Monday, November 28, 2011

Next Up - TSA Clearance

Good news from the Flying School. They say I can complete my flight training on my current VISA. I was worried that I required a M1 which would have delayed my training ($ impact too). Additional good news, they also confirmed my JAA hours count towards my FAA ticket.

Next I need to get TSA clearance and a medical complete. Plan to drop into the flying school one evening this week to start the process.

In the mean time, I am studying the local sectional to get an idea of how airspace is structured. I love the website. I prefer the paper sections spread out on the table, but the @skyvector website is a great alternative.

I am also carrying my handheld scanner with me in the car so that I can learn the different between FAA and JAA  terminology. I am a little worried about the radio's over here, but I have flown enough hours to know I should just fly and be confident in my ability.

Like Father, Like Son

This weekend my son will take his first flight thanks to the Young Eagles.

He will take a 30 minutes flight out of Stella Airpark (KSLJ) in Chandler, Arizona.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Travelling to Phoenix

On Sunday 20th November, I travelled with my family from Dublin to Phoenix via Heathrow. Thanks to @Planefinder on Twitter, they tracked my flight at various stages;!/planefinder/status/138376315349909504/photo/1

One of the cool features on the @Planefinder website is it's playback feature. On the following link you can see my flight approach Casper in Wyoming.

The flight was pretty much uneventful other than the low vis procedures in place at Heathrow. This result in a 30 minute dash from Terminal 3 to 5 in order to catch the Phoenix connection. We departed 09R 90 minutes late in <500m vis. The rest of the flight was spent chasing the sun set west. Landed in Phoenix at 1940 local time approx 10 hours after departing Heathrow.

Next blog update will be when I take my first FAA training flight in December.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Last Ireland Flight

On the morning of Saturday 12th November, I woke up at 0700z to more or less CAVOK conditions. I headed off to the airport for my last flying lesson before heading to Phoenix. I had booked a two hour slot in Bravo Charlie Kilo, my solo aircraft! 

My regular instructor was not available. I have always relished the chance to fly with different instructors. During the duration of my training I have flown with approx. six different instructors.

I have come to realise there is no one way to fly an aircraft correctly. Each instructor has his or her own take on how things should be done. For example, I normally climb at 75KIAS. During the flight today, the instructor suggested I target 80KIAS on the climb out.

At Weston Airport (EIWT), the rejoin procedure is 1500' overhead on the QNH (airport elevation ~150'), join the downwind and then land. For the last few flights I have struggled to get the height off. Quite often, I found myself turning base at >1000' which always resulted in being too high on final. Armed with a new instructor, he instantly realised what I was doing wrong. We called up the tower and asked if we could go back round to the overhead 1500' point. My issue was that I was trying to bleed to speed from 100KIAS cruise down to 75KIAS before losing the height . This time, my instructor had be reduce the power but simply point the nose down. As expected, the height dropped, and before I knew it, I was at the circuit height. At that point whilst maintaining the height, the airspeed fell back to the desired 75KIAS. Turned final and landing with 30degree of flaps (40 available in Bravo Charlie Kilo).

During the flight I had my first real introduction into navigation. We flew for 75 minutes west of the Weston Control Zone but below Dublin Controlled Airspace. Since the solo, I have been become more confident about trimming the aircraft and letting it fly with the smallest of corrections. 

Confidence Points - This allowed me time to focus on the map and look for those confidence points. The instructor taught me to focus on rivers, roads, pylons, towns, villages. Even the simple thing of a road passing a railway line, or a river being parallel to a road can be used as a confident point along your planned route.

Landed after clocking up another 75 minutes. Very enjoyable flight. Pleased I had a chance to fly with this instructor.

Time to wrap up my Irish training. On the 1st January 2011, I had no idea what the year had ahead. New job, back flying and now moving to the US for a couple of years. 

When I next fly in Ireland, I better have that PPL Ticket! 

Goodbye Ireland, see you in 2013.