Blaine was a student pilot who kept a journal with notes and GPS tracks of every flight lesson. The journal started as a way to keep track of his progress and communicate with instructors, but he realized that such experiences might be interesting and helpful to other students and prospective pilots. About Blaine Transue
July 26th, 2012
July 26th, 2012: IFR, GPS and VOR Practice
Reading about a VOR is one thing, putting it to use is a whole different matter. A VOR is a radio navigation tool that can help supplement visual navigation and the use of a sectional chart to find landmarks out the window (also known as pilotage). While I have to say, reading about it over and over in the text and watching the DVDs was somewhat useful, using VORs still didn't make much sense to me until we actually got into the air and my CFI had me locating and flying to and away from them. This is tricky business, like everything else about flying, VORs are loaded with contradictions. Since the VOR locates the planes position and not it's direction, it's possible to be flying in exactly the opposite direction of the indicator. Now, while that seems confusing, there is some great logic to the way these things work, applying that logic however has me scratching my head a lot. Read More >>
July 25th, 2012
July 25th, 2012: Maneuvers Review
I can't help but love the ground track on this one! Since the last couple of weeks have been all about getting used to the Cessna, tower work and landings, today was all about reviewing maneuvers. We managed to squeeze a bunch of maneuvers in today including slow flight, slow flight turning climbs and descents, power off and power on stalls, steep bank turns, turning on a point, and S-turns over a road. Read More >>
July 23rd, 2012
July 20th, 2012: Night Flying and Landings
Having completed my Tower Solo today I was ecstatic. This one had me up at night, not because I was nervous about flying, but I hadn't had as much tower practice as I would have liked, but the truth is, once I got into it and I was alone in the plane, it was a blast. Being able to communicate with the tower really made me feel like a pilot. I think it's one of those rare moments when you feel yourself transitioning from student to pilot in command and it was superb.
Just to put some icing on the cake, at 10 o'clock tonight I went back up in the air to get some night flying and landings in. I had heard from other pilots that this was a tough adjustment so I really had no idea what to expect. What I discovered however is that it was far more comfortable than I had imagined and a complete thrill. There was no moon up tonight so the sky was dark, really dark, but extremely clear. Taking off didn't feel a lot different than it had during the day, the biggest difference was looking out over the nose as I climbed into the night sky. I was loving every second of it! While I was flying primarily by feel, I also kept checking the instruments at regular intervals to make sure what I was feeling was also what was really happening. Looking back on the runway for the first time on my crosswind to downwind leg of the approach had my giggling like a kid in a candy store. Read More >>
July 23rd, 2012
July 20th, 2012: Tower Solo at Napa County Airport
I awoke this morning rehearsing tower calls, and I spent the whole morning repeating them over and over. I was scheduled for more tower work today again at Napa, but this time with JP. After the time I had yesterday, I was determined to get it right today. After preflighting the Cessna, JP grilled me with a couple of tower calls and hit me with a couple of spontaneous questions on the ground. "What's the first thing you're going to do today to get ready for landing in Napa?" he asked. "Configure the radios and listen to the ATIS" I responded. "Excellent, that's the answer I was looking for". Whew... I really didn't want to disappoint him before we ever even got in the plane. Read More >>
July 23rd, 2012
Up until now I've been posting retroactively from my own flying journal, but it seems to me, this would all be much more interesting if you knew what was happening right now, so from this point forward I will be posting current entries from my journal, and catching up with the older posts as time allows.
Anyone who is interested can catch up with all of the entries in the meantime on my website at http://whizbomb.com/flying-journal.html
Thanks for reading!
June 27th, 2012
So I'm on vacation visiting my wife's family out in New York, so I thought, why not take a ride out to the East Hampton airport and see what's going on. Having visited here for over 25 years, I've always wanted to get up in the sky above Long Island and well, now that I have a means, I think I'll take advantage of it. I went inside and sure enough, right in front of me is the sign for Sound Aviation and a brochure for their Flight School. The weather being what it is out here, unpredictable, I signed up for the first lesson I could get, tomorrow morning at 9am.
It rained all afternoon and into the evening last night making me wonder if I was going to get to go up today at all. When I woke up at 5:30 this morning I was greeted with fog and low cloud cover, but by 7am I could see patches of blue breaking through. By 8:30 most of the clouds had cleared out where we were, but a few minutes later, just as I was ready to head out the door, my cell phone rang. It was the flight school calling, but not to reschedule due to the over cast, rather, they wanted to push the lesson back an hour since my instructor was already up in the air with a local photographer who was shooting the area. Read More >>
June 21st, 2012
Arriving at the airport today it was pretty hard not to notice that the wind was blowing 13 - 15 mph right across the runway. It was enough to make the Cessna rock and roll in it's parking spot. I was ok with whatever happened today, I needed practice doing the preflight check, and getting familiar with the Cessna, so if that's all that happened today I'll still be ahead of the game. The one thing you can count on every day is that weather happens and if you want to learn how to fly, you need to be ok with it, and as far as I can tell, when it comes to pilots and flight, it is the great equalizer. Read More >>
June 20th, 2012
Take off, landing, medium and steep bank turns, slow flight and stall practice in the Cessna 172 with JP.
Having successfully mastered the Citabria…
Ok, so maybe that's going a little too far, but having successfully received my tail wheel endorsement from my instructor and soloed in the Citabria on Monday, which suddenly, albeit temporarily, catapulted my ego to Flying Ace, it was time to get some experience in a new plane. Today was my first flight with my new instructor JP in the Cessna 172. Now don't get me wrong, I love the Citabria, it's an amazing airplane as far as I can tell, quick and responsive, and flying stick and rudder just makes you feel like, well, like you're really flying. I also have earned a great respect for pilots who fly, and especially land, tail wheel airplanes of any kind. Read More >>
June 18th, 2012
Pretty hard to describe a day like today but I'll give it my best shot.
Word was on Friday after having a number of nice landings, that Monday might just be first solo day. Don't think I didn't chew on that one all weekend. Not that I was worried or nervous, but it's certainly something that gets your attention, I mean, really? Sure I've been putting in a lot of hours trying to get this figured out but solo? Me? As in...fly the airplane alone? I was super excited by the thought of it all weekend and if I had any nervousness or apprehension it was more about "not" being able to do it. What if the weather didn't play along, what if it was too windy, what if I was more nervous than I was letting myself believe and when it came right down to it I wasn't confident enough? Read More >>
June 15th, 2012
Straight out to Petaluma today, out, up and over the Petaluma Gap, along the hills on the east side at 1700 feet it was clear and beautiful. Before reaching the Petaluma Gap I had tuned the radio into Petaluma weather where I discovered there was a 6 knot crosswind, ok, well, that should make it interesting. I'm comfortable flying into and around the Petaluma airport at this point. I have all my visual references and the timing of the pattern down, so it was easy to integrate the radio calls back into the lesson, starting with the first call, that I was setting up for a 45 degree entry into the right downwind pattern for runway 29.
Read More >>