Hopefully helpful writings of a career minded pilot, working through the ratings in a Part 61 school while still managing to eat and find time to sleep and work.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

keeping current

i'm usually very good about keeping current, mainly because it's a reason to fly! my regular safety pilot and i made plans to go up tonight and while working out the logistics i realized that my night currency had lapsed. according to the CFR 14 part 61.57.b you need to make 3 takeoffs and landings to a full stop one hour after sunset in order to carry passengers at night. while technically he's also PIC (Pilot In Command) while i'm wearing those awful foggles, he's still a passenger when they're off. there's a grace period where if you're not current that you can carry passengers up to no later than one hour after sunset (and after one hour before sunrise.) Since sunset tonight was at 7:50pm, we would have to be on the ground by 8:50.

the purpose of the flight was to keep my instrument rating current (CFR 14 61.57.c.) my safety pilot doesn't have his instrument rating, but he is current (CFR 14 part 91.109.2.b) in both pilot certificate as well as category and class ratings for the airplane we'd be flying in (P28A - a Piper Warrior.) since he's VFR only, we'd have to conduct the flight as such, but I'm still allowed to file IFR, which makes things a lot smoother for us and for ATC (except for maybe that 10 minute wait for release into the system, i.e. waiting for clearance to actually take off into Boston's airspace.

so i got the weather and filed IFR from KBED to KBED with the routing as KLWM KBVY, and the remark of practice approaches. we took off, and had a great flight - ILS5@KLWM (good) held as published at LWM, LOC16@KBVY, not my best, touch and go and the vectors back to the ILS11@KBED. the last approach was a minor challenge as i was told to keep "max forward speed as is practical" because there was a falcon jet (little business class jet) 10 miles behind us inbound.

my safety pilot got a taste of what an instrument flight (more like an instrument lesson as we just shot approaches) will be like when he finally amasses the money to start on his own instrument ticket. ok, I have about 4 and a half more months to make at least 3 more approaches to satisfy the 6 approaches in 6 months (yes, and holding and tracking a radial...)

here's the flightaware plot:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

commercial cross country

beer? check. shower? check. warmed over pizza while watching futurama? check and check. $800+ less in my bank account? ugh, check. yup, this is the aftermath of my commercial cross country which I flew today. here's the flightplan in skyvector. (if it doesn't show up, just move the map a smidge)

It was a great trip despite two near misses - one a cherokee not on with ATC who decided to make a sudden turn into my path, and a corporate jet passing under me by barely 500 feet (thanks for letting me know, NY approach control.) the feeling of that much flying - 6 even hours on the hobbs, and the distance flown made me want to do it all over again. I thought i'd be bored, hungry, need to pee, etc...but not at all - just a great long VFR flight to a lot of new places.

and some shots;

the clouds were at the most innappropriate level - 5500-6000, so i bounced from 4500 to 6500 the whole way:

approaching Newburgh, NY:

here's aeroflex andover airport  (12N) at the end of that lake, and the Stillwater VOR (STW) just at the bottom of the pic:

finally, I made it to KZER!

stopped in for some quick refreshments:

and talked to one of the CFI's there - cool guy. He ran to get the phone about 15 minutes after I landed...asked me if I was N238ND...oops...forgot to close the flight plan in all the excitement!

Leaving Joe Zerbey airport (KZER):

This is Summit Hill, PA; where the graveyard is almost as big as the town itself...I imagine this will be ground zero of the zombie apocolypse:

BEHOLD! the Lehigh Gap!!!

amid the swarms of gliders I was calling out for Allentown approach control, here's a fire just south of Stroudsberg on the Appalachian Trail. If you look at the shadow on the right it looks like a giant eagle took a steaming crap on the mountain:

aaaaaand, Aeroflex Andover on the way back:

Waterbury Ct, starting to approach Hartford Brainard Airport (KHFD):

this is New Britain, Ct - I lived in the brick buildings in the lower corner of this graveyard 11 or 12 years ago in college. 625 Burrit Street - the amazing flooding basement cave!

and here's my favorite picture of the whole trip - Hartford, Ct. while on right downwind for runway 20 at KHFD, my second stop on the trip:

to my surprise, while inbound to hartford, I heard an old tail number, N4336E, I used to fly back in Northampton days in 2000 (while living at 625 burrit street, as a matter of fact...weird conincidence) who was coming for touch and goes at the airport. it's the plane taxiing in the middle:

after tallying up the logbook and taking a 15 minute break, I headed back to KBED. as I neared Boston I took this one last picture approaching our fair city:

life in part 61 training continues...