Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It wasn't so bad

Every year just gets better.

This one will (hopefully) close with a big win: Getting my multi-engine rating on my commercial pilot certificate before Christmas. That will allow me to start 2014 by looking for flying jobs and developing my business. New experiences that will enrichen the passion!

It would be awesome to spend Christmas with the people that supported me, and to be able to thank them. I'm also looking forward to eating my grandma's turkey with gravy, potatoes and sauerkraut, of course!

Passion, motivation, and inspiration drives people. With them, you automatically become knowledge-hungry. You need more than the minimums. You learn more, meet people, correlate the information, become more aware of what is needed to be learned and practiced... it enables you to experience things that the average person in the same field could never experience. "The interest has feet", said my father. All of this enriches life.

With passion, people see the potential in you. You gain their trust and respect, and invest in you. It's also about confidence and being sincere. The qualities of a good person.

It's about finding the thing that makes you feel like a kid in a toy store, no matter the age. The most recent example: I wanted to practice procedures in the Duchess, the twin airplane that I'm flying now in the flight school. It was sunday, so everything was pretty calm at Montgomery Field. I decided to look around the airport to see what I could see or who I could meet. I saw the Stearman Ale House where they keep a Stearman open, so I stopped by to say hi. I started to chat with the guy that had flown it that day and told me to jump in the cockpit. Kid-in-a-toy-store-moment. I had never sat in a Stearman and it's my favourite biplane. Two guys then arrived. Stephen and Fred. I'm sure Stephen saw my face when I was sitting in the cockpit and then made my day by asking me if I wanted to take a ride in the pattern with him. But of course!

They took the Stearman out and I jumped into the front seat. After some jokes and comments, I put the headsets on and the 7 cylinder Continental engine came to life. Ah the sweet music of a radial engine...

We taxied to runway 28R and as we got our takeoff clearance, the Stearman left the ground after a few seconds rolling on the runway. The sound, feel and sight of an open cockpit biplane... We did two touch and goes and a full stop. Stephen let me fly it on two patterns from upwind to final and I have to say: what a beauty it is to fly that airplane. Smooth on the controls, the wind blowing around your head and the sweet sound of the radial engine advancing you through the air at some enjoyable 80 miles per hour. Great experience.

I compared the experince when I was invited to the cockpit of an Airbus in cruise, sat on the FO's seat, had the comms and performed the arrival briefing with the captain, while programming the MCDU and reviewing the charts. It was another great experience, but because I think and hope I'll be doing it in the future, flying a Stearman beats that any time.

Today I did my seventh flight in the Duchess. I reviewed slow flight, power-off and on stalls, an accelerated stall, steep turns, and I practiced an engine shut-down and feathering, with a restart thereafter. It's great to know that you can simultaneously maintain altitude, a heading or a turn to a heading while performing complex procedures. I'm sure the ultimate test is doing all of that under IMC. I also did a practice ILS approach into Montgomery under the hood, with a simulated engine out. It was great! No more than one scale needle deflection :)

Can't wait to fly more and take my practical test!

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