Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lesson Nine

So before the start of the lesson, I walk up to Mike and share with him my newfound wisdom from reading an article in AOPA Flight Training. There was an article in the July issue about the important of learning short and soft field takoffs and landings, not only training for them on your standard paved runway, but actually trying them for real. Mike responded by saying, you just ruined your surprise! :-). Today he planned for us to land at the "Butler Farm Show" airport for our short field exploration and at his friends house, the McDonald grass airstrip. Well, I'm not sure if I would call the Farm Show airport a runway, it was more like a sidewalk, and to land you have to cross over some fairly high powerlines right before the beginning of the runway. But Mike showed me how it was done and we somehow managed to squeeze the airplane onto the middle of the runway. We parked the plane in the grass and ran across the street for a little break at a family fun place. After racing the go-karts there (I came in first after ducking under some dude in the final turn... :-), we hustled back the trusty trainer to do our short field takeoff (for real this time). We then cruised over to his buddy's house to try out a little grass field landing action. How cool that was! I really enjoyed the thrill of landing on grass, and in particular the thrill of the takeoff, having to lift off at the lowest speed possible and then accelerating in ground effect. That landing and take off is not one I will forget for quite a while. I can't wait to do another one! (Photo credit go to Mike, sorry Mike I stole your pics!)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Condor Picnic 2007

The Condors apparently have a great tradition of having a summer picnic for all members with the usual accouterments and some flying contests. This year the contests were the "accurate landing" and "flour bomb drop". I cajoled my wife and not-quite-three year old daughter into joining me for the festivities. The highlight was a couple of trips in the pattern with Mike, my instructor where he let my wife, Emel, fly the plane and I got to try a few flour bombs from the back seat with my daughter. All in all a great day, I think Emel got a kick out of flying and my daughter had great fun talking on the headset. Looking forward to next year's one.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Lesson Seven

Today we took a bit of a breather from working on fundamentals, slow flight, stalls and emergency procedures and had a bit of fun by flying around my house and the city of Pittsburgh. I also learned a bit about communicating with ATC and how to navigate with a map and reference to visible landmarks (pilotage). Oh yeah, and my door popped open again in flight, I really need to make sure that thing is secure... Here's some photos of the house and Pittsburgh!

If you look close you can spot the wife and daughter on the back deck.

The Steel City