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It has been awhile since I have written. But I have been flying and I have flown a few additional aircraft just to expand my knowledge. I have flown the Cessna 182 Skylane and the Piper Arrow, with my instructor of course since these aircraft require an additional level of certification. The Skylane is considered a high-performance aircraft due to the 230 hp engine and
the Arrow is considered “complex”, which by FAA definition consists of the following: controllable pitch propeller, flaps, and retractable landing gear. The Skylane has all the complex criteria except for the retractable landing gear – so for me it is still “high-performance complex”. The reason I say that is – the most complex part of both were the controllable pitch propeller and the additional weight of each aircraft. Just what I need, one more thing to think about in the cockpit with the propeller !!!

 

So with that said, both aircraft were actually a lot of fun to fly, especially the Arrow. I really enjoyed the feel of a low-wing aircraft. It just felt more natural and actually easier to fly. But my big decision now is to go back to the Cessna Skyhawk and improve my proficiency and accuracy as a pilot. So now my latest adventure is to continue my training and get my
instrument rating (IFR). I will use both the Classic six-pack cockpit as well as the G1000 (Glass) cockpit. Here they are below.

G1000 Glass Cockpit

Six Pack Cockpit

So last night I took my first training flight.  In general it was the same as my VFR training “under the hood” but my instructor put me under the hood almost immediately after take-off and once we were above traffic pattern.  So for the next 1.5 hours I flew under the hood with no external visual references except what my body was feeling.  The focus in this training was maintaining my heading and altitude within a certain tolerances.  So we did some climbs, descents, standard rate turns and plain old level flight.  I was amazed how difficult it was, but it is so easy to see how pilots can make mistakes, especially if you get fixated on any one instrument.  Developing a scan and making small corrections is what it is all about.

When it was time to call the tower and head home … I was exhausted !!  But I must say … I absolutely “greased” my landing !!  My instructor even asked jokingly … “who taught you how to land an aircraft?”

My final thoughts take me back 10 years to JFK Jr.  I recently read an article about the things that just went so wrong for JFK jr.  The bottom line is this:  first and foremost, never let the pressure of  “get there….itis” force you to do something you are not prepared to do.  Once you get past that; be prepared and use common sense all along the way.  Check out this book by an IFR pilot … Douglas A. Lonnstrom, PhD., a Siena College statistics professor and an instrument-rated private pilot with more than 20 years of flying experience, researched John F. Kennedy Jr.’s accident for more than 10 years. The result is his book JFK Jr.—10 Years After the Crash—A Pilot’s Perspective.

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