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Darren Goes To Flight School

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Busy, busy, busy!


My flight test will in all likelihood be next week! :shock: :punk: :blink:


It's been a real variety over the past couple weeks. I did my long navigation, which went fairly well until the end when I screwed up a clearance from the tower upon my return to the airport. NOT my proudest moment, and a lesson learned the hard way (one I'll never, ever forget!).


Moving on.... I finished my simulator work today. Bighorn/Mountain View had recently acquired a swish new FlyIt helicopter sim, and we are the first class to use it :up: .I spent about half my time with Marc and the other half with Doug Gillanders. At first the sim was a bit weird - I find takeoffs and landings in the sim to be tougher than the real deal - but by the end of my five hours, my instrument scans had improved, I understand radial interepts MUCH better, and I even managed a couple instrument approaches to a simulated CYYC (landings were more like "plantings" however :D).


In the air, we've been working on a bit of everything. The instrument flying requires a lot of concentration, but I kinda like it - recoveries from unusual attitudes are fun, especially when Richard has me fly a bit with my eyes closed to attain the unusual attitude in the first place (a bizarre yet amusing sensation). Today, Richard talked me in on a "precision" approach (while I still had the Foggles on) until we were about 15' above Echo taxiway - very cool!


Mixed in some stuck pedals, engine failures at the hover, more confines, and some solo stuff as well. Got to fly with Paul Bergeron, too, and learn from a different perspective (and it was pretty fun, too). Down-off-override-up is etched in my brain now :up:

The rest of this week will be review along with studying for the oral part of the flight test.


Got to chat with a former student who now works with Bighorn Helicopters out of Cranbrook. Dave and I used to work together at Panorama ski hill a long time ago - it's really cool to hear about the career path of someone who was in my shoes as a Bighorn student only a few years ago! That, and during today's bad weather, Richard shared a bunch of photos and stories of his experience in Indonesia. Amazing! The potential that this career path has for seeing and experiencing incredible stuff just floors me. Between flying helicopters and seeing some cool places, I think I've found my niche. It may take a lot of effort and busting my hump, but I'll never really "work" another day (as long as it's this cool, it won't seem like work!!).


Wish me luck for the flight test!!


- Darren






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You'll do just fine, and luck won't have anything to do with it!




I'm with Mr. Mitten. No need to hook *well prepared* up to the "Luck" meter.

I like reading your posts Darren. It's pretty inspiring to hear such keen openness and sincere enthusiasm for learning and growing inside the field. I know that's what I would have been like. Don't ever loose that.


& Don't forget to breathe during your exam ! :P

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Glad to hear another week (or more) went well, but you've got to admit that you had us waiting quite a while. :P


Just stay calm and fly the way you were taught and you'll be alright!


Best of luck on the ride Darren and keep us posted!



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Yes, I've been pretty remiss in putting up new posts; sorry 'bout that! Considering I don't do much else but go to school, I've found myself pretty busy. I have friends in town - one in the hospital actually - so I've been visiting them when i can. I won't post all those details, but his prognosis is thankfully very good.


Back to helicopters...


I went out to Bragg Creek this morning to continue building up my solo hours. I did an hour of steep turns while another student worked confines nearby, then when he headed back, I did another hour of confined areas. This left me pretty pooped - my (continued) respect goes out to you guys and gals that do this every day, all day long!


In the afternoon, Richard and I headed out for some more instrument training. With the foggles on, I did my best to work on smooth, small corrections, but I still overcorrect a bit. i find just *thinking* about adjusting my heading is enough to make it happen when I'm only a few degrees out.


Wearing the Foggles, it's easy to be lulled into a little groove of scanning - making small corrections - scanning - making small corretions, and so on, and there I was, happily flying "blind" when *BAM*


"Your engine failed" (nose yaws left)


Now, we've done tons of forced approaches, and I've even already done one entry with the Foggles on, but this one TOTALLY caught me by surprise. Thankfully, the training is sticking; I dropped the collective, pushed right pedal - caught my breath - and then worked on watching the airspeed, ball, and heading indicator. I got off my heading a bit, but (with a little reminder :D) managed to get it back just as Richard reached over and lifted my Foggles.


Carb heat cold, power on, flare, level and away we go. I'm always pleasantly surprised to discover where we are when the Foggles come off. In this case, we were out near Highway 40 :)


Richard had me fly along Hwy 40 into the mountains, then we followed another road (I forget the name offhand...) that took us sort of in behind Moose Mountain. The weather was pretty grotty; light snow, low ceiling, and some of the side valleys were socked in. Richard gave me a quick tutorial on flying in the hills in poor weather, pointed out potential "sucker holes" (light spots in the clouds at the end of side valleys that may or may not be OK). He took the controls and demonstrated some mountain flying - again, my continued respect goes out to those of you that do this regularly, and I hope to be there myself someday. Love the mountains!!


He handed me the controls and we followed the road back to the Prairies. A couple more forced approaches, then back to Springbank. Oddly enough, it was much windier at the airport than it was out in the rocks. Guess that's Alberta weather for you...


I need some more solo nav time, so if the weather's nice tomorrow I'm off on the south nav, then the afternoon will probably be some review. On Friday, I'm scheduled to do a pre-flight test with Marc, then the flight test should happen early next week. I'm not alone, many of us are getting close to checkride time, so there's lots of excited chatter around the classroom!


I'll do my best to keep y'all updated...


- Darren

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Just passed my flight test!

:DB) :punk:







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