Saturday, January 29, 2011

Moving Day

When we bought our first plane, I debated the expense of a hangar over a tie down. I'm lucky compared to some because I had a choice and without regret we chose the expense of a hangar. It's nice to have the plane protected from the elements, secure, and also have an area to store our plane stuff with it. We have been renting a hangar from one of the FBOs for the last three years.

When we bought the Lance, I was worried that it wouldn't fit, but I took plenty of measurements and it did; barely. I only had about 6 inches of clearance on each side of the stabilator. It was also a little hard to get around the wings so usually I just pulled the plane out of the hangar a little to conduct my preflight checks as well as load luggage.

A few weeks ago my instructor mentioned to me that he knew a few owners of the larger condo hangars that had some empty and might be willing to rent.  Sure enough, about a week later a kind gentlemen called me up and we agreed to meet to check out his hangar.  It is perfect!  It's large enough to allow me to walk around the Lance while completely inside, it has a large, motorized bi-fold door, and the rent is a little cheaper than what I had been paying to the FBO.  I spent the afternoon getting everything moved and now 4RM is secure in her new home.  I am a very lucky guy!

Reached A Milestone - Sort Of

With my BFR and IPC complete, I had an opportunity to just go for a joy ride yesterday. I wanted to cruise a little and let the engine recover from the workout on Monday. I chose to fly up to Hazelhurst, Georgia (KAZE). I picked it because it was just far enough to enjoy level cruise flight and listen to the XM radio for a while, I had never been there before, and the fuel price was reasonable.

It was a nice 45 minute flight each way. Hazlehurst is a nice airport and the manager even met me on the ramp and fueled my plane for me. After a short stay and a Dr Pepper, I flew home. During part of the trip I flew through the shadow of contrail which due to the haze I could see it in the air and on the ground. I thought it looked pretty cool. The pictures don't show it very well.

So now the milestone. I have filled up my first log book! I thumbed through it a little to reminisce about my flying "career". My first flight was on February 27, 1996 as I started my private pilot raining in Hayward, CA. Here a few items from my log:

Soloed: March 26, 1996
Private Pilot: May 7, 1996
Instrument Rating: December 16, 2008

Total Flight Time: 468.8 hours (did not fly between June 29, 2002 and September 6, 2007)
Actual Instrument Time: 56.8 hours
Number of Landings: 727
Instrument Approaches: 150

It never ceases to amaze me how my flight activity grew exponentially once I became an airplane owner. I am blessed to have made all those adventures that are accounted for in my log book. I wonder what cool adventures will fill my new book!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Finally Back In The Air!

Work, weather, and life just got in the way of flying lately and on December 31, 2010 the 2 year requirement for my Flight Review came due. At first I really didn't mind. I got two quick flights in just before the end of the year and even managed to install a preheat system to deal with these frigid Florida winters. heard me right. It's been just plain cold by anyone’s standard and a few times those 20 degree days were the only thing keeping me from flying. Well not anymore!

I spent the New Years' weekend installing the Reiff Standard Preheat System which includes an oil sump heater and 6 bands to individually heat the cylinders. I had this system on the Arrow and loved it. Now when it's freezing outside, my oil and cylinders are sitting around 100+ degrees. Ready for a short run-up and flight!

Anyway, since then the work schedule has been hectic again and what few days I've had available didn't mesh with my instructors'. That changed today. I'm tired of sitting and watching the days roll by so I used a vacation day and got it done! Not only did I get my Flight Review done, but we also combined it with an Instrument Proficiency Check. We spent the afternoon doing various maneuvers and procedures. I spent most of the flight time under the hood while we did some holds and shot 6 instrument approaches; 3 ILS, 1 VOR, and 2 GPS approaches. JAX Approach was kind enough to work us in for 2 ILS approaches at Jacksonville International Airport. My first approach there had me following an Airbus so I kept us a little high on the glideslope and landed a little long, which successfully kept us out of the wake turbulence.

It was quite a workout, mentally and physically, but it felt good and as we quickly jumped from one evolution to the next I felt like I was getting back into the groove. My instructor agreed and with my logbook endorsed I'm good for another two years!
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