Marc's Public Blog - Flying


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This is a collection of my blog entries and experiences with flying, and learning to fly. Something I had been wanting to do for quite a while.
You can find all the pictures I've taken here, and read below for my experience.
Specifically, I have a page for my Trips to Oshkosh, the mecca for pilots

Table of Content for flying:

More pages: April 2017 January 2017 December 2016 August 2016 July 2016 May 2016 February 2016 January 2016 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 February 2015 January 2015 November 2014 September 2014 August 2014 June 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 April 2013 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 January 2012 November 2011 August 2011 July 2011 April 2011 March 2011 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 May 2010 March 2010 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 March 2009 November 2008 August 2008 July 2008 May 2008 April 2008 December 2007 October 2007 September 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 December 2004 September 2004 August 2004 May 2004 March 1999



2006/01/29 First Helicopter Ride (in Dunedin, NZ)
π 2006-01-29 10:43 by Merlin in Flying

After speaking at linux.conf.au, the organizers were nice enough to treat us to a helicopter ride around the city. Incidently, it was my first helicopter ride ever, and I was lucky enough to get shotgun.
I was actually impressed by the payload the helicopter could lift (5 people with fuel compared to 3 people with fuel for a cessna 172). Fuel consumption is a bit higher though, 22gph instead of around 10gph for a 172.
While it was a fun flight, I'm still not too sure how I feel about helicopter safety, those things just don't feel that safe to me, even with autorotation, but maybe I'm wrong.
A few pictures are below, and you can also look at the rest of the pictures of the helicopter ride over Dunedin















2006/01/27 Flight in Dunedin, New Zealand
π 2006-01-27 21:57 by Merlin in Flying

One of the linux.conf.au organizers (conference I'm attending and where I'm speaking) happened to know the local flight club, and set ourselves up for a flight with a CFI there.
Unfortunately, someone had just wrecked their Cessna 172, so we took an ancient Cherokee 140E, which was all in all scary for me :)
  • I had never formally taken off in or landed a low wing airplane (different ground effect)
  • I didn't really know the fuel management procedures in detail (when to run with the fuel pump on and when not to, in addition to switching tanks every so often)
  • The stall indicator is a small light on the dashboard. That's useless and dangerous in my opinion (it should be a loud horn)
  • The elevator trim was a car window pull down lever, on the roof
  • There were no foot brakes, it was a hand lever (hard to get used to)
  • The flaps were different too: it was a hand brake lever (that was weird too)
  • The plane felt underpowered for 3 people and I didn't feel like we were clearing the trees by a whole lot
  • and the runway wasn't that long, and was grass (meaning more drag and more room required to takeoff, requiring a weird mix of short field and soft field takeoff and landing)


All this to say that I was very happy the CFI was there to help :)













and the rest of the pictures of that flight in Dunedin
2006/01/26 Passenger Flight from Cairns to Cooktown over the Great Barrier Reef
π 2006-01-26 00:00 by Merlin in Flying
I was a passenger in that interesting turboprop plane. while going to a boat for a week long dive trip, we got a scenic flight to Cooktown. Unfortunately, the weather was very overcast with tops of 1500 feet or less in some places, but the pilots did a good job of trying to give us as much of a scenic flight as possible despite the iffy conditions (they flew some portions of the flight in IFR conditions). It was doubly interesting for me as I was in the first row of seats, right behind the pilots, and got to see the avionics up close, and chat with them, about how it's like to fly cool planes like theirs (a twin turboprop).














You can see other pictures I took from that plane of the great barrier reef
2006/01/24 First flight in Australia (although short)
π 2006-01-24 18:07 by Merlin in Flying

Since I had a few hours to burn on Monday morning after boating back into Cairns, and before taking one of my 3 flights to reach Dunedin New Zealand. So, I thought I would drop by the general aviation area and do a quick flight with an instructor in a Cessna.
Turns out that it was indeed possible, and I found an instructor who was able to take me. After a few questions from me on how flying in Australia was different from flying in the US procedure-wise, we headed out for the great barrier reef as my plan was both to do a quick fun flight, and sightseeing.
Unfortunately, a few minutes after takeoff, it became quite clear that the weather was quickly turning for a worse, and a huge front of rain with overcast down to a few hundred feet was heading right for us







turning on a far away base, you can see the bad weather we were getting away from


and on a (very long) final, which was more a straight in, very low tops were also coming from the left (I was at just 1000ft)




mmmh, this runway looks short, I'm not sure I'm going to make it :)


The sectional looked a bit different to what I'm used to, interestingly enough, Australia has no Bravo classes, but that Charlie extends to 36 nautical miles



Ok, it was a very short flight, but it was still fun to have done it, including my first landing at an international airport with a runway that was 3.2km long :)
(although that doesn't beat my landings at Castle: Castle/Atwater was 11802ft (KMER) whereas Cairns International (YBCS/CNS) is 10488ft (3.2km))

The few other pictures from that flight are here
2006/01/12 Do I still know how to fly?
π 2006-01-12 23:48 by Merlin in Flying

Since I had a half decent night, and only woke up at 06:45, I thought I would go for a quick refresher flight today.
The reasons were twofold:
1) I needed to do a few night landings for training, and more generally make sure I was still up to par
2) A coworker had been asking to go fly with me for a while, as she was interested in learning herself. We tried to go in december just before I left, but the flight club office left early, and we never go the keys to the plane I had scheduled

I was slighly worried to see how much I had retained after not flying for a month or so, but while I was happy to have the checklist to help jog my memory, in the end I wasn't too rusty. The only stupid thing I did was to ask for a left crosswind departure at Palo Alto, which you can't do for noise abbatement reasons (I knew that), and is called a "left dumbarton departure" instead.
Emily got a variety of take offs and landings (short and soft), as well as a couple of power off landings, one at night. I also checked if I could still do half decent steep turns, and did a stall. This all worked out all right. She was just a bit scared when I gave her the stick, since afterall she'd have to take it sooner or later if she was going to learn :)
I was actually surprised by how smooth my landings were, they actually felt better than usual :)

More pages: April 2017 January 2017 December 2016 August 2016 July 2016 May 2016 February 2016 January 2016 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 February 2015 January 2015 November 2014 September 2014 August 2014 June 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 April 2013 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 January 2012 November 2011 August 2011 July 2011 April 2011 March 2011 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 May 2010 March 2010 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 March 2009 November 2008 August 2008 July 2008 May 2008 April 2008 December 2007 October 2007 September 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 December 2004 September 2004 August 2004 May 2004 March 1999