I will continue to wait until I'm ready and stop expecting anything to go the way I want it to go. After all, a pilot can't exactly control the weather or engine problems in flight.

I flew again this afternoon hoping (expecting) to earn my second endorsement to solo. Alas, no. Here's why...

I flew my instructor to McKinney Regional. Things were great. I did one landing textbook perfect. The second landing I was a bit high in the pattern and had to drop a lot of altitude on final. My landing was good but the pattern was less than perfect. We intended to mulligan and stay in the pattern but we had to wait forever for the tower to clear us for take-off. (It was a great day to fly so air traffic was busy.) While we were idle for 5+ minutes, my instructor noticed the carburetor head temperature was very hot. It went into the red zone meaning we were overheating. But we weren't moving. That was the weird thing. So we requested to taxi to the mechanic area called "Cutter" to look at things. When we started to taxi, the temp went down.

We called the owner/manager to troubleshoot. Turns out there was a plate installed when temperatures were freezing that helps keep the engine warm when idle. Problem was, it was well above 50 degrees today so it was causing the engine to overheat.

So we popped the cowling off, my instructor removed the plate, and we attempted to put the cowling back on. Another problem: one grommet wouldn't go in. My instructor tried tirelessly, I gave it a good turn, a mechanic tried, I think even a passing pilot who was oogling the airplane might have tried.

My solution: tape!

I found some foil masking tape from another pilot hanging out in the rental office and placed it over the loose grommet. Yes, we fixed our airplane problem with tape. (My friend Lee would be so proud!)

Our flight home to Addison was quiet. I landed us perfectly (again) at Addison. My instructor told the owner he wanted to endorse me but because of the high pattern on my second landing and that we ran out of time to do it over, he couldn't endorse me. But he wanted to.

So I go back tomorrow. This time I'll fly with Patrick, the owner/manager. He's been told verbally by 2 instructors that I'm ready to solo if only I had [insert whatever their reasoning].

Tomorrow I will wear two shirts. And I expect one will get cut on the back.

I got my first endorsement to solo. yay!! I need one more endorsement and to do some paperwork to really begin solo flights.

The last few flights were all pattern work. Today was my first day up with (yet another) instructor I hadn't flown with before. He was very pleasant to ride with and did a good job quizzing me. I told him I wasn't sure how to use the GPS yet so he handed me a sectional.

"Can you get us to Mesquite with this?"
I smiled, "Why yes I can!"
I found Mesquite just fine, got the AWOS, made my radio calls to the traffic and did 3 touch-and-goes there.
This instructor said I'm real good at short field landings. Go figure- I practiced at a tiny runway called Airpark!

We also practiced emergency landing procedures.

I'll fly again probably after Christmas, hopefully I'll earn my endorsement to fly in and out of Addison, and then I'll really be ready to solo.

And boy do I have some work to do! I know my weaknesses and I'm itching to smooth them out.

I was supposed to fly at 2pm but the instructor was unavailable so I rescheduled for 4:30pm. Not such a big deal. Except that I worked from 6am to 2pm just to fly in the afternoon. That sucks a little but whatever.

Fast forward- I'm pulling into the street for my flight when what do I see but Mark's van parked in front of his former office space. I caught him as he was pulling out. Rather than being pushy about the $1300 he owes us for classes he had to cancel, I asked him how things were going. I already knew the answer. I already knew what he would say. But I wanted to hear it from him instead of just speculating.

He acknowledged I called and emailed but didn't say why he didn't respond other than that he's "under tremendous stress" and "trying to sort things out". He's no saint. He should have called his students and have been upfront. He should never have used our money to fund his legal battle.

He's personally bankrupt from the legal battle that ultimately bans him from using Airpark as the location for his flight school and plane rental location. Another student of his sued to get his money and another guy went to Mark's house to collect. I was about to do the same but then I wanted to know if Mark was going to be honest. And he was.

I gave him an out. I asked "so what should we do next?" He came up with a solution: he has planes parked out of Airpark that he will let us fly. We have $1300 of rental time to use when we're ready. I won't fly his planes until I'm licensed but I think it's a fair trade. He can't rent flight time but he can allow us to use his planes as a gift. That's legal.

Regarding my flight, we took off at dusk. I did several landings at McKinney Regional, all fine landings, and a very nice landing at Addison. The first half had enough light in the sky to see the ground but the latter half was all dark. I love night landings! I got complimented on my pattern technique (Thanks David!) and was reminded to keep my hand on the throttle more often.

I fly again Saturday morning, and hopefully will get endorsed for solo flights going forward.

My lunch breaks rock!

I did 4 good landings today in the PiperSport. The instructor didn't have to do much, he wasn't nervous or worried, and he had good critiques to smooth out my pattern and approach.

In addition to landings, we also reviewed power off stalls, slow flight and made some lazy 8's for the fun of it.

After 5 months of slouching off, I have some studying to do. Lucky for me, the weather should be crummy this weekend so I should be able to get some good study time.


In other news, Joshua is preparing for a play this Saturday called the Pirates of the Curry Bean. Elliot's new favorite show is Kung Fu Panda, Adventures of Awesomeness, which airs on nickelodeon. This evening he wanted me to capture his new dance moves:

This is a PiperSport aircraft:

I flew one today. :-D

I logged 1.3 hours of flight during a long lunch break. My takeoff was good, maneuvers were OK (I need to practice turns on a point) and landing was alright considering I hadn't landed in 5 months and I was in an airplane all new to me.

The best part was flying- hands down. I was giddy and nervous and excited. A whole pot of grins.

The second best part was casually letting a colleague know I just flew an airplane during my lunch break. His jaw dropped. "Just now?? You were flying an airplane just now?! Like out there?"

I love that. :-)

This is the airplane before we pulled it out from the hanger and took it out:


Apparently my case was reviewed by a LOT of people. My paperwork started at Oklahoma City (OK), then went to Fort Worth, then back to OK, then to Fort Lauderdale, then Washington D.C. then to OK, back to Fort Worth and back to OK. During all this transit my Super AME kept track of it along the way tracking down where it was and who had it.

An hour after I got this lovely piece of paper from my AME, I met with the owner/manager guy at US Sport Aircraft to sign up with them. I will be finishing my license with glass panel, light weight sport aircraft.

Some notable differences compared to the older Cessnas I was flying:

  • all glass panel dashboard
  • "joystick" style yoke
  • 2-seater
  • clam shell opening glass roof IS the door
  • the craft is practically brand new
  • wings are below the fuselage
  • the airplanes are washed routinely

I get to go up Friday morning to meet the instructor and start acclimating to the airplane. yippee!!

I'm going to get my Medical Certificate!!!!

My Super AME called to say the FAA approved of my case. I'll go to the doc's office tomorrow afternoon to fill out another examination form and then walk out with my certificate.

I am grinning ear to ear!

tr[repeat=happy dance]

Now to get back in the air. Details to follow.

There is still no update. :-( The Super AME has been traveling instead of processing my paperwork. I've left a message. I'll leave another one tomorrow.

We met a new flight school instructor for Rusty. Lone Star Flyers is a small shop with three instructors and three planes for rent: 2 newer models with glass panel dashboards and one slightly older plane with the dials. I'm very interested in learning the glass panel craft as well as continuing on the older dials. I liken it to driving a standard transmission car (which I have) in that if you're comfy with the manual way (dials), the automatics (glass panels) will be ridiculously easy.

Rusty has probably 2-3 weekends worth of flying time left then he's ready for his check-ride. I, however, have a longer path. For this reason, I'm in no rush now to find a new school or instructor yet. I am in a rush to get my medical but it's out of my hands to make that move faster than the government.

As soon as I get word of when my medical certificate is granted, I will pursue the pleasure of flight every chance I get.

UPDATE: I saw the tilt table doctor, Dr. Levine, yesterday. He and his nurse did some tests on me. To everyone's no-surprise, nothing happened. I did not faint nor become dizzy. He concluded I'm healthy and unlikely to pass out while flying. He did note that my heart races a bit more than expected when suddenly standing up, but it didn't pose a health concern nor did it indicate an abnormality. It's just my heart somewhat over-compensating for the distance between it and my brain. (Did you know I'm tall?)

He gave me a few tips for overcoming head rushes and dizziness, such as what you'd have when standing up suddenly from a bent over position. He also recommended I take up a physical activity (like rowing or cycling) to build bone density.

I hardly have time for routine exercise, but perhaps I can find a way to squeeze something in.

He's going to send his she's-healthy-already notes to Super AME Dr. Kramer. I'll y'all know what happens next!

On September 20th I have an appointment with the doctor who has my tilt table test results from a long time ago. He'll do a basic physical exam then send me on my way.

Update: Super AME Dr. Kramer called to say I don't need a tilt table test anymore (yipee!!) and he'll talk to the cardiologist directly to get something in writing from her (phew!) and that he's confident that we can put all this behind us soon.

My next homework assignment is to have the doctor who did the tilt table test way back when to do a brief physical check up so he can comment on my superbly healthy state.

Bad news: I doubt I'll have my license in time to pilot us to Emily's wedding in Virginia.
Good news: The end (of this mess) is near!

I am officially not on good terms with my cardiologist.

I worked with a doctor acquaintance I know to draft a letter on behalf of the cardiologist based on her reports since May. I sent a soft copy of the letter on a memory stick so she could edit as she saw fit ,and I asked for her to put it on letterhead and sign it.

Waited 2 days with no response. I called today to see when I could retrieve it. I was informed that she didn't want to sign it but felt an electrophysiologist should sign the letter after an examination.

Oh no you didn't!

I argued that the letter was for HER based on HER report.

"Have you seen Dr. Khan regarding the tilt table test? She feels Dr. Khan would be more appropriate to comment on the syncope-"
"-I disagree!" I butted in, "I think Dr. Agarwal is the ONLY doctor who can comment on the syncope since it's her report to the FAA that was questioned."
"Well, she doesn't... hold on." She goes away for a few minutes then comes back. "Have you scheduled with Dr. Khan yet?"
"Listen, I had a tilt table test done years ago and my doctor is in communication with the doctor who has those files. So no, I do not want to see another doctor, I don't want to pay for unnecessary testing, I just want Dr. Agarawal to sign a letter stating what HER report states, that there's no clinical significance to the syncope or the septal hypokinesis or anything else. She can even edit it before she signs it."
There was a pause then the receptionist said she'd put it back in front of the doctor again.


I was so pissed after that call. I don't get why this doctor is so resistant. I listened to angry loud music and skipped lunch trying to keep busy with other things at work.

I've got a fire of persistence and stubbornness burning. It's going to take legal action to make me stop trying!

Here's the progress of one week:

  1. the cardiologist to write up a letter - I have the report she sent the FAA (not a letter but maybe it will do)
  2. copies of my physician's notes about my muscle strain in February - got it
  3. copies of "doc in the box" notes about said muscle strain in February - got it
  4. fasting blood lab work - getting it tomorrow
  5. a letter from me stating (again) that I had 2 instances of fainting and I am healthy - got it
  6. a tilt table test with a cardiologist report on the results - I found the researchers who did a tilt table test on me in the past. I'm hopeful this will be sufficient enough. I'm waiting to know from the Super if that's the case. I gave the researcher's information to the AME so my job for this task is done until he advises differently.
That's all the update. I've been studying the PHAK. Sort of. And wishing I could fly. I've also taken to drinking wine in the evening more frequently and junking out. That's what I do when I'm bummed.

Joshua is excited to start first grade in ~12 days. He's begun reading one book at bedtime just about every night this week and last. His favorite series is the Pig and Elephant books. He's also big into Captain Underpants. I've read the first 2 in that series and he's itching for more.

Elliot is excited about bunnies at his school. They're cute little bunnies in cages. Sad really, being caged up to amuse children.

I saw the Super AME today. He did a brief examination and gave me marching orders to get the FAA to stop focusing on my heart's anomaly that has nothing to do with anything. He says to bring him all the reports listed below and then it should take ~10 days to talk the FAA supervisor into reconsidering my case. I need to get:

  1. the cardiologist to write up a letter regarding my echo and Septal hypokinesis confirming that I am asymptomatic w/ a normal ETT - in progress
  2. copies of my physician's notes about my muscle strain in February - it's coming
  3. copies of "doc in the box" notes about said muscle strain in February - got it
  4. fasting blood lab work - need it
  5. a letter from me stating (again) that I had 2 instances of fainting and I am healthy
  6. a tilt table test with a cardiologist report on the results - *sigh*

This last one almost has me convinced this isn't worth it. My 3 visits to the cardiologist has so far cost me $2500 after insurance. A tilt test probably costs at least $1500. And I doubt my insurance will cover it because I'm asymptomatic.

I can sell blood plasma for $200.

I hate to quit at this point now that I've sunk so much money, energy and effort into getting this far. Yet I'm wondering how far is far enough? Is this worth it?

I could sell some of my eggs for $5000.

I've already contacted 2 doctors to get their medical notes and contacted the nearby hospital to see if they can do a tilt table test. They'll get back to me on availability. Of course I'll be paying the hospital for equipment and the staff and doctor for the procedure and write up. It's a 2 hour appointment with recommendations to have someone drive me home afterwads so I'll likely miss a day of work for this

I could sell a kidney for $70,000.

Today I did practice landings at Northwest again. Five landings total, all were great. Well ok, there was that one somewhat rough landing where I flared a bit too much at the very end. My take-offs were good too. I had strong crosswinds of about 17 mph.

My instructor is just about out of things to do with me until my medical license comes in. Once THAT comes in, then I'll be able to do solo flight time to practice maneuvers, tower calls, landings, etc. I have another cross country flight to do and another night flight. I don't know when my medical will come in. Until then, I'll study for the written exam and read the parts of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge that I've missed or haven't visited in a while.

Below is a picture of a propeller that struck the ground. I don't know the story of what happened (obviously I didn't do it or y'all would have known by now!) but some are guessing a bad landing on a single engine plane (like a Piper or Bonanza), or a broken landing gear of a twin engine plane or maybe someone actually bought/brought back this lovely mess just for looks. Whatever the reason, it's a great visual reminder for me to take safety seriously and keep the nose up on landing!

My instructor was right, night flying is really neat! And way less hot. For anyone else planning to land at Air Park, here's a tip: the runway lights will turn on if you click the mike ~7 times and hold each click a half second. So not too fast. We had to do a go-around to get the lights to finally turn on. It was unnerving to get down lower than 1,000 feet with the lights still off.

Another tip: make sure your windshield is clean during the pre-flight check. Left over watery iced latte is not recommended to clean the windshield. :-) Having a clean windshield makes night vision a bit better.

Instrumentation practice paid off in this lesson. I really had to trust my instruments more then any other lesson. Lowering the nose for a landing didn't look or feel the same as in the day so I had to focus more on my altitude indicator for a reliable judgement.

We did pattern take-offs and landings at a small strip called Northwest which is, heh, northwest of the metroplex. My landings were survivable but not inspiring. I was happy with only one landing. The others were rough.

We also toured DFW airport flying over it at 3500 feet. In the above picture, you can see DFW runway as the strip of lights with red at one end in the middle of a large dark area, sort of middle of the picture. If we had had enough fuel at the beginning of the lesson (damn the man who didn't fill the tank!), the original plan was to practice landings at Lovefield. I'm real disappointed that it didn't work out. Maybe next time!

No more flying this week or weekend. I have ground time on Saturday then wait my turn again next week to fly.

I flew my first cross country today. I charted my course towards Bridgeport, TX but enroute we discovered the Bridgeport runway was closed so we flew 15 miles West to Jacksboro. This was my first flight that required a sectional (essentially a sky map), calculating wind direction to get my heading right, and flight details to be worked up in advance. There was a 10+knot crosswind that kept pushing me off my course. And the plane I was in, a Cessna 172, kept wanting to ascend or descend, but wouldn't faithfully stay level.

One thing I learned today: don't forget to pack a drink!!

I also learned how to get my bearings using VOR signals, doing the 4 C's (Confess you're lost, Climb up to get perspective & radio signals, Circle around, Call in for help), and by recognizing land markings in relation to the sectional. The sectional doesn't have minor roads and farms and housing communities that you can easily see. Instead you have to look for lakes, cities, tower structures, and major roads.

Neither of my landings were great today. Actually, my touch downs were fine but my approach both times sucked. Both times I came in too high. At Jacksboro I had a bit of lake effect right at the edge of the runway. At Air Park I was tired and my timing to slow the craft was off.

Yesterday I also flew. I did instrumentation training and looked for VOR signals. It was boring and frustrating. I couldn't get my heading right to pick up the signal- there was a delay in getting the signal. I also flew "under the hood" which means I wear "foggles". This prevents me from seeing outside. I'm supposed to only focus on instruments. I'm ok at it but I prefer to see where I'm going. I don't plan to fly into fog, eh, ever. If I can safely avoid it. :-)

BTW, that's not me to the right.

Tomorrow I do my first night flying lesson! I'm little excited and lot of nervous about this. I have a fear of not seeing where I'm going. This is true of walking across a room at night. Much more so hurdling through the air at 100 miles per hour merely a couple thousand feet up. My lesson time is from 8:30pm to midnight. I'll probably nap and get some coffee before my session. After tomorrow, I'll have over 22 hours. More than half way!!

Last update: FAA medical. I was denied my medical, briefly technically. They sent a letter that said I was denied because I failed to provide requested materials. I called the cardiologist office to confirm everything was sent. Yes, it was. Long story short, the cardiologist receptionist ended up calling the FAA medical line directly to show them what page the narrative was on (the summary that explains the lengthy 40 page clinical report) and the FAA has reopened my request. I will not be denied! so easily. this time. So now I wait (again) for the FAA to accept that I'm healthy and fit to fly.

Here's the cockpit of the C172 Skyhawk I flew recently with labels added.

My last flight was Saturday. The plan was to fly north to Sherman, TX for practice landings. Our preflight ATIS had wind gusts of 23 mph. The takeoff was scary. A wind gust tipped us upward abruptly causing a stall signal and a swear word or two. The instructor recovered us quickly, thank goodness! On the leg out from Airpark my headset couldn't hear the tower. My instructor had to be my ears. Enroute, we got ATIS from Sherman with wind gusts of 35 mph. My instructor called off practice plans so we headed back. Landing was a bit scary too. The instructor did the landing.

What I learned: get weather info of the destination before takeoff.

I can't fly during the weekdays for 2 weeks while Elliot takes swim classes. I'm good with this. I need review and reading time.

I'm alive!!

I landed the plane 4 times today. Twice it was "oh shit oh shit!!!", twice it was damn near perfect. That's a wide range of what to expect but the point is I CAN land an airplane. YES! Now I just need to practice doing it well more often. :-D

I fly again Thursday with a bit more time to do stuff so we may go to McKinney or North West Airport to practice landing there.

In other news, we met with our family counselor on Monday and received instructions to make a very sharp left turn during the weekend. We'll be turning things upside for Joshua, turning things up for Elliot, and trying to hold it all together with toys, suckers, praise and "the treatment". We won't be going out to public places this weekend unless no one else is expected to be there. Hopefully the intervention will only last a day, maybe two. There's always Sunday if we need it. I'll provide details later.

It's Tuesday and it already feels like my week is almost over.

3 takeoffs - I'm good. I got that down.

3 landings- my first landing was perfect! Even the instructor was impressed that I nailed it on my first attempt today. 2nd & 3rd landings were rough and not graceful. But we walked away so it was still a success!

I also learned today that Cirrus flyers are THOSE types of flyers. Apparently they are entitled to a right-of-way that the rest of us did not earn.

Today we practiced power-off stalls and S-curves. We went over far north Frisco for most of the practice. The power-off stalls were done at 3,500 feet.

Here's the scenario: suppose you're going in for a landing and you realize you're too low so you pull the nose up to get lift without adding power. Let's suppose you know nothing about flight (like me right know) and panic and pull too hard. That could cause a stall. The craft will give a warning sound then will drop the nose. To recover, you apply full power, raise the nose up a little, put the flaps to 10 degrees and fly around to try again.

I was ok at stall recovery. My error was I kept retracting the flaps all the way which made it hard to gain lift.

Next we did S-turns over a few roads. My first couple of attempts were off in my timing. I either straightened up before my target or I overshot my target. My last go-round was perfect though! The instructor said it was spot on. yay me!

Then we came in for landing. I did the landing. We survived. But it wasn't pretty. I didn't pull the nose up far enough. The instructor said I was looking at the approaching ground instead of the end of the runway. He took controls at the very end literally 5 feet from the ground.

Tomorrow we'll practice landing at McKinney Regional. I'm nervous and excited.

Today was another good flight. I did take off again, practiced turns and did the landing. That's right. I survived my first landing - yay! It wasn't graceful nor smooth, but nothing broke, nobody got hurt, and I did as expected for a first landing, says the instructor.

As my grandfather said, "Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing."

It was windy today when I flew. Winds were gusting up to 23 knots so things were a little bumpy. I was very happy to be flying. Yesterday it was too windy (gusts ~ 30 knots) so we did ground time, which is nice and all, but I'd rather be flying. Yesterday I learned a bit more about the instruments.

Unfortunately I don't get to fly again until next weekend.

In other news on the home front, our counselor sessions are going well. This week we're supposed to argue in front of the kids, give them lots of affirmation and I'm supposed to stop repeating directions. We stink at real arguments so Rusty picked a fight with me over a sock that landed on the floor during laundry time. After our first argument, Joshua told us to knock it off. Meanwhile I was laughing.

We had our own experiment this evening. Joshua was being his usual bossy self towards his brother so we told him if he was going to be bossy he would have to be Daddy Josh and take care of Elliot the whole evening. He took us up on the deal. He served Elliot his dinner, helped him through the dinner, cleaned up afterwards, put his brother in time out*, washed his hair in the bath and got him out of the tub. Shortly after that Daddy Josh lost focus and interest. He just wanted to be a brother again.

Lesson: Don't act like a parent unless you're up for the job.

*Time out was issued for spitting at Josh. We all agreed that was bad behavior.

Yesterday was Josh's 6th birthday!

We quietly celebrated at home with a few balloons, sushi for dinner (his choice), root beer and cupcakes at the end. His first gift from us was an acoustic guitar. He was thrilled and thanked us several times.

Saturday is the birthday party but I'm worried there will be a lower turn out than we were hoping for. As usual, it's on a 3 day weekend when people plan to leave town and some of Josh's friends since babies are also doing birthday stuff.

Regardless of turn out, I'm sure Josh will have a good time. Mentos & Diet Coke anyone? :-)

Yesterday's flight was totally awesome!

I did take-off, flew us up to ~3500 feet, we did stall recovery and I helped get us close to landing. There were storms nearby yesterday to the west of us. I could see cloud lightning ahead. I wasn't nervous about lightning strikes, I was more concerned about the turbulence after take-off and on landing approach. It was a very bumpy ride. Which made it FUN!

On approach for landing we had a downdraft push us down a bit. We weren't in danger but it was a bit nerve wracking for the instructor. He scrambled to regain control of the plane. We landed just fine without needing flaps because the wind was so high.

I saw small improvements in everything I was unsure of from the last few lessons. Pre-flight checks, I'm good at that. Take-off, give me some practice. Turns, I'm better. Ascending/descending, I'm good. Stalls, give me some practice. Landing, not there yet. And taxi-ing was not too shabby this time. :-)

Something to add to my pilot's bag: rubber bands and hair clamps for windy days.

My turns are getting better. My taxi-ing was better last time. Talking to the tower was less amusing than last time. My last flight felt like a slight improvement. There's still tons I'm not sure about, but that will all come in time.

My last flight was about slow flight. We pulled the throttle way out to 1700 RPMs, angled the nose up, and brought out the flaps. It was weird flying slow. I prefer fast to be honest.

In home news, Joshua's birthday is this week. We've got a few plans including cookies for his classroom, special dinner throughout the week and plans for his birthday party this weekend.

Also we are talking to a counselor to get ideas for Joshua's focus issues at school. It will be a family effort, not just for Mr. Joshua. This week's homework assignment: Rusty & I are to play a game among ourselves in front of the kids but not be engaged in the kids, and we are to sing to one another at random intervals in front of the kids. This evening I made up a diddly about reading bedtime books and got my Liza on. The boys were stopped in their tracks. The idea is to show the kids we can spend time together and they aren't always the center of our attention, and to disrupt the daily routine.

I got a letter from the FAA. They want more information about the fainting and dizziness. So I typed up a nice one-page letter with details.

Hopefully they'll agree that I'm fine to fly. I'll keep ya posted.

I went up yesterday and practiced turns. We did gentle turns and steep turns. I'm much better at steep turns. I practically manhandle the craft by the way the instructor kept saying to ease up and "do half of what you think you need to do."

We also practiced taxi-ing. I still suck at that but I'm getting slightly better. I was also encouraged to talk to the control tower at Addison. It went about like this:

Instructor: Tell them WXYZ
Me: OK
Instructor: Good ahead
Me: What was X?
Instructor repeats it
Me: Oh yeah ok
Instructor: Go ahead
Me: I forgot Y
Instructor repeats WXYZ
Me: WXY... what was Z again?
Instructor repeats WXYZ
Me: Ok
Instructor: Good ahead
Me: "Airpark, I mean Addison, this is 8684Gulf, uh... Airpark, uh..."
Tower: 8684Gulf repeat your call
Instructor tells the tower WXYZ
Tower: Thank you

I should read this: www.austincollins.com/aveg4.pdf

I ordered my own aviation headset. Of course it's blue!

Yesterday was my first flight! I logged 1.2 hours in my pilot log book. The instructor did take-off and landing. I got to practice basic controls like turning, ascending/descending, and changing direction. My weaknesses include trimming, taxi-ing and motion sickness towards the end. I'm told the latter problem will go away in time.

My instructor said I was too controlling of the plane. I was constantly trying to adjust the wings, and rudders to get the plane "just right" where the horizon lined up on a marker drawn on the windshield. We flew near our home in Carrollton & over the NW Frisco area along the tollway and farm area to the west of the tollway.

Take-off seemed much easier than I thought it would be. Landing however seems more complicated. All in all, it was good flight despite I was woozy afterwards.

There is a lot to learn still regarding coordinating basic controls. Only 38.8 hours to go!

I read my old diary this week which spanned from 1994 to 1997. For three years of dates, the book was only half filled. It was very amusing and interesting to re-read my history. There were a few details I had forgotten. I started out writing nearly daily in 1994, or at least once every few days, then interest waned over time and then I checked in every few months or so.

Kind of like this blog!

wow some things never change

anywho... Tomorrow is a double-date for flying. Rusty is scheduled to go up 11-2 and I'm scheduled 3-5. If I don't get to fly, I may cry. (I didn't mean to be poetic) I don't foresee any stalls (a pun!) this time since weather should be clear. According to wunderground, it' s supposed to be clear, 72 and PERFECT! :-)

On Thursday, when I did 2.7 hours of ground time instead of flying, I was presented with tons of engine terminology and aerodynamic concepts. I bookmarked the Pilot's Handbook from the FAA website. Speaking of, I should study now.

We did a "discovery" flight yesterday in the C172 and got the first hour of ground time. There are several flight terms I need to learn more about, and a few concepts I had already read up on. Since it was Rusty & I together we shared the ground lessons but only one of us could pilot the first leg.

I nominated Rusty to be the first one to go. I'm already ramped up and eager to get this going.

The instructor did take-off and landing. Rusty was in control for the most part though. We did some turns, some figure 8's, went down, went up, we did a tight nearly 2G turn, and even experimented with a stall. I was in the backseat the whole time but without a headset, I missed the lesson because I couldn't hear anything.

I took lots of pictures not only to share on my blog but also to serve as a visual aid for learning. According to Rusty, it's busy work making the airplane do stuff. There are foot pedals, knobs to pull out, and of course the yoke.
Lessons I learned aside from pre-flight checks and some basic ground lesson concepts: don't wear a skirt because you can't check the fuel without flashing someone and wear your hair back if you have gobs of it like me. Taking a water bottle isn't a bad idea either. My first flight will be Thursday in the plane pictured below.

Paid and scheduled. We start tomorrow meeting our instructor, going up in a "discovery flight" in the C172 and do our first hour of ground time!

Today was my Aviation Medical Exam. I was expecting to walk out with a certificate that would allow me to get a license after training. But no. I disclosed that at some time in my life I had fainted. To clarify, I have fainted 2 notable times in the last three years and I am prone to the occasional head rush when going from a crouched position to suddenly rising. And who doesn't do that from time to time?

So here's the deal on fainting.

2007 - I fainted after lots of blood loss following Elliot's birth
2011 - I fainted after taking a Vicodin for muscle pain (that was a fun day)

That's it. Perfectly reasonable, right?

Anywho, the doctor who examined me today advises I go to a cardiologist to make certain that my 'history" of dizziness and fainting aren't symptoms of a heart condition. *sigh*

My appoinmtent with the cardiologist on Thursday should put an end to this roadblock.

Sitter: confirmed!
Cash: moved!
Living Trust/Will: in progress... but coming!
Time: scheduled!
Medical Exam: check!

Am I ready? Does a watched pot eventually boil?

Why must the only Airline Medical Examiner under $50 be so darn far away?

I possibly have a sitter for the weekdays and we're still on track for May. yippee!

Since I've begun reading about concepts of flying, I've been obsessed. For the first time in many, many months, I did not want to be at work. I wanted to read more of my book, go back to the school, throw money at the instructors and just start things already!

Alas, no. Patience grasshopper.

First we need a physical. And schedule someone to watch kids for a couple hours routinely. And move some money around to short-term finance this. And finish updating our will. THEN, likely in May we'll be able to officially begin.

At work today I fantasized about getting in some flight time during a lunch break. How cool would that be to leave on lunch break, fly around a bit with your instructor, log your time, then return to the office to finish the tasks and projects.

"What did you do for lunch?"
"I went to Lenny's for a sandwich. And you?"
"I flew around Tyler, TX then came back. The landing was rocky because of wind, but I was alright."
"Aren't you hungry?"

yeah, it was something like that.

Anyway, I am really looking forward to this. It makes me nervous as hell and excites me all the same. That sort of entertainment doesn't come easy these days. I need to enjoy it while I've got it.

No news on the home front. All is stable and with forward momentum. :-)

My new book arrived!

Thanks Grandpa!

copyright 1944 - oh yeah

It's been a while since my last post. Life distracted me. I'm still happily working at FXCM. Rusty is still at Bank of America*. Elliot is at a great daycare near home. Joshua is nearing the end of Kindergarten. Our new cat Isaac gets along very well with Merlin. All is ducky.

*Rusty recently got a new job within BoA which came with a pay raise. We're taking a portion of the raise and some of our spare time to learn to fly. Below is a Cessna 172 similar to what we'll be flying:

We'll start in May and I'll keep to keep y'all posted. Oh yeah, and we still do websites. We have 2 sites in the works plus one more project on the way to spruce up this one: www.dallasairpark.com

Pardon the blog template, it's new and in need of some tweaks.



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