Monday, November 9, 2015

8s on Pigs and Other News

8s on Pigs
A herd of pigs is off my wing as I practice
the 8s on Pylons maneuver

8s on Pigs

For commercial pilot (and CFI) training we do a maneuver called 8s on Pylons. It's one of my favorite maneuvers and one I do well. However, for some reason the last few times I went up to practice the maneuver I wasn't doing as well as I knew I could. The last time I went up to practice I had the same problem.

I didn't get upset though. I did a couple things instead. I noticed I'd have problems on the 1st half of the 8 but not the second. I recalled the common errors for the maneuvers. One of the common errors for this maneuver is lack of situational awareness and another is poor pylon selection. I knew my pylon selection was good. I realized my problem was not starting the maneuver correctly on the first pylon I selected. Turning onto the first pylon is difficult when flying from the right seat because you lose sight of the pylon you'll be turning on long before you get to it. Good situational awareness and using other visual cues to identify when you're over the pylon is the key to turning on to the desired point without being able to see it.

I practiced just that piece, picking items on the ground and looking at the things around those items to decide when to turn on to the "pylon". Within 10 minutes I had it nailed. So I restarted doing the full 8s on pylons and everything worked great! For fun I started choosing harder and harder objects to turn on. One of them was a dark grey blob at the end of a field. I set up and used my situational awareness to turn on to the blob and found myself doing 8s on a herd of pigs! It was fun and I was thrilled to figure out and correct an error on my own.

Death Valley or Bust 

Looking south along the mountain range.
Lenticular clouds in the distance mark strong winds aloft.
This weekend my husband, friend and I were going to fly to Death Valley as part of a Fly-In event commemorating the start of Air Mail service into Death Valley. It was going to be fun, and it was. Until the plane's alternator decided to have issue after issue after issue. In the end we flew to Reno, NV without issue. From Reno to Carson City - 18 miles away - where the issue decided to occur. We fixed two alternator issues there within an hour and a half, then took off for Death Valley.

Everything was great until I brought the gear up and the alternator failed again. We turned back to Reno airport and landed there because we had friends in Reno that we could stay with. We quickly found the source of the issue and worked out a fix for that. By that time it was too late to attempt Death Valley and too late to attempt a return to home base over the Sierras. Both routes were blocked due to changing weather. If we had been able to do the flight as planned when we took off everything would have been fine. However, we weren't. The trip was a bust. We spent 4 hours to fly a total of 36NM and travel a total of 0 feet from start to finish.

Other News

This morning my CFI sent the formal request to the San Jose FSDO to schedule my CFI initial check ride. Now we wait. In the meantime I hope to wait out the snows and weather and fly back to San Jose tomorrow in time to catch my flight to Seattle tomorrow night for work. Life sure isn't dull or boring!

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