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



2007/06/22 Flight to Tiger (N58) by Fernley in Nevada
π 2007-06-22 23:32 by Merlin in Flying

Since I had a track day close to Reno, I made plans to fly to the track instead of driving there (thanks to Samer from Tailored Relocation Services for trucking my car there).
The flight to Tiger was uneventful. I climbed a bit high above Tahoe due to winds past 25knots, which means more than 50knots over the mountain ridge, and possible downdrafts on the other side.
Anyway, we were high enough not to have to worry about any of this, and got over 200knots (240mph) of ground speed on the way down.
Landing was a bit tough due to a pretty mighty crosswind, but we got down ok.
Once on a ground, though, I had a hard time finding tiedowns, so I ended up shutting the plane down, and it's only later that the cab driver drove us around the airfield and we found one set of tiedowns.
The funny part comes in then; I was not able to restart the plane due to vapour lock, so we ended up using the cab to toe it to the tiedown spot :)



Lake Tahoe


Heavenly






Tiger Field and the Reno Fernley raceway


The best way to taxi a plane is a taxi tow :)




We got the plane back in the air thanks to a NASCAR 200amp peak charger/booster


Check out the VSI: almost 2000fpm sustained for a while at altitude, thanks to a nice updraft


Northstar ski resort, by truckee airport




On the way back, I was first a bit apprehensive due to the 20knot+ crosswindws that we had been getting the previous day, but in the end, we got lucky: the next day had almost no winds in the valley that the airport was in (at altitude, it was a different matter though).
Just to make things interesting, the plane's battery died when I tried to crank it. Luckily, I was able to get the semi private airport's owner's son over, and he very nicely helded us out with a nascar high amperage charger.
It wasn't meant for airplane use, so it didn't have the ground power receptacle, but after taking a couple of panesl apart in the plane, I was able to hook it up directly to the battery. Turns out that it didn't charge the battery at all, but it had enough amperge to allow for the plane to start and for us to get out of there (thanks Jeremy).
Once in the air, I went towards Reno to pick up some altitude before crossing the pointy bits: I was worrying about the headwinds, probably in combination with some downdrafts that gave us a resulting 90knots of ground speed in level flight instead of the normal 150knots. I was happy to have a powerful plane at that time. Despite the winds, in a few places, we picked up some nice updrafts of 2000ft per minute. This came in pretty handy because climbing was otherwise pretty excruciatingly slow.
And here's a link to see many other pictures of the flight, including Tahoe from the sky
2007/06/15 Passed 300 hours of flight
π 2007-06-15 21:00 by Merlin in Flying

I just updated the latest page of my logbook, and passed 300 hours of flight. This is good as it opens me up to the remaining few planes that I couldn't yet rent (after WV adjusted the minimum hour requirements for some of their higher perf planes)

Flight Hours: 306.7
Landings: 699
Night Landings: 64
High Perf Aircraft Hours: 106.6
Complex Aircraft: 54.2
Night hours: 21.5
Cross Country: 101.3
2007/06/12 Mooney 231, and welcome to class A (FL200)
π 2007-06-12 17:46 by Merlin in Flying

I spent 3 days learning and flying the Mooney 231 with a West Valley CFI who also happens to be a pilot for American Airlines (he gave me a few tips on flying to the midwest in overbooked planes and bad weather).
The mooney is an interesting plane as it uses a reasonably frugal engine but gets high performance out of it by adding a turbo and making the airframe very efficient. The Mooney is a so efficient as a result that you have to plan your descent and speed way early, or you'd come in too fast and too high and miss the airport (it does have speed brakes that help with that though).
It is however a delicate airplane that requires specific handling, and it also requires a fair amount of runway for takeoff and landing (compared to a typical cessna)
On our second day of the checkout, we decided to do a high altitude checkout, and go visit class A for my first time (i.e. more than 18,000ft of pressure altitude for the US). I suggested we fly to Mammoth since I was curious to check out the snow levels and I was hoping to fly back there for an upcoming hiking trip.
Flying up took a while because the POH didn't make it very clear that you could climb for 30mn at full boost (40 inches) and my CFI suggested we stick to the more conservative 33 inches instead. I found out later that 40 inches all the way up is actually ok in that plane (too bad it was a few hours after the flight, and not before :) )
Anyway, it was nice for me to do my first flight in class A (we were both breathing O2 from my backup bottle which ended up being enough for the trip), but it was however uncomfortable for me since we climbed to FL200, the true (GPS) altitude turned out to be 21,000ft, and the density altitude was actually around 25,000ft: I apparently had some gas in my stomach due to some digestion issues, and that gas more than doubled in volume due to the pressure change, causing somewhat painful stomach spasms.
Things got better when we came down towards Mammoth (with a few minutes in IMC through the clouds that were over the mountain, and we picked up traces of ice).
The flight back was VFR and 30mn faster since we got a more direct route and didn't have to climb nearly that high :)



FL200 baby!











Crossing the Mammoth Mountains at 20,000ft makes it much easier to cross without worrying about the pointy bits :)



The trip back was VFR and we only climbed to 12,500ft, and due to the density al
titude, it took us some time to climb high enough to clear the mountain


All in all, I like that plane. While I wish its autopilot had an altitude preselect, and while it's a bit cramped inside, it's a very capable plane which is frugal on fuel at the same time (and here's a link to the rest of the pictures to FL200 to KMMH )
We also scored a top speed of 205knots at altitude, which sure isn't too shabby :) (you can download the GPS track or google earth kml )
2007/06/09 Nice Takeoff and Landing with minimag
π 2007-06-09 19:58 by Merlin in Flying, Rc

I did a few flights next to work, first in heavy gusts. Let's just say that I had a few bad landings, it was almost unflyable (15-20knots).
I did a later flight around 20:00 when the wind had died down, and things were much better then. One of my coworkers took a video for me, and I actually did a good job for a change :)

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