Sunday, December 22, 2013
During training I discovered that - just as it happens to be when driving a car - one gets easily used to the "art" of flying: an engine power setting is no longer nervously looked after but just heard (and finetuned), it doesn't almost require any effort to trim for straight and level and just sit back and relax, ATC is like your second mother tongue, etc. However, a good flight instructor should be aware of the mistakes made in the earliest stages of a professional pilot's career. And that's what I was trained for during the 160+ hours of both practical & theoretical training I received from pro's. If I tell you "30hrs of VFR-training" and combine that statement with "Belgian meteo"... you will immediately make the link to "far more than average time required to finish such training". Flight cancellations and marginal weather than smooth weather & good outside references for like 60% of the year? Affirm thát! Although, that's what I have had for the last 8 months. However, it has been worth the patience. Only a few weeks after obtaining my EASA Flight Instructor Licence, I found myself aboard a triple-7 inbound Phoenix, AZ. It might not be my final destination but for at least the next 2 years, I am looking forward to train young and motivated guys and girls towards high level & quality standards they will need in their future careers as airline pilots. I still remember myself, staring at the wall maps & floor globe during geography classes... dreaming about how it would be to fly over vast & remote areas, how I admired those captains out there that started their career teaching pilots in the USA... and look where that all ends up for me so many years later. But before I forget: first things first. I am currently in my small office somewhere in what used to be the Arizona Desert about 100 years ago, studying hard to obtain all FAA ratings needed to be able to instruct over American territory. Next step will be obtaining my CPL & IR ratings, both preceded by a few theoretical tests as well as some local & crosscountry dual & solo flying.
Friday, June 21, 2013
I remember quite well a sunny summer's day in 2010... after a few hours of cruising in a "greenhouse"-glasscockpit DA40 on a training flight along the coast of Normandy, I finally set foot on what seemed to be - from the cockpit at least - a very cosy Channel Island! However, since flight planning had rostered another crew on the same plane in the late afternoon that day, we didn't find ourselves strolling along the happy people on Jersey beaches. It was more like a RyR-style quick turnaround with just enough time to have the wingtanks filled again as well as our empty stomachs with some fresh coca-cola and a cheddar sandwich. But I left the island that time fully determined: I wóuld come back... and it would not just be for a quick turnaround! So, June 5th 2013... finally me and my crew were waiting... packed and sacked... for a VFR-flight... with splendid weather over Normandy... intense IFR at my ADEP & ADES... I was hoping that the seafog would keep its promise, as stated in the 6h TAF, to disappear. Idle hope it seemed... and to experience that the Channel Islands are as prone to seafog as they are to subtropical sea currents. However, next day, things looked a lot better: CAVOK from start to end, a firm tailwind... in the destination runway axis! As Jersey is a non-Schengen zone, we had to pass customs in Belgium, what made me decide to ferry the plane to Ostend Airport earlier that week. After a smooth takeoff in the reliable PA28 Cadet we found ourselves, coated in bright yellow life vests, soon leveling off at FL45 before traveling across the French border abeam 'Dunkerque'. On it went to Boulogne, next Abbeville (a stable and straight leg, perfectly well suited for an inflight lunch ;-)), overhead the cliffs at Etretat, Deauville... and finally, after checking the ATIS, requesting Brest Info for a QSY to Jersey Zone, where, near St-Germain, we were welcomed in 'posh' English to enter via the Island's Southeast corner, as expected with RWY 09 in use. A splendid opportunity for the crew and myself to have some real sightseeing already on places we would visit the next hours & day. After unloading the "cargo-hold" :-p, refueling & securing the plane, completing the paperwork and calling home to tell them we were all safe and alive... I soon found myself jumping from left- to right-seat steering in the rental car to have some splendid time discovering the beautifull scene and delightfull Jersey Island seafood. I was quite speachless about the stunning panoramas discovered and so happy to have finally made it quite a bit further now than just the coca-cola-with-sandwich at the bar in Jersey Aeroclub a few years ago. As usual... the time to return comes much quicker than expected. On the way back... the favourable tailwind had turned into a nasty headwind... and despite a few shortcuts enroute, it took me about 10' more of engine time to have us back in Ostend. Nevertheless it was a short hop onto the island, sure I will remember it as an amazing trip to paradise! And you, no inspiration so far for a summer trip to the sun? Well, I hope you do have now!
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Friday, August 17, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
... besides some little airwork, mainly to stay current and save some money for the larger trips to be done this year, last months have been quite calm if it came to flying. Nevertheless, last weekend I took the Diamond 42 on an IFR-trip to EDDH (Fühlsbüttel airport, Hamburg, Northern Germany), where I shot this overhead picture of EHAM (Schiphol) while repositioning for Echo Echo Lima VOR. No job in aviation so far after almost 2 years of graduating and spending another pile of euros into remaining current... The longer it lasts, the more regrettable it gets... and it sure did hurt hearing all those lucky commercial guys on the frequency again. If even splendid references & a flawless track through the ATPL training @ flight school while doing a fulltime job do not seem to count nowadays, I wonder if it's still worth the effort investing all my savings into just remaining current... However, so far... the call of the skies and a slight hope for better times ahead in commercial aviation do prevail.