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
June 14th, 2012
So I made good on my promise, whatever I was doing yesterday wasn't coming along for the ride today, that included recording the GPS tracking, not that I even was consciously aware of it once we were underway, but I wasn't taking any chances.
When I arrived at Skypark today there was a flurry of activity out back, so I rounded the corner to see what was going on. There on the bench was some healthy video equipment, my instructor and a few other folks from the airport all looking attentively at some video footage they had just captured of Travis, my instructor, doing intentional spins in the Citabria. It was cool and I wasn't the only one who thought so. The pilot and the videographer went up in their Cessna 172 and captured some amazing footage of Travis flipping the Citabria upside down and spinning out towards the ground not just once, but twice. The video, I'm sure, is going to be used to promote his new "Spin Class"...and we're not talking stationary bikes at the gym here, we're talking planes in the most perilous of all situations...spinning out of control, straight towards the ground. Wow...to have such confidence, that's amazing. I've told him before, that's what I'm looking for, to know that whatever happens up there I've been trained to deal with it and not fear it. Maybe next week though, today I'm going to try to get the wheels on the ground with the plane in the upright position.
After watching the video a few times over we all agreed it was impressive, but now it was time for the real work to begin, getting me closer to my solo. Here's the thing about that soloing part, no matter how much you want to do it, no matter how well you take off and fly, if you can't land the plane, it's an issue. Read More >>
June 13th, 2012
Just when you think you've got it all figured out, everything changes.
What is it about this flying thing? 11 perfectly reasonable landings one day, and then 48 hours later...
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June 11th, 2012
June 11th, 2012: Takeoffs and 3 Point Landings at Petaluma Municipal
I Just have to say, today felt really good. Compared to last week when I just botched attempt after attempt and went home feeling more than a little disappointed, today felt very good. There wasn't much time to think about anything. As soon as I got to the airport I checked out the plane and we were off, straight out on 26 out of Skypark and headed over the Petaluma Gap at 1700 feet on our way up to Petaluma Municipal. I headed north west up along the edge of the hills and made my left turn about 3 miles out for a 45 degree approach into the right downwind pattern for runway 29. Read More >>
June 7th, 2012
When I looked at the syllabus for today, I wasn't quite sure what that meant, review, but I soon discovered, it meant exactly what it said, I was going to do a little of everything I had learned up to this point. I was a little nervous I suppose, as I had been thinking so much about landings for the last week that I hadn't given much thought to the other maneuvers, but today I had to repeat them all, to the best of my ability. This included full power climbs at a given speed, turning ascents, controlled turns, power on and power off stalls, emergency engine failure, flying at slow speed, flying under the hood, i.e., IFR practice, turning on a point and well, at least 3 more take offs and landings. Read More >>
June 6th, 2012
June 6th, 2012: Wheel Landings at Napa County Airport
So just to throw me for a loop I'm sure, while I was just barely starting to get the hang of 3 wheel "tail" landings and flying around new airspace at Petaluma Municipal Airport, my instructor decided it was time to have me learn wheel landings. Wheel landings are basically the opposite of tail landings, instead of coming in near the ground and flaring up and dropping softly to the ground, the idea is to come in with more speed, fly along the ground and plaster the landing gear onto the ground while keeping the tail high as you roll out at a much higher speed down the runway eventually bringing the tail down as you slow down. At least, that's the theory, and I sound good saying it, but I had a hell of a time doing it. I actually thought I was going to be good at this right off the bat as to me, it just seems like a more reasonable way to land, but no matter how bad I wanted it, I just couldn't pull it off, which was ultimately pretty disappointing. For the most part my glide in was good, as well as my positioning on the runway and my landing point, but it seemed that each time I got just ready to put the wheels down I would pull too far back on the stick and start to flare, coming down with a thud and a bounce in an erratic 3 wheel landing instead which inevitably ended up in a forced takeoff and go around. The good news is, I got really proficient at recovering from my botched landings and getting immediately back in the air, the bad news of course, is that out of 10 attempts, only 2 were successful. Read More >>
June 3rd, 2012
Checked the weather today and could see that we were going to have rain tomorrow so thought I'd just run out to Skypark and see if Travis was flying today. Turns out there was a 5 o'clock slot open so I jumped on it.
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June 1st, 2012
My CFI, Travis, ran me through fueling the Citabria today so I'm now all checked out on pumping gas. Once we were all fueled up it was time for take offs and landings…lots of them. I have to say, I can't get enough of these. Probably a little hard on the tires and landing gear, but I could do them for hours. Read More >>
May 31st, 2012
May 31st, 2012: Emergency Engine Failure (practice)
Emergency engine failure practice today. Ok, now this is cool. Take the plane up to 3000 feet and pretend like your engine just failed, cut the power all the way back and run through the emergency checklist. The idea is to get through the whole thing as fast as you can while keeping your cool, keeping situational awareness and control of the plane while targeting an appropriate emergency landing field. According to my instructor, you want to get through the whole process in a 500 foot descent. Not something you want to get cocky about, but I think I nailed it on both attempts, of course, it didn't hurt that the flying conditions were about as perfect as you could hope for at the time, the engine didn't really fail, and I had him sitting behind me. Read More >>
May 25th, 2012
The week between flights, from Thursday to Thursday seemed like a month. Having had the day I had yesterday and being overall disappointed with my flying I was really looking forward to today. Read More >>
May 24th, 2012
May 24th, 2012: Time for some Humble Pie
Today was super gusty, I'm guessing a good 14 - 18 knot wind and super choppy. Practiced a few wheel down high speed taxis to prepare for landing practice. On the first one I failed to get the stick to the left soon enough and that caused the left wing to come up and off the ground. Fortunately I kept the plane straight in the process but I totally botched getting the wing down fast enough. My first instinct was to kick in some rudder which was completely wrong and only succeeded in making the whole thing messier. The 2nd time around everything felt pretty good…a little wobbly down the runway as I thought about what I did wrong the first time around, but all in all it wasn't bad. I managed to keep the wings level at least and get the plane down the runway. Read More >>