What a weekend

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Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:42 am

What a weekend

Postby ruckin » Sat Jul 31, 2010 10:39 pm

Disclaimer: Sorry about the length... this is much longer than the quick note I was origionally intending.

I am not a student pilot yet. I need to wait until my priorities shift around until I can justify jumping into the training (need to build a house first). In the meantime I am reading as much as I can in preparation for when I will be able to take the written. I listen to podcasts and joined civil air patrol to get around airplanes and flying people, etc.

There is a person at work that has been inactive in flying for quite some time and has been threatening to take me on a short hundred dollar hamburger flight. After a zillion cancellations I just assumed that the ride would never happen. When I get to the airport (S36) he isn't there and I was beginning to get a bit bummed out (I have had several no shows with other people). I had had a bad experience trying to info about flight training at this FBO in the past. About five minutes later my friend shows up. The CFI isn't there but we grab the book and start to preflight the 70s 172 – it is a tired plane but we deem it safe for flight. The CFI (Darryl) shows up and as I am getting into the back of the plane my friend informs me that the plans have changed. I ended up going on an intro flight and when I got back my friend went up to knock the rust off.

I apparently figure out how to taxi pretty quick and can identify all the instruments and what they are for so he foolishly lets me take off. Darryl has a sense of self preservation because I feel him nudging the rudder here and there. I am told to keep climbing to 2500 and I made a complaint about missing the altitude by 40 feet. We then went through the climb, descend, and turns and how to trim. He did have to show me about “stepping on the ball” Next thing I know I am told “descend to 1500 and head to the water tower by the airport”. The final approach has a dog leg in it so I need lots of help to get it lined up on the runway. Amazingly, he would tell me what to do and if I didn't do it fast enough or firmly enough he would bump the controls but I couldn't believe how much he was actually letting me fly the landing. We stop and taxi to the FBO turn off the engine. My friend opens the door undoes my belt and tells me to get out. He gets in and they leave... No time for a post flight briefing and the office is locked so I let myself out and head home. The next day I buy a logbook at lunch and stop by the field after work. Amazingly the Darryl fills out the first line in my book with 0.5 hours. I guess the denial phase is over.

Then a friend of my wife works at the most expensive FBO in the area teaching ground school and called my wife about a special open house with free food and discounted intro flights (they are located at KBFI)... So my wife decided for our anniversary I would take my son for his intro flight. I signed up for back to back intro flights so we could actually fly somewhere other than just the practice area. We are assigned a 2008 DA40 and we meet Alex. We find a stack of cushions so my twelve year old son can almost see over the glare shield. With the preflight completed we pile into the plane. We are apparently in a hurry so my son does not get to taxi but he got to use the stick and the throttle for take off. We talked about keeping out of the class B. Wow, the G1000 makes it very easy to not be in the wrong place at the wrong time. My son ends up climbing to altitude, does some turns and is told to fly the magenta line. He identifies traffic and starts the decent into Friday Harbor (KFHR). We try to get into the pattern but there is a flight of nine that has decided that it is their airport and one person is trying to fly a left pattern but everyone else is doing a right hand pattern. The CFI is getting more and more nervous and he call “my plane” and bails out of the cluster of a pattern. We head four miles to the east and land at Lopez (S31). We get out of the plane and go over the flight. We walk around a bit and take a few pictures, then check the fuel and the oil and get back into the plane. This time I am left seat.

I down hill to the south end of the runway and Alex says we will do a short field takeoff. I line up the best I can and step on the brakes. We run up the power, check the gauges and the plane leaps down the runway. We managed to clear the trees at the end of the runway and as we turn to the south we see the the pattern at KFHR is still messed up! As we climb we ask for and get permission to transition the Whidbey airspace. I found that I was much better at trimming the plane and holding the desired altitudes. After we clear the airspace and get back to squawking 1200 I as to try some slow flight so I was told to reduce power and keep pulling back to maintain altitude. I ended up at 50 knots with the stall warning going off but oddly still in control. But I am now descending – what a lesson in “behind the power curve” Once I get the power up so I am maintaining altitude we do some shallow turns with the stall warning going off the whole time. Alex then takes the controls and slows down even more and I get to feel the buffet but he immediately adds power and we didn't get into a real stall. We get back up the speed and he wants me to try a steep turn. For some reason I couldn't bring myself to bank more than about 35 degrees. We roll out of the turn and head back to KBFI. I fly to the various landmarks and try to keep the assigned altitudes. I was bummed when we were just about to turn base and Alex called “my plane”... sigh We are cleared for 31R and get to see a 787 waiting for us to get out of the way so they can take off. We taxi back to the FBO and put away the plane. My son then attacks the buffet and we debrief. My son got one of the little paper logbooks with his first hour. He then put 0.9 hours in my book. It was an awesome day that neither my son nor I will forget! Just like the commercial says... father son time - priceless!

Two intro flights in 10 days... How many intro flights can I have before I have to get serious? Or to put it another way... can I show up for my checkride with a whole stack of those two page log books (each with one entry) 8-)


Dave Higdon
Posts: 808
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:02 pm

Re: What a weekend

Postby Dave Higdon » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:12 pm

No more flights than necessary -- and as many as it takes...that's the code...go for it, friend...you'll never get inoculated against this bug if you don't ;)


Andrew B
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:22 pm
Location: KLAF - Purdue University

Re: What a weekend

Postby Andrew B » Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:41 pm

Congrats Ruckin!

Its great that you got two surprize oppurtunities to experience what you have wanted to do, but have put on the backburner for a bit. I took my first intro flight at 12 years old in a Cherrokee Warrior. I still remember it vividly. Great chance to have some father-son time and it will be great to have someone that you can talk aviation, study, listen to UCAP, and even plane-spot with. I don't have that and I wish I did.

Thats awesome! And just like Dave said, you can't get rid of the bug, you can only just satisfy it, by flying your heart out!
Andrew Blanchard
Purdue University '16
Aviation Technology

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