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Darren Goes To Flight School

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Guest jacdor
Yesterday morning I filled up trusty C-FARB and headed out to the Bragg Creek area with the instructions to say out there until fuel or weather sent me back home.

 

This was my funnest solo flight EVER! Another student was working in our preferred confine spot, so I moved a bit south to practise steep turns and just coordinated flying in general. This time my approach was different - rather than setting myself up to just practice certain excercises, I instead chose a bunch of ground features to use as markers for a kind of "racetrack/obstacle course". Set up at a safe altitude and 60-70 knots, then I proceeded to fly my little racecourse. LOTS of left/right steep turns, all the while maintaining the proper speed and altitude, and even keeping the strings straight. Once again, I'm finding that these things are starting to fall into place without me consciously thinking about it.

 

Every now and then, I'd switch it up and pretend to be an operational parks/wildlife flight - I'd go looking for moose. When I found some (they're everywhere), I'd practise my tight orbits over them (at a high enough altitude not to bother them, of course. For the record, they could care less about a little orange helicopter).

 

Once Derek had headed back to Springbank, I incorporated a couple different confines into my little routine. I tried to think of it as "operational" rather than just flying excercises, and this had the double whammy of being a very effective mindset as well as really, really fun.

I daresay that my flying improved a LOT with this flight. Hope I can keep that up!

 

The weather was forecast to turn bad in the late morning, so before I headed out, Marc gave me some simple - but very good - advice. To wit:

 

If the weather starts to look bad, and you're kind of thinking "Should I do one more confine or go home?", then the answer is GO HOME. If you're asking that question, the answer is get out of there. Go with your gut.

 

I was paying pretty close attention to the weather; I noted that the ceiling was getting lower - never a good sign. In fact, I *did* catch myself pondering "Should I do one more confine..." which immediately gave me my answer. GO HOME!

 

So I did. At first, I thought I was being waaaay too conservative as the weather looked like it was an hour or two from hitting, but minutes (literally!) later, the visibility was down to only a few miles. The snowflakes started just as I turned final for Rwy 07. Good timing (lucky?) and I'm astounded at how fast the weather came in. Glad I went with my gut (and Marc's advice). B)

 

Another highlight of the day was another student passing his flight test (congrats, Matt!), and one more passing her transport written exam (congrats Karen!). :up:

 

Another great week! :punk:

 

 

Good show

And good luck for the new year coming for you and the other students.

 

Jacques

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... and we're back!

 

Cold weather in December followed by Christmas break meant a looong break for me - over three weeks without flying.

 

I jumped back into it - right into an R44 in fact - on this past Monday. Prior to this past Monday, I had only flown one flight in an R44, so that coupled with my three weeks of rust buildup meant my hover taxi was a bit noodly. Fortunately I shook out the cobwebs within a few minutes and Richard and I headed out to Bragg Creek for some confines. These are fun in a 44! Heaps of power meant I could try my hand at verticalling in and out of tight spaces, and a whack of snow on the ground made for interesting landings.

 

I still had a whack of solo hours to burn up, so Monday afternoon and all day Tuesday saw me out on my own in the R22. Most of it was confines/advanced takeoff and landing/steep turns etc out in the Foothills, but I did do one nav flight (with a few circuits at Sundre for kicks :D). Yesterday the weather was poor but still VFR, so I stuck close to the airport and did about a bazillion circuits, into which I mixed some hover work and advanced takeoff/landings. This was fun just for the sake of really working on my hands-and-feet precision. No matter what I'm doing, even if it's my 37,000th circuit, is a chance to get better at it. This is what makes this flying bidness so cool!

 

Today, I went out with Curtis in the R44 for some emergency training. It was good to revisit this, since I hadn't done much since my night emergencies back in December, and I was a bit rusty. Lots of stuck pedals, several autos (including engine failure during takeoff), engine failure at hover and hover taxi, governor failure, and - this was a new one for me - hydraulic failure.

 

Autos and engine failures were interesting; the R44 glides much better than the R22, and that rotor has WAY more inertia than the 22's does! Engine failure at the hover was fun - except for my shoddy footwork (more right pedal!). Hydraulic failure was bizarre, but cool to learn. No power steering!

 

Tomorrow (weather permitting) will be my last flight - 0.9 hours of sling training in the 44, then school's out!

 

As I near the end of training, I find it bitter-sweet. On one hand, it will be nice to be done school (for the rest alone!), and to have that sense of accomplishment, but it's kinda sad that it may be a while before I'll get to fly a helicopter again. The last 10 or 15 hours have been really, really fun, and I think I made some of my best progress in this time. Over the last bit, i've found that things are happening without me having to think about every little move - my eyes and hands are doing what they're supposed to without me having to focus on each and every little task, and this frees up my brain to do things like do a better confine recce, or really milk my approach angle, or perfect my steep turn techniques, or what have you. Earlier on in my training while flying with Paul B., he told me I should strive to fly like I've strapped the helicopter to my butt so it's a part of me, and I think I'm starting to get it! This makes the learning quicker, which makes flying more fun, which makes learning new stuff quicker, which makes flying more fun.....

 

That said, I haven't forgotten that I'm a 101.4 hour wonder. There are still many years and thousands of hours of learnin' ahead, and with the economy in the pooper, I realise that finding that first break will be a challenge. All I need to do is remember how much fun flying is (heck, even pushing them around the hangar is fun!), and that will motivate me to persevere through this downtime.

 

Time to polish up my coffee-making and floor-sweeping skills!! :):P

 

...D

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congrats, darren, and many thanks for taking the time to take all of us on this life journey of your's. you follow in the steps of ryan and cole and matt...

 

good luck as you begin your search. and keep us apprised of how that search goes!! :up:

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:up: It's been so enjoyable reading your posts. I'm pretty sure reading them contributed to my having a solo flight dream the other night (which was *amazing*).

 

All the very best to you, Darren. And Congratulations !!

:)

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Guest jacdor

Time to polish up my coffee-making and floor-sweeping skills!! smile.gif tongue.gif

 

...D

 

It could be like that yes but it does not mean it has to be.

 

Good luck to you

 

JD

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Welp, slinging was humbling. But boy-howdy, it's fun!! Curtis and I were out for about 1.2 hours with a 50' sling and a net loaded with a 45-gallon drum, which (as you can guess) isn't near enough to master the task, but it was enough to get me hooked - as if I wasn't already :D

 

I've always had respect for you guys and gals that do this regularly, now my respect goes even deeper. Really looking forward to more of this!

 

As of this morning, the papers were signed - I'm officially licensed as a commercial helicopter pilot. B):D :up: :punk:

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