Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Like Taunting a Dog with a Ball

Man I am really itching to go flying!  The last few days have given me a taste of what life is going to be like in school, and I just want to get it started.  Lets rewind to Sunday and get a full taste of what's been happening.

My roommate, Mike, just recently got his CFI from FlightSafety and is working on his MEI and CFI-I.  He's doing this training at Ft Pierce (KFPR) in a Piper Seneca (as opposed to the Seminoles at FlightSafety) as its a bit cheaper.  Anyways, he invited me flying with him and his instructor for a lesson in the area, and itching to get a view from the air, I totally went along.  As we lifted off and climbed up over the Indian River, I couldn't help but noticing the beauty Florida has to offer, completely unnoticed from the ground.  The water of the river was clear enough to see the bottom from shore to shore, and tiny islands dot the interior of the river.  

In the Seneca over the ocean
The ocean was a completely different view altogether.  As we continued to climb, I was taken aback by the sight of the ocean.  The white shorelines contrasted against the beautiful turquoise waters and the Atlantic was spread out into oblivion as I looked east.  The sky above and around us was cloudless and there was barely a hint of turbulence as we leveled off.  From the backseat, I watched as Mike and his instructor (in the left seat to simulate a student) went through a ton of maneuvers and procedures - a great experience since I'll be tasked with the same things in a few weeks.  When we landed I was as invigorated as ever to get my training under way...

DAY 1 - Orientation
Pilot window - Closed and Locked, Fuel Pump - On, Recognition Lights - On, Landing Light - On, Transponder - XMIT, Door - Closed and Locked... Hold the Brakes, Full Power, Engine Instruments looking good - Hit it...
 Okay, so we're off and running.  Orientation started with filling out the obligatory forms and making the first payment onto my account.  Afterwards, they sent me off to take a drug test and get fitted for my uniforms, which I should be getting by the end of the week.  I reported back to the administrative building, where they walked me over to the Pilot Shop and bought my textbooks and required equipment, including a nice new Jeppesen Flight Bag, Manuals out the demon-hole, and a few VFR charts.  (Side Note - my roommate who had gone through the commercial program was able to give me his old books, allowing me to return a few and save some money)

I then met with the Chief Flight Instructor, Nancy Ritter.  Nancy has been very helpful thus far in my journey and I was very happy to talk with her again.  She gave me my flight instructor's contact information, and told me to take a few GEMINI flights by Thursday, when I'll be taking my first flight.  GEMINI flights are a free service allowed to FlightSafety students, which allows them to sit in the backseat of nearly any dual lesson (flight instructor and student) and observe.  I immediately called my instructor, Chris, and found out he had a lesson scheduled that afternoon.

The flight went well, considering it was a pre-Private student practicing landings the whole time.  Because of work being done to the primary runway at Vero, 11R, we initially used Rwy 4, and switched to 11L to favor the prevailing winds.  Unfortunately, because of the student's low time, not all the landings were what I would call "silky."  Still, he did a great job, and Chris coached him very well, giving me a good sense of confidence in his abilities to teach me.

My instructor Chris, after my first GEMINI flight
I ended the day with an hour of studying the Piper Cadet training manual on the beach, followed by a brief workout in the gym here at the condo complex.


Today was a little easier.  I went up on another GEMINI flight with a different instructor.  His student had his Private Pilots License, and was working on some commercial flight maneuvers in the various practice areas.  Since I know I'll be spending some time out there, I definitely didn't want to miss this one.  I got a better feel for operations at KVRB as well as how things work inside the cockpit.  We did Chandelles, lazy-8s, Steep turns, 8s-on-Pylons, and Power-off 180s, along with several touch-and-gos and some "hood" (instruments only) work.  I could follow what was going on pretty easily in and around the plane, and feel I can merge right into the swing of operations within a few flights.

The Indian River
The Atlantic Ocean and its gorgeous waters
On my second GEMINI flight
One thing I DID find out, was dispatch will allow me to go out to a plane and sit in it for practice, (again, free of charge) so I can go through the motions of the checklists, procedures.  That'll be tomorrow, in preparation for my first flight (at the controls) on Thursday.  My instructor asked me to plan a cross-country flight to Kissimmee (KISM) where we will do some maneuvers along the way, in order for him to get a good feel for where I am in my training. 

Stay tuned for reports of my first flight!!

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