Archive for April, 2008

Soloing at KPSK

Well, I forgot to turn on my GPS until I got to New River Valley Airport (KPSK), but once we landed there I turned it on. 🙂

Once at KPSK, my instructor got out and let me do 3 take off and landings. Then I used some makeshift instrument goggles and on the way back to the Virginia Tech Airport (KBCB). Once back in Blacksburg, I did one more takeoff and landing and I got cleared to fly to KPSK by myself! If it’s a nice day, I just have to call up my instructor and he has to “OK” me going.

Today was a much better day then the last day of soloing. I felt a lot more comfortable up there.

Here is a map of what I did after landing at New River Valley Airport.

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Flying Solo: Day 2

Yeah… so not as awesome as day one. Started out with 3 Take Off and Landings (TO&Ls) with Cecil and my 3rd was a good pattern and a good landing. He asked if I wanted to try solo and I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity.

It stinks that there is construction currently and you have to back-taxi down the runway. This caused me to have to back taxi before every takeoff.

I made it back in one piece after each of my 3 solo TO&Ls, but it wasn’t very smooth.

  • My patterns weren’t consistent,
  • I had a big jump in altitude in one of them (150ft),
  • I ran up some higher RPMs when I wasn’t trusting the numbers when turning base to final,
  • There was some choppy air and peak gusts at 7,
  • My last landing dolphined a bit and bounced a little (Lee and Rachel from the flying club were watching this last landing which was kind of embarassing).

Anyways, I was happy I got that experience, but I will focus on trusting the numbers, and flying smoothly the next time up. If the weather is good, We’ll be heading over to KPSK and he might let me do some TO&Ls there.


UPDATE: Here’s the track I took.

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Matt for the win

So I talked to my friend Matt that I haven’t seen in just over a year. Got to catch up and found out that he went on a very similar cross country trip this past summer. Check out his pictures here: http://picasaweb.google.com/mluxvt07.

Definite highlights he recommends are:

  • Arches National Park
  • Zion National Park
  • Badlands National Park
  • Glacier National Park
  • Olympia National Park
  • UT-12

Say Cheese, Here’s your license plate.

A lady contacted me a week or so ago about using one of my Flickr Handstand images at McAfee’s Knob on her blog. I gave her permission and sent her another one too.

Story is that they are designing new Appalachian Trail (AT) License Plates for Virginia and had a contest for poses on the at. The two finalists were:


They are more typical, but isn’t this cooler?

Let me out!

Soo, I rode my bike over to the Tee Hangars today to take some more pictures. They turned out pretty well as can be seen below 🙂 However… I think the gate is activated by weight when a car pulls up to it and I was not heavy enough. So… I broke out of the airport by scaling the fence, and then used my access card to open the gate and rescue my bike and backpack.

Cessna 150 Cockpit

Piper Cherokee HDR

Ever Been to Heritage Park in Blacksburg, Virginia? You should go.

Heritage Park is beautiful. They just finished a new bridge there back in January and you can ride all the way to Pandapas Pond. My goal was to get back to the top of Horse Nettle Trail where I was this past Thursday. I was successful and managed to make it up and down while avoiding the rain. I found it very peaceful to be up there on the trail because when you stopped, you heard absolutely nothing. Ahhhh… So great.

I took my new wide angle lens and went at it! Here are some pictures of Heritage Park before and after I hiked up to the Horse Nettle Trail. I used Photomatrix to create these HDR shots and they turned out pretty decently.

HDR makes everything better

Trail in Heritage Park

Abandoned Building

View From the Gazebo at the Entrance to the Old Farm Trail that leads to Horse Nettle

Stream, Cows, Field, Clouds

They let YOU fly an airplane?!?

Yes, as a matter of fact My CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) did this morning. After a mere 27 hours in the cockpit and over 120 landings, it came the time. “Do you want to try it solo?” “Yes, why yes I do!”

1975 Cessna 150

3 Take off and Landings (Bumps and Circuits for everyone across the pond) with a full stop on each landing. Wow, I did it! Granted, I used too much flaps on my 1st and 3rd landings, but hey, I knew how to compensate, and that’s what it’s all about. The conditions on Friday were probably the calmest I’ve seen them at KBCB, and the air was incredibly stable. A great day for a first solo.

The Congratulatory Handshake After the Solo Flight

Mountain Bikingat Pandapas Pond – Put a Leash on your Dog!

Well, it’s slightly confusing. Best bet is to use a map… and I bought one at East Coasters for $2.50, but you can get it from other places around Blacksburg that are listed on DXHiker.com.

This past Thursday I hit up Pandapas Pond with my Mountain bike to check out what there is to be seen. I did a loop of Poverty Creek -> Snake Root -> Horse Nettle -> Lakespur. It was a nice ride (walk at times).

Poverty Creek Trail

As I was coming up Snake Root, I kept looking for a good place to take a picture, but there were too many trees to ever get a clear shot.

Snake Root Trail

This is the best shot I got, and I treked around a while before deciding to “settle” for it. Today definitely gave the argument for getting a telephoto lens 10 points.

Best Photo I Could Get From Snake Root Trail

Once I got up to Horse Nettle, I found a huge tower that was installed for Cell Phone Service. The last time I was up here (within the last 2 years), it was not there, and it was actually an abandoned house or something. Odd..

The Big Cell Phone Tower

View From the Tower (Standing on top of the gate)

It was getting closer to sunset and was time to get back down to the car. I took one of my favorite roots onto Lakespur so that I’d come out at Pandapas Pond. About 1/2 way down the trail I hear growling and barking coming from behind me, and it freaked me out. I was shaken up at first, then got to a more calm “NO!”, “Go.” This dog had a collar, but it didn’t seem very friendly. I got it to go away, and went down to the pond to get some pictures. However, once down at the pond the dog came out again, but this time with another dog! They both were barking and growling loudly at me as I stood by the water’s edge. I consistently said “NO! Go! (And Waved)” This time he was less reluctant to leave but finally did. I didn’t have my bike with me at this point so I felt a little more vulnerable.

I saw two ladies walk by and asked if they were their dogs. Of course not. A few minutes later a lady emerged from the trail and collected her dogs. What a crappy pet owner. She never appologized, and said the dog was young. I said “did you hear someone in the woods yelling ‘No!’?” and of course she had, but she didn’t really get it. If you have dogs, make sure you have them in sight if they are not on a leash, please.

A Washed out shot of Pandapas Pond

Sunset From the Parking Lot

Do You Need Hiking Poles?

SteepAndCheap.com is so addictive. I have purchased shirts, sleeping bags, flip flops, sleeping mats, watches, socks and who knows what else? They are the Outlet for an Outlet. That’s right, Backcountry.com‘s outlet is Backcountryoutlet.com whose outlet is SteepAndCheap.com which features items at ~50-85% off and sometimes you just can’t pass it up. This is quality outdoors stuff people!

There was a “good deal”, or so I told myself for a set of trekking poles made by LEKI for $69.99. They had good reviews!

Instead of only looking up this reviews for this model, I looked up something more important. Are hiking poles worthwhile? Basically, if you have bad knees, yes they can be. For me, they are not worth the 70 bucks at this time. Thank you self control for saving me 70 dollars.