Blaine Transue, August 17th, 2012
Some days don't quite work out as planned, but don't let that stop you from getting something accomplished.
While I wasn't aware of the plan, today I was scheduled to fly solo via VOR to Rancho Murieta, a small airport on the east side of Sacramento. Although this was all well and fine with me, I wasn't aware of the plan in advance, so I didn't have time to prepare a flight plan as I usually would have which meant working one up as part of my 2 hour lesson. This actually put some pressure on, number one, because at best, Rancho Murieta was a 2 hour flight there and back, number 2, there was a lesson right after mine in the same plane, and number 3, I had not drawn up a flight plan via VOR before. I dove right in and started to do my best, but it was pretty evident in the first 15 minutes or so that this just wasn't going to work out.
I was still struggling with writing up the flight plan via VOR and had a lot of questions for JP, and while I could have just jumped in the plane and winged it, pardon the pun, I just just wasn't comfortable with that. Even though I knew that I could set up the airport in the GPS and fly the route that way, that wasn't the objective, so while it would have been a nice solo experience, it wouldn't have provided the actual instruction I needed for this particular lesson. Read More >>
Blaine Transue, August 16th, 2012
Lesson objectives: Diversion to Nut Tree/Vacaville, VOR to Skaggs Island, Steep turns and Stalls , Emergency Landing (or not) in Napa, Turns on a point, Short field take off, soft field landing and short field landing at Skypark.
I was a little nervous about my stage 2 mock check ride with Travis today. I haven't been up flying with Travis in awhile and while he is an excellent CFI, he has a bit more demanding approach which can be a little intimidating at times, and today, for sure, he wasn't going to be cutting me any slack, after all, this was supposed to be a mock check ride, so no instruction, just requests and performance. Read More >>
Genevieve Beaulieu: Student Pilot, August 14th, 2012
Hi! My nameʼs Genevieve, Iʼm 19 years old, majoring in Aviation Management at FIT, and currently pursuing my private pilotʼs license. I'm so excited to be able to share my experiences with all of you, but before I jump into my flight training and aviation adventures, I feel like I should give a little on my background - hopefully so that if you are thinking of flight training, youʼll be able to know where I come from and say “Hey, if she can do it, I can do it too!”.
Iʼm a small town girl. Iʼve lived in southern New Hampshire my entire life. Thereʼs actually a small private runway in my tiny town of Brookline, but the closest municipal airport is about 20 minutes out of town and closest international is about an hour away. So, I have a different story than most that I see from other student pilots. I didnʼt grow up passing by airports or seeing planes in the sky all the time. I didnʼt attend an airshow until this year. I never used to watch tv specials or read articles focused just on aviation. I even started out in college last year as an engineering major, not in aviation.
With all that said, now hereʼs where I am now and how I got here. I was on a FIRST Robotics team in high school, which when I look back now, it was all more about strategy and business operations within a technical program to me (I was the business lead junior year and a captain my senior year of a team of about 100 people; it really was like running a technical business). Even with my business focuses, I was very influenced to major in engineering, so I started out in college as a dual-major in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. It was all great, but then after a full semester of being exposed to all the different majors around without those influences back home, and after attending my first airshow with some friends already in aviation, I was hooked. I realized the main reason I was doing engineering was for the money, and that even in a technical program like FIRST, Iʼve always been a very business and top-level process- oriented person and that I shouldnʼt hide that talent from the work I get into. I’m just a people person! Aviation Management can get me where I want to be - whether thatʼs working the business/operations side of an aerospace engineering company, or working with logistics, processes, or people interaction for an airport or airline. All it took was the bit of exposure to the field and major to make me realize thatʼs what I love most and it was the absolute best choice for me.
Lesson from this story? I urge all of you reading this thinking about getting into anything aviation-related: just talk about it with someone. If you have a friend with a plane, go up. If you have a friend taking lessons, ask if you can spectate from the back on a lesson to see if itʼs for you. If you know someone that works at the airport, see if you can meet for lunch and chat. If you donʼt know anyone, go to an airshow! Go and talk to some exhibitors and get business cards here and there just to have people to talk to about getting involved in the future. Theyʼll all want to help you because if theyʼre there representing a company or showing off their own plane, theyʼll want to get others into aviation as well. Plus, you get to have fun on a nice sunny day with an ice cold drink watching some pretty spectacular stunts and see some unique planes and pieces of military history. Attending my first airshow, Sun nʼ Fun, while at college in Florida is where I can clearly pinpoint my decision to get into all of this. The next part of my story is how Iʼve recently started taking lessons to become a private pilot, which will be the focus of many of my future posts. I sincerely hope to inspire others through writing about my aviation experiences and pilot training, and help others who are already going through their training by posting tips and resources along the way! If any of you have any questions, no matter what step you are in pilot training or an aviation career, just comment on a post and Iʼll reply and weʼll get in touch!
Blaine Transue, August 13th, 2012
Sonoma to Napa to Modesto to Rio Vista to Napa
After a somewhat tenuous start to the evening (read the previous post, Jack be Nimble), we finally got in the air for the planned night flight.
I had completed my flight plan around 8pm, made the short solo flight over to Napa where the trip would officially start but in order for it to be officially endorsed as a night flight in the log book, we had to wait until about 10pm to make our departure. I needed just over 2.1 hours and at least 3 takeoffs and landings on this flight to satisfy the last of my night flying requirements so the plan called for a first leg to Modesto, then up and over to Rio Vista, and then back to Napa.
I took off from Napa County Airport just about 10pm with a moonless, calm and clear sky. Even though I had been flying some 8 out of the last 10 days, it had been almost a month since my first night flight, and I was really looking forward to tonight's flight. Flying over the north end of the east bay at night was beautiful for sure and flying at night in general just seems so much calmer than the day. The air was cool and calm and the visibility excellent even in the black of the night sky. As we flew towards our first destination, Modesto, JP and I talked about the differences between day and night flying, how your eyes tend to focus more inside the cockpit then out, about the importance of scanning the sky, pointing out illusions like clouds that look like mountains, or mountains that look like clouds, or the fact that some were so dark you couldn't see them at all which totally reinforces the notion of having a solid flight plan and working knowledge of your instruments. Read More >>
Blaine Transue, August 13th, 2012
The last week has been nothing short of amazing. I have flown 7 out of the last 8 days and will fly 3 more before the weekend, that's 10 out of 11 days. In the last 7 days I've flown 2 extended day cross country flights, been mountain flying over the Sierras and Lake Tahoe, squeezed in a 3 hour night flight that included 7 landings at 3 different airports and today, flew my cross country solo from Sonoma to Ukiah.
Of course, when you fly this often things are bound to happen, and happen they did. This week was packed with impromptu ADM ("Aeronautical Decision Making") practice including diverting a night landing coming into Napa because of disabled aircraft on the runway, hitting a bird...a rather large bird in Rio Vista coming off the runway in the black of night and flying solo through the smoke filled skies of Clear Lake. Now that's flying! Read More >>
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 >>