Saturday, February 26, 2011

Resolution Progress

A couple of posts back, I posted a few of my New Year's Resolutions.  It's been almost 2 months since then so I thought I'd let you know of my progress.

Here is the list I posted, with my progress added in PINK of course.

1.  Get my medical so I can actually focus on going solo :)  My medical certificate finally arrived earlier this week.  Unfortunately, with the mint weather, there have been no bookings available for me to go flying.

2.  Start my new job. My first day of work at my new job started on 26 January, 2011.  It's been a busy month for me work-wise and I've been devoting a lot of time coming up to speed with my new specialty area (Clinical Research Trials in Hepatology). 
3.  Strike a positive work/life balance with plenty of flying! The work/life balance with my new job is great.  I work Monday, Thursday and Friday plus alternating Wednesdays.  There hasn't been much flying recently though!
4.  Complete my PPL this year. I have 2 exams left to pass for my PPL, as well as most of my flying.  I still think this goal is achievable and I am still definitely working towards it.  I will do my next exam on 26 March (I sat out today's exam because I haven't had enough time to study while getting settled into work) and hope to get back into weekly flying lessons soon.
So, that's where I'm at...not horrible progess overall but not great in the flying department.  I'm looking forward to having my head around my new job so that I can devote more time to flying soon.  Also looking forward to flying with Parakai Flying School's newest instructor, Scott!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Awaiting my medical.

After my last post, I was very good and went in to get my PPL medical.  One of the bits had to be followed up, but the doctor seemed confident there wouldn't be a problem and that I'd receive my medical in the post soon.  It's been several weeks now and a call today reveals they are still waiting for follow up.  Frustrating!

On the plus side, I found this cute air plane shirt :)
The design is called "Waiting for William" and it's available in 3 colours from Friends of Couture!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy New Year

Once again, I've taken a bit of a break from my flying lessons. After my last lesson, my husband talked to the instructor who said I best get my medical and go up with out B-Cat on my next session.  This has posed somewhat of a problem as I haven't made the time over Christmas and New Years to go in and get said medical.  Oh well, the weather over the past couple of weeks has been a bit of a mixed bag.

I still like a good flight though and a few days ago on a mint day, hubs and I packed up my father in law's super sporty DynAero and went to Whitianga for lunch.  Well, we arrived there about 3:30pm so it was a pretty late lunch and the food was a bit crap...

Anyway, on to a few photos!

 At North Shore Airfield getting ready to take the plane out.
 Mid-air snap!
 On the ground in Whitianga.
 Back in the plane.
Heading back towards Auckland - so many beautiful sights along the way :)

Since this is a New Year's post, I guess I'm meant to tell you my resolutions...

1.  Get my medical so I can actually focus on going solo :)
2.  Start my new job.
3.  Strike a positive work/life balance with plenty of flying!
4.  Complete my PPL this year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp, Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ. The aircraft were fastened to tiedowns with care, in hopes that come morning, they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots, with gusts from two-forty at 39 knots. I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up, and settled down comfortably, resting my butt.

When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter, I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter. A voice clearly heard over static and snow, Called for clearance to land at the airport below.

He barked his transmission so lively and quick, I'd have sworn that the call sign he used was "St. Nick"; I ran to the panel to turn up the lights, the better to welcome this magical flight.

He called his position, no room for denial, "St. Nicholas One, turning left onto final." And what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer!

With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came, as he passed all fixes, he called them by name: "Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun! On Comet! On Cupid!" What pills was he taking?

While controllers were sitting, and scratching their head, they phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread, the message they left was both urgent and dour: "When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower."

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking, then I heard "Left at Charlie," and "Taxi to parking." He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh and stopped on the ramp with a "Ho, ho-ho- ho..."

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk, I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks. His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost and his beard was all blackened from Reindeer exhaust.

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale, and he puffed on a pipe, but he didn't inhale. His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly, His boots were as black as a crop duster's belly.

He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red, and he asked me to "fill it, with hundred low- lead." He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump, I knew he was anxious for draining the sump.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work, and I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk. He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief, then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log, these reindeer could land in an eighth-mile fog. He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear, then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, "Clear!"

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk, He called up the tower for clearance and squawk. "Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction, Turn right three-two-zero at pilot's discretion."

He sped down the runway, the best of the best, "Your traffic's a Grumman, inbound from the west." Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed through the night, "Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fabulous Flying Weather

Got back in the left seat again today, with Charlotte on my right.  The weather was perfect for flying, if a little hot.  My brain was feeling sluggish at first, not wanting to remember all the pre checks but we kicked it into gear and had a good lesson.

Still hanging out in the circuit, which is obviously something I need to do until my landings are down.  Today felt a lot closer than last week's mash up.  I actually did 4 or 5 passable landings in the 0.7 hrs we flew.  On a couple of them, Charlotte didn't say anything, so I know it was actually me and my decision making getting us down.

Flying's meant to be a fun hobby for me, not something to stress over or feel bad about.  Luckily, my navigation exam has been put off until the New Year and today I knew all I had to do was better than last week so I've come out feeling in a much better head space about flying than I did after my last lesson.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lesson 17

I wonder how I've gotten to lesson 17 in my flight training.  Although it's been months since I started on the lessons toward my PPL, 17 seems like a big number.  And that 17 doesn't include the return trip I did to Raglan with my husband.

You hear people say, "Oh, to be 17 again."  Well, here I am hanging on to the number 17 in a way and feeling much the same as I did when I was 17...a bit awkward, lacking in control, and having little self confidence. 

So, lesson 17, not a great one really.  A 2 month hiatus has not helped my flying.  I knew it wouldn't.

The good thing about today's lesson was flying with the new junior instructor, Charlotte.  She's very nice and very tolerant.  I look forward to flying with her again....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Going Somewhere

As I mentioned in my last post, I was doing a flight plan.  I even used that flight plan and flew to Raglan and back.  How exciting to say that I've now used my own pilot skills to fly myself somewhere for a little mini holiday!

Now, I didn't go all by myself of course.  My husband is an instructor in the microlight class, so he took the title of Pilot in Command while I did all the work. 

We packed up one of the "microlight" aircraft the flying school has on offer, a Tecnam P92 Echo Super.  Now, some of you may be thinking I'm talking about a low performance, open cockpit, fabric construction plane when I say microlight but instead I mean one of these:

You may also remember my post on aviator chic "Flying in Style" in which I kinda promised an outfit shot when I thought I was doing all right looking "casually glamorous" when heading off for a lesson and this is about as close as we're going to get.  It was a warm day out so I went with black trouser style shorts, belted with a brown leather belt, topped with a light weight leopard print cardi worn as a blouse and little brown ballet flats.  Not exactly an Amelia Earhart look but better than my usual!

And before I get side-tracked onto a style post, onward to an in flight photo (where, incidentally, you can see my rhinestone headset doing it's job...)


And here's my husband, moving the plane to a suitable spot to tie it down overnight.  The wide expanse of grass to the left in the photo is where I landed the plane.  It was my first grass landing, and a bit tricky as there is no "runway" to aim for - just a big ol' paddock.

That night in Raglan, we stayed at a nice little bach and had a night out to see the One Man Ska Band, Chris Murray (all the way from LA), and supporting act from Auckland Atsushi and the Moisties.  A great night of ska and many impressed people around when they found out we flew down for the show :)  Just one photo of Chris Murray jamming with this guy Nate who played the was awesome!

In the morning, we were happy to find the plane still tied down, exactly where we left it...

On the way home, my husband was so relaxed, he spent most of his time taking photos of the rugged west coast as we flew along.

I must say, there is something quite satisfying about having completed a successful cross-country flight...and not just any cross-country but one that took me somewhere I needed to go for a specific event.  This little jaunt was quite possibly just what I needed to get back to my PPL lessons.  Looking in my logbook, it's sad to note that my last PPL lesson was on 10 Oct - over a month ago.