Friday, August 03, 2018

Flying - Joining The Club

I am now a proud 1/15th owner of a Piper Archer and a Piper Dakota.

I joined a local flying club as DCT's restrictions on usage to only 2-hour blocks was eliminating the utility and joy of flying.

The availability at this club is great, no problems n that score so far.

Yesterday, I performed my checkout ride with the club's main CFI. A corporate jet pilot, he's a very nice and knowledgeable guy. Certainly knows everything that's going on at Pontiac, not to mention a great resource for information on things aviation.

We spent quite a bit of time going over the club's operating procedures. Everything from getting the hangar door open to who to call for fuel, and the paperwork and maintenance requirements.

He was happy with my preflight and then I towed the Archer from the hangar.

I then did as I normally would - started it up, got taxi clearance and did the run-up and he was happy with all that. We had a bit of a gusty crosswind of 10-16 knots out of 220 which he commented would be good crosswind practice.

I flew out to the northeast and he liked how I handled the plane. He then showed me how to use the 2-axis autopilot, which was quite cool as I've never used an autopilot before. Pretty neat. Then he said he was more than happy with how I was handling the plane and said let's go back to Pontiac and do some landings.

I then demonstrated some pretty decent cross-wind landings and takeoffs. One was quite the short aircraft carrier style landing but the rest were nice normal ones and he was most satisfied and said he had no problem endorsing me to fly the plane.

After the flight we went to the hangar row and went about getting it refueled and the club paperwork for that. Then, it was time to get the plane back into the T-hangar safely. They have a winch with a remote that is very handy in conjunction with the nose tow bar and very visible guide markings to get it in just right. Then I wiped the bugs off the leading edges of the plane, which is required after each flight to keep it nice (hence the water spots on the floor), put all the "Remove Before Flight" accoutrements into their proper places, closed and locked the hangar door, and that was that.

I will be using this CFI to get my high-performance endorsement so I can fly the Dakota. I need a minimum of 5 CFI-accompanied hours in the plane before I can get the endorsement and meet the club's insurer's requirements. Then both planes will be mine to use as I deem fit.

The first cross-country flight will be to take Leah for her first $100 hamburger, and then a meetup with Mr. B. is now a real doable proposition that will happen soon.

That’s 1.4 and 5 landings.

This is going to be fun.


drjim said...

That's unbelievably freaking cool, Aaron!

I was one-third owner of a Cessna 150 Aerobat back in the late 1970's.

Having an aircraft available almost at your 'Beck and Call' is is immensely satisfying if you're a pilot.

Well Done!

Aaron said...

drjim: Thanks! It is a great feeling and I'm looking forward to flying it a lot. It is satisfying to check the online scheduler, see it is available, book it and be ready to go.

drjim said...

HAH! "check the online scheduler"....

We had a separate logbook hanging on the wall in the hangar next to the big wall calendar.

If you wanted to "reserve" the plane, you just noted it on the calendar and in the book.

Otherwise you checked the calendar and the book when you got there, and if nobody had plans for the day, you went flying!