9 October first landings
Today is the day that I'll be going flying! We booked the flight from 6 till 8 pm. For some reason we started at 5 pm and we went over the traffic pattern (circuit) and the landing and take off configuration. It was interesting stuff to learn and I should make a cheat sheet for the traffic pattern and the configurations. He wrote it down in paper and I decided I'd make a copy of it in Word for easy reading. After all that has been done we went to the apron to find our plane. No plane was there!
Someone had it before us and he was back 5 minutes late. So we waited and when he arrived I started my preflight checks which still takes forever to do. 30 minutes later at 6.30 pm we got in the plane and took off. Again more check lists to go through and it needed its time. Also this was the first time my new Flightcom Denali headset was put to the test in combination with my newly acquired voice record so I can record the intercom and radio messages. I plugged in the plugs and …. No sound. Brad fixed it somehow so after a little while we could go. It was getting dark by now and the city was lit up. It gave some pretty great views but unfortunately no pictures because my phone makes horrible pictures during the evening. The flight only took 15 minutes but still was a good opportunity to see how things go. After the flight we put my first flight in my logbook and I took off to the tram station about a 5 minute walk from the airfield. The shuttle bus didn't run anymore so I had to take the tram for the first time. It drops you off at Arnele avenue and from there it is a 10 minute walk home. I decided to go to the Wallmart on my way home and at the register I found my two roommates. Perfect! That's it for today folks.
Hello. No classes scheduled today because my instructor has jury duty. I got an whatsapp from the flying Dutchmen group (all Dutch students @ AAA) that Simon from Switserland had his first solo at 9 am. It's tradition here to throw water over someone who did his first solo flight. At noon he arrived back and the buckets were standing ready! After some congratulations it was time for the water throwing. He was soo happy and I can't wait until I can fly my first solo flight! To celebrate we had a club sandwich at the Gillespie café and again it was huge and tasty.
I asked Liz, the student counselor/administrator if it was ok if I could "dryfly" aircraft that were parked. That was no problem and she said it's a great way to learn to fly. I grabbed my bag, went to an AC and got in. I turned on the radio and listened to the chatter that came from it. I also practiced some fire emergencies and it was very good practice not to mention that it's free! I also pre flighted 4 different aircraft to get the checklist down quicker and spending less time on it when I actually had to fly. After I got back in the study hall where some other students were studying I got the news that the weather was going to be bad tomorrow. Bad news because I had a class scheduled from 8 till 12 am! I also heard that another Dutch student who had his check ride (exam before issuing the PPL) failed it and that he had to go home without PPL. Horrible news but a good warning that I have to work hard here!
Today's lesson was a question mark. The weather looked grim and when I arrived and after the preflight check Brad thought it was best not to fly today because if the weather got worse he had to do an instrument approach into Gillespie (KSEE) and it would take us right next to a mountain. He told me that there should be no airport at this location because of mountains that are in the way and a he gave a quick lecture about the local weather. We went for a 2.5 hour ground school class instead. We talked about the weather forecast and where to get the info from. We then proceeded to the weight and balance schedule and the calculations that go with it. Pretty straight forward but it was good to have it revised again. Brad wanted me to fill out a WB schedule and look at the TAF's, Metars and Area Forecast before every flight as he noticed that students tend to forget it otherwise. He's been with AAA for 2 years now and has about 1400 hours under his belt. His rate is 60 USD per hour on the ground and 70 USD when flying. The JAA approved C172 costs 107 USD per hour, which is very cheap compared to Dutch rates (200 USD per hour). I don't really know how old he is. I'll ask that tomorrow. The rest of the day I spend on other non related flying stuff and cooking some chilli. Americans sure know how to put delicious stuff in a can or jar! I've been cooking for a few days now and it works pretty nice. Today the frying pan broke so I've to get a new one! I also got an invite from Brad to go to the Miramar air show here in San Diego. It's one of the biggest air shows in the US and they also recorded the movie Top Gun there. Can't wait to go!