Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's been a while!


     I know it's been a while since I have done an update on here. For a number of reasons, I haven't been able to fly since late September. With the end of the soccer season, school, and work it has been impossible to find time to fly. But don't worry, I'll be up in the air again next weekend. In the mean time, check out my earlier posts on here and my YouTube videos.

Hurricane Sandy

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Second Solo Flight and Strong Winds

     With it having been almost 3 weeks since I have flown last, I thought I would go flying. I tried to book the Cessna 150, but it was taken for a Cross Country flight. So, I went up in the Cub. I'll start off by mentioning that the winds were pretty strong this day. When I got to the airport, Wright Brothers was reporting winds 2709G21KT.

     Joe and I started off by covering a few ground school topics before heading out to fly. When we finally did, we didn't have too much time because I only had Joe for an hour that day. I took us around the pattern 2 times using runway 26, obviously. I was definitely getting blown around a lot on my takeoffs and landings. So, it proved to be quite difficult and my landings were not exactly beautiful. But, the winds were not helping me. Nonetheless, Joe decided to hop out and let me solo again(usually students don't solo with wind over 10kts here).

Video with the GoPro

     When I started taxiing, the wind of pushing the little, light Cub really fast so I had to rely on the brakes the entire taxi. My first time around wasn't too bad, but the winds were definitely affecting my landings. On the second takeoff, a HUGE gust of win struck me and I banked pretty sharp to the right. I tried my best to correct for it and after that the winds seemed to die down at least a little bit. During that gust, my dad and instructor had to run after a runaway Citabria about to hit a hangar. I made another landing with a subtle bounce. After that, I went around the pattern 2 more time with little difficulty. Although, I had to really concentrate with the winds. After 4 patterns, I took the Cub to get fueled up and called it a day.

     One thing I learned today was to never fly when even a little uncomfortable with it. Honestly, I was not 100% confident this time. The wind situation made me a little uneasy. But, I still flew despite my fear. This may not have been the right decision at the time because I wasn't really having fun. I was a little too nervous about just getting the bird on the ground. I advise that you tell your instructor if you are not comfortable.

This Flight: .3 hours dual, .4 hours solo, .7 hours total, N77500, 40I-40I
Total hours to date: 19.2

Friday, September 7, 2012

First Solo!!!

     My birthday had finally come. It was September 4th 2012, and I was extremely anxious to do my first solo flight. It was on a Tuesday, so I had to impatiently sit through school all day before I could fly.  Throughout the day, there very low clouds and a 30% chance of thunderstorms.

     After school, I went straight to Red Stewart Airfield. Joe walked in the building after he was up with another student, and he saw my Medical Certificate sitting on the table. He said that today was the big day! We didn't waste anytime on the ground because the weather was looking good for the time being. We walked out to the Cub, N77500, and taxied out to runway 26. All during this time, my parents were taking tons of pictures and videos...

My first video of two from my First Solo - GoPro HD Hero 2

     I went through the basic CIGAR checklist and took to the skies with Joe in the plane. My first landing that day was just about perfect with just a little crosswind from the left. We took off again and Joe said to me that he would "land" this time and try to scare my parents and grandma a little bit. He purposely made a bad, bouncy landing, then lifted back off again. I made another decent landing after going around the pattern and pulled off of the runway.

     Joe stepped on the brakes as I was taxiing back and turned around to talk to me. He asked me if I was ready. I said "yes" of course, but I must have looked nervous because he asked me if I was okay. I was fine and he stepped out of the airplane. Joe told me to do 3 landings then park the plane next to the glider. I started to taxi to the runway again, but this time I was completely alone. No one was there to help me if I needed it. Everything was completely under my own control and I was responsible. I taxied by my parents who were next to the runway filming with a big smile across my face. Before I pushed the throttle forward when I was lined up on the runway, I took a deep breath. The engine then roared and I picked up speed. The plane lifted off very quickly and I took to the skies--alone.

My second video of two from my First Solo with outside footage

     The first thing I noticed was how fast the little Cub climbed with only one, light person in it. I looked in front of me and saw a huge cloud that I could see was pouring down rain. Thankfully, this cloud broke up right in front of the airport and I got through my whole solo without weather issues. Before I knew it, I was also up to 1,500ft(550ft AGL) and could start my crosswind. I reached pattern altitude once I was turning downwind. On my first landing, I seemed to float forever and I made a decent landing.

     I was really having fun at this point. I took off again, went around the pattern, and made another successful landing. The winds picked up at this point and switched from the left to the right while I was on final. Oddly enough, this was my best landing during my solo. One last time that night, I took off and went around the pattern. I saw another airplane on downwind while I was on crosswind. It was much too close for my liking, so I did a right 360 while I was on downwind to give us space. I floated for a while on this landing, and finally just let it settle down gently.

     I survived my First Solo!!! I put the plane where Joe told me to, shut down, and hopped out of the plane. After some pictures in front of the plane, my shirt tail was cut off by tradition. We invited my instructor out to dinner and ice cream, so he with us to celebrate.

     I will never forget my First Solo Flight. Now, it's back to the Cessna 150!

This Flight: .3 hours dual, .3 hours solo, .6 hours total, N77500, 40I-40I
Total hours to date: 18.5

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Headset Review: David Clark H10-13.4

     I'm really starting to fly more often now that I am close to my first solo flight. Because of this, I thought it was time for me to get my first headset. David Clark is known for their comfortable, quiet, and durable headsets. To go along with it, the buyer gets a great 5 year warranty. So, I decided upon a David Clark H10-13.4 Passive Aviation Headset.

     I ordered the headset from Amazon for $300 and received it through PilotMall. It came to my house in perfect condition, and it seemed to not have taken any damage during shipping.

The box the headset came in(which was inside another, larger box)

  Before going any further, let's look at the features that this headset from David Clark has to offer:

  • Super Soft, Double Foam Head Pad
  • New Comfort gel, undercut ear seals
  • Certified Noise Reduction Rating - 23 dB
  • Reduced headband force
  • Universal Flex Boom for perfect microphone placement
  • Exclusive M-7A, advanced noise-cancelling microphone
  • Low-profile volume control knob with detent settings
  • Molded cord assembly made to exceptional pull and flex standards
  • 5-year Guarantee
  • FAA TSO Approved C57 Cat. B and C58a
  • Exceeds RTCA/DO-214 Standards
  • Weight (without cords): 16.5 oz.
     Obviously, this headset has a lot to offer. It's light, comfortable, quiet, and it definitely has a strong construction to it. When you take it out of the box, you know right away that it was built to last. The metal frame is sturdy, yet provides a very low clamping force on the sides of your head. It is a well known complaint from many pilots that with some headsets, the clamping force can cause a lot of discomfort during long flights. This headset is definitely an exception to that.

The David Clark H10-13.4 itself

     Along with the frame of the headset itself, the cords have a durable feel to them. They are flexible, yet they are thick and give me the feeling that they can take a lot of abuse. As seen in the image above, they are dual plugs that should be compatible with virtually any general aviation airplane out there.

Side of ear cup, featuring volume control knob

     This headset is the Mono version from David Clark. So, it features a single volume control knob on one ear cup. David Clark's Stereo version of this headset, the H10-13S, features a volume control knob on both ear cups. In flight, it is very simple to adjust the volume as needed without having to fiddle with any complicated controls or buttons. 

Top Down view of the headset 

     In the image above, you see the whole headset from a different angle. On top, you see the "Super Soft, Double Foam Head Pad." I can say, it really is comfortable and doesn't get too hot on your head. The gel ear seals can also be seen. I think these are David Clark's secret to creating such a tight seal to reduce noise. Both of these features create a very comfortable experience while flying for long durations. This stands true even if you are wearing glasses. No pilot wants to be distracted with an uncomfortable headset when they are trying to keep focus on the flying itself.
     I guess now you want my personal opinion about this headset. Well, with this being my first headset that I have purchased, I cannot really compare it to anything else. But, I can promise you that David Clark does not lie to you about the quality of their products. They have such a well respected and famous name for a reason. 

Rating Overall

I can only take off a half of a star for one reason. It is not an Active Noise Reduction(ANR) headset. It does not have that quality of noise cancelling. You are definitely going to get a lot out of the money you are paying for this. But, it is only a passive headset.  The David Clark H10-13.4 really is a comfortable and well built headset for the money. But, please remember one thing. This is a passive headset that you are paying for. Do not expect the same noise reduction as a Bose A20 or Lightspeed Zulu.

Overall, I would not hesitate a second to recommend this headset to any General Aviation pilot out there with a budget. For $300, you are getting a lot of headset for a great price. If you are not on a budget or if you fly very often, go for an ANR headset from Bose or Lightspeed.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Saying goodbye to Blue Ash Airport

     On 8/29/12, the city of Cincinnati had to say goodbye to another one of its General Aviation airports. These past few years while traffic diminished and airplanes were relocated to nearby airports by their owners, organizations like the AOPA had been fighting to keep Cincinnati-Blue Ash Airport(KISZ) alive. Instead of a bustling GA airport that it once was, it will be turned into a recreational park and an extension of a local golf course.

Cincinnati-Blue Ash Airport(KISZ)

     Although I never got to put Blue Ash in my logbook or had any close connection to the airport, it is always sad to see a local airport close. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wheel Landings, Emergencies, and Wind

     Instead of hopping straight into the Cub, Joe and I did some ground school. We covered various topics -- VORs, Weight and Balance, Performance Charts, etc... After that short ground school session, we went out to the airplane. N77500 was waiting for us warm and full of fuel. Winds were strong but variable. They were out of the East when we started our taxi. After a long taxi to runway 8, we took off. The airplane felt extremely heavy and I ran out of trim while trying to keep the nose up. The plane was heavy, the day was humid, and it was pretty hot, so it's not a huge surprise.

     Video filmed with my GoPro HD Hero 2 during my lesson on 8/26/12

     The first landing was normal but long. Runway 8 is somewhat downhill so we floated forever. We switched to runway 26 after we took off again on runway 8. The first time we went to land, we had to go around because another plane and a glider were both landing to the East still. We did a few more normal landings on runway 26 and one emergency. On the emergency, I wanted to fly more "aggressive" than I normally would, so I cut my pattern short and did a huge slip. We fell like a rock to get down and the landing was pretty good.

     Joe decided that we should start trying wheel landings out. This was was very...interesting. We did one exercise a few times to get used to having the tail wheel up in the air. Basically, doing a takeoff but bringing the power back and keeping the stick forward so we didn't lift off. I did this twice, then Joe demonstrated a wheel landing for me after going around the pattern. I then did one. My touchdown was good, but I didn't hold the stick forward like I should have, so the plane bounced a few times before settling down. I wasn't too happy about ending the lesson this way.

     I have a lesson scheduled for my birthday(September 4th). If I can get my medical that day, I will do my first solo flight. If not, I will still be able to get up in the air!

This Flight: .9 hours N77500, 40I-40I
Total hours to date: 17.9

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Piper Cub landing practice

     It felt really good to be back in the Cub. In the Piper Cub, you don't have the distraction of a bunch instruments scattered in front of you. Flying this airplane is pure stick and rudder.

     After chatting inside for a bit, Joe and I went out to the Cub, N77500. This is the small, 65hp Cub. I did a quick preflight and Joe propped the engine. The winds were coming straight down the runway and were favoring 26, so we had a very short taxi over there. Following our brief "CIGAR" checklist, everything was good to go.

Video from this lesson with a GoPro HD Hero 2

     We took off and immediately turned Southeast towards Caesar Creek Gliderport(2OH9). This is the location of the Caesar Creek Soaring Club. It's only a two mile long flight, so I just stayed at pattern altitude the whole time. I crossed over the airport and entered a left crosswind for runway 27. It was the first landing of the day, so it was a little bouncy. This was also my first time at this airport. I taxied back on the grass runway and departed again on runway 27.

     Immediately after takeoff, I entered a left base for runway 26 at Red Stewart. This landing was a whole lot better. We did about 5 more landings at Red Stewart before shutting down for the day. Included in those landings were one Simulated Engine Out on downwind and one Touch n Go. My best landing of the day was definitely during my Simulated Engine Out. I made a tight pattern and slipped it down. When I touched down, I didn't even feel a bump. My only indication that we had landing was the clanking of the cub on the bumpy grass.

     Although shorter than the last one, today was really a great lesson. I got a lot of confidence in the Cub and I feel like I am really ready to solo. Now all I have to do is wait for my 16th birthday!

This Flight: .8 hours N77500, 40I-2OH9-40I
Total hours to date: 17.0

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pre-Solo, loops, and skydivers

     With my 16th birthday being less than a month away, it was time to start preparing to solo. We took the Cessna 150 up once more to practice as many takeoffs and landings as we could do. After a normal preflight of N3718J, we took to the skies.

     First, Joe told me to go around the pattern a few times at Red Stewart before we went to Dayton Wright Brothers. I went around the pattern two or three times. The first approach was extremely high, but instead of going around we just landed long. The landing wasn't too bad though. Each approach after my first one kept getting better and better. After the last landing at Red Stewart, we went over to Dayton Wright Brothers for a bit. We did a few normal landings there and did one exercise that I found to be a bit more challenging than what I expected. I also got to do my first go around. When we were about to turn base for runway 20, another Cessna came barreling below us to land on the same runway. He just cut right in front of us and took forever to get off the runway, forcing us to go around.

Video from my flight lesson on 8-6-12

     For the exercise, I just had to keep enough power in to stay 1-2ft off the ground and fly down the center line of the entire runway. When I did it, I let the aircraft touch down for a moment by accident. I don't know why it was so hard for me...

     We finally decided to head over to Middletown Regional Airport(Hook Field) to do a few more takeoffs and landings there. I entered a straight in approach for runway 23 from about 5 miles out to. It was nice to have a long stabilized approach. I carried in power in all of my approaches there and my landings seemed to have improved when I did that. On our first pattern there, there we skydivers coming down right above us so I opted to widen our pattern because they were landing midfield. When we taxied by them on the ground, they all gave me a wave which felt pretty cool. We realized how long we had been gone when we looked at the hobbs meter so we went back to Red Stewart.

     The next two lessons before my birthday will be back in the cub so that I can get used to the plane again before I solo. This was definitely one of my more interesting flight lessons!

This Flight: 1.8 hours N3718J, 40I-KMGY-KWO-40I
Total hours to date: 16.2

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Oshkosh is AMAZING!

     Oshkosh 2012 was absolutely astounding. It was a pilot's dream. If you went this year, you know there were tons of airplanes, great people, and unique experiences waiting for you to arrive. EAA AirVenture 2012 was an amazing experience.

     Day 1 - I left my house with my mom and dad at about 9AM and drove up to Chicago. We couldn't drive through without trying some famous Chicago style deep dish pizza, so we were recommended to go to Gino's East by a friend. It was delicious. After leaving Chicago, we took a quick detour to drive by O'Hare and continued up to Oshkosh. We got our wristbands for Sunday/Monday and Tuesday, then went through the entrance to see what we could before the actual event begun. We looked around the booths for each company that were being set up and planned for the next day. Next, I just stood out at the flight line and watched the unlimited amount of airplanes arrive at Oshkosh. I was stoked for the next day!

     Day 2 - On our second day at Oshkosh, we woke up at 5:30AM and got to the Airshow at 6:45AM. I'll go ahead and say, this was way too early. The temperature quickly rose to a solid 101F, making it unbearably hot. Everyone there was seeking out shade or air conditioning where they could find. First thing that day, we went over to the Ultralight runway to watch some powered parachutes and ultralights there. After quickly growing bored of that, we went to check out all of the piper cubs(all 181 of them there). It was a truly amazing sight to see! Never in my life have I seen that much cub yellow. We checked out some of the booths and really took an interest in the Bose tent where they had an excellent Bose A20 headset setup for anyone to try them out. After taking a look at some booths, we headed to the Honda tent where I had the first highlight of my day. The new Honda jet was in there, so we looked around in there for a bit. Then, I was shocked to see Sean D. Tucker standing just a few feet away from me getting ready to be interviewed on stage along with the Honda chief test pilot. After that, I got to meet and get a picture with Sean D. Tucker! He was really an inspiration for me after seeing this video. We wondered around and enjoyed Oshkosh for the rest of the day until the airshow. It was pretty good, but I have to admit I expected a bit more excitement from Oshkosh. After that, we went straight to the Steve Miller opening concert. Next comes my second highlight of the day. As the President of the EAA stepped out onto the stage, my dad realized he was a friend of his. We got backstage and met Rod Hightower, the president! Today was probably my favorite day.

     Day 3 - Our third and final day at EAA AirVenture started about 3 hours later than the first. We were completely worn out after the first day and had realized that it just wasn't worth it to be out in the hot sun that early that day. Thankfully, we were blessed with about 85F weather that day. We got a quick breakfast that consisted of the famous EAA donuts and started our day. We begun by waiting to get up in the cockpit of a C-17 that just happened to be from Wright Patterson AFB which is close to my home. This was a pretty cool experience. Next, we waited in yet another line to tour the Orbis "MD-10." This is basically a name for a DC-10 that was upgraded to MD-11 avionics and such without the MD-11 body. The plane was a flying, mobile eye hospital that travels around the world to treat people in need. After this, we spent the rest of the day in the Vintage Warbird section of Oshkosh until the Airshow.There were a ton of old warbirds over there! After lunch, it was time to go the airshow. This one was much more exciting than the first day. We got to see Kirby Chambliss in his Edge 540 from Red Bull and Sean D. Tucker Perform. The piper cub comedy act today also ended with a successful landing atop a moving truck. Although it was such a great day, it was time to head to home.

     Possibly one of the saddest moments of my summer this year was driving away from Oshkosh that evening. I could have spent all week there, but it was time to head home. Nonetheless, it was a great trip. We are already planning for next year!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It's that time of year - Oshkosh!

     Well guys, it's that time of year. The largest aviation event in the world takes place this week up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin! From taildraggers to F-18's, over 10,000 planes will be taking part in the event. EAA AirVenture is a pilot's dream!

EAA's official promo video for AirVenture 2012

     Tomorrow, Sunday the 21st of July, I will be driving up to Oshkosh since I don't have my PPL yet. I'll only be there for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. But, my first time should be a blast! I will try to bring my good camera and my GoPro so I can post some pictures and videos for you guys. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Taking the C150 to Dayton Wright Brothers

     On the 16th of July, I made my second flight in the Cessna 150. Once again, this was N3718J. Today was a pretty simple lesson. This time, we didn't do any ground school stuff. Joe and I just went straight out to the plane.

     I pre-flighted the Cessna 150 and mounted my GoPro on the windshield while Joe talked to another pilot at the airport who was getting his glider ready for a short flight. The plane had more than half of its 26gal combined tanks, plenty of oil, and everything was looking good. We were good to go! Instead of borrowing a headset from my flight school, I used a David Clark H10-13.4 headset that I borrowed from my dad's friend who owns a Bonanza. It was very comfortable and worked great. Hopefully I'll be getting a pair for my Birthday in September. Moving along, I started it up and we had a short taxi to runway 26 after the run-up.

     Because the president was in town at CVG, there was a TFR set up just south of Waynesville. So, we decided to head up northwest to Dayton Wright Brothers(MGY). Once we got close, we looked at the windsocks on the ground, and each one was pointing in a different direction. Moments later, the winds calmed down and favored runway 20. I entered the left downwind on the 45 degree entry. I came in a bit low on my first approach, and having not been used to the C150, made a pretty ugly landing. This wasn't the pay to start off! I improved on each landing and after a while, a slight crosswind started to form. I made 3 full stop landings and 1 touch and go at MGY. After the touch and go, we were closely followed by an Aero Commander departing right after us. Then, it was time to head back to Waynesville.

YouTube video of the flight with the GoPro HD Hero 2
     As we neared Waynesville from the north, I decided to cross over the field and enter the left downwind for runway 26. After a normal, but high, approach I made a smooth landing. It was nice to be back on grass, it's very forgiving! On the way back to the parking spot, my camera battery died with pretty good timing.

     We shut down, tied the plane down, and wrapped up the flight. Joe and I talked about getting my Student Pilot Certificate soon so that I can reach my goal of soloing on my 16th birthday. I'm not sure if you have to be 16 when you get it. Overall it was a great flight. I learned a lot and got much more comfortable with the Cessna 150. This flight was also my first time talking on radio which was really easy. Next lesson will be in the Cessna 150 again, so look forward to it!

P.S. Next time, I'll try to mount the camera lower. I'll master the GoPro eventually!

This Flight: 1.0 hours, 5 landings, 5 takeoffs, N3718J, 40I-MGY-40I
Total hours to date: 14.4

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A new airplane!

     On the 5th of July, I took another flight lesson. This time, I flew a 1966 Cessna 150, N3718J. When I met with Joe before my lesson, we went over some of the basics of the plane and he told me what we were going to be doing that day. Since I didn't have my own headset yet, I borrowed one from my flight school and it worked fine. I have to say, I was pumped to fly something besides the Piper Cub!
Me taxiing back to our spot
     We walked out to the plane and I learned how to measure and check the fuel for contaminants(one of the fuel gauges wasn't working). After a normal preflight, I learned the start up procedure quite quick, and we taxied to runway 8. It was nice that we didn't have to do S-turns while taxiing like in the cub! Since this was my first time flying the plane, Joe did the first takeoff and I took control in the climb.

     I took us up to 3,000ft so that we could practice some normal turns and steep turns. All went well, so we continued to do a few stall sequences. Then, Joe acted as a controller, and I basically just followed his instructions and practiced what I would have to say over the radio. After some time in the air to get used the controls, I entered the left downwind for runway 8 and did my first landing. Let's just say that ground came up a little faster than I thought I was. It was a bit firm. I did my first takeoff in the plane and re-entered the pattern. My second landing was much better, but not perfect.

     Overall, it was an extremely fun flight! I got a feel for the new controls and extra instruments, and got a good taste of tricycle-gear airplanes. The next lesson will be in the same plane since the other C150 that Stewart has was damaged(flipped over during the storm last week when it was parked). I'm very excited, so look forward to my next post!

     P.S. I forgot to turn my camera on again, I'll try to remember to next time. Sorry guys, no video.    

This Flight: .8 hours, 2 landings, 2 takeoffs, N3718J, 40I-40I
Total hours to date: 13.4                                                       

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pattern work and good news!

     On the 25th of June, 2012 I made a usual flight lesson in the Piper Cub. This time I was in the 65hp Cub, N77500. At the beginning of the lesson, I met with my CFI Joe and we did a short ground school session. He quizzed me on the aerodynamics section of my Jeppesen Private Pilot book. I did pretty well, so we went out to fly.

Red Stewart Airfield. Not my photo, taken during fly-in in 2008.
     We pulled the little Cub out of its hangar, and got ready to start up. After the preflight walk around and such, I prepared to climb into my seat in the back of the Cub. Contrary to the usual lesson, Joe asked me to "prop" us. This was my first time, so I have to admit I was a little nervous. Joe showed me the basics, and I got the Cub started on my first try. The wind was shifting, but was mostly out of the North. We departed with the door open on runway 26 just to get us in the air sooner. After we departed, we took the Cub up to 3,000ft over Caesar's Creek. The air temperature should only change 3.5°F/1,000ft, but after going up on 2,000ft the temperature had to have dropped a good 20 degrees and we had to close the door to stay warm. I then turned around, and we went headed back to Stewart.

     On the way back, we were a bit high, so I did a easy forward slip to get down quicker. As we went straight into runway 26, the wind sock moved and we had a little tailwind too. But I decided to keep going on the approach. I touched down a bit long but I handled the crosswind good with a side slip. After the first landing, we taxied down to the other end of the runway and took off the other way. We then did 6 more landings. The first 5 were either a little firm but dead center, or soft but I drifted because of the crosswind.

     The last landing was really a great moment. The approach was beautiful and my side slip was perfect. I greased the landing dead center and Joe was very impressed. This was when he said that now I am really "flying." On the way back to the hangar, Joe told me that I should start flying the Cessna 150 instead of the Cub so that I can get the required stuff for my Private out of the way early before my first solo when I'm 16.

     Overall, Joe was very impressed with my flying that day. I'm really looking forward to my next lesson!

    This Flight: .8 hours, 7 landings, 7 takeoffs, N77500, 40I-40I
    Total hours to date: 12.6
GoPro HD HERO2 Outdoor Edition
I use it for my videos, buy it here!