Coal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2469 posts, RR: 7 Posted (8 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 21430 times:
This trip report will be a bit different from my previous reports. Iâ€™m usually flying SQ as a passenger and quite enjoying the experience, but this report will document me as a pilot, which was an even more exciting experience.
I always wanted to be a pilot. Since my first flight when I was 5yrs old in a LH 742 and I transited via FRA, I knew I wanted to be a pilot. However, I was told to get an actual degree before pursuing a flying career, which I did and Iâ€™m pretty happy about that. But there was always something in the back of my mind that reminded me of what I really wanted to do.
So during my Xmas holidays I decided to go out to a small airfield close to where I was spending my holidays to give it a go.
Next to a Texan in immaculate condition
Dying to take this one for a spin
Dep: CJR â€“ Culpeper County Airport, Culpeper, Virginia Arr: OMH â€“ Orange County Airport, Orange County, Virginia A/C: Cessna 172 Reg N7058G
We had initially found an airport in Warrenton, about 45 miles from Washington, DC, however the guys there kept on giving us the go around, no pun intended. So we drove a further 20-30 miles to Culpeper and found another tiny field where a very friendly guy, Bob, was the instructor at White Hawk Aviation. He agreed on taking me up in the air for about an hour, do a couple of take offs and, hopefully, the same number of landings. The weather was not perfect for flying, but not bad either. The FAAâ€™s METAR report said winds calm, visibility 10Mi, and a 6000ft ceiling for the area, which was good enough to go.
On to the tarmac, and it was time to get familiar with the plane. Now, although I would never say that Flight Simulator is anything like the real thing, it did help a bit having been an FS nut in the past to know some of the main dials. Fuel mix in, Master/Alt on, and it was time to crank start the plane, which went smoothly. A check on the avionics and the sound in the headset, and it was time to push on the throttle and taxi to the active.
In the driver's seat
Checking the map of the area
Nearly ready to go
My stepdad being a pilot and having flown all different kinds of planes for all different kinds of airlines as well as for private jets, had told me that it was very important to know about the P-factor, where P stands for propeller. Due to the way the blade is shaped, when you push on the throttle, the airplane will want to go to the left, so you need to maintain a light tap of right rudder while on taxi.
Bob instructing me how to start the engine
Taxiing to the active
As we approached the end of the taxiway and held short from the active, Bob went over the basics of aerodynamics and basically how speed, altitude, and flight level is held, which is always a mix of throttle and pitch.
We got on the common frequency for CJR and announced our intended plan of departing on Rwy and then heading South, without the intention of remaining in the pattern.
I pushed on the throttle and we lined up on the keyboard. Immediately Bob told me to give it all the throttle it had and remember to keep giving it right rudder, especially now that we had full power on. It is incredible how much the a/c pulls to the left, and it was a good thing that Bob was there with his own set of controls in case something went wrong.
Before I knew it, Bob was saying â€œSheâ€™s ready to fly! Pull on the yoke.â€ She indeed was ready to fly, and for my first takeoff, it was incredible how leveled it was considering the pull to the left and my foot deep in the right rudder, but we soon were up around 1000ft and I was flying the plane with the yoke and the pitch.
"She's ready to fly!"
After takeoff we turned left and were downwind of the runway, but then turned right heading 210 degrees towards OMH. The flight was itself uneventful and me and Bob spent the 20-odd minutes in the air continuing our conversation on the basics of aerodynamics and how/why things fly.
We dialed in the localizer for OMH in the OBD and soon enough we were looking out the window trying to find the field. We tuned into the ATIS and found out the runway in use was 24. I reduced the throttle to about 2000rpm and then further down to 1500 in order to bring the plane down to 1000ft and in for finals.
It is surprising how up around 2500ft without winds the plane rides so smooth, but when you come in for a landing, the controls become quite sensitive and it is hard to bring it down the centerline for a landing. It is also interesting on how, obviously (I suppose), you can make so many corrections even at the last minute in such a small plane. The landing was not as rough as I was expecting it to be, considering you really feel the speed in such a small aircraft as opposed to when you are seated as a passenger in a bigger commercial jet.
Bob told me that he did not believe in touch-and-goâ€™s, and that he wanted us to land, extit the runway, and taxi back to the active for take off, which we did.
Dep: OMH â€“ Orange County Airport, Orange County, Virginia Arr: CJR â€“ Culpeper County Airport, Culpeper, Virginia A/C: Cessna 172 Reg N7058G
Once we taxied back to the active, we tuned into the common frequency for OMH and stated our intentions. We then aligned ourselves on the runway and applied full power. For a split second I forgot the P-factor, and the aircraft started veering to the left, so I applied some right rudder. The problem was that by then the plane was ready to fly and I was pulling back in the yoke, which combined with a lot of right rudder was not such a good idea, but Bob saved the day and I was only left with a slight embarrassment for forgetting the P-factor.
We took off to the north and after an uneventful flight spent talking about Bobâ€™s previous life and my current one, we were on the look out for CJR. Since the winds were calm and we were first in the air, we called the landing rwy and it was number . We flew downwind and then made a turn for finals, which was quite tight. Bob kept reminding me to look at the compass, but I knew that we had missed the alignment for finals and we would have to do the approach all over again. 1200rpm in the dial and we made a really tight left turn to intercept the final path and then a right turn to align with the rwy. There were a lot of last second corrections with the rudder, but we managed to put her down safely and back to the tiny terminal bldg.
Taxiing back to the terminal at CJR
Tied down for the rest of the day
So this ends my first trip report in which Iâ€™m not an actual passenger.
GoAllegheny From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 340 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 21143 times:
Congratulations, glad that you did what you wanted to do, and I'm glad that FIs like Bob still exist. Looking at the pics of the 172 (all very good shots, presumably by a friend), it seems very funny to me that most if not all of the same basic flight principles apply to that plane and to the A380.
Sketty222 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 18821 times:
Great report, Coal
I had a flying lesson back in May 2007 in the same type of aircraft as yourself. The day went pretty much like yours by the sound of things and Ill never forget the feeling of pulling abck on the yoke and rotating.
Just after I took off there was a KL Fokker 100 behind me and as we deviated from the runway heading I was able to watch the KL aircraft take-off and speed ahead of me off to the right.
I hope you get to do this again at some point because I suspect your itching to get back in that left hand seat
GOCAPS16 From Japan, joined Jan 2000, 4410 posts, RR: 17
Reply 13, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 16995 times:
Nice TR. When I was working on my PPL, we used to always fly to Culpeper, VA and Warrenton, VA and practice touch no go's at a non-tower operation. CJR is a nice GA airport, but can get quite busy on weekends with 4-5 aircraft in the pattern. BTW, I did my training out of Manassas, VA.
Please don't stop. If you enjoyed it, reserve another time with you instructor and pursue your license. It's actually not that hard, but if I could it, then anyone can. It took me over 100 hours to get my license, switching new CFI's every month, moving to different cities, and long deployments, but managed to get it done. Good luck.