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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

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2005/10/03 Longer Solo
π 2005-10-03 00:13 by Merlin in Flying

After my first solo cross-country, which was a bit botched (I found out after the fact that I did it in 1.4H, which is probably some kind of record in a Cessna 172SP :) ), so I had to make sure my next X-country lasted long enough (I had to have a combined time of 5H minimum).
My co-instructor, Sergey, recommended Visalia , which was not all that exciting, but was far enough :) The exciting part was when I saw a jet airplane take off soon after I landed, and wondered why I never heard about him on CTAF, the frequency I announced myself on when approaching the airport and landing. When on the ground, I found out that I had messed up when picking up the airport info from the FAA airport list I had, and picked up Visalia Sequoia Fld (D86) instead of Visalia Muni (KVIS) . Doh!
Anyway, after checking on the ground that my right fuel tank was indeed emptying too (my plane was mostly emptying the left wing, and the right wing gauge was pretty flaky), I headed for the next point: Castle Atwater Airport (KMER) . That was a more fun destination due to the 11802 foot (3.5 kilometres) runway. This runway was about as long as my plane could climb in altitude, which is also close to the altitude where you need extra oxygen if you stay too long.
What was almost funny is the amount of time I had to taxi on the runway before I found the first taxiway that let me exit :)

at Visalia

Almost VFR on top over fresno (one could actually see through the clouds and they didn't go too far)

I landed and stopped the plane in the clear/whitish portion at the beginning of the runway

this is the runway left on takeoff, I could have landed and taken off another two times in that amount of runway

Wind turbine generators

The nice salt lakes over the Bay

The funny thing is that as soon as I landed, I recognized the sound of autocrossing, and indeed, American Auto-X was having an autocross on the other side of the runway. First I thought about walking there after tying the plane down, and then I realized that it would have taken more than 30mn to walk there :)
I ended up taxiing the plane there (which even at a "fair" taxiing speed, took a while :-D), and I wasted the rest of the Autocross ( picts here )

The fun part of being at Castle/Atwater was the aviation museum, and its walking tour narrated on tape. That made the trip well worth it. I even got to talk to a former pilot during the war, who showed me some cool stuff in the cockpit of an old bomber. All the pictures are here .

Eventually, it was time to head back. I wrestled with the auto pilot for practise instead of flying straight pilotage (I did the rest of the trip without GPS, just using landmarks, and one VOR for verification), and got nowhere with the auto-pilot (either it didn't work, or I was not able to couple it to either a VOR or the programmed GPS heading: it kept wanting to go somewhere completely different).
After a few landings at Livermore (KLVK) to burn some time, and not very fruitful steep turn practise, I got back at Palo Alto (KPAO) with more than 4.2H of flight, which is perfect for what I needed.

The pictures from the flight are here

More pages: 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

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