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My latest endeavor is to get checked out in multiple aircraft so I will always have options when looking to fly and to expand my knowledge. So I am going to get checked out in both the classic 172 and the G1000 glass cockpit.

I had my first introduction to the glass cockpit and felt overwhelmed very quickly.  I proceeded to go on-line and look for training aids from Garmin, which luckily are pretty inexpensive.    I already find the amount of avionics in the Skyhawk to be more than I can use, now with the glass it is phenomenal.   The data now available from satellites and other aviation services make flying quite the science.  Since I am in the field of Information Technology … today I saw the power of it more than ever !!!

So here I am a private pilot and it continues to amaze me how much I either have to learn or continue to get comfortable using in the cockpit. In partcular not depending on GPS and making sure I really know how to use the VOR navigation. I am very comfortable with pilotage and dead reckoning, and of course GPS makes life a whole lot easier.

I really want to make sure VOR navigation becomes second hand nature.  If my GPS fails or if I need to fly a classic that does not have the equipment, it sure would be nice to be confident in all the resources I have at my disposal.  My next flight will be strictly VOR navigation.  I have a great route I can fly – Bedford (KBED) to Kennebunk (ENE) to Concord (CON) to Keene (EEN) to Gardner (GDM) back to Bedford.   This route would take approximately 2 hours without landing anywhere, but I think it presents some pretty good navigation and communication practice.  I think the VOR navigation speaks for itself, and regarding communication, I would need to talk to Boston Approach regarding the Manchester airspace, as well as, communicate regarding the restricted airspace at Devens on my into Bedford from Gardner.

Here is the plan:  be very prepared with my frequencies for each VOR and turn the lighting down on the GPS and only use it if I feel like I have a situation where I feel lost or just not safe.   All my navigation will be with pilotage and VOR.

I finally made a flight that I have always wanted to do; from Bedford, Massachusetts to Provincetown via the south shore of Boston and along the national seashore from the “elbow” north.  I did this yesterday on a beautiful clear sunny day, and of course it was so very quiet and peaceful at 3500 to 4500 feet since it is March and not exactly high season for air traffic.   One thing I can say for sure …. you cannot appreciate Cape Cod until you do this.  I never realized how many beaches, sand dunes and sand bars there are along both the outer shore and Cape Cod Bay.

Now that I have my license I just want to go places, meet people and see so much from the air.   I have made a couple of trips to build my confidence and have played around a bit with Autopilot to make sure I know how to use it and how to take full advantage.  

So now I want to go places with friends and do some fun things.  Since I live and fly out of an airport just northwest of Boston I thought I would share with you some of  the trips that are on the of my list. Read the rest of this entry »

Remember the first time you drove a car after you got your license? Did you drive alone or did you pick up a friend and show off a little ? Well, today was my first flight as a Private Pilot.   It felt very similar to that day when I was sixteen years old.  In my case I took the plane for a solo flight.  I figured it would be prudent to be very comfortable on my own before I subject a passenger to my new hobby.   So I decided to fly to Hyannis (KHYA) out on mid Cape.  This was my first day flight into this airport and I must say it was beautiful.   I took off from Bedford, MA and headed south to Mansfield and then banked to the east to Plymouth and then direct from Plymouth into Hyannis.  It is amazing how small Cape Cod actually looks from the air as opposed to those drives along Route 6.   Read the rest of this entry »