Blaine Transue, August 12th, 2012
Tonight I was scheduled to fly my Night Cross Country Duo with my instructor JP. While I had done my first night flight and a number of landings a couple of weeks ago, this was going to be the first time I had to put all of the new cross country skills I had learned, to use during a night flight. The entire route had to cover 2.1 hours so JP and I decided on a route south of our area, leaving from Napa I would fly south to Modesto, put in a few night landings and then head north to Rio Vista where I would land a few more times before taking off and heading back to Napa. Simple enough right? Well...first I had to get the plane to Napa, and we were quickly running out of time. Read More >>
Blaine Transue, August 9th, 2012
I'm a gear head so I love cars, but I had no idea what was waiting for me in Reno. As it happens, it's a week of Hot August Nights and there are some 10,000 beautifully restored hot rods and show cars cruising the streets all over town. Thankfully, I had packed my camera on this trip and despite the 107 degree heat, I was out in the vast parking lot across the street from the hotel soaking up the sites and smells of some of Americas finest achievements, the automobile! While the girls were inside testing their luck at the Black Jack table and testing the water at the pool, I was in boy heaven, weaving my way through hundreds of the most beautiful cars I had ever set eyes on.
After getting an eye full of auto candy yesterday I headed back in to join the gals out by the pool and relax for awhile. It was a perfect afternoon and we had little on our agenda besides soaking up some sun and stepping out for some dinner later, after which I managed to convince the ladies to come with me to look at even more cars that had rolled in during the afternoon. It was a beautiful night and we walked around in awe of the craftsmanship in front of us, each of us picking out the one we were going to drive home later when we hit those slots over at the casino. Read More >>
Blaine Transue, August 8th, 2012
Last week when I looked at the upcoming syllabus for my flight training, I couldn't help but notice there was a "long cross country" item next on the list. Normally, this would be a cross country flight to Ukiah, a small town north of here 60 miles or so, which would have been absolutely fine with me, but as it happened, on the day I was scheduled to make that cross country flight, I also need to be in Reno, Nevada, a not so small town some 150 nautical miles from here on the other side of the Sierra mountains, so of course, this got me thinking… Read More >>
Blaine Transue, August 7th, 2012
Time for another Solo.
Since I'm planning on flying my cross country tomorrow, I thought I'd take the Cessna up today and get in some additional solo time. The flight school is closed on Tuesdays, but I had gotten the ok from my instructor yesterday to take the plane out today, so I booked it for my usual 11am - 1pm slot. When I arrived at Skypark today there were three planes on the ground and a half dozen new faces milling around. It was a beautiful day and these folks were taking advantage of a little R&R on their way to Los Angeles. I'm not sure where they came from, but clearly they had been flying for awhile and Skypark was a nice stop on their way. There was something about it that just struck me as so completely cool, these 3 couples each with their own uniquely different planes, flying together...somewhere, anywhere. This is exactly the kind of thing that inspires me to fly, the freedom to just get in a plane and go, stopping at little airports along the way, gassing up or resting for a bit and then continuing on. One couple was flying some sort of old war bird, the kind of plane you'd expect to find in an old John Wayne movie, both with their names emblazoned on the out side of the cockpit, a beautiful piece of machinery from era's past. Another couple was flying what looked to be an older Cessna 182 and the third couple, some type of vintage V tail. I don't know enough about planes to tell you what's what, but I can tell you there are a lot of beautiful planes out there of all vintages and pilots seem to love flying them all, no matter what they are or when in time they came from. Read More >>
Blaine Transue, August 2nd, 2012
Earlier in the week I had been up practicing a couple of my new favorite things, VOR tracking and Unusual Attitude Recovery, and on the agenda for today was a little more of the same, with a twist, today I was flying "under the hood".
I love IFR training. IFR stands for Instrument Flight Rules, and when I'm doing my IFR training, I'm flying with something they call a "hood" which is essentially a pair of opaque glasses that fit over the top portion of your eyes, or in my case, over my glasses. Once you have them on they limit your vision to what you can see inside the cockpit so you don't have all those pesky distractions outside, like the sky and the ground, and the horizon and the mountains and all the other things you might be tempted to use to determine silly things like which way is up...or down. Read More >>
Blaine Transue, August 1st, 2012
When I looked at the schedule for today it said, "introduction to unusual attitudes", ok, now having grown up with 3 older brothers and having a couple of kids of my own, this was a subject I knew something about. Actually, turns out those aren't the attitudes my CFI was talking about. Read More >>
Blaine Transue, July 30th, 2012
I discovered today that there's soloing, and then there's soloing! Up until now my 3 solos consisted of flights in the pattern around an airport, with one each in the Citabria and Cessna at Petaluma Municipal and the tower solo in the Cessna at Napa County. Today, however was the first time I simply booked the plane and went flying. Read More >>
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 >>
Blaine Transue, 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 >>
Blaine Transue, 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 >>