Category Archives: Flights

Island Hopping

Cape Cod, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Long Island. That’s what we’ve been up to this Summer!

Lots of flying in the Little Plane with Captain Glickman. What I’ve learned? With all of this island hopping, it’s really important to know where that life vest is. I’m thrilled that Captain Glickman is very safety conscious – and as soon as we near the water, he makes sure that the life vests are nearby.

Cape Cod

It as been a beautiful Summer of flying, and on every journey I learn something. We’ve been using the MyFlightBook app on the iPhone to track our flights, and I’ve been able to see where I’ve deviated from our course. Learning to stay on course has been one of the most fun parts of flying. I’ve been able to “fly” for a while now — it’s landing the plane that’s the hard part!

Captain Glickman is a stickler with the instruments — stay on course, stay at altitude, stay level. I must say that it’s good practice, and I’m so lucky to have all of this extra time (even if I can’t log it) flying.

Flying over the water has been an interesting learning experience. As the weather has varied, I’ve been able to see the difference in the difficulty in keeping wings level out over the open water. Flying where JFK Jr went down, it was easy to see how he ended up going down. Yes, it makes me want to get my IFR certification when the time comes.

The Lighthouse at Aquinnah, Martha's Vineyard

One highlight of the recent island hopping was flying left seat from 5B2 to KALB, handling the radio for the first time in the Little Plane, and flying into Class C airspace and landing at Albany INTERNATIONAL Airport! Once we landed on the runway, the tower remarked “no delay”, which Captain Glickman had to reiterate so that I’d taxi faster and get us off the active runway. Yes, that was a commercial jet coming in behind us!

With all of these journeys, I become more comfortable with longer flights, and staying level and on course. I’ve also taken advantage of the time to hone my pilotage skills. Using the charts and following along with the landscape below. That’s going to become extremely important in the next month, as I’m going to have to start leaving the pattern, and flying solo cross countries. I want to be the kind of pilot that can rely on pilotage, not just a GPS. I want to be as safe and aware as I possibly can be.

Captain Glickman and the N7292J at Katama Beach, MV

I am so lucky to have a magnificent mentor, who has taken the time to teach me so many things. Even when it’s just because we’re flying to Block Island for dinner. Yes, I finally made it to Block Island.

Thank you, Captain Glickman, for teaching me something new every time we take a trip in the N729J! I can’t think of a better way to spend my Summer! Maybe next Summer I can island hop in my own plane? Maybe even a splash and dash? Yes!

Happy landings!

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First Solo Flight in the N55422

In the words of Captain Glickman, “A year ago she came to me and said, “I’m afraid of flying”, and look at her now!”

Those very words caught on video, as he approached the N55422 on Friday afternoon, June 10th, alongside my instructor, Captain Davies. Where was I? In the plane. By myself.

Yes. I soloed!

I’m finding it hard to find the right words to express the experience. Part of me doesn’t want to find the words. Part of me doesn’t want to share this.

All day on Thursday, I was checking the TAFs, and the weather was looking good. First thing Friday morning, I checked Aeroweather on my phone, and rejoiced. Winds and cloud cover looked good. The skies weren’t clear, but I kept peeking at the radar and it looked like things were going to clear up.

Me and my instructor, Captain Davies

As the day progressed, the skies cleared. As I was driving to the airport, I checked the AWOS and where was that 5 knot wind heading? Right down the runway. Yes. Perfect conditions. Well, this might be it, I thought.

As I arrived at SCH, I saw the N7292J taxiing to the FBO. Here was Captain Glickman to watch and listen, just in case today was the day. Lovely to have you here, sir!

He joined me as I headed out to preflight the N55422. Lucky he was with me, as he noticed first the bright green tape over the engine compartment (where I’d need to get in and check the oil). Great. What was this? He got assistance from the ground crew, who came out and tried to screw the hatch closed without success, and they ended up removing the cowl cover completely. This was

A delay turns into a lesson

actually very cool, and as we were waiting, my instructor gave me a tour of the powerplant. All this time I’m thinking, “yeah, it figures I want to get out there and solo and something is standing in the way”. Crap.

Hallelujah in my head when the guys come back out with the cowl cover and attach it back to the plane. Yes, the oil was checked, and the sump drained. And then it was time to go. Yes, there’s still enough time in the day to solo. I hope …

At least two other aircraft in the pattern as we go up and we are sent RIGHT to avoid the traffic. No! Not right! I want to go left! Coming in for the landing, I’ve got the controls. Trying to get over that center line (I tend to drift to the left of center), and we’re down and back up again. Captain Davies getting me to aim to the right of the center line so that I might just land on the center line. Yes. Brilliant!

5 takeoffs and landings and somewhere in there, Captain Davies has me exit the active runway and go around via the taxiway. Explaining to me that if/when I solo, I’ll need to exit the active runway and use the taxiway to go back. Well, after those 5 takeoffs and landings, Captain Davies requests clearance to taxi to base of the tower. Oh, dear. We’ve never done that before.

Once we’re there, he says “you don’t need me anymore” or something along those lines, and opens the door – giving me minimal instruction regarding how many times I should be landing, and what to do if I bounce more than once.  If the second bounce is worse than the first, do a go-around. And if I need him, he’ll be in the tower. “What if I have questions?”, I ask. “You can ask them when you get back”, he says. Suddenly my endorsement is on my paperwork, he has my log book in hand, and he’s heading out the door. “No need to do another runup”, were the last words I heard. Door closed and latched.

Taking off in the N55422 from SCH

“Schenectady Ground, this is N55422 at the base of the Tower, ready to taxi”. There wasn’t a bit of nervousness. It was just me and the plane. Taxied out there with confidence, held at the hold short line, switched over to the Tower frequency. “Schenectady Tower, this is 55422 ready for takeoff”. Handled the radio perfectly, turned on to runway 4 and gave her full power. Yes, she lifted sooner without my instructor in the right seat. Yes, I laughed out loud. Yes, it was thrilling. I was in complete control, and felt so comfortable in every way. Everything felt right, and I was right where I was meant to be.

Climbed very quickly and turned a bit too soon (before the end of the runway), but found my place in the pattern just fine. Every step of the way, every move was just natural. Every checklist just going through my head like it was supposed to.

First attempt at landing: Approach was perfect, but I bounced once, and then the second bounce was bigger than the next, so full power immediately, 10 degrees of flaps up, carb heat in, and level flight until the speed is there and then climb and do it again. Not a good start, but that didn’t bother me at all. I knew I could do this. Just keep going and feel it more next time.

First landing: Approach was good – a bit to the left of center as usual, but the landing was perfect. I didn’t think too much, I just felt it. Found the right moment to change my focus from where I was landing to down the runway. And it felt so magnificently beautiful to land that plane for the first time on my own. Made my heart sing.

Pilots talk about how they are one with their aircraft. I know what they mean now. I felt it.

Second landing: At this point, I was just so happy. I know I was laughing out loud, and feeling the joy of the moment – all the time paying careful attention to my duties as PIC. It was my plane and I was flying and I was happy and it was glorious. Approach was good – getting closer to the center line, but then came the bounce. Let her settle and keep calm, and she just settled down on the runway and we were good. We. Yes, I felt it.

Climbing into the pattern at SCH

At some point there was another aircraft in the pattern, and I alerted the tower when I had the other traffic in sight. Took great care to leave enough space between us.

Third landing: All I could think was that if I nail this one, I’ll have to

taxi back over to the tower and call it a day. Oh, I didn’t want it to end! Coming in on final and everything looking good. Setting up for a good landing and yes, it was perfect. Even closer to the center line. Slow on the brakes and exit the active runway and hold for instructions. Clear to taxi back to the parking area. My work was done.

Post-solo portrait with the N55422

Brought the N55422 back to her parking spot and was greeted by Captains Glickman and Davies, who filmed a little post-solo video (watch the video). Watching it now, it seems that I wasn’t that excited – a quiet thrill, perhaps.

It didn’t really hit me until a bit later that evening. Worth springing for a damn good bottle of champagne. The chance to celebrate with friends and family. A gorgeous flower arrangement from Captain Glickman.

All weekend I’ve held on to these feelings. Going through different stages. Even after all of these words, I don’t feel like I have the right words.

This is just one part of this journey. I feel like yes, I can be a pilot. And, I can make this dream come true.

Thank you to everyone who has wished me well along my way, and who gets as excited as I do about my achievements on my journey to become a pilot.

Special thanks to my co-pilot Captain Glickman, my instructor Captain Davies, my EAA602 boys (especially Captains Sterling, Devine and Cowper), my 99s women, Captains Haddad, Taber, Cusack, Powell, Amedan, Hamilton, and every other pilot who has inspired me!

Most special thanks to my sister. She was the start of all of this. And her shirt was the one they cut for my wings.

Happy landings!

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5B2:NY1:MVY and Back Home Again!

Pancake breakfast at NY1

What a weekend!

First, we had pancake breakfast with the Northeast Pilots Group at NY1. I flew the N7292J there (from the right seat), but Captain Glickman had to take over when we got close to the airport. No tower and a TON of traffic made me very nervous. That, and the grass strip.

Beautiful landing, of course, by Captain Glickman, and then a fantastic show of 2 vintage warbirds taking off one right after the next – and one with smoke ON! Gorgeous!

Had a lovely breakfast and had the opportunity to chat with some of my favorite pilots, including Captain Taber, Roger and his family from my EAA602 chapter, and Barbara (who has a Lake!) from my 99s chapter. Poking around the planes lined up on the grass, I fell in love with the Piper Tri Pacer. It just looked like the perfect plane for me. Suddenly I could see myself in this plane. Yes, my kid is starting college in September, and I’m thinking about buying myself a plane. Oh, dear.

After much contemplation, I decided that I would fly left seat in the N7292J on our flight to Martha’s Vineyard (our little weekend getaway), and I climbed in. Ready to go. My very first soft field taxi, and very first soft field take-off! It’s a shame that Captain Glickman is not a CFI, because he’s the best instructor that I’ve had. It was great fun taking off from the field, and although I didn’t do a perfect takeoff (I didn’t fly level long enough), I got us up and out, and know exactly what to do next time!

Martha's Vineyard

Wonderful flight to MVY, and glorious views. I held altitude most of the time, and the Captain was confident in my flying abilities. Made me feel good. I didn’t work the radio at all (he needs to get that button fixed!), and I still need to do that at some point on one of our trips. Soon.

When it came time to land, he had to help me out. Bit of a crosswind, and I just don’t have enough experience landing the Cherokee. It doesn’t get to the ground the same way as the C172. But I should know that by now and compensate. I will. I’ll get there!

Me and Captain Glickman on the swing at Alley's

Gorgeous weekend on the island, and just what I needed. A rest away from home. We spent a bit too much time in the sun on Sunday, and flew home a bit like lobsters, but home all the same. I flew right seat on the way home, but Captain Glickman told me I was landing the plane. Same issues as before, and not flaring at the right time. He had to come to my rescue and rescue his little plane. Thank you, Captain. I’ll get there.

I need an hour of instruction in the pattern with the N7292J, and Captain Glickman. And I need a ton of aloe for this sunburn.

All in all, a glorious weekend of flying in the Little Plane. Even if she’s not a Tri Pacer …

Happy landings!

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Emergency Landing: 5B2

After an entire month away from flight lessons, I finally made it back to class today, March 16th, for a lesson in the N64281 with Steve Davies out of SCH. I had been stressing about today’s lesson because it has just been too long since I’ve been up in that plane, and up with my CFI. Well, as it turned out, there was no need for that stress!

The weather wasn’t looking favorable, but it cleared up just in time for my lesson. The C172 was in the hangar, so he came out nice and warm, and the sun was shining and it was above 5 degrees (I could pre-flight without my hands freezing!), and I went through the checklist with ease, and even borrowed a step ladder so that I could check the gas myself! So far, so good!

Got in and made sure all was where I had left it. Steve joined me and then it was time. OK. Radio. Let me? Yep! I did it. Schenectady Ground, this is Skyhawk 64281 on the ramp at Richmor ready to taxi. And they talked back to me! Yes! Got clearance to taxi to runway 4, via B, 1, A. And I knew what that meant. AND, I got us there. All me! Did the runup, called in and got clearance to takeoff, and did. All me! Perfectly.

Watched us on the GPS (and looked out the window) as we flew directly over the runway. I’m proud that I’ve never heard my CFI say “more right rudder”. It really was a perfect takeoff. And I called the tower and asked if I could turn left (for my North heading) and everything. Everything just went so well!

Today’s lesson included a bit of instrument work, along with some steep turns. Foggle play and keeping the plane level in those steep turns made me a little dizzy (and I’m still a little dizzy sitting here typing!).

Steve had the opportunity to see how I can be either very smart or very stupid. Had some issues remembering which technology ran which instruments. Vacuum, electrical, static, gyro. Yes, I have read that chapter 4 times. Yes, I still forgot everything. Thank you, CFI, for understanding that I have no room in my brain sometimes and I have to touch things to remember them.

The majority of our lesson focused on emergency procedures. What to do if there’s a fire in the cockpit. What to do if there’s a fire on the wing. What to do if the engine fails. And that’s what we did. Pretended the engine failed! Steve went through the steps with me as I called out the checklist items. Find the best glide speed, find a place to land, go through the checklist!

Thanks to Captain Glickman for teaching me early on to always be on the lookout for a place to land. Always. Steve said “you’re cheating” when I started looking out the window. I replied, “I’m always looking for a place to land!”. Good!

Steve handled the first landing, where we selected a private airstrip and went in (and then miraculously our engine came to life and we did a go-around). We resumed altitude and then it was my turn. You have the controls. I have the controls.

We were close enough to 5B2 (on purpose) so as soon as the engine failure started, I got us to our best glide speed and then found my best approach to 5B2 as Steve went through the checklists. With the engine out (simulated), I had to land, so … I did. Me. I did. I landed the N64281 on runway 32 at Saratoga! It was a glorious landing! Steve took the controls once we were on the ground and then said, “wait, you can do this, you take it back!”, which made me feel great! So I brought us to a stop and we went over to runway 5 and took off back up into the sky. And yes, it was another perfect takeoff! Made me feel SO good to have that down. Really nice. Really happy feeling inside.

Once we were done there, we headed back to SCH. Steve handled the communications on our way back in, but let me fly the N64281 to the ground. He helped out a bit on landing at SCH (just a little bit), and I taxied us back over to secure my baby down for the night!

What a glorious day of flight (in the air AND on the ground!). So good to be landing a plane once again! So grateful to everyone for helping me on my way and for believing that I do fly like a starfruit.

I love it up there!

Happy landings!

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Time off? I think not!

It has been a long time (1 month) since I’ve had a lesson, and it’s not because I was avoiding anything. No. It’s because I was VERY busy.

Let’s see. Well, I had a wonderful day of flying with Captain Glickman in the N7292J, when we joined my favorite boys – the EAA 602 crew – for an ice fly in on the Great Sacandaga lake on February 20th. Gorgeous day, and what an event! We flew out of 5B7 where the Captain keeps his plane, and I got to witness the takeoff with a full load (we had my luggage for a few trips on board!) on such a short runway with trees at the end. Was amazing to watch the mastery of an experienced pilot on that field. Nice!

We flew over to Lanzi’s on the lake and called in to the EAA602 boys. Cleared for landing (we checked to be sure that our companion Cherokee 140 had already landed on the ice) and did a fly over (while there were snowmobiles on the marked ice runway) and then came in for a landing. Video is here for your viewing pleasure. What a treat!

It was nice to have Dean Taber join us in his Skylane (which I actually had the chance to fly last week! Flew like a charm. Man, that things like a luxury car, and Deane keeps that baby fine tuned!). Captain Taber posed for a few manly photos outside his beauty plane for us. Always a pleasure to fly with you, sir!

After a great lunch, I had the opportunity to fly in my first tail-dragger! Fellow EAA602er Tim Devine took me up in his 1946 Champ. Wow. What an experience. Once we were up in the air and had some altitude, Captain Devine let me fly his Champ. My very first tail-dragger! And my first time flying from the back seat. It was so lovely! And Captain Devine seemed to think I did a good job, as noted in our post-flight interview video!

Prop service to KALB!

Back on the ground, I climbed aboard my favorite little plane, the N7292J with Captain Glickman in the left seat and headed over to KALB, with a quick low pass over our favorite blue ice shanty. BUZZ and a wave! See ya, guys! What a glorious day.

Landing in KALB, I removed all of my luggage and was driven from Million Air over to the main airport to catch my flight to BWI for work. First time I’ve ever gotten a ride in a plane to the airport! Yeah!

I think somewhere between there and landing at work, I ended up in the left seat of the Southwest airlines jet. I’ll have to go back and check on those photos. Yes. Amazing how I could forget an experience like that. Must have been some other important events that happened. Oh, yes!

After a few days at work I headed down to the Space Coast to watch the Space Shuttle Discovery launch from 3 miles away and spend a week with my favorite space geeks, the NASA Tweetup crew. Along with the launch we got to meet a few astronauts, watch the RSS retraction the night before, watch the Astrovan head out to the pad. Yes, the launch was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, felt, heard, in my life. Yes. Amazing.

No time for flying lessons while home for a week and then back on the road to the SXSW conference to talk about the NASATweetup. In transit I found an invitation to JSC from Mike Grabois, who trains the shuttle astronauts! Would I like to join him at the welcome home ceremony and then get a tour of the training facility? YES?

My friend John drove the 3.5 hours to Houston, where we arrived just in time for the STS133 Discovery crew welcome home. Met the astronauts and got autographs, photographs and hugs! Wow! They were in space a few days ago! And then had a magnificent tour of the Shuttle training facility, the pool facility where they dive for zero-G training, and a tour of all 3 mission controls. Yes, I was in heaven. What a fantastic thing to share. What a wonderful man Mike is for sharing this with us. Thank you, Mike!

The highlight of my tour was, of course, the space potty. Maybe sitting in the left seat of the space shuttle motion simulator. Hmm. Can’t decide. All in all, it was pretty WOW!

I’ll add lots of photos to the photo page soon! Promise!

Ad astra, and happy landings!

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Stalling … again!

The last time I had a lesson was 2/15. That was a very long time ago. Yeah.

Well, on the 15th of February I went up in the N64281 with Steve Davies out of SCH, for an early evening lesson on stalling. I’ve been through the stalls before, so nothing was shocking and I think I recovered very well. Along with the stall lesson, I got to have my very first instrument-only lesson while wearing foggles.

I love foggles. It makes it much easier to concentrate on the instruments, which I just concentrate on a bit too much anyway. I’d like to think that I did a great job that day. I know I did.

There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground, and I do remember NOT taxiing, although I did take off. Makes me happy when Steve says “seems like you’ve done this before”, because of course, he knows, I’ve done this before.

Had a great lesson that day. Felt really good about the way Steve was instructing. Very different. Very methodical. Exactly what I needed.

Still had some unfamiliarity with the N64281, but seemed like he likes me (the plane), and I remember it being so very cold and windy that day and just not being happy doing that pre-flight in the wind and cold. But, nothing stands out in my mind as “off”, so it must have been a good lesson. I do remember that the winds were too strong for me to take the landing. But that’s OK. There’s more to come!

Happy landings!

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5B2:KGFL:5B2

Thrilled that the Little Plane was back in service (Captain Glickman melted a few cables my accident), I took to the sky in the left seat of the N7292J for a short flight to KGFL for lunch on Sunday, January 2.

Captain Glickman picked me up at 5B2 and got to meet Dale, my instructor, and my baby – the N9883G. After chatting for a bit, we headed out to runway 23 for takeoff. Let Captain Glickman have the radio – I wasn’t sure about landing and managing the radio, but I’ll get there.

It was great to handle the N7292J again. Much smaller than the 172, and easier on the ground. Got her out to the runway, did the runup, and took off (yes, still in too much of a climb), and headed up to KGFL. Was great to have her up in the sky, great to navigate to somewhere.

Very short flight and then into the pattern for landing. Downwind, base and final ok, but getting in close to the ground, I needed the Captain to take over. Very different feeling from the high-wing. Wow. But I want to learn to land them both, and I hope I can have more landing practice in the N7282J.

Thrilled upon arrival to see the Glastar that I flew in October with Doug Sterling parked at the FBO, and so we joined Doug and Tim Cowper for lunch. I had met Captain Sterling at an EAA chapter 602 meeting and he took me up for a ride. That was my first flight ever in the left seat. Love the man. It was great to meet Captain Cowper, and great to share lunch with the guys. Even better was introducing Captain Glickman to these folks. Great time!

Flying in formation

Flying home the pilots agreed to fly in formation, so I was back in the right seat. This was amazing. Three planes (one Glastar and two Cherokee 140s) in formation. Watching Captain Glickman flying like this was wonderful. That was until he let the other two pilots know he was going to “peel off”, and then did just that. Without warning me that we would be, in fact, upside down in the process. It was a gorgeous maneuver and apparently we do have it on film from Captain Cowper (we’ve yet to see it), but I was not ready for it and it caught me off guard. Yes, there was swearing involved on my part.

Captain Sterling headed home in the Glastar and we had a gorgeous re-grouping with Captain Cowper, who flew off in his own maneuver, and we flew back in tandem to 5B2. These are wonderful folks, and I love flying with them. And learning from them!

The N7292J

Back at 5B2, the sky was glorious, and I managed to capture the N7292J in all of her glory. The Little Plane happy to be back in service, and happy to have time back in the sky. And I think happy to have me on board!

Back on the ground, we pick up Shawn Banner for his first ride in the N7292J, and his first ride in a small plane. The sunset was glorious, the lake was so beautiful, and Captain Glickman made the most glorious low pass over the lake (watch the video). Perfect way to end a fantastic day of flying and sharing.

Time to head home and get ready for the week. Flat tire on the car, and handy Captain changed the tire for me (instant pit crew). Sitting in the warmed up car next to the N7292J joking about being special because we’re pilots. You know what? It is so very special to me. Goodnight, Little Plane. Goodnight, Captain Glickman. Safe flight back to 5B7.

It’s OK that I didn’t land the N7292J that day. I did what I could, and am pleased that I know what I can’t do. And I’m always very happy when I get to co-pilot the Little Plane.

Happy landings!

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