Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Today, I was supposed to do a checkout with a student from the school next door, but rain and fog will likely push that back. He is bored from flying the same old planes all the time, and wants a change. Something new. I don't blame him. I spent 600 hours in Cessna 172's and I love them for what they are, but I can't get excited about flying one. They're slow and sluggish. Great trainer plane, but nothing special for traveling.

This guy, and several others are planning to come over here and get checked out on the glass cockpit also. I'm sure that will be exciting for them. I know I was excited about it when I first got in it, and I still get excited. The VFR checkout is usually only about 2 hours of ground instruction and 1.5 in the plane. IFR though, is a bit more extensive. That tends toward being 10 hours of ground instruction, and 5 in the plane. So if all of them are wanting IFR checkouts, that will keep me busy when they come over.

Tomorrow morning, just like all mornings around here this time of year, I stand a good chance of having to depart in near-zero visibility, in fog. I guess that only bothers me for a lack of options if I have some sort of trouble. The actual takeoff is not that big a deal, as long as you stay focused.

The lack of options is why I've actually practiced something unusual: a zero-visibility landing. If I set the plane up at 65 knots and come in on the ILS that way, then I stand a good chance of not even damaging the plane. I've never gotten the chance to do it under simulated instrument though, just by myself, and noticing what inputs are necessary. Essentially, I set it up for a short-field landing, and fly the approach that way. I hope I never have to use that on a real flight, but I like to know I have a chance.

I just found out yesterday that they raised the rates next door. Now, not only do we have much newer planes, but we have lower rates too. We have stayed at $89/hr for the planes, and they just went up to $95. Maybe we should raise the rates too.


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