Had my second lesson this morning – 8:30am – ahh! I can tell that I am really enjoying this because I didn’t mind being awake so early 😀 My only regret in flying is that I don’t have a good way to capture what I am seeing. It was perfectly lovely and sunny over the airport but an uninterrupted cloud layer over my practice area. Imagine something like the bottom of this wikipedia image. It was almost comical that the clouds started at a straight line just south of the runway. Living in the valley that is Fairbanks is weird.
We started with the powerpoint that my instructor uses for biennial pilot flight reviews. Bits of theory and practical knowledge.
This morning’s temperatures were ~31F which isn’t normally an issue for car/plane windows in Fairbanks because it is so dry. Sadly we are currently in the rainy (humid!) portion of Alaskan weather. An engine blanket and wing covers are completely necessary to avoid frost (oopsie, someone forgot those yesterday). I’m a little impressed that the planes have the same engine/oil pan heater my car does – and the obligatory plugs (see picture of my car in January). I shouldn’t be surprised, but living in Alaska still seems so quirky.
Took a short break to check the frost melt rate happening on the plane and was told to just to go ahead with preflight – alone. I really hope I looked at everything I was supposed to – not completely sure because yesterday was a bit rushed. The checklist is fine, but too general to remind me about things like the 3rd fuel sump. I suppose I just need more practice.
I took so long to preflight that the instructor decided to forgo the slides for later. Today, I did all the taxi and pretake off procedures (except radio). Must learn to do radio procedures from now on – eeek! Also did my own takeoff, yay.
Had much harder time staying level today. Way too much looking at the attitude indicator.
We practice so close to the ‘busy’ Fairbanks airport that it seems like someone is talking on the radio at all times. We keep getting updates of planes to avoid as they pass us to land. Today, I was able to discern more of what people were saying – and when they were actually speaking to us! Thank goodness. I was worried after the flight yesterday.
The school uses Fairbanks airport frequencies (ATIS, tower, etc) for a pw; mildly embarrassing that I couldn’t remember any of them today. I’m sure I’ll be required to do laps around the building the next time I forget. I was inspired to do this (see picture) to myself when I needed the frequencies while doing the post-flight plane stuff – note to self, bring spare paper on my flights.
Worked on memorizing them while hiking at Angel Rocks this afternoon.
We also found Denali today! I’m glad the tallest mountain in North America took a break from hiding in the clouds. (The photo below [sorry this is the low resolution version] was taken by the artist of http://www.flickr.com/photos/musubk/ I could never get anything like that. All my photos are taken with a $7 cell phone – and they are terrible.)
Beautiful, semi-productive day.
Things to work on:
- taxiing in a straight line
- turns on the taxiway/parking area (darn yellow taxi line, grr 😉 )
- don’t slam on the brakes so hard
- don’t look at the instruments so much – learn where my horizon should be
- smoother turns (hand movements much too exaggerated today)
- pitch and trim the correct directions when moving flaps up and down
- learn how to turn 90 degrees to the left and right. I always start a turn without finding a reference….and then never know when to roll out of the turn.
- finishing the online ground school. I discovered that the first three chapters took me 43 hours. Ugg. 17 chapters to go (hope they are short)