Tag Archives: helicopter

First Solo Cross-Country Flight

Well, I did it! I flew 86 nautical miles straight. All by my self.

I flew my first of three solo cross-country flights: Kennesaw to Cedartown to Cartersville to Canton and back to Kennesaw. Nice day, except that it was too damn hazy. Interestingly, though, it happened to be cool enough that I could cruise about 100 kts (very fast in an R-22) thanks to the denser air today.

Night flights coming soon!

Then Stage III Check and Private Practical Exam.

“Helicopter One-Three-Eight-Sierra-Hotel, please state your intentions….”

“I’d like to enter the pattern, sir, to do touch-and-go’s”

“I already gave you clearance to take off from the taxiway, but you said you were unable to comply!”

“Yes, sir. I am a student pilot and our policies and procedures strictly forbid me from taking off or landing on taxiways.”

“Roger, stand by….”

Such was the tone of my second solo flight today. One fun new trick after another thrown at me from the tower boss at McCollum. Apparently, though, I was more composed than the tower during my flight–according to Greg (who was flying patterns behind me) and Marcus (who was monitoring on a hand-held radio).

“Copter Eight-Sierra-Hotel, have you made your crosswind turn yet?”

“Affirmative, tower, I’m–uh–actually on the downwind, following that Cessna like you told me to.”

“Oh, I see you now, just–uh–continue your downwind following that Cessna.”

“Wilco, following the Cessna. Eight-Sierra-Hotel.”

This guy is the Air Traffic Control Tower manager. At least it wasn’t “Darth” in the tower today (he was controlling ground).

“Darth,” however, is a subject for a whole ‘nother set of stories.


0.5 solo hours! w007!

Also, Marcus says I’m the most confident solo student yet (Lonnie and Travis were scared shitless while I was like an old pro) “Why couldn’t you fly like that on your stage check with Cody?” Why indeed. d0ub13 w007!

3 requirements down: FAA Written, Stage 1 Check, First Solo. 7r1p13 w007!

Things of note:
1. Helicopters behave much differently when you solo.
2. There is a reason for the minimum solo pilot weight. You will find this out by looking at my weight and balance for the flight.
3. Bring ankle weights for next flight.

Photos to come.

First Solo!

Also on:

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 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….