Solo Cross Country

by on Aug.22, 2016, under Flight Training

After several weeks of bad weather, I was finally able to fly my first cross country solo.  Flew to UES and back.  It was an uneventful flight, which is exactly what I was hoping for.  The weather was great and everything went pretty much to plan.  The only snafu was as I returned to PWK, the winds from east were strengthening and I ended up pretty far east of the airport even though I was flying the flight plan.  I was correcting my heading as I came south, but when I made the turn over Lake Zurich, I needed to correct even more and ended up getting pushed east.  I eventually figured it out.


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First Solo

by on May.25, 2016, under Flight Training

Finally got to do my first solo today.  Three laps around the pattern at PWK.  It was great.


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So long, old friend…

by on Apr.30, 2016, under Daytona

daytona-so-longToday I let go of everything G-body.  Frankentona was sold to a friend of a club member, along with my stash of spare 2nd and 3rd gen Daytona parts.  It needed to go to someone with the enthusiasm and the time to put into it, instead of it rotting in the driveway.  I think it’s in good hands.

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Fly Lighter

by on Feb.22, 2016, under Flight Training

lesson-5-N714UFSo today I took my first flight in the Cessna 152, N714UF with its brand-new engine and propeller.  It flew pretty similarly to the 172, but was noticeably lighter and more nimble.

I fumbled with ATC because of the new call sign, but the takeoff went well.  We reviewed slow flight and stalls, which went OK.  I was much more relaxed during the setup, but the recoveries still need work.  We then moved on to steep turns, which I got the hang of it after a few attempts.  They were not as difficult as I was expecting and were actually pretty fun!  He then handed me a hood and I flew back to the airport on instruments.  That was much more challenging than I expected.

During the approach, the tower wanted me to get in between two incoming jets.  I can’t remember the wording, but it wasn’t clear to me what he wanted.  After sorting that out, I attempted the approach and ended up landing long.  This caused us to miss the first runway exit, which meant that the jet behind us had to go around.  Oops.

Overall it was a pretty good flight.  Next up will be ground reference maneuvers and emergency procedures.

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Lesson three had stalls in store for me.

by on Feb.01, 2016, under Flight Training

lesson-3-N9831GToday’s lesson started off normal enough.  Then I somehow dropped my pen after I made the call to ground and had no way to write down the instructions, which were complicated enough that I couldn’t remember all the clearances for the read-back.  After I botched that, we got some sort of hint from the tower that I missed to get out on the runway and step on it.  Then on the rotation, I was so focused on what I was doing with the rudder that I released back pressure on the yoke and we sat in the ground effect before I figured out what was going on.

Luckily, things got better after that.  We practiced slow flight in the clean configuration once and then went on to the dirty configuration.  First we wallowed around with various flap settings to give me a feel for it and then he demonstrated slow flight in the landing configuration.  My first try was messy, second try was better but I still couldn’t hold my heading or altitude during the transition.  The turns were awkward, but not a disaster.  I nailed the altitude on the third try and my turns were better, but still lost my heading during the transition due to poor management of the rudder.  Apparently though, I did well enough that he showed me power on and power off stalls and gave me a stab it at.  We always recovered before the stall started, but it was still a challenge as I hadn’t studied the procedures beforehand. I didn’t do them very well, but now I know what I’m in for next time.

He said my landing was good…if you say so Mr. CFI! It was a blur to me. I need to relax more. That is a big part of my trouble with the rudder. I’m pushing on both pedals so hard that I can barely stand when I get out of the plane.

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Lesson One

by on Jan.27, 2016, under Flight Training

I started flight training today with a CFI from Boraam Aviation at KPWK.  Since lesson-1-N9831G-panelI’ve only flown once before for any length of time, there are a lot of new experiences happening all at once.  Learning basic maneuvers while still getting a feel for flying in the first place makes it easy to forget things and difficult to relax.  Relaxing is important to get that feel in the first place.

He showed me the pre-flight process (which I will have to do next time).  Then I did the start-up, taxi, and run-up.  Taxiing is a real struggle.  Managed to do the take-off, but I was all over the place.  Did some basic level flight, turns to a heading, climbing and descending turns, and (with a lot of instruction) the landing.  I was pretty burned-out by the end.  Next time it’s slow flight.

lesson-1-N9831GThe 152 is down for maintenance, so I flew in N9831G today.  It’s also a 1979 Cessna 172N like the one I did my discovery flight in.  Neither airplane is pretty, but they seem to be well maintained.  They do the job.

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First Step!

by on Jan.05, 2016, under Flight Training

discovery-flight-boraamTook a discovery flight with the CFI that I think I will be using. He’s professional and laid-back. The flight school is Boraam Aviation at Chicago Executive Airport (KPWK).  They are down-to-business, no-frills school which works for me.  This flight was in one of their two 1979 Cessna 172N airplanes, though I would probably use their 152 for training.

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New Host (again)

by on Aug.12, 2015, under Site

Things changed with our previous data center such that it is no longer a viable option. Thanks again to iMav for hosting me previously. It was great while it lasted.

I’ve moved everything again to my own virtual private server over at 1&1. I’m done with shared virtual web hosting, as the database performance is horrid and the setup limitations are annoying (I need to host several sites). So far, it has been working great….

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Stumbled across this at Barnes and Noble

by on Jul.02, 2015, under Flight Training


Some reading while I’m on the mend.  This book is more about the physics and mechanical aspects of flight.  It does have some procedural stuff, but it is more of a fun read than some of the other books.

It can be downloaded for free at the FAA website.

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Life Off of Jack Stands

by on Aug.18, 2014, under CSX

The CSX has been up on jack stands for about 8 years.  Life has a way of rearranging priorities.  However, I was either going to cobble it back together or haul it off on a trailer.  Either way, it had to move.  I aborted all upgrade plans, slapped my only spare working head and turbo on there and drove it.  It still burns oil, so at least I know that the bottom end is truly done.  Poor thing.  Some day, I hope to give it the attention it deserves….

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