Tuesday, April 3, 2012

11th flight - Lesson: “Just Do It”. Life is too short to have regrets.

Bryan and I have been flying together now since November 2011, and it's been a blast. After our last flight though, Bry brought something to my attention, more and more when he’d offer to let me fly, I'd turn him down.

Mind you, Bryan handled all the critical phases of flight (take off and landing), but he'd let me fly straight and level and practice some maneuvers and all. So after our last flight Bry advised me that the next flight would be all mine, even the take-off. I’d have to talk to ATC (Air Traffic Control) as well.

During the next week, I kept coming up with a bunch of reason of why I was too busy to go flying the following week. It finally hit me that after six years of not flying, I had pretty much lost my confidence that I could do it. I was actually scared that it just was not possible for me anymore.

Once this realization hit me, it became clear what I had to do, I’m flying the next flight; no excuses. So with Bryan as my CFI (Certified Flight Instructor), we started out on March 19th at around 4pm. I was amazed that my radio calls were pretty good (with only 13 hours of flight training more than 6 years ago). I skewed a bit from center after takeoff (not enough rudder; I had forgotten just how much was needed). 

On our way to Goodspeed Airport (42B) in East Haddam, Connecticut Bry had me practice some steep banks and power-on stalls. Wow, I really forgot how much rudder the stalls took. Bryan must have yelled rudder more than a dozen times. All the stalls and exercises were great work out though; I was purely exhausted at the end of the flight.

I loved the simple beauty of Goodspeed Airport, and I love, love, love the cute red house at this airport. The airport identifier is right on the roof of the airport house, too cool. Once we landed we saw a sign reporting $5.00 landing fee. The cute red house had envelopes and a deposit box on the porch where you could drop off your landing fee. Bryan mentioned, “Wow, talk about the honor system”.  We deposited our $5.00 before we took off again. Since we had to use a restroom and Goodspeed Airport’s facility wasn’t open, we flew a short hop over to Chester Airport (KSNC, 4 nm SW from Goodspeed).

After our brief stop-over at Chester Airport we headed back to republic. It was an exceptionally beautiful day and awesome flight.  The lesson that hit home for me on this flight, (like Nike’s ad) was “Just Do It”.  Life is too short to have regrets. Thank you Bryan for pushing me to get back out there!

Friday, March 16, 2012

10th Flight: Fuel scare, Lesson Stay calm

March 5th, we started out early this Monday; Bryan was set to complete his IPC (Instrument Proficiency check).  We took out the 'S' model Cessna again. Bryan did quite well in the two approaches needed to finish up his check ride. Especially since the winds were really kicking it up today. 

 I found myself for the first time in a long while getting a little nauseated; totally not fun (as you can see from my picture below. After Bryan finished the two instrument approaches to Long Island Mac Arthur Airport (Islip KISP), we headed back to Republic airport to check on the weather, before we headed back out again.

We planned to go out to Waterbury-Oxford Airport in Connecticut to that wonderful restaurant 121 again. By the time we had headed back out again the winds had died down a bit (Thank God), and I was feeling better.


In route Bryan noticed that we were only drawing fuel from the right wing (Cessna has two tanks on each wing). We didn't know why that was as it appeared the fuel selector was set to draw from both tanks. Bry was about to change to the left tank, when I asked "What if the reason it's only drawing from one tank is because there is a problem with the fuel line on the left side? If we changed tanks then, isn't there a chance the engine could stop?" 

We talked about the options. Without mechanic we could not verify if there might be a problem with the fuel line, and if the worst happened and the engine stopped, we could definitely try to restart it, and if that didn't work do an emergency landing. The final option was just to land and check it out. So we decided not to touch the fuel selector till we landed. Luckily we were close to our destination airport in Oxford CT. Once we landed we took a better look at the fuel selector, and realized that while the selector was pointed to 'Both', it was actually not in the grove completely. We do not know how it moved as we flew earlier in the day, and hadn't moved it. I guess during our bumpy early afternoon flight it must have moved slightly. Once we placed the selector completely on the 'both' setting we got ready to take off and head back home.  The 121 Restaurant we found is closed Mondays.
On our way back we saw that the fuel was indeed drawing now from both tanks. Thank god an emergency had been avoided and all was well.

It was crystal clear on the way back and we could see New York all the way from Connecticut. By the time we made it back home it was 10pm. We grabbed a quick meal outside, before we called it a night; yet another wonderful day of flight.
Lovely 121Restaurant (picture by CTpost.com), which we hope to eat at soon once again.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

9th flight - Lesson: Be open to unexpected surprises

February 26th 2012
Today we headed over to the airport early. Bryan was going to get checked out in the 'S' model Cessna. After that he did a little simulator work on instrument work, to get current again (IPC-Instrument Proficiency Check, this is where a Certified flight instructor tests you and checks to make sure you are up to speed on all your instrument flying; in other words flying by sole reference of your airplanes instruments and not by looking out the window. This is very important if you get stuck in clouds or bad weather).