th 2010 when I went to the airport for my introductory flight I hadn't given much thought to how many women pilots there were in the United States (or world). It never even occurred to me that it was still an issue in this modern day. I was raised with the mindset that I could do whatever I wanted and I haven't really given my gender a second thought in anything I have set out to do. Well as my time in aviation has continued I have realized that I am a minority and bias does exist.

The stats show that about 6% of pilots in the United States are women, this boils down to about 45,000 of us. That is not very many. We can all fit in most major sports arenas (which would be awesome)!

Every new airport I land at has at least one skeptic eyeing me precariously as I enter the FBO after securing my plane. At first I thought this was my imagination, but as time has gone on, I realize it is just fact. For some reason a lot of male pilots are still very reluctant to share the air with women. I am a realist and I know that not all women are capable of being pilots, some don't possess the mechanical knowledge or will to learn that mechanical knowledge, but the fact is that if they don't possess that skill the likely hood that they will earn a certificate is pretty slim. So what I say to all those skeptical male pilots out there is that I put in my time and took the same tests that you did and I passed. Gender differences aside, I am just as capable as you.

My challenge to women pilots of the world is to prove that we are strong, capable, safe pilots and to encourage any woman you know that has a dream to fly to pursue that dream. If you encounter prejudice, persevere; if you encounter acceptance, rejoice.

First Passenger!

10:45 PM Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I finally got to take my first passenger today! A long time ago (ok it has only been a few months) when I started my training I promised my husband he could have the first ride when I had a license. Well, in my mind I thought maybe that would happen a day or two after I got my license. Not so much. 5 weeks later, we both finally got our schedules coordinated and the weather cooperated (sort of) and we got to go. Dan actually facilitated it by incorporating it into our date night. He called the FBO and booked the plane then he called me and said get your work done because we are going flying at 3:30 today. Who was I to argue!!!

I actually decided to go do some touch and goes before Dan met me at the airport. This served two purposes, one it burned some fuel so we wouldn't be too heavy and two it made sure I could handle the wind today. My first landing of the day was ugly!! Cross winds have always been my nemesis and today was no different, I know I can handle them, but dang it, the wind had the better of me on that landing. The second and third landings were pretty good and I was right at my personal max crosswind component 10kts (270@11 on runway 33). I was confident I could make the landings today and so I came in and waited for Dan to get to the airport.

While I was waiting I talked to my Flight Instructor for a while. He seemed pretty bored, things are slow, especially because the weather has sucked. It was good to talk with him, I really need to make some pilot friends so I have someone to talk shop with occasionally, didn't realize how much I missed it.

Well 3:50 rolls around and Dan walks in the airport, I am so excited I am about ready to jump out of my skin. We go out, I do a really quick pre-flight since I have already checked everything and flown for about a half hour. I talk Dan through a few things and then we climb in. We get all situated and I explain some of the instruments to Dan and what he needs to avoid being in the way of, especially on take-off and landing. He says "I am not going to touch anything!" That made me smile a bit.

We taxi to 33, do a run-up and line up to take-off. Full throttle, 60 kts, rotate and we are off, it was a pretty smooth take-off, Dan hardly noticed we left the ground (at least this is what I will tell myself). We departed to the Northeast and headed up the Mississippi for a while. We talked about some of the gauges and what things did. We had a discussion about leaning the mixture and why we do it. Overall it was a lot of fun for me to share flying with him. I wish we could have gone for longer or had a destination, but overall it was just a lot of fun.

We turned around right before the widest part of the Mississippi and headed back to Davenport. The skies were busy today and there was one other plane in the pattern and one waiting to depart when we got back. I jumped in as #2 in the pattern for runway 21. I slowed down and extended my downwind a bit for the other plane to land and then as I was turning final the plane on the ground announced they were departing, I again radioed that I was on final and the guy said he would hold for traffic. Phew, thought I was going to have to yell at him for not listening for traffic.

Widest Part of the Mississippi
Widest Part of the Mississippi

I was a bit unstable coming in and I missed the center line, but the landing stuck and it wasn't my worst. I had wanted it to be better, but Dan commented that he thought it would be rougher so I guess that is a good thing. Dan said he would go up with me again, so I guess that is a as good as I can ask for. Now I am ready for my next passenger, I love sharing aviation, who wants to go?!

Fun Flight - KDVN - KSFY - KDVN

4:32 PM Friday, February 25, 2011

So I woke up this morning and the sun was shining for the first time in like 10 days. I did a quick calculation and figured that I haven't been flying for 20 days and decided that I would take advantage of this nice day!

I worked my butt off this morning so that I could take off some time this afternoon. When 12:00pm rolled around and the sun was still out, the TAF was good, it has me clear until 4pm then overcast at 8000ft, I decided I should go.

I worked up a quick route. I have been trying to land at new/different airports to get some experience in navigation, finding new places and landing in different conditions (smaller runways etc). I found KSFY wasn't too far out, I could fly up the Mississippi which I have been wanting to do and it was a relatively small runway 4000ft x 75ft.

I called up the FBO and they had a plane available at 1:30 so I jumped at the chance. I grabbed my flight bag and headed to the airport.

When I arrived I was super pumped! Then the plane wouldn't start :( Not a new occurrence given the planes are pretty old and it is still nice and cold here in the midwest. This is the first time that I have not been able to get her going at all. Dan (assistant manager) came out and taught me to intentionally flood the plane and start her from a flooded state. His commentary while doing this was very helpful, I once again learned some things about the plane. Anyway it started, he jumped out, and off I went.

I headed to the east and was going to fly around 3500 since KSFY had ceilings predicted around 4000 as the afternoon went on. Well 3500 was hazy and skt so I climbed a bit, still hazy and skt so I dodged some clouds and rode in a bit of turbulence while I took in the scenery. No big deal. I flew over KSFY at 3500 and then flew to the east a bit while I descended down and made some radio calls that I was coming it on 13. This was a pretty cool approach because you come in over the frozen Mississippi, I imagine you might get some interesting up/down drafts sometimes. Landing was decent, I came in a bit high and fast but it was a solid landing. A quick back taxi and I was ready to depart again.

Once I was up the ceiling seemed kinda low so I checked the weather and it was reported at 3200, I hung out at 2500 and flew to the south west, I was out of the weather in a few minutes and I climbed up to 4500 for the rest of the trip to davenport. Davenport had a busy pattern, 3 planes plus me. I jumped in the downwind for 33 when I saw an opening and made a touch and go, I was high and fast again (damn it) but it was another solid landing. I made one more trip around the pattern to try and get the high and fast thing taken care of. My final landing was a bit off the center line but it was a good one and I was finally on the glide slope.

Glad I went out and knocked some rust off. Got in 1.3hrs and I can't wait to go again!

Fly the Plane

1:39 PM Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This is hilarious I couldn't resist reposting. I admit I have an iPad and it is amazing, but always remember to fly the plane!!

No Joy

12:24 PM Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Well it appears that the weather has once again foiled my plans. I had been planning to take the hubby up for a ride today (I have been watching the weather for a week hoping it would work out). Well it appears it isn't going to happen.

Current METAR: KDVN 221752Z AUTO 06004KT 7SM OVC012 M03/M06 A3022 RMK AO2 SLP244 T10281061 11022 21039 51021

Although I could take him up for some pattern work that wouldn't be a fun first ride, so I guess it is postponed once again. Someday I will get to take up a passenger.

On another note, my official license came in the mail today! How awesome is that?!

It's Official

12:33 PM Tuesday, February 15, 2011

So I checked the FAA airmen database today and my status officially updated from student pilot to private pilot single engine land. Woo Hoo baby, I am a pilot!

This weeks weather looks pretty crappy. Probably decent enough VFR but I want to take the hubby for a ride on a nice day so he has a good first experience. Hopefully next week. Cross your fingers for good weather on Tuesday, because I am growing impatient.

So I haven't gotten to fly lately, so I thought I would entertain you with this video I found from the Day I was at Clow International, February 5, 2011. I flew in there on my first Cross Country as a private pilot, you can read that story here. I always give credit when I steal a video because then I feel like it isn't stolen anymore, thanks Skip Talbot,

Name Change

1:59 PM Thursday, February 10, 2011

Since I am no longer a student pilot I thought it was time to change the name of the blog. Instead of "Getting a Private Pilots License" I have changed it to "My Aviators - A woman pilots journey as a general aviatrix". It's kind of long. I may need to work on that, suggestions are welcome.

Also, I got the final bill for my flying lessons a few weeks ago, I decided I had to bite the bullet and open it this week. Looks like I am grounded for a while while I rebuild the savings account. I am hoping to get up a couple times a month throughout the end of winter and spring. Then when summer comes I hope to have the money to do my taildragger training!! I was going to do it in the next couple of months, but I don't think it is feasible right now :(

I can't wait to get back in the air! Maybe next Friday :)

I finally got to take my first flight as a Private Pilot on Saturday February 5, 2011. I had a bridal shower in Naperville, IL so I figured if the weather was nice it would be a perfect chance to take a quick flight, get some cross country time and pilot in command time.

I took off about 11:30am after a quick pre-flight and visit from the fuel truck. I hadn't flown since my test (about 17 days) which is the longest I had gone without flying since I started training. So to shake a few cobwebs I took a trip around the pattern to make sure I still knew how to land. Good news, I did!

I departed the area to the east and headed for bolingbrook, IL, Clow International Airport. This was also my first chance to use my iPad with Foreflight. I had charted my course via paper sectional and in the foreflight program and came up with the same headings, and almost the exact same times and fuel burns which had me pretty impressed with both myself and the foreflight program. I planned to fly east to the Joliet VOR and head into Clow International via the 041 radial. That plan went flawlessly! I hit the VOR and turned toward clow and descended to avoid the Class Bravo airspace around O'Hare. I came in on runway 18, which is the smallest runway I have landed on to date. Yay! First flight was successful and I really enjoyed it despite being a bit anxious, which I think if I am ever not a bit anxious it might be time to give up flying :)

I went to the bridal shower, which was, well, a bridal shower. Then I headed back to the airport. I opened the door to the plane and my heart sank. I pulled the newest of newbie moves and left the master switch on, I could still hear the gyros running. I quickly flipped it off and hoped I had enough battery left to start the plane. I did a preflight and hopped in hoping it would start. Of course it didn't. So I had the nice guys at Bolingbrook jump it. Despite feeling stupid, no harm done and not the worst mistake I could have made.

After the jump I sat a couple minutes to make sure I was getting a good charge from the alternator and all was well. So I headed out.

I departed to the west, staying under Class Bravo airspace until I was a few miles to the west. I headed up to 4500feet and enjoyed the view. It was a bit hazy on the ground but the sunset on the way home was beautiful! It was truly a reminder why I love to fly. No where on the ground could you get the same effect as you do in the sky at sunset. My only regret is not having a decent camera with me to catch the moment.

I landed back in Davenport right about 6pm, my first night landing in a while. It was a good one and I happily taxied back to the ramp and gathered my stuff. All in all it was a successful flight and I learned a very valuable lesson. I am looking forward to the day where I don't end my post saying that, but I plan to learn forever, I just hope my lessons stop making me feel like a noob at some point.

Below is a picture my sis-in-law snapped before I headed home.

Also, I would like to note that next time I will just have them plug the plane in and charge it that way for about an hour. The jump isn't worth the hassle or potential problems. Just consider it another lesson learned.

No Flying for me :(

3:25 PM Wednesday, February 2, 2011

So I have mentioned it before, but it is very apparent these past few weeks that living in the midwest can put a damper on flying activities. I have been trying to take my husband up for a ride since the day I got my license. Although we had a couple of decent days scattered in the past two weeks they weren't at times in which we could go. And then yesterday a nice blizzard dropped 16" of snow on our doorstep and closed most of the airports in the vicinity and they have yet to reopen.

I am anxiously watching the weather and hoping that Saturday stays clear. Although my husband won't be around to take a flight with me, I am hoping to take a cross country to Bolingbrook, IL for a bridal shower. It seems almost too perfect. The shower is only 4 miles from the airport. The airport is one I haven't been to and I want some practice on different and smaller runways. The weather is looking good. I am really crossing my fingers that I can make this happen. With all the airports closed I can't get a plane booked or any information on parking/landing fees though. Hopefully I can make some progress on this tomorrow.

Private Pilot Checkride Story

4:51 PM Thursday, January 20, 2011

So, I read a lot of checkride stories leading up to my ride so I thought I would put down what I can remember to help out the future pilots out there.

Well, I woke up at 3:30am and never could fall back asleep, so I got up at 4:30 and showered and sat down to look at the weather. Since I live in the midwest and it is January, of course it was snowing. My exam was scheduled to start at 8am and the weather was saying I would be clear by 10am so I was crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. I reworked my time and fuel based on the new wind numbers that were predicted and did a bit of last minute studying (probably not worth the effort).

At 7am I headed for the airport to meet up with my instructor, Tim, for some last minute advice and check over my cross country. When I arrived we talked about a few things and then he took off for Des Moines and I was left alone in the lounge watching the snow outside, which would have been peaceful if I wasn't such a nervous wreck.

8am rolled around and the FAA Examiner, Chris, came out to get all my paperwork. He disappeared for about 20 minutes to fill out all the forms and came back and said we were good to get started. He explained the exam, what he expected, how much it cost, what would happen if I failed or couldn't complete the exam etc. Then we started...

The first 30min were easy questions, I was feeling quite confident and happy with my performance, I was even beginning to hope that we would be done soon. Well I guess he wanted to dig until I was stumped and once he found my weakness he kept digging. My weakness was density altitude. I know what it is (pressure altitude corrected for non-standard temp) and I know that it decreases performance in the airplane, what I didn't know was the science behind why it decreased performance. Needless to say, now I do, and I will never forget it (warmer air = less dense = less horsepower and high ground speeds for landing). Ugg, then he asked me about spins, and I proudly told him how to get out of a spin, but he wasn't satisfied with that he wanted to know why we did each step and the science behind it. Since we are not allowed to practice spins, I had just learned what I needed to do to get out of one and never really thought about each step and why we would do it that way, now I will never forget that either. Then we moved on to some questions I did know and I was regaining some confidence. Then he said ok, check on that weather and let me know if it is a go or no go. I guess that meant I didn't fail the oral, woot!!

I started looking over weather and the numbers were quite different. I looked at a bunch of different sources and everything indicated that we could probably go around noon. Our cross country was planned from KDVN to MSP and the numbers were even indicating that we could fly the whole thing (even though I knew we would be flying a very small portion of it). I informed Chris of my decision and we parted ways for a couple of hours.

I am very glad I choose to wait, for one, it gave me time to recover from the oral and convince myself that the hard part was over, I could fly the plane, in fact I knew I was pretty damn good at flying the plane. Second, the weather changed drastically for the better.

Noon rolled around things looked great. I had the shop guys pull the plane out so I could preflight. I got all my papers situated and calmed myself down. I went inside to get Chris and we headed out to fly.

I started up (a little bit of an issue since it was cold, damn midwest January) but got her on the third try. Listened to ASOS, and of course it started to say wind...missing, sky condition...missing, great, today of all days. I let it cycle though and the next time around the only missing number was the sky condition. I could see a scattered layer about 2500-3000 feet. I mentioned it and said we would see what it was like when we got up there. Off we went for 33. I remembered my taxi inputs, which is something I usually forget, and my instructor always let me know about. We did the run-up and I wasn't happy with the oil temp so I said we would wait, like all my instructors had me do in the past (I will come back to this at the end). Then I took a look around and decided we were good to go. He asked for a short take-off, so short we did. Yay it was good and I held Vx over my 50ft, I am pleased. We turn crosswind and he asks for a short landing. I set it up, I use my checklist, I don't quite get the power back quick enough when I level off and we get a bit fast, but I think I am still ok. Short landing goes well. Soft take-off. I get it off ASAP and hold in ground effect until Vx and climb while cleaning up and accelerating. Yay things are going great. He then asks for a soft Field landing. Set-up is good, approach is good, landing is so-so, I ballooned a bit but I kept the nose off the ground and he doesn't end the exam so I shake it off and move on. He says do a normal take-off and start on the cross country. I pull out my papers. I note the time and I depart 33. Once up I make a radio call that we are departing to the northwest, heading 334. First checkpoint is in 7 min, I am climbing for 4500 but he has me level at 3000. I am watching close to make sure I am on course and staying at altitude. As we approach the river I see the bridge I check my watch, 5 min. I wait until we are almost over it, and say that we are over the bridge and we are right on 7 min. He says ok, take me to Cedar Rapids. No problem, I know that it is going to be mostly to the west, so I start turning. I tune to the VOR and listen to identify. I tune the OBS and I am right on course. I track to it for about 30 seconds then we are headed for some clouds so I say I am going to descend to get below them, he says how bout you put on the foggles instead. So I do, and we do some turns to headings, climbs and descents and unusual attitudes. Things go well and I am done. Next are stalls, things go well. Next are steep turns, my nemesis, I told myself I could do it and not to chase the instruments, I started out ok, but my second turn wasn't awesome, I ended a bit fast and a bit too low, but he didn't say anything and he didn't end the exam. Again there were some clouds so I said I was going to descend and he said ooops lost your engine, so I did my checklist, looked for a Field and set-up to land. In my practice ones with my instructor we stayed pretty high, once he was confident we would make it he had me go around, well the examiner let me damn near land. There were power lines right before the Field I picked and we came down almost to them, I really thought we were going to land. Finally he said go-around, phew. Next was ground reference. I brought us to 1500 feet and we did turns around a point and then we did s turns around a road, both went excellent (in my opinion). Then he said take me back to the airport. We were pretty close so I radioed that we were 6 to the NW and inbound for landing on 33. I listened to the weather. I radioed we were 3 out and I set up for a normal landing. As I am almost on flare he says go-around (which I was kind of expecting but I was concentrating on landing and had forgotten) so I went full throttle and climbed out. He said to do another normal landing, so I set-up and my approach was good. My landing was soft and pretty nice if I may say so. He said taxi back via Delta and park.

I park and shut down. Now we discuss a couple of things. My checklist use, he pointed out a few things that I didn't do, and to my surprise I didn't even know they were on the checklist, specifically that on run-up I should be pulling the throttle full aft following the runup and if the engine doesn't falter I am good to go. Well I had been taught that since it was cold to keep the rpms up and get it warm. He said that was bull crap and we could wait all day, it was just wasting money and fuel. Ok, point taken. Second my steep turn wasn't very good, watch my pitch and it would have been fine. Next he says, well I don't have any major areas of concern, then he got out and left. What does that mean!?!?! Did I pass, I think it meant I passed. I packed all my crap up, and did a few deep breaths. Got out and pushed the plane back (not an easy feat on and icy ramp). Then I went inside. As I walked in, Chelsea (the brains at Carver) said I had a horrified look on my face, I said, it was a horrifying experience. Then Dan (another well oiled cog in the Carver chain) asked if he yelled at me while we were flying, I said no, and he said you passed. I am pretty sure that I did at this point but I am not jumping for joy until I have that paper.

20 very long minutes later, Chris hands me a temporary certificate and says congratulations!!!! OMG, I am a frickin' pilot!!!

Well, I have to say it was an exhausting day but I was so excited when I left. And today I am even more excited, I can't wait to take my husband up this weekend, my very first passenger.