Friday, June 5, 2009

Running myself through the ringer

Plane: Cessna 150
Route: 40I, Local
Weather: Clear, 71 degrees, wind 350 degrees at 7 knots

I've got to be brief here but I just wanted to check in with the world about my last flight. As some of my friends who read this blog know, Gina has been in the hospital since Monday. It's nothing life-threatening but could be serious if not monitored closely. She's been admitted for four days now and won't be able to come home until at least this coming Monday. And then once she's home a nurse will have to come by twice a day for at least another week. No fun for her and I'm certainly hoping she gets better soon. Needless to say I felt guilty about even wanting to fly, but she told me I needed to get up and do something for myself after a mentally draining week.

While I've been getting up on a semi-frequent basis over the past two months, it's been more sightseeing and XC flying than true practice. Sensing a need to get back to the basics I wanted to get up and go through a whole slew of maneuvers in the PTS. My friend Mike, who I've flown for a $100 burger and other practice with, tagged along in the right seat for a free evaluation from his own Student Pilot perspective. He took some photos and I'll add them to this post later if he happens to email me any good shots.

I was pretty exhausted earlier in the day (haven't slept much all week, as you might expect) but I took a short nap and had an energy drink. I really am quite a stickler for the IMSAFE acronym when it comes to my flying and am extra cautious when it comes to the Fatigue factor, so I was constantly gauging my energy level all afternoon. I made one final evaluation at the airport before deciding it would be a good idea to go up. The fact that Mike was along probably added a slight comfort factor as well - while he's still a student, I know he could land if something ever happened to me. My game plan was to make two laps around the pattern to confirm I was alert enough. Once I did that and felt safely engaged, I headed off for some more in-depth practice.

We departed the pattern to the North and I did some S-Turns... it's been a while and although they definitely didn't look as good as when I was practicing them constantly last summer I think they were acceptable. I held altitude pretty much spot on until the last set when all of a sudden I found myself 150 feet higher. Then I climbed up and practiced slow flight before going into a series of power-off and power-on stalls. I haven't done stalls for close to three months so I knew there would be some rust to knock off. None were perfect but Mike noticed I improved as we went on and I never let a wing drop off too drastically when doing the power-on variety. The 150 loves to drop a wing in a heartbeat and I'm still a bit apprehensive about practicing them with the engine roaring, ever since I got a real scare the first time I did them solo in that bird. Good thing we go through spin training at Stewart!

Let's see, what else did we do? Pretty much everything - some forward slips, turns around a point, steep turns (hit my own wake twice - that's success in my book), I simulated an engine-out on our final approach into Stewart, and there was a good crosswind when we first started flying that I neglected to mention earlier. The engine-0ut was fun as I came out of my rounded downwind-to-final way high and dumped in all 40 degrees of flaps once I had the field made, showing Mike just how quickly you can make a 150 fall out of the sky. All in all, a successful flight although I'm at a point where I feel it would be wise to go up with Dave for an hour or two and have him give me hell. Extra training sure is cheap life insurance...

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 1.6 hours
Total Time: 106.0 hours


  1. I'm really sorry to hear about Gina. My best to her and you and I hope she's back to her smiling, flying self soon!

  2. Steve,

    Hope Gina is feeling better. Hospitals suck, she'll be glad to get home. Make sure you do a good job as care giver.

    Always good procedure to evaluate with IMSAFE. I know flying always makes me feel better and clears the everyday stuff out of the brain while I'm wheels up. Hang in there!

  3. After 2 transplants I know about sitting at home waiting and waiting for things to get back to normal.

    Best of luck to her and LISTEN TO HER!! If she says go fly, you are Hereby Ordered to FLY!!

    Remember to let me know if you want to do Put-in-Bay.

  4. Thanks for the well-wishes, everyone. She's doing much better and it looks like she'll be able to come home Wednesday.

    Dave - I definitely want to make the trip sometime this summer, we'll have to figure out a good time.

  5. Thanks everyone! I am excited to be home but I'm not allowed to fly so no put-in-bay for me like planned last year :-( Normally I would do it anyway but I def. don't want to end up in the hospital again!

  6. Best wishes for a speedy recovery Gina - and I hope that the no-fly rule is temporary.

  7. Yeah supposedly she's not allowed to fly for 2 months. Lame, but it's all for a good reason. Sucks to have to nix our plans for some early-summer flying vacations though.

    She's definitely doing much better and pretty much back to normal. We appreciate all the well wishes on here!