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.