Sunday, 14 June 2015

Young Eagles

Another busy Saturday, aviationwise but very much worth it.  Along with S and E, I spent the day volunteering at the Oshawa Airport’s Young Eagles Event.

More info on the event and the Young Eagles here and here

Expect a few blog posts but for the moment here are some pictures…

LFE totally rocking her Hi Vis Vest!

Planes on the apron, loading up

Marshals doing Marshally things

Off for another flight

Friday, 12 June 2015

Fuelling up

The topic of fuel has a reasonable amount of ground school time allocated to it, because it’s kind of important. We are taught to check for water in the fuel (bad thing), metal bits in the fuel (also bad) and finally the colour of the fuel.

Again this isn’t a fashion item, different grades of fuel are dyed different colours, so it is relatively easy to tell if the stuff that is in your tanks is going to make the engine purr sweetly or blow up in your face.

The Cessna 172s I fly use 100LL grade fuel, which is dyed blue. At a pinch they’ll also just use standard 100 fuel as well (LL stands for low lead) which is dyed green.

Anything red in the tank is bad  as is anything clear or straw coloured.

There are things about fuel that they don’t tell you in ground school though, like the fact that if you get it in your eye that it can dissolve your contact lenses.

They also don’t cover the important topic of pilot fuel.  Pilots run on two types of fuel, Brunch and Butter tarts. Sometimes both at the same time.

For the former it is well know that no matter what time of day they land, most pilots will, when given the chance, order brunch. I’ve been at flyouts where the kitchen has had to send out for extra eggs. 

Airport destinations are not picked for their runway lengths, configurations or conditions but for the quality of the restaurants. Any change in ownership is investigated and reported on at length.  If you run a restaurant at an airport then you pretty much have to consider every customer as a potential “mystery shopper”, they WILL be filing a report.

As for the butter tarts, these are essential. The best location for the purchasing of said baked goods is usually a hotly contested topic.

They are used to top up blood sugar levels (often to near diabetic coma inducing levels), bribe dispatch, make peace with mechanics and a thousand other things.

Either way pilots simply don’t function without them.

Ok, I didn’t actually start writing this post with food in mind. I actually meant to talk about my first foray into refuelling an aircraft or at least helping S

Guess that’ll be another post then!

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Your plane

“my plane” I agree, resting my hands lightly on the yoke.  I peer intently over the nose, realising that I probably should have raised my seat slightly ( a lot actually) but in this seat I’m more used to adjusting my seat so that I’m out of the way of the controls, as opposed  to actually needing to reach them.

Anyway I’m in the right hand seat so my sight picture is well and truly messed up anyways.  I’m in an unfamiliar plane, in the wrong seat and heading towards a plethora of airports I never knew existed, let alone have been to before.

Despite this I’m strangely calm, really not that concerned.  I can see Oshawa airport in the distance. The plane is flying reasonably straight, despite my best efforts and S is more concerned with prodding his IPad than screaming in horror.

E (S’s significant other) is happily dozing on the back seat. So no criticism there either.

I’ve got the airport in sight, S is handling the radios and I’m trying to make sense of my joining instructions.  I just want to ensure that I’ve got the right runway in my head.  S is a patient teacher and reminds me to double check against my Heading Indicator. I appreciate the reminder but I’m having a hard time seeing the instruments.

Nothing is in the right place from this seat.  The altimeter is visible enough, as is the tach. The HI is hiding and the ASI is somewhere I’m having a hard time seeing as well and I’ve only heard rumours of a turn and slip coordinator.

None of this is a major issue though.  It’s probably good practice for me not to be instrument fixating.
While I’m focusing on the airport in front of me, I also spare a brief moment to marvel at how the hell instructors manage it. I mean Bob could tell when that ball was even a quarter away from the centre. I can’t even see it!

No time to worry now, I hand the plane back over to S for landing.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Two out of three ain’t bad

I’ve never made any secret of the fact that airport spotting isn’t exactly my forte. I can’t help but think in the 21st century we should have a way of making airports slightly more visible to your average GA pilot, I blame the local populace for surrounding them with trees, or Southern Ontario in general for being so big and fieldy in nature!

Anyways I was mildly happy that I spotted Oshawa airport. Especially from only 2500ft (the higher you are the easier it is to spot these places, allegedly). I got us there without too much drama, handed it back over to S for a landing and all was well.

The next leg was mine as well, Oshawa to Lindsay.  Should be easy, follow the GPS and there you go.

So I flew, played around with the controls a little, that plane is beautifully trimmed by the way, highly responsive on the controls and straight as an arrow. Unlike flight school planes, which have a tendency to fly sideways if you let them.  An inevitable result of the pounding they take from your average student pilot.

The sky was clear, the scenery beautiful and the plane a joy to fly.  S had the radios, E slept in the back and I was having a blast.

All was great, until I set us up for the downwind on what turned out to be an industrial estate.


I kind of redeemed myself though by spotting Buttonville waaaay before S

I guess two out of three aint bad!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Guess who?

This is the route we flew on the Poker Run, courtesy of Bad Elf GPS plot ( I promise I will get around to writing that review, honest!)

I flew two legs, look at the picture and guess which two!

To be fair S totally cheated and let the autopilot fly the last leg, some excuse about not wanting to bust restricted airspace or something!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Photo time

From the 99s Poker run. Mostly the last three legs, as I was flying the first two.
on way to Lake Simcoe Regional

Lake Simcoe itself, time to climb so we can get enough height to make it over

departing Lake Simcoe Regional

click to enlarge, the train runs the entire width of the photo


Sunday, 7 June 2015

5 Airports in one day!

Saturday was a busy day for sure, as the title mentions S and I took this plane

And did a little bit of airport hopping. All in a good cause, supporting the 99s Poker Run.

One card per airport, apparently Poker requires 5 cards*. So 5 airports it was.

Starting at Buttonville CYKZ

Then on to Oshawa CYOO

Next was Linsday CNF4

Followed by Lake Simcoe Regional CYLS

Before back to Buttonville to play our hands.

* I know nothing about Poker!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Who thought this was a good idea?

Gisborne airport, New Zealand.

Has a railway line running across one of the runways.


How the hell does that work?

I’m guessing trains have priority?

Paging the Flyin’ Kiwi, I think this needs further explanantion!