Last time in the sky (for a bit)

Sadly, I had to leave the Hokie Flying Club, who I learned how to fly with. I got to fly for the last time (for now) this past Tuesday. I was in Blacksburg to fly, resign from the club and to work.

I got to stay in the Microtel for 2 of the 5 days I was there and here is my lovely bed……….

As far as flying goes, we went up for a “Scenic Review” as it states in my log.

We did notice that the plane’s log book had an unusual entry from the day before… Check it out in a large size to see what I’m talking about.

We finished flying an hour earlier than expected, so I used that time to sneak over to the Tech Bookstore and grab something to help my transition to being a South Carolinian. I got some Hokie “Croakies”.

Sooo, that is that. I’m back in Arlington for now with a move-in date of April 30th!

The End of an Era

Well, This past Thursday I arrived at Kristen’s place in Greenville, SC and was officially back on Eastern Standard Time. I had a package when I arrived that contained my away ballot, and my official Private Pilot Certificate.

I’m mailing off my ballot today and my Pilots “License” is pretty sweeet.

NOTE: This is not MY license. It is a picture from someone else’s website of theirs.

It’s nice to be “home”, but I am so very thankful that I was able to do this trip and so many people that were nice to this kid living out of his car :-p

Woo hoo!

Airventure 2008 in Oshkosh, WI (Day 8)

Woken up bright and early by some blistering hot sunlight. This was at 730 after getting to sleep at 1230? the night before. I really took my time getting ready in the morning and used my time to get the car organized in a manner where I could find things and have some space. After a shower, I got to the air show at almost noon. Today I didn’t check out too much… only the indoor booths and the airshow really. I didn’t want to get sunburn, and I HAD to see the airshow.

It’s now 830pm as I am writing this, and I just took the past hour or so using up by battery life to write this post. I scrambled over and started the car when the battery was about to die so that I could finish going through the photos and write blog posts.

If you think THESE few out of 60 some pictures are cool… The rest are cooler. Check them out and let me know what you think!

“Proud to be an American”…

Cutting the ribbon…

Only helicopter certified by the FAA to perform acrobatics. The Red Bull helicopter.

P.S. – EAA Campground Wifi isn’t that great… I’m having to steal some from the Hawthorne Suites a few miles away. I wrote this last night before my laptop battery died :-). Here is the error they gave me, jerks!

Sorry, but we’re currently experiencing technical difficulties. The present error condition is:

Timed out waiting for captive portal reply.

For assistance, please contact:


Additional information:

AP MAC Address: (I’m not putting that online! Ha!)

Day Three

It’s getting late and this whole “blogging” thing takes a lot of time! I will have to write up day two and four tomorrow! Here is day three though, enjoy!

Sleeping in is always a refreshing way to start the day. Woke up around 11am and went over to an Italian place right up the street for lunch. After this we went over to the open house at the airport to check just check it out. It was within 2 minutes of Will’s house and was a nice, small airport. The coolest things we saw were:

  • The two helicopters for the children’s hosiptal
  • Pimped out 70’s style “jets” with cigarette lighters, and wood paneling.
  • Ultralight fan powered looking aircraft

Following the airport tour, we stopped back by the house to grab the camera and set off to check out UFS and get some cool handstand pictures.

UFS was basically a big lots, but for everything. It was a walmart on crack mixed with stuff that fell off a pickup truck and add in a cheap liqour store. Our main purchase was a bottle of wine to bring to the theatre (see below), but I also ended up picking up some soda so I’d quit paying convience store prices for it on the road.

Peoria Handstand Pictures…

The Giant Chicken

Caterpillar Headquarters (Elizabeth on Left, Will on Right) You guys rock! They were amazing hosts! Thanks 🙂

Riverfront, Downtown Peoria

We came back and showered off our handstand filth (it’s a dirty job), and then dressed up to go to “the barn”. It was a good show/dinner/wine extravaganza. There were about 8 of us there and it was the celebration of 3 years at CATerpillar for some of the people there. There was even a ceremony where they all got pushpins because they won’t get a real pin from Caterpillar until they get 5 or 10 years. Crazy crazy kids.

So the dinner was delicious. Highlights were the shrimp pasta and the peanut butter pie dessert. We had picked up some wine from UFS earlier and had that with dinner. The show was called “It runs in the family” and was basically about a doctor who had had an affair with a nurse 18 years and nine months earlier, and it just was one GIGANTIC, RICULOUS lie after another covering it up and was quite hilarious.

We headed “out” after this to downtown and went to an Irish bar. It was good because they had a favorite, Smithwicks. Then the night gets a little blurry and went to some other club/bar. Bars in Peoria stay open til 4am. Ridiculous, and mildy painful the next morning. The ride home was from an unofficial taxi. Emily (who will be my chicago host) knew a guy who did basically worked as a taxi and we used that. I still don’t get it. All i remember was a newer minivan, and the guy had a laptop between his seat and the passenger seat, and had a facebook page open. That about wraps up day three, wee!

An extra note. If you are looking for an Overnight Adventure in Peoria, I’ve got you hooked up… here ya go!

Checkride, Check.

I am DONE! Finally, I am a Private Pilot. So relieved! w00t!

Airwork from Thursday

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Definitions, and a picture

100LL is 100 octane, low lead fuel, generally referred to as “aviation grade” fuel. In comparison “Regular” at the car gas pump is 87 octane and is “unleaded”.

Under the hood refers to simulating flying an aircraft under “instrument” conditions. This would mean that there is low visibility and you must rely on your instruments, rather than what you see (or don’t see) out the window. The hood blocks your vision of the outside while allowing you to focus on the instruments. My “hood” was actually a pair of safety glasses with scotch tape, but hey, it has the same effect!

And… Buffalo Mountain

It’s soo close I can smell the 100LL

Finished my “Requirements” today for my Private Pilots license by getting in my last hour of “hood” (instrument work). Now all that is left is preparing for my grueling “Practical” exam by the FAA Examiner, after a spot check with my other instructor.

Studying, here I come!

Second Solo XC to Mount Airy & Mountain Empire

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2 New Handstands!

Mountain Empire

Mount Airy

More Photos Here

More Pics from Danville XC

This is how I got there…

Outside the terminal

First Solo XC to Danville

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Danville, VA Handstand

Akward Pano of Danville Terminal

Danville FBO Office (Next 2)

Took this one for Justin

Leaving Danville (Next 3 pics)

Out the front on the way back from Danville

Dual Night Cross Country

Blacksburg->Mountain Empire->Hillsville->Blacksburg
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Solo XC posponed due to iffy weather

However… I went up locally and flew for over two hours.

Can you find where I did “S turns across a road” and “Turns about a point?”.

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So, Danville XC is now supposed to be tomorrow AM.

Here are some pictures from today:

The New River near Claytor Lake

More New River

I-81 going over the New River

Zoomed out, the same bridge

Part of Claytor Lake

“The Quarry” where people usually get community service hours for trying to run down the railroad tracks and cliff jump into it.

Lane Stadium

Lane Stadium Again

Recognize Main St?

Revised Plan for XC Solo?

If i go from Blacksburg->Danville->NewRiver->Blacksburg… That is 150.4 ooo I love minimums 🙂 Might end up doing that instead to make it more straight forward, being my first solo XC and all.

Plan for First XC Solo

I have to plan this flight out and get it approved on Saturday, but I should be flying it for my long solo cross country (Which must have a leg which is at least 50nm and must be 150nm total at least). This flight will have a 64nm flight to Danville and will be 154.6nm total, so just right!

Excited/stressed to plan/hope weather is good.

Blacksburg->Danville->”Blue Ridge Airport”->New River->Blacksburg (154.6nm)
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Lewisburg (KLWB) Cross Country

Bewow is my dual cross country to Lewisburg that we flew this morning.

The GREEN and RED (My GPS probably lost signal for a few seconds? a minute?) are where we flew.

The BLUE was where we were “supposed” to go. Well, we had Blacksburg->Lewisburg planned real well, but that was about it…

3 Solo Tower Controlled Landings to a full stop at Lewisburg.

After that, the next leg to Bluefield came out of the “blue” (ha!) and was different from where we planned (Beckely, WV) because we had to get the plane back for the next guy. We then diverted off “course” from Bluefield back to Blacksburg and I learned how to triangulate using the VOR.
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Left to do for my Private Pilot Certificate

Remaining Requirements:

  • More Dual Cross Country – (Lewisburg Cross Country, Will get tower controlled TO&Ls as well as hopefully be ready for solo cross country)
  • A little over an hour of instrument work
  • Night dual cross country and TO&Ls (This can all be done in one night by going to Mountain Empire, Hillsville and back, 108.4nm total)
  • Solo Cross Countries (5 hours minimum, at least one that is 150nm with a straight leg between airports of 50nm)
  • Practical Preparation (Lots of studying, oral review and in flight review)
  • Practical Exam

Tonight I am going up with my instructor for my first stab at night flying, and that will prepare us for our dual night cross country of 100nm+.

Thursday it is off to Lewisburg, WV for more dual cross country practice and 3 Take offs and Landings at a Tower controlled airport.

If I finish, I can do this…

See this…

And this…

First Cross-Country Flight to Bluefield

Today was my first cross country flight!

Blacksburg (KBCB) -> Bluefield (KBLF) @ 4500′

Bluefield (KBLF) -> New River (KPSK) @ 5500′

New River (KPSK) -> Blacksburg (KBCB)

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So, my first leg got off to a not so great start. We ended up in Princeton, WV which I thought was Bluefield and that got me all turned around, finally we started to loop around the “town” and the airport was off to my right, I was a little confused, but it all makes sense when you look at the GPS track. (We weren’t allowed to use anything but the compass and the map for the flight) Anyways, it was a good day and first Cross Country experience because I learned how important it is to stay on your heading, correct when you can do so, and if you have gone as far as you planned, and you’re not there… something is going awry.

Well, it was odd that on our last short leg we were really low on fuel in our left tank and the right was pretty much full. After we were back in Blacksburg we found out that we’d been flying the whole day without a gas cap on the right wing. I guess it wasn’t put on securely after fueling up the plane. This made sense of the left tank being low (it was the only tank with suction to the tank). In any case, the new guy “Hop” (Last name ‘Hopper’) from LC’s flying service (Blacksburg’s new F.B.O.) helped us search for us and the maintenance guy from Blacksburg (Jim) was finally able to find it on the taxi way down towards where you turn onto the runway. Well, that was a lucky day!

Well, definitely a fun (at times mildly nerve racking) first cross country flight!

Passed with flying colors

Passed the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge exam with a 90% yesterday. Certainly suprised myself 🙂

Now, some more requirements such as cross country flights and night flights, then the practical test and I’m done! (A lot still, haha)

FAA Test is going to happen finally

I’ve been preparing for the past two months to take my FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam and am finally taking it this Saturday at 1 at Richmond Jet Center.

Once I kick some ass on this, it’s a lot of flying to get my Private License before I head out on my trip.

GPS is Awesome!

The other day I was learning about cross country flight navigation using sectional charts, and an E6-B flight computer which is like a slide rule…

Anyways, I got some software for my computer to edit and create GPX data (A standard for manipulating. I can create routes in GPX format and put them on my Garmin Nuvi 750 🙂

The most awesome find was this site which allows you to download airports and navaids all OVER the place. Pretty sweet: http://www.navaid.com/GPX/

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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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