Category Archives: Aviation

First Solo!

I PASSED!!!!!!!!! (barely)

Stage I Check Passed
(Signed Cody C. Lowe XXXXX01 CFI 03/08)

I certify that Mr. Benjamin M. Eargle has satisfactorily completed a pre-solo written examination as required by 14 CFR §61.87(b), has received the flight instruction required by 14 CFR §61.87(c), has demonstrated proficiency in the applicable maneuvers therein and is competent to make safe solo flights in a Robinson R22 Beta II helicopter.
(Signed Marcus J. Green XXXXX08 CFI 09/08)

First solo Sunday 1000 at McCollum.

Stage One Check Tomorrow

I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. According to Shane, our ground instructor, my knowledge is solid; and, according to Marcus, my flight instructor, my flying is solid. The only thing I have to really watch is making sure I check EVERYTHING on the preflight–fuel, breakers, registration certificates, the little shit that no one ever really thinks about, because THAT’S where Cody screws with you. Any interested well-wishers can congregate at Northside Aviation at McCollum Airport 8am.

So, Apparently, I Know My Stuff?

I was at the airport getting ready to go do some autorotations when Cody (Chief pilot) came into the CFI office.

“I need one of you [Instructors] to go to the [student recruitment] seminar in South Carolina” he announced.  The CFI’s just looked at each other, puzzled, hoping that one of the others would volunteer.  Cody pointed at Marcus (my instructor), indicating that he wanted him to fly out to Columbia.  “Pick a student to take with you,” he added.

Marcus just looked at his board, lost for what to do or who to take.  Too many hours…not good enough to fly cross-country…hasn’t passed Stage 1 yet… Cody cleared his throat and made a dramatic gesture in my direction.  “But Eargle hasn’t even done his Stage 1 yet!” Marcus protested.

“Doesn’t matter,” Cody replied, “actually, Eargle’s about the only one who I would actually trust to be competent enough to make this flight.  Take him, have him do the flight plan, fly there and back.  Once you get back, I’ll do his Stage 1 and let him go solo for a while then do his Stage 2–knock them both out in a couple of weeks–boom!”

So, apparently, I’m going to Columbia, South Carolina for a few days next week (Tuesday-Thursday).  The fun part will be getting there and back.  Obviously, I’m flying there.  Flying myself there.  Not only that, but I have to work Monday night until 0700 Tuesday, and we fly out about 0900-1000-ish.  Fly back Friday morning, and be at work at 2300.  This should be interesting….at least I get all the free coffee and caffeinated sodas I want at work!

On another note, I need to get my butt in gear and study for the FAA Fundamentals of Instruction and Ground Instructor Advanced exams.  I may have an opportunity to snag a job within the company in a couple of months!  FOI shouldn’t be too hard, but for AGI, I have to know everything about everything!  This, too, should be interesting….

More to come.

Just Remember….

In case of engine fire:    ENTER AUTOROTATION

If the “chip” light comes on:   LAND AS SOON AS PRACTICAL
If the “chip” light comes on and is associated with strange vibrations, noise, or control feedback:   LAND IMMEDIATELY

If the “clutch” light flickers or is steady for more than 7-8 seconds during flight:   PULL BREAKER SWITCH, LAND IMMEDIATELY

If the “alt” light comes on during flight:   TURN OFF ALL NONESSENTIAL ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT, CYCLE ALTERNATOR OFF/ON
If the “alt” light stays on:   LAND AS SOON AS PRACTICAL

An Update on Scholastic Progress

Well, as you may have inferrred by now, the final exam has come and gone, marking the end of private ground school.  I easily managed to get a 95% on the final (and 2nd midterm exam, by the way), so I’ve pretty-much got a 95% average for the class (not that it really means much, as long as I’m above the requisite 80%).  Simulator flights have been going well, putting me in the top tier–those ready to take on the real thing.  If all goes well with my checkride Thursday, I’ll be in N791SH (that’s our Robinson R22 helicopter) Friday afternoon, as scheduled.

Also, I need to take and ace 3 practice exams before I’m cleared to take the FAA written exam (I guess I should get started on those as well), as I will need to pass that to get my private rotorcraft rating.  Then, all I really have to do is start building hours (50 before the private checkride and start of instrument class).

Also of note:  Friday will be my first flight–ever.  I’ve never flown commercially, for travel, or for any other purpose–so my first time flying will literally be my first time flying.  Yeah, I know….

Off We Go…

…Into the wild, blue yonder / Flying high into the clouds!

Indeed, I’m quite excited.  For, you see, I’ve just been accepted to

FLIGHT ACADEMY!!!!!

Yes, friends, we all thought it impossible, but Atari is finally going to be able to take off (literally), shed his earthbound dreaming, and take a look from up above!  There isn’t much I can pull together to describe exactly how elated I am because of this recent turn of events–just that, well, wow!  This is, of course, the new educational and career endeavour I hinted at a few weeks ago.  I’m currently in attendance at Silver State Helicopters’ Flight Academy, and on my way to joining the ranks of the commercial airman.  Private rating ground school is going to cover the next 12 or so weeks, and I’ll probably start simulator training by mid-December.  I will, of course, keep you all posted of happenings, dear friends, as we all embark on this crazy trip we call life.

In addition, I would like to thank a couple of people in particular because without them, I would not have the opportunity before me at all:

Ryno, thank you, sir, for hearing the radio advert and alerting me to the whole premise.  Also, thanks for actually going to the informational seminar because, knowing me, I probably wouldn’t have taken much interest without your enthusiasm.  Never gave whirlybirds much though before, but it’s a place to start!

Nadia, without your help and drive, I wouldn’t have been able to get into the school–not to mention affording tuition.  You went out on a limb and kept me in line and focused long enough to see me into school.  Thank you, sweetie, I love you.

Now, enough with being all mushy and stuff.  All I ask for at this point is a good word or thought to help me stay the course because, although I’m sky-high now, the next 10-18 months are going to be grueling–a LOT of work, but it’s going to be so worth it….