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:

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2005/11/03 I'm a Private Pilot
π 2005-11-03 22:16 by Merlin in Flying

Yes, I'm finally a private pilot. The short version is that the test was almost too easy, and the examinator very nice with me (i.e. he asked me to do the bare minimum required to pass)

Today was an interesting day weather-wise (as I look outside and see the big cloud cover that's just arrived above us).

Anyway, I planned my cross country just for the diversion piece, to KRBL, and it was interesting to learn all the java flight tools on adds.aviationweather.gov, on something concrete: real interesting weather, worrying about 2 overcast layers, rain (-RA) and icing problems starting at 6500, while 4500 being too low for some other cloud issues, turbulence reports.
Ultimately, the flight that was possible, but pretty iffy, and I certainly wouldn't have done it without a CFII in the right seat, for both instrument bailing out if needed, and a second opinion on judgement calls from someone who has more experience than me



That said, this work (which was actually useful to me as an exercise), and the extra work I went through again to get all the airplane paperwork and prove that it was indeed airworthy, was never used during the check ride as Mike (the examiner) just wanted (for my sake) to go flying as quickly as possible before the weather got worse.

During my preflight, I heard some local PIREP of turbulence on final, and as Mike was saying on my takeoff that things seemed pretty smooth, and I was replying that it probably wouldn't last, it got bumpy right away.
The flight was actually less than 30mn.
Mike had me go to stanford, i.e. a 3mn flight, redirected me to SQL. That time I did properly circle stanford while computing the new heading, fuel, distance, ATIS, and SQL tower, and got all the work done without going anywhere, and busting any airspace :)
At that time, Mike had me go towards Slac, I did an interesting steep turn, which was challenging due to wind and turbulence, but I mostly kept it within the numbers, and we then did slow flight at 60 knots due to the conditions (and the horn did go on and off at 60)
At that point Mike said "so, if you pass, Sergey did promise that he'd stop smoking, right?" (which was indeed what Sergey, one of my WVFC CFIs, had committed to doing), so he said "my plane" and flew it back down to PAO.
"you're done with what you had to pass, that way you can screw anything up on the way back"
Obviously, at that time it was difficult for me to not pass. I was actually awake due to an almost proper night of sleep for a change, but it just didn't seem wise to say "let me do it", when he offered to help.
On one side, I don't really have great satisfaction due to how easy it was, but on the other side I can't blame Mike for trying to make it as easy as he could on me, and the landing conditions indeed turned out to be mildly interesting due to wind shear.
Anyway, I'm a private pilot now, yeah! and I'll settle with the satisfaction of what I actually learned during my now about 110H of flying, and what I'll keep learning with instructors and by myself, as opposed to the one of having nailed the check ride, which I didn't quite get to do.
A big thank you goes to my instructors: Ali and Sergey


Ali, my main instructor


Weather, while turbulent, made for some pretty clouds at sunset

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

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