Snow does time building/comerical ground... an FSA diary


'Not a new member'
Well hello folkes and welcome to a new installment of life at FlightSafety Academy. This section will cover my timebuilding and comerical ground section of things as well as unusual altitude revovery and spatial disorentation training, enjoy!

Day 1 - Tuesday, December 2nd

Well I arrived for my first class of comerical ground about 40mins late but considering it was due to my checkride which I passed with flying colors I think I had a good excuse. I was actually suprised at the stuff we were doing, it wasn't exsactly covered by private ground but it's stuff we should all know by now just from flying everyday, weight & balance, preformance caculations etc etc.

Day 2 - Wednesday, December 3rd

No flying today, just comerical ground at 1300 so I got to sleep in (9am) covered more advanced stuff in comerical today, basicly expanding on concepts already explaned in private. Did some flight planning for my dual x-c tommarow, first flight as a private pilot!

Day 3 - Thursday, December 4th

Cross country early this morning to Opa Locka, which is inbetween Palm Beach and Mami airports. Flight went well and I took some cool shots of Palm Beach Intl as we overflew it at 2000ft, unfortunatly I don't have acess to a scanner at this time so I can't show you right now.

Landed at Opa Locka and went to get a bagle. There's a coast guard station there so we saw a CG helo training lowering a basket to someone on the rwy (not the active of course!) also saw a US Customs Office which had 10 or so old cargo planes, from cuba or south america no doubt, we're talking DC-3s and Lockeed Electrias here, unfortunatly I didn't get a photo as I was concentrating on taxiing. Also the FBO we stopped at had this big roof that went over the fuel pump and you'd sware it was a giant gas station, complete with chevron sign and everything. There was a falcon fueling up under the roofing too, it looked halirious, as if he just pulled up to some autoshop off the hwy.

Trip back was fun, we had to climb to 6500 to stay above the clouds and even then we had to dodge the rising cumulus clouds, you could actually see them rising up as you flew over, pretty cool!

Comerical ground that afternoon just covered advanced aero and systems, retract gear, constant speed prop etc etc. Also at the end of the class the head chese himself came to talk to us about how American Eagle has recalled all their pilots and that they'll be needing more soon, and the fact that things are begining to look better in the aviation industry in general.

Day 4 - Friday, December 5th

Ah another early morning start today, my first solo x-c as a private pilot, I managed to pickup my temporay certificate after class yesterday just before the offices closed. I knew my flight would be leaving before they opened this morning and that could be a problem, anyhow I got it ok and the real thing is 90-120days off.

Flew to Venice via La Belle, flight to La Belle was uneventful and I landed there and closed my FP, I have done touch and goes there before but never stopped. On the ramp as I taxied out I tried to contact FSS to no aval, I had to listen on the nav radio and for some reason it was really staticy, so maybe they heard me but I couldn't hear them, I tried again in the air and still nothing, I gave up after that and just got flight following. Also I was a little confused about the proceedures there because you have to taxi back along the rwy to get to the end of the rwy so I waited for 5-10 until everyone was out of the pattern because I sure didnt want to see any landing lights coming at me as I taxied down the rwy. Took off and headed to Venice, about 15min out I had to decend to 1000ft to stay VFR and approach must have lost me on radar because they cancled my flight following. The celling was coming down to 1000ft or so and I had to decend to 800ft to stay clear, while dodging other low cloud as well, I was considering going back but since the visibulity was still good I kept on and landed at the airport no problems. I was wondering if my fellow FSA student who was ahead of me going to the same destination made it or turned back. I taxied down the wet taxiway to the ramp and he was waiting there for me.

We called a cab to goto Sharky's resturant but unfortunatly we got there 30mins before they opened and we didn't have time to wait around so we called a cab to go backto the airport cafe. We did get a glimse of the ocean before we left however (Sharky's is on the beach) Got a mexican breakfast thingy (forget the name, it was good none the less

We were now getting worried if we'll make it back in time for ground school with only a little over an hour remaining to get back. We decided to fly direct by following a cannal which runs east-west and would take us home. My friend beat me out as well as 2 other planes so I had to wait my turn to take off. I lift off and head east as planned. After about 5mins the visbility comes down to 2-3sm and the celling lowers to 900ft, I'm getting a bit worried now but I can still see where I'm going so I press on following the road below. However pretty soon all I can see in front of me is what looks like a white wall so I do a 180 and head back, unfortunatly the visabilty is just as bad that way too. Vis goes down to about 1sm in rain and I'm cruising around at 500ft trying to stay VFR. I see the river and follow it SE towards Charlotte airport, it's way I came so I sorta know how to get back there and the weather looks worse behind me so that kinda ruled out going back to venice. After 10min or so I arrive at Charlotte and just as I get there I'm out of the rain and the vis goes back up to 4sm, although the ceeling remains at 1200ft so I flew the rest of the trip back home at 1000ft. I could just immagine the people on the ground looking up and going, who's that nut flying in this weather! I made it back to Vero with a plane much cleaner than I got it!
Although close to an hour late for ground school, eek. All in all it was kinda scarry and exciting all at the same time, although since I always could see the ground and had a general idea where I was (plus technically still in class G VFR mins), I never flelt I was in any real danger, although I had worked up quite a sweat by the time I had gotten back to Vero! Comerical ground more systems and areo yada yada yada....

Day 5 - Saturday, December 6th

Ah, yet another early morning flight. My instructor hadn't signed off the lesson so I had to go through my flightplan with an instructor there. Ended up leaving a little late but with no deadline this time (other than the dispatch 3pm closing time) I wasn't in a rush. Celling was 1200ft for the first 20mins of the flight so I had to fly low to stay below that, latter 20mins I was able to climb to 1500ft and remain 500 below. Once I got to Lake Placid the overcast disapered and I decided to do a little sight seeing, the lake there has lots of houses on the banks each with it's own jetty. Also overflew a paved private airport and downdown (remaining at 1000ft of couse!) Flew a 5 mile final into Sebring and taxied to the ramp. I'd have to say this is the best airport I've been to so far. They actually have a somewhat decent terminal building complete with cafe, pilot shop and a few gift stores. It really felt like a little version of a comerical airport terminal. Got breakfast, french toast and sauage, yum! while reading the paper and watching planes take off and land, (oh could it get any sweeter!
) Also saw a gyrocopter takeoff on the taxi way, man I'm glad it was him and not me, I was cold enough being only 50F or so at 1500ft in the cockpit! let alone being on a flying motorcycle!
Also saw a Pan Am plane come in, and was wondering why both the guys flying it were over 40, hum, maybe some instructors on a joy flight? I dunno, I said g'day as I left though. Took off with a rather unimpressive softfield take off, I bounced on take off, now that's a first! (note to self, don't do softfield t/o in gusty conditions!
Weather got pregressivlty better as I flew on to Charotte and i was able to get my 4500ft as planned for the first time today. Landed at at Charotte, got a quick snack and refueled. Another student pilot (some local fbo guy) came out and complemented me on my Cadet (obviously this guy hasn't seen many aircraft
) He thought the lack of wheel pants meant it had retractable landing gear lol
I took off and flew east and climbed to 5500ft to take advantage of the tailwinds, was getting 135kts groundspeed according to center. Things went fine and was enjoying not being bumped around under the clouds for once. Although I had a vacume failure about 10mins out of Vero, which didn't prove a problem since I had the airport in sight and was tracking the VOR in anyhow. Landed and got a total time of 3.0hrs exsactly, woo hoo! last 2 flights were over.

Going out to eat with some classmates tonight, to celebrate both me getting my private licence and my roommate for gettign 100% on the comerical FAA exam. Way to go Quin!

Thew.. Well that's all for now, I've really been racking up the time that's almost 10hrs in the past 3 days and I'm pushing 45hrs total time now with another week of cross countries to come. No idea where I'm going on Monday, any sugustions?

Till next time!
I the visbility comes down to 2-3sm and the celling lowers to 900ft, I'm getting a bit worried now but I can still see where I'm going so I press on following the road below. However pretty soon all I can see in front of me is what looks like a white wall so I do a 180 and head back, unfortunatly the visabilty is just as bad that way too. Vis goes down to about 1sm in rain and I'm cruising around at 500ft trying to stay VFR. I see the river and follow it SE towards Charlotte airport, it's way I came so I sorta know how to get back there and the weather looks worse behind me so that kinda ruled out going back to venice.

[/ QUOTE ]'ve got some large cahones...or a little brain
(I'm sure it's the former)

Don't think I'd be out there in that kinda wx and I've got 3x the # of hours you do.
Yeah it was kinda crazy, not like I had intended to fly into that, the weather was fine when I took off, it wasn't until 5 or 10 mins after I left the airport that things started getting nasty. I didn't feel I was in any real danger however, technically it was above class G mins and I knew where I was and where I had to go to land, by the time I got to the airport things had cleared up (typical). Come IFR training I'll probably be looking for weather like that to fly though lol.
Heya folkes, sorry it's taken me a while to get back to making another post but between flying cross country flights and comerical ground school I haven't a lot of time left over. Well here you go...

Day 6 - Sunday, December 7th

Not a lot to report on today, just a typical Sunday, hot breakfast followed by a bit of afternoon tv, afternoon study and then maybe a movie or somthing before bed.

Day 7 - Monday, December 8th

Today I had an early flight to Avon Park and then to Arcadia. Both rather small airports but Arcadia was totaly dead, I went to call a taxi and after discovering it would be a 20min wait I opted to fly to La Belle for lunch instead since it was kinda on the way home. The people there are super nice and I got to use the coutrsey 'jeep' to drive to subway. Between the white charokee with numbering on the side and my uniform, I think people were trying to figure out if I was a cop, secuirty guard, or park ranger lol. To be quite honist I can't remember what we covered in ground school exsactly, but if you really want to know I'll look it up.

Day 8 - Tuesday, December 9th

Actually got to sleep in a bit today because I had a night x-c instead of the morning one. Got a little study in before class and then after class I had a duel x-c with my instructor and a gemini. We flew into Tampa international and flew though Orlando class B on the way there. I was a nice night with a full moon and the lights were pretty to look at. Didn't stop however just did one touch and go, plus since it was over 100nm away it counted towards my single engine comerical rating.

Day 9 - Wednesday, December 10th

Again another day to sleep in, (no early morning flight) After ground school I got to do my first solo night flight. I flew upto Melbourne and did all sorts of landings for an hour or so, I also got to fly a approach next to a MD-88 coming into land (was that you Doug?
) then I got bored with that and with an hour to burn I flew down to Ft Peirce and did a few more touch and goes, man that place was busy, I was on base, no 3 to land and there was another guy behind me. It's kinda freaky coming into two airports you've never been to before at night, you just gotta trust that those glideslope indicators are accurate because it was just a whole lot of black void below the approach path.

Day 10 - Thursday, December 11th

Ah.. another night flight today so again didn't have to get up at 6am, I could get used to this lol! After ground school I did my cross country flight to Tamiami which is south of Miami Int. Oh and before I forget I had the quiz today which I got a 92 on, which ordanrly wouldn't be bad but it was kinda low by my standards, I'll study up some more before the final, anyhow... I got flight following down and once I got close to Miami class B airspace they had me decend to 2000ft to follow the coast down, along the famous South Beach (I think that's what it's called) It was really pretty and at night you can really see how busy the airspace is, there were planes flying around Miami like bugs around a light bulb. After I was south of the class B they vectored me towards Tamiami which was a good thing because I had not planned on flying down the coast that way and was a little unsure how to get there, plus strangely enough Tamiami, Miami and Opa Locka all have almost the same runway layout so it could be easy to mistake one for another at a distance. I landed and taxied into an FBO where they were nice enough to drive me to a local resturant because they were about to close and couldn't loan me the car. The lady at the desk obviously didn;t see me taxi in because she was asking if I was waiting to pick up passingers lol. I said no but I failed to inform her I wasn't flying a King Air lol Went to this little pub called Keg South which was close to the airport, got a nice hamburger and called a cab to get back to the airport. By now everything at the airport is closed but not the gate fortunatly. Took off and this time after getting flight following they tell me to remain clear of the class B, so I ask them for vectors. They vectored me off the coast out into the Atlantic at 2000ft, by the time I was 10nm off the shoreline I was begining to get worried with nothing but a black void of ocean below me and the shoreline getting further away by the min, just as I was about to call up and say somthing (they were quite busy too) they vector me back towards the shoreline (thew!) The rest of the flight was uneventful, I even had a bit of time to get some tunes in on the ADF lol
Since the tower at Vero was closed I flew a fast long final into land, finally getting back about 11pm. It's pretty cool flying at night but the thought of a forced landing at night gives me the creeps, so maybe I'll wait to do more once I get into the Seminole.

Day 11 - Friday, December 12th

Oh well the days of sleeping in couldn't last, on the bright side it's just a local flight today so no lengthy flight planning so I didn't have to get there an hour early as normal, got there about 6:30am vs 5:30am. Today my instructor introduced me to the comerical manouvers. Lazy 8s and chandles, also got to fly into Valkaria which I haven't done before. That lesson was followed by a solo to practice the manouvers I had just learnt. After practicing all the manouvers I knew I had a bit of time left and flew into Sebaston (another first) man what a rough runway and taxiway, it's probably the closest I'll come to a soft field landing in a FlightSafety plane. Grass growing up between the cracks and everything! I did a soft field take off just to avoid the bumps. Flew back to vero for a few more touch and goes before calling it a day. My short field landings were kinda sloppy, I blame it on lack of sleep. 11pm return and 6:30am flight this morning, you do the math

Day 12 - Saturday, December 13th

Today I had a 4hr cross country to Jacksonville. I was able to get a IFR cadet for the flight (as with my night x-c) sure helpful to have extra backup com and nav freqs. Anyhow I climbed above the clouds for a flight upto Jacksonville at 6500ft, saw a king air overtake me from above in the same airway no doubt. Landed and taxied into the FBO, passing ATP along the way, oh this is Craig airport btw. I pulled up front as directed, got out and a tug came a 'valet' parked my plane. I had them fill it up and they gave me a coursey van to go get lunch, after a bit of searching I found a 'Denny's' resturant, I didn't have much time and I was kinda p*ssed off that it took 1/2 an hour to get me a fricken sandwitch! As soon as they brought it out I told them to box it to go cause I needed to be at the airport 5mins ago. I was in a hurry to get back because dispatch closes at 3pm on Saturday and along with the preflight it would take me about 2hrs to get there and it was 1pm already. Went back, paid for fuel, did a quick preflight and headed off, all the way upto 7500ft this time. Enjoyed the trip back, above the clouds once again. Took a picture of a airbus flying about 1000ft overhead as I approached the Orlando class B. If I can ever locate a scanner I'll post them up for you. Came in a little bit late but not the last one in at least, leaving the keys in the plane didn't help either as I had to run back to get them. The rest of the night was pretty laid back, enjoying the thought of being able to sleep into tommarow.

Day 13 - Sunday, December 14th

Hum not much going on today, although we did get a rather large thunderstorm come through, vis was down to 1/4mile in heavy rain, there was next to no traffic so I'm sure the controlers were twidlleing their thumbs. Did some more study today, the exam is just around the corner (Wednesday) and after that the FAA Thursday and then I'm calling it quits for 2 weeks
Oh and I have the Zlin 3hr breif on Monday so no flying. I'll make sure to make another post before I head off on holidays, till then!
Like the posts snow. I'm an instructor at FSI and it reminds me of my time as a step 2 student. I'm pretty sure I've passed you out at the flightline (not to many sheilas around with an accent from Oz

Keep the posts coming!

PS. Not a big deal but check the regs regarding Sebastian, dual fights only no solo ops allowed....
I was able to meet Snow last night! I am a CFII/MEI in Orlando and was on my way out the door when in came a FlightSafety student. I started talking to him and asked about JC. He said he was Snow! I read his diary all the time! Nice to finally put a face on a fellow JC member. Well Snow, it was nice meeting you and I hope you had a safe flight home last night. Good Luck with the rest of your training!
Do you have a 4 year degree yet?

[/ QUOTE ]


Well Snow, it was nice meeting you and I hope you had a safe flight home last night. Good Luck with the rest of your training!

[/ QUOTE ]

Yeah me too, I feel like a bit of a celeberity, your the 2nd person in 2 weeks to walk upto me and ask if I was Snow. Maybe I should order my name badge for my jacket to read James 'Snow" Cox, I considered it lol
but that would take the fun out of it. As for the flight back, oh boy.. read on...

Day 14 - Monday, December 15th

Well today I had an early start of a different kind, Zlin ground school, well it's more of a 3hr breif really. The class room strangely enough is in the maintance hanger, the instructor an ex-MIG pilot with a heavy russian accent told us more or less why exceeding the limits of the plane is dangerous, not so much because the wings will fall of for you, but maybe they will the next poor person who gets to fly the plane. A bit of aeronautical engineering, a bit of metalergal, you get the idea, stress, strain and failure. We also watched a 30min video about what to expect in 'upset recovery/aerobatics training' to help ease any anxiousness. I would be going up next week but I'm going away for Christmas for 2wks so it will have to wait until I get back.

Ground school was FARs and weather today, yawn.

Day 15 - Tuesday, December 16th

This morning I flew to Marco Island and then Page Field (Ft Myres) Page field was fairly small but there was large jet parked on the ramp. Flew into Page field which is just under Ft Myres class C and got vectored in there. Got fuel, took the courtsey car to get some grub at wendys, however they couldn't figure out how to do a credit card so they gave me a free lunch, woh hoo. Leaving page I had to get my squak code on the ground since class C began at 1200ft. I was delayed about 10-15 mins waiting for landing traffic before being cleared to take off, which put me in about 20mins late for ground school. 4 hours of weather today, and tankfully the last day too!

Had a cold front come through tonight, it rained heavyly for 3hrs streight. I rang up to cancel my flight for tommrow morning because the weather was predicted to be nasty in the morning and plus I wanted some extra study time for my final at 1pm.

Day 16 - Wednesday, December 17th

Sure enough, the weather was nasty this morning, 22kts gusting 30kts with 600ft ceilings and 5sm vis, glad I wasn't flying. Studyed some and then took the test at 1pm, was a bit disapointed with my 89%, first time I've gotten below 93%, was mainly FAR questions I missed, that stuff just isn't common since.

My flight has been rescheduled to 5pm, but by the time I got all the planning done I didn't get wheels up until (oh wait it's not retractable, ah you get the idea) until 6:30pm. Flew 6500ft to orlando exec at a chilly 7c and a strong headwind, I was only getting 80kts ground speed, from an indicated 120kts! Landed in orlando and taxied to the jet center where I got to meet CMIpilot.

After a bit of chat, bathroom break and opening and closing flight plans I was off again. Flew to St Petersburg no problems, dirctly overflying Tampa at 2000ft. Taxied to the jet center which was kinda weird cause you have to taxi down taxiway Alfa which is actually 35L durring the day but converts to a taxiway at night. Anyhow, get the courtesy van and drive off to find a resturant, I drive too far and have to get onto the freeway westbound. No problem, I get off on the next off ramp, drive over the overpass and get back on in the oppsite direction, problem however the ramp I got on, I can't get off on because it's under-construction, so I end up driving all the way across the long ass bridge to Tampa because I can't turn around!
It took a good 10-15mins just to drive the lenght of the bridge! On top of that I start feeling kinda ill, so I find a hotel with a little jazz club on the bottom floor called 'The Fox' and figure if I get someting to eat I'll feel a little better, unfortunatly the kitchen closes at 11pm so best I can get is a coke and some left over bread. I try to call dispach but the phone won't allow long distance calls, doh! Anyhow I eventually drive back to St Petersburg and back to the jetcentre where I call dispatch and extend my return time from 11pm to 1:30am since it was already close to midnight and it would take me at least an hour flying time to get there. For a while there I was debating weither I was well enough to fly or not, but the food seemed to help and I felt I was ok to fly. So I fly back, getting flight following the whole way and all that wind was now working to my advantage giving me a 140-145kts ground speed. I knew it was late when the controlers started saying 'good morning'
Anyhow flew back, tied up the plane with cold wet ropes in a windy 7c/38F and headed home and crashed (on my bed that is!) I have to get up in 6hrs for my FAA final tommorw, great.. so much for getting a little more study in!

Day 17 - Thursday, December 18th - Comerical FAA final

Well took the test today at 9am and got 92%, not too bad I spose considering it was 100questions and took close to 2hrs to complete, I was getting rather fatigued by the end, having only 6hrs sleep and all. Well there's one more ground school out of the way, can focus of time building and comerical manovers now. I now have over 70hrs total time, over half of that solo x-c and I've completed more than half the time building cross countrys.

I have another cross country this afternoon to Daytona and back but I'll have to tell you about that one later because this will be my last post before I leave tommrow for Christmas. I'm coming back on the 7th Jan so you can expect to hear again from me sometime around then.

Till next time...
Hey guys, I'd thought I'd just let you know that I'm back in Vero but I'm a bit sick at the moment so no flying for me for at least a few days (I'm in good company though, aparently half the people here are also sick with one thing or the other) Plus I'm not sure if I should be flying on this medication the doc gave me, I'll ask about it later, but for now I just need some r&r, a vacation from my vaction if you will, I'm sure you know how that goes!

I'll let you know when I start flying, I only have 3 more cross-countries to do and then maybe 15 or so comerical manovers lessons as well as the unusal attitudes recovery training before I start flying the seminole. I bought all the materal for multi yesterday to read up on so laying in bed won't be a complete waste of time.
Day 18 - Thursday, January 15th

Well I had my first flight in a while today. I was planning on going to Savana but due to 49kts winds a turblence being reported up north I decided to go to Sarasosa instead which is pretty much due west from here on the oppside side of Florida. I took off and flew an unevntful flight over. However my head still being a bit cloged up proved a problem when I had dificulty clearing my ears on the decent from 6500ft. I got on the ground, making a flawless landing, which was good cause I had a 757 full of passingers watching me lol Taxied in a got a bite to eat. Made a quick turn around and headed back east. I think I'm getting the hang of getting flight following on the ground while at a class c airport now, not too diffrent from getting an IFR clearance. Anyhow once again coming down I had problems with my ears and was glad to get on the ground. Not feeling to well I retired to bed early that evening. As a result I cancled my flights for Fri and Sat since I think I still needed a few more days to recover fully.

Day 19 - Monday, January 19th - Start of Multi-ground

Feeling better today but head is still a bit cloged up. But I don't think I'm doing any actual flying until Thursday so I'll hopefully be fit to fly by then. 8am start for the multi-engine ground school today. Today we had systems where we learnt about the warning horns, gear, constant speed props and other things found on the Seminole, about 3 hours worth. Stangely enough there's no FAA exam for this, only an internal exam, which will be mostly about systems of the Seminole and what to do when an engine fails, heck the ground school is only a total of 4 days including the exam! It will be over quickly.
Hey Snow, enjoying reading your posts. I just got my Commercial two weeks ago and am about to start my multi.

You mentioned you were getting the hang of flight following. Once you get that down, if you ever get the chance and go to Hawaii, take some flights around the island there and do the island reporting service. I'm not 100% sure, but I think it is pretty much like reporting in while flying across the oceans. You basically check in at every reporting point and give them the time to next reporting point. Interesting experience. Not to mention having to do that and trying and pronounce the damn reporting points. I'm sure the local FSS people get a kick out of tourist pilots trying to report where they're are at. I'm sure I gave them some entertainment.
Bit of a bummer you got sick Snow. Sounds like you are on the mend and should be back to your normal routine soon.

Keep up the good work mate. I am enjoying it immensly.

I want more posts from you Snow. The more I instruct and build time, the more I wish I was back in Vero going through flight school. Oh well, hopefully my instructing days are coming to an end. I love teaching, but really love flying the plane myself. Okay, I am off my soap box. Snow, we need more posts.......
Hey folkes, sorry I haven't posted sooner but I wanted to wait till I had a bit to tell before another post, so here it is.

Day 20 - Tuesday, January 20th

Another day of multi-ground today, still adjusting to these 7am starts, all my previous ground schools have been in the afternoon. More systems and how to fly with one engine were covered in today's 2hr lesson.

Day 21 - Wednesday, January 21st

Another day of multi ground school, well 2hrs in the morning anyhow. Bit more on systems and we watched a video on multi engine flying and how to feather props and whatnot.

Day 22 - Thursday, January 22nd

I was supposed to have a lesson with my regular instructor today but am instead donig the upset recovery training in the Zlin 242. Not until after the Seminole hanger introduction and multi exam however. Going to the hanger was cool, we got to see bits on the plane we probably won't get to see again, least not in the preflight anyhow, like the engines which don't have opening cowling like on the Cadets. The head of maintance is cool, he has a lot of interesting stories and explanes to us how he doesn't have to work on a budget since you can't put a price on safety. In fact he turned down a job as maintance manger of a regional airline when he found out he would have to stick to a budget. So it's good to hear that when it comes to maintance, no expense is spaired.

Test went ok, I was a bit worried since I didn't do a lot of study and didn't know a lot of the details about the Seminole, normal ranges, all the v speeds etc, but fortunatly most of the questions were generic multi engine operations questions. So I got a reasonable 92%. on to the bit you've been waiting for, the spin training! I must admit I was a bit nervious in the pre-brief and the introduction to the bail out procedure didn't help my confdence much! The idea of bailing out of an airplane in a flat spin or somthing is hardly welcome prospect. The breif went a little like this. (in a Russian accent) "Pull the red handle to jettson the canopy, throw the headset out the window, release the harness, jump out of the plane, careful not to hit you head on the empanage on the way out and then we'll meet up on the ground and get a beer, you buy" Oh and before I forget, the Zlin instructor is an ex Soviet Mig-17 and Mig -21 pilot with a gazillion hours and tells me he's pulled 12G in a fighter and experenced a bail out (hopefully on seperate occasions!) Anyhow we taxied out and flew out to the aerobatics area climbing to 7000ft. Having the glass all around is pretty cool, definatly gives you a better view and really gives you a since of flying like a bird. First up we did some basic manovers for me to get used to the airplane. For starters it has more power than the cadet (200hp) and weighs a bit less. And because of the large control surfaces it's way more sensitive, that includes the trim wheel. First time I used it I gave it a big turn forward (as is normaly required to trim the Cadet) and we did a big pitch down and pulled against the harness, yikes! Anyhow, first did some chandels, then lazy 8s, then crazy 8s then some loops and finally the spins. It was pretty cool doing the loops, to look up and see the horizon behind you, not to mention the fact that your inverted, almost weightless and only doing about 20kts at the top of the loop! Lastly we did the spins, and I must admit I wasn't feeling the greatest before we went up, so after the 2nd spin I was ready to get back on the ground, but we did complete everything before heading back. Afterwards I layed on the couch for and hour or so and got some food in me, and that night, just as the instructor had predicted I sleept 'like a baby' that night.

Day 23 - Friday, January 23rd

Ah more aerobatics today! I was feeling much better today and was able to really enjoy the lesson this time. This lesson we did loops again, and spins, only this time they were 3 turns instead of 1 turn. Incase your wondering how you calculate this, we simply lined up with the sun before the spin and counted how many times the sun went around. I was much more confident with the spin recovery this time around and did it completely unassisted. If you haven't done spins before, it's amazing how quick it is, you spin about 360deg sec and in a matter of 6-7secs you've lost 1000ft, I think the decent rate works out to be about 10,000-12,000fpm or 100kts downward speed. So definatly not somthing to be toyed around with if you don't know what your doing. Fortunatly most aircraft are harder to spin than an aerobatic aircraft. We also did Ilhelmman turns which requires a faster entry (145kts) and a harder pull than the spin. I think on one we pulled a little over 3.5Gs And then your doing a 180deg roll from an inverted position again with about 20kts of forward speed, I had a blast doing those! I was just waiting for Spitfire to come into my gun sights hehe
We also did a quick demo of inverted flight on the way home, that was cool, although the checklist did up flying up to the canopy hehe. It was such a nice day, and I was in such a good mood after the Zlin flight I decided to do a write in and do my last cross country to Savana, Georga that afternoon. After a quick lunch at the cafe, I headed back to the flightline and saddled up and headed north. Other than a hefty headwind there was no weather to speak of. It took me a little over 3hrs to get there and an hour less on the return aided by the tailwind. It was close to freezing at 6500ft and I'm sure I was getting some carb ice, I had to turn on the heat several times. When I finally arrived at Savana a little before sunset it was only 45F or so. I got a crew car and got some subway but not after visiting the bathroom! 3.5hrs is a long time to sit in a Cadet! I had resulted in listening to AM radio to keep myself from getting too bored. But meeting two aircraft heading the oppsite direction at my alitude got my attention! I asked the controler if I was at the right alitude and I was, they were flying the wrong alitude. Good thing I had flight following because when I got the traffic alert I was looking at my AFD, we wouldn't have colided but coming 500ft from each other is a little too close fo comfort. As I headed home I got to see some F/A-18s take off after me, afterburners glowing in the night. To my suprise they also had arrester cables on the runway for practice. Oh and before I forget, also saw a Navy T-6 crew come into the FBO, seemed like they were on a training cross country, an instructor and a student, also saw some F/A-18s parked not far from my aircraft. Flew back at 9500ft and was able to pick up a Nashville am radio station from Jacksonville and when I was in Daytona picked up an Atlanta station! Must have been somthing in the atmosphere that night! Got in around 9pm and that brings my night hours up to about 24.

Day 24 - Saturday, January 24th

Had my first taste of the Frasca today. It's sensitve and you really have to watch the instruments, but I'm told if you fly the Frasca ok, the real thing is much easier. After doing some basic turns, climbs etc in IMC we had time left over and did some multi-engine flying. I don't have the Seminole engine out checklist memorised but just from what I learnt in multi ground was able to secure the engine and land it ok.

Day 25 - Sunday, January 25th

Ah another Sunday in Vero Beach, not much to tell, just bummed around, a bit of tv here, a bit of playstation there, you get the idea.

Day 26 - Monday, January 26th

Well today has been annoying. First I show up to my Zlin at the wrong time, at 10am and am told it's not till 3pm. Then I come back at 3pm to find out not only is the weather not good enough to fly but there's no plane either as both are in maintance, doh! Then I find out I compleltly forgot about the write in Frasca lesson planned for 12:30pm, fortunatly my instructor was able to call in his other student early. *sigh* so after going down to the flightline twice I still haven't flown today, and tommarow it's sposed to be windy, rainy and thunderstorms, so it looks unlikely I'll be doing the Zlin tommarow either, but at least I can make up the Frasca tommarow, since given the weather it looks like the only flying that will be possible anyhow.

Till next time...
Day 27 - Tudesday, January 27th

Well today the weather was crummy as predicted, so no Zlin but I was able to do the Frasca today. We did the basic manovers with time to spair so I had my instructor take me through some multi-engine proceedures for the rest of the lesson. The Frasca is quite touchy and requires constant monitoring and adjustment, you can never fully trim it, so it helps to develop a good instrument scan.

Day 28 - Wednesday, January 28th

Had my 3rd Zlin upset recovery training lesson this morning. Today we did loops, vertical stall recoverys (hammerhead turns) 1/2 cuban 8's and spins. The hammerhead technique was certianly differnt from what I used to do using my model aircraft
but fun none the less!

Afterwards I had a duel lesson with my regular instructor. Hoping into the cadet again after the Zlin sure seems slow paced in comparision. Also I think it was the first duel lesson I've had with my instructor since mid December, so it felt kinda odd to have someone sitting in the right seat again, better get used to it though, the Seminole is all duel, but on the bright side it's nice to have someone to tie and untie the aircraft for you
We went over the comerical manovers I need to know, lazy 8's, chandels, 8's on pilons, and steep spirals. The latter two I hadn't done before.

Day 29 - Thursday, January 29th

Last Zlin flight today, bright and early at 8am and we used the cabin heat for the first time to get the morning chill off. Today we did loops, verical stall recovery, Ilhelmman turns, 1/2 cuban 8's, spins and inverted flight. I had to demonstrate I was able to do all the manovers and recover from some 'instructor induced' unusual attitudes without assistance, which I did with little trouble. I really enjoyed the training and feel more confident flying as a result, it also sparked my interest in pursueing aerobatic training in the future.

After one set of spins, it was on to more spinning, this time in the GAT. (and no I don't know what it stands for) It's a full motion simulator that simulates visual and physical illusions and can lead to spatial disorentation. You learn how to identify them, experence them and learn how to avoid them when flying. Examples are artifical horizons, black hole airports, landing on upslope & downslope runways etc All of this was preceeded by a spatial disorentaion presintation explaning how it occurs and why.

Day 30 - Friday, January 30th

I started out this morning with an early local solo flight to practice my comerical manovers and landings. It was nice to be up so early because there was virtualy no wind and little traffic, so I could do touch and goes on the big runway to my heart's content. Having not done a lot of short field landings on my cross countries I had become a little rusty and the practice helped get me back 'in the groove'

Afterwards it was time for the 2nd GAT lesson, went over some more illusions today, one including why you shouldn't move your head around after long turns, I forget what it's called but I experenced in the simulator after being told to look up at the ceiling, my head started spining big time! Kinda like spinning yourself around several times and then trying to walk!

Day 31 - Saturday, January 31st

Had a duel lesson followed by a local solo today, both focusing on improving my comerical manovers. Was a bit cloudy and showery but little turbulance so it provided for some good flying, also I think it was the first time I've flown in rain since November as it's been mostly sunny when I've been flying. Still having some difficulty with lazy 8's but I'm improving, perhaps I'm not being 'lazy' enough

Day 32 - Sunday, Febuary 1st

Ah another Sunday, slept in, watched my car shows and went out to dinner tonight. My host lived in what I guess you could call an 'airport community' the 50 odd houses on large properties all surounded a private 2500ft grass airstrip and people had hangers in their backyards! Yep you heard me right and there were even Stop signs on the roads with warnings of 'caution low flying aircraft' and 'caution aircraft taxiway'. I was also informed that some people even fly to work every morning from the strip. Now that would be cool!

Day 33 - Monday, Febuary 2nd

Was scheduled for a 8am solo this morning but I looked outside when I woke up ay 7am to see the visibility was about a 1/4 mile, a reported 100ft ceiling and a fog advisory for the area until 9am, as reported on the weather channel. So I cancled my flight and went back to bed. By noon the fog had begun to burn off and I did a 'write in' for my lesson. Did several touch and goes but when the pattern began to get congested with ahem PA aircraft I headed for the training area. Although kinda humid and cloudy it wasn't too windy out there but there was a little turbluance. I guess practice makes perfect and my comerical manovers are getting better.
Day 34 - Tuesday, Febuary 3rd

Just had another solo to the training area today, more comerical manovers practice.

Day 35 - Wednesday, Febuary 4th

Today I had a duel going over the comerical manovers with my instructor and doing some hood time, aparently my manovers arn't as bad as I had orignally thought.

Day 36 - Thursday, Febuary 5th

Today I had another duel and my last solo! I had tried to get the plane I did my first solo in, for sentimental reasons but aparently you have to take the plane that the dispatch computer spits out. Anyhow I had to say it was the coolest solo ever, after doing all my manovers I was able to see the sunset from above the clouds and when I came back to Vero for some night touch and gos the tower announced a missile launch was going on and sure enough I looked north and saw a missile/rocket going skywards from Cape Canaveral with fire and smoke trail clearly visable, it apeared to go right over the moon. Anyhow I thought that was a pretty awsome last solo, not that I can't fly a plane by myself again, it's just it won't be part of a lesson. (because they don't let you fly the Seminole solo)

Day 37 - Friday, Febuary 6th

Had my last lesson of step 2 today, we mostly pattern work, power-off 180s in particular since I hadn't practiced them much. The plane didn't want to land though, we turned a mile final, with full flaps and no power and we were still high! The strong wind was a factor no doubt, I just hope I have better weather on my stage check!

Day 38 - Saturday, Febuary 7th

No flying today as I'm waiting for my stage check date.

Day 39 - Sunday, Febuary 8th

Same ole Sunday routine, sleep in, big breakfast, watch tv, you get the idea.

Day 40 - Monday, Febuary 9th

Today I had my first of 4 CRM classes, which is short for crew resource management. The instructor was a retired AA 777 Capt and we discussed comunication in the cockpit and watched some videos about various topics from mid-air collision avoidance to NTSB crash reports. Plus the instructor had some interesting stories of his own to tell. It went from 8am till 3pm with a break for lunch, so no flying today either. Although I just found out I am scheduled for my stage check tommarow so wish me luck! And on that note it will soon be the end of step two so I'll cover my multi-engine training in another post, but I'll have to see how I go on the stage check first, till then!
Day 41 - Tuesday, Febuary 10th - Step 2 Stagecheck

Well this morning at 10:30am I had my step 2 stage check. It isn't really a checkride since your not going for a rating but more to check your progress and ensure you've learnt enough to progress on to the multi training. It was basicly like a single engine comerical checkride only without the oral. After looking around for my checkpilot for a while, I went out, preflighted the plane and we eventually went up. I won't bore you with the details, but I passed it fine, getting a 90%. Although I did sorta make a 3 point landing in trying to make my short field landing point while still coming in a bit fast, the rest was done reasonably well.

Ah, well no more single engine flying for me until after the course! Although the cadet isn't a bad airplane after 100 or so hours in it I am quite ready to be moving on to bigger and better things (not to mention faster, newer and quieter!) Although the checklists for the Seminole are a bit more in depth than the Cadet and so will be gone the days of the 30sec runnups
I will have a breif and two sim lessons before actually getting in one so I still have some time to begin to learn the checklists and finish (ahem start) my aircraft written. It's hard to belive but I am nearing the 1/2 way point of the course, and it only seems like yesterday I was doing my first solo!

Anyhow I'll cover the rather short step 3 in another post and if anyone has any questions on the happenings thus far, speak up!
Enjoy the'lle love it. Wait until that first takeoff though when you don't finish you're 500 foot check until about 1300 feet!!! Things happen a little bit faster