American Journal

Read about November.
Read about December.
Read about January.
Read about February.

See the Pictures I took in the US so far.

I haven't updated it for a while, because I was busy working on my instrument, which I got now so I can update more frequently. I will give a short summary of the past month.

Summary of March 2nd till March 20th

I wasn't able to do instrument flying for 4 days, because of weather and when the weather cleared, both the C-172's were down for maintenance which took about 3 days. Then on March 2nd I did another instrument flight with Dougie again, which went absolutely crap, so he scheduled a few flights for me with Wout Mulders a Dutch instructor to get me up to standard. What I didn't know was that Wout was learning the Dutch standards to the EAT guys, so I had to study all the procedures and checklist, because the American method does not require that (the Dutch standards are higher and stricter than the American standards). I had to study for a couple of days which kept me from updating my journal, but it was a good experience, because after 5 lessons with Wout he found me good enough to go back to Dougie and before that one flight Dougie asked me how I was doing on my oral preparation. I was quite up to schedule with that and he asked me if I wanted to do the instrument checkride the next day, because some guy that had to do his commercial checkride didn't meet the hour requirements, since he couldn't fly enough, due to the weather. I was quite shocked, but also thrilled to do it the next day. He told me to impress him that flight so that I could do the final stagecheck and the checkride the next morning. I spent that afternoon doing a 3 hour briefing with Martin, who'd just become an instructor a few days before, to prepare for the oral, which (as I later found out) really helped me.

The next day on March 20th I did my stage check early in the morning, which I passed, so I could do the checkride. When I got back from the stagecheck I saw that Mr. Garner had already arrived, because I could see his Mercedes 500 SL on the parking space, so I got a little nervous, because it was all coming so close now. When I walked in I saw that he already had a student who was going for her commercial checkride, so I was a bit disappointed, because now I wasn't gonna be able to do it today. But then the instructor was called into the room, because there were some troubles with the amount of hours she'd flown, I don't know exactly what it was, but bottom line was that she didn't meet the requirements so he could do my checkride in stead. I had to arrange everything real quick (forms, adding my hours and all that stuff). He asked me for my picture ID, which of course I didn't bring, because I forgot it at home. I called my appartment, but there was no answer, so we just started, since he'd alreay seen my passport at my PPL checkride and I knew my passport number by heart. At about 11:30 we started the oral part of the checkride, which went absolutely horrifying in my opinion, but he was satisfied and let me pass. He had some pretty tricky questions, but I could answer most of them either partly or completely, so he was satisfied, where as I absolutely was not. Then we went flying. I didn't even have to do a weight and balance, he just wanted to go flying. So I was like, OK, fine let's do it. I did all my checks and then we went flying. We were calling ground control to ask taxi permission for a VFR departure, but the tower said they were going to go IFR in a few minutes, so I looked at Mr. Garner and asked him what we'd do. He told me to just go, since we were going out on VFR and going back in on IFR flightplan. When I taxied the plane into position on the runway it REALLY started to come down on us. Very heavy rain and skies almost turning black! We made a Southeastern departure into sort of a VFR hole to practice maneuvers. Then he asked me: "Did you bring your foggles?", at which moment I remembered that you're supposed to bring your own foggles to a checkride, which both Dougie and myself had totally forgotten about, probably since it all went so quick. Mr. Garner said there wasn't a problem and he told me just not to look outside, since the weather was too bad to go back. I had to do a steepturn and an interception of the 170 radial from Lakeland VOR, which was piss easy. When I'd intercepted the radial outbound he told me to go direct to Lakeland VOR and contact ATC for an IFR clearance. We did an ILS approach on runway 5, a VOR approach on runway 27 and then I had to do a full NDB approach on runway 5. They all went quite okay, except for the NDB, which was an absolute NIGHTMARE! I was homing the whole way to the needle, because it slipped from my attention a few times. And to top it all off on the inbound part I was WAY too high after passing the outer marker, even for a circle to land. But nonetheless I passed my instrument checkride, so now I can focus on commercial until I go back home at the end of this month to get my visa.

Thursday March 22nd 2001

Today I had to fly my first dual commecrial lesson in stage V. The funny part was that it also was my first lesson with Martin, my former classmate and friend who'd just become an instructor at ACA about a week ago. It was pretty cool to fly with him. We're always fooling around, but this lesson was pretty serious apart from a few jokes. He's quite a good instructor and I was glad to find out he was going to be my instructor for the rest of commercial on the C-152. We did stalls, steepturns, slow flight, S-turns, turns around the points and simulated engine out. Apart from the simulated engine out, which took too long to find a suitable field, everything went well. We also did some patternwork back at Lakeland, in which we did normal, flapless, soft- and shortfield landings.

Saturday March 23rd 2001

Martin and I couldn't do any flying today, because everything was booked solid, so we went to the pool. We planned to go out to the Mirage that night, but in stead we rented 2 movies and stayed in to watch the movies. Everybody was pretty tired and Carlo fell asleep holding his beer and he slept for almost an hour like that. We were sorry we didn't have a camera at hand, because it would have made a great photo. Then all of a sudden he woke up, looking around him a little disoriented and when he realised where he was he took a few zips of his beer, without having said a single word till that moment. That looked really funny so we all burst into laughter.

Monday March 26th 2001

I was scheduled to fly at 6:00 together with Martin today. I woke up at 5:10 and jumped into the shower. When I got out my roommate told me there weren't going to be any flights all morning, so I called Martin and he said we'd fly again tomorrow. I got up this early for nothing!! That really sucks! That afternoon I went to school to fill in my days off request to go back home for my J-1 visa and I ran into Dougie who complimented me on my nice "uniform", since I came to school in casual clothes, because I didn't have to fly anyway. :)

Tuesday March 27th 2001

Today I had my second flight with Martin. Actually I had 2 with him in which he introduced me to the commercial maneuvers like Chandelles (maximum performance climbing turn), Lazy Eights (climbing and descending 180 degree turns) and Eights on pylons (turning around 2 points on the ground). First we did some basic PPL stuff like steepturns and I impressed both of us by doing the best steepturn I'd ever done. I didn't know I could do them that good :) Then he showed me how a Chandelle has to be done and I copied him. He was surprised at how well I did and asked me if I'd never done them before. Of course they weren't perfect, but really not bad for a first time (or so he told me). When we did about 3 or 4 Chandelles we were already at 4500 ft and he gave me a simulated engine failure (instructor just pulls the throttle to idle). Of course I had lots of altitude to lose and therefor miles to look for a suitable field for landing, which I found to the side of a road, about 20 nm north of Lakeland. Even the approach was good, whereas yesterday I sort of screwed up this maneuver by looking for a field too long. After that we did Eights on pylons which is not a difficult maneuver to do, because it's basically just turning eights, like the name implies and keeping your altitude and take into account the wind. That first flight lasted 1.5 hours and then we had some lunch back at ACA after doing a few landings in the pattern at Lakeland.

Later that afternoon we went flying again and Martin introduced me to Lazy eights. Basically what you do is, you fly perpendicular to a road or a powerline and you perform climbing S-turns over it. We practiced some more Eights on pylons and Chandelles as well and we finished it with more patternwork, in which we did normal short- and softfield and flapless landings. Later today I practised all of it myself when I went solo.

- -