Saturday, August 11, 2007

To MEI and beyond!

I passed the checkride to become a multi-engine flight instructor today. It was a little bit difficult. I was asked to teach the fuel system on the Piper Seminole. I wasn't totally prepared for that but I came up with a decent lesson pretty much on the fly. We then did our flight. We needed to get up pretty high to about 5500 feet. The clouds were sitting at 5000 and pretty heavy so we were climbing in and out of them until we got to a good straightaway. It was very hot in the airplane... Thats what I remember the most. Anyways, I should be able to get quite a bit of multi engine time and get on with my flying career at American Eagle soon!
Posted by eclipse on 08/11/2007 at 08:50 PM
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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Instrument Instructing

Yesterday had me pretty bummed at work after dealing with a pissy student at 7:30am and arguing for 2 hours with another.  Today the weather and visibilty were pretty low so my C3 student and I took the Cessna 172SP with the G1000 Glass Cockpit system up for some practice approaches.  Today totally made up for yesterday!  I just love flying in the clouds, the whole man over nature aspect.  We were flying to Alliance and broke out under the clouds right on top of the airport!!  It could not have been any more perfect of an approach!  I don’t have any pictures cause we were pretty busy up there.  I love those garmin systems.  The SP flights are my favorite.  Tonight I am supposed to fly in the Seminole to finish my time for my Multi-Engine-Instructor Rating.  I should be able to go, instrument or visual.  I want to get my multi engine time up and get out to Dallas as soon as possible.

Posted by eclipse on 07/18/2007 at 12:30 PM
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Monday, February 19, 2007

The Mean Ol’ Skies over Akron-Canton

Tonight was supposed to be a real quick flight down to KCAK for some landings so I could sign my student off to fly at night solo.  After arguing for 15 minutes over whether or not dispatch would close before I got back, We finally got in the air.  Jake, another flight instructor, was already in the air on the same lesson.  Winds were very strong tonight, from the southwest at 60 knots at 3000 feet!

So we take off relatively normal and climb to 3000 feet while listening to the automated weather, no big deal.  We make our initial call,
“Akron Approach, Cessna 9783P with information Echo”
“Cessna 9783P, Akron Approach”
“N9783P 1 mile north of Kent State, inbound for 2 touch and go landings, then depart to the north”
“9783P squawk 5304, blah blah fly towards airport blah”  <-not important

So as we’re flying to Akron, we’re hearing poor Jake and his student trying to head east after finishing their landings and they’re giving them a hard time, trying to fly them different headings and utterly confused at the notion that they would like to go somewhere other than kent state.  Finally 117KS cancels radar services and just leaves and they start giving us headings (vectors) to space us behind some learjet where the real fun begins

The learjet is about 250 feet above the ground when we hear:
“Akron Tower Learjet whatever number, are we clear to land?”
“Learjet #, Akron Tower, You are still cleared to land”
“Roger, Learjet #”
Not a big deal, they land but then this learjet starts going off on the tower dude (who I know from the voice is not a very forgiving guy, and probably less so late at night)
“Akron Tower, Learjet #, Blah blah I don’t mean to be smug or whatever, but you probably saw we did not have our landing lights on and I was about to go around and you need to give me clearance blah blah” <- Being obviously smug…
Tower: “I cleared you to land 6 miles out and you read it back and we’re trained not to talk over the radios during a very critical phase of flight and you need to pay attention and so forth”

So I’m thinking great, they’re probably going to take this out on us…..

So we’re finished with our last landing, expecting to get a vector northbound, and nothing, so I have my student ask for one and the controller gets all pissy and makes us fly further south!
“9783P, fly runway heading (190 or almost directly south) and you need to tell us on downwind before your last landing when you expect to depart the pattern”

And my student wants to go off on this controller, and I’m telling him not to because it won’t help and would just make us look bad.  We told them 2 landings then depart northbound on our first call but they said we did it wrong, despite 4 years always doing it the same way!  But oh well!  So we finally get a vector northwest (310) and we fly for a while and we don’t hear anybody which isn’t so unusual this late at night but we’re out of Akron airspace and almost getting into Cleveland so we’re trying to call Akron to get free of their control just like Jake but nothing is happening.  Finally I switch to radio #2 and we call and they’re all like “we’ve been trying to call you for 10 minutes where were you?” so we explain we just switched the radios and the first one wasn’t working, and sorry can we just go back to KSU.  And then I hear “Is there an Instructor on board?” And my heart sinks down about 2 feet… “Yes..”  Have him call this number…blah blah blah” so I copy it and I’m freaking out cause this only happens in bad situations and I was worried about us having a stuck microphone and they were hearing all the things we were saying.  We called Kent Operations on the “bad” radio and it worked so I don’t know what was happening..  Solar Flares or something.

So we landed and I’m all pissed cause I don’t know what’s going to happen with ATC.  But I called and they only wanted to know what happened (which I sorta knew I didn’t do anything wrong but you never know).  They said we drifted too close to the arrival end of the runway and interfered with a jet.  They blamed it on the airplane’s gyro drift (where the heading instrument gets off over time), but I bet the wind was just stronger than they thought which blew us closer and they were unable to tell us about it for unknown reason.  They probably had to give me a phone number just to look like they were punishing me for not knowing how to fly even though it was some mechanical quirk.

Posted by eclipse on 02/19/2007 at 08:57 PM
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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Flight Instruction First Thoughts

I think that to be a teacher, one of your inherent motivations should be the desire to teach. To search for the means and methods to instill new knowledge onto your students. I know everyone’s heard the start of this rant before. But here’s the twist. I am complaining about myself. I call myself a teacher in the strictest sense because I interact one on one with my students to teach them how to fly. I spent a few thousand for the knowledge and skill needed to become a flight instructor. But now that I am one, I find that any desire I had to teach people to fly has been eaten by the demoralizing bureaucracy and endless paperwork of a government institution. Disastrous Ohio weather also has its part to play. My students don’t make any progress. They are pretty lazy, especially when I remember the effort I put in to flying when I was in their place. They don’t study, they don’t make an effort to fly when they can, and it comes down on me as the instructor when they do not do well. It’s my reputation that they are risking as well as their own, and for that I have to find extra ways to supplement their learning. This equals more work for me, which as a general rule I am opposed to. Through all the pain and suffering I find myself asking where is the desire and devotion as a teacher that I am supposed to have? I think it disappeared when I went to Dallas and felt closer to my career then I do now. I feel that flight instruction is a step backwards although I was not even flying in Dallas. It’s something that I do only to return to that which impressed me so. I hope that in the days to come I will find something that will return the joy of flight instruction to me. Or maybe it’s just been a bad couple of days.

Posted by eclipse on 11/01/2006 at 11:39 PM
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Friday, July 14, 2006

Flight Instructor Ride Passed!

In a very hot and exhausting day yesterday, I passed my flight instructor checkride.  The weather in the morning was super shitty.  Would have been an awesome day to fly in the clouds, but I needed to fly in the morning with my instructor before we left, and we couldn’t even get high enough to fly the traffic pattern.  The checkride was scheduled for 11:30 am, and he pushed it back to Noon but said noon was the latest we could get started.  Another guy I know named Brian Marsh was scheduled with me.  Finally it started breaking up a little and I was able to fly with Nathan in the pattern for 2 landings.  He signed my logbook and Marsh and I sped off to Medina airport at full throttle at a fairly low, yet not illegal altitude.

The examiner was his usual self; it’s fairly easy to talk to him but you better not relax or say anything that he’ll have you elaborate on.  Marsh flew first as the weather barely cleared up to acceptable.  His ride was fairly short.  He passed, which is good.  So up I go and we do about 7 or 8 takeoffs and landings.  Luckily, I had some fairly good landings, even my emergency (he pulls the throttle to simulate failure and you have to land).  He always likes to do it in a spot where you’ll have to make a choice and I went for the right runway.  That’s good because I should be able to do it anyways though.  After about 50 min of just traffic pattern work we finally went out for the maneuvers.  Two steep turns, min. controllable airspeed, a departure stall, a lazy eight and two chandelles.  My first chandelle was a little weak from not having done one in about 3 months, so he made me do it again.  My second one was better.  He finally said take me back to the airport so I did, expecting him to pull some sort of emergency again but he didn’t, only said to make the last landing a good one, which turned out okay.  It was so damn hot in that airplane.  Oh well it’s over and I’m a Certified Flight Instructor!  Fear in the hearts of children!

Posted by eclipse on 07/14/2006 at 02:32 PM
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