Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Red Knight 263 solo

Today I had my initial solo. Man, flying solo is a beautiful thing. No brief, just get a plane, hop in and fly away. A real feeling of empowerment. I mean this are naval aircraft, not some little Cessna or something. My call sign was Red Knight 263 solo. My squadron is known as the Red Knights and 263 is the tail number of the plane I flew. Solo, means just that, I am a solo so get out of the way.

It was really cold out there on the flight line this morning pre-flighting the plane. But it could not have been a nicer day to solo. It was as clear as it can get with only moderate winds. The entire time it just felt right. No one distracting me in the back, only the plane and me. 

For our initial solo, we are pretty much allowed to do nothing. Just fly around drilling holes in the sky as we call it (think about the prop) and then get 4 touch n goes. We are not allowed to perform any of the maneuvers we have learned up to this point. So, at first I wanted to go straight to the airport and get the touch n goes over with but nobody was there, so that plan was a bust. So I just climbed to the area ceiling of 9,000 ft and glided down. I was testing whether the plane's decent rate was same as printed in the books with the plane in simulated feather. (feather is when the prop is not creating any thrust or causing drag) It says that we are supposed to get 6-800 ft/min decent at 100 kts in feather, I was not able to get near that, so I think they are lying to us. My best was about 1,000 ft/min. So after three tries of getting a good decent rate, I tried to see if the airport was open yet. Nope, so I decided to test my trimming skills. So I flew circles in the sky without touching the stick or rudders for as long as I could with out slowing down or descending. I could definitely go for a few minutes but eventually the aircraft is gonna change something. Oh well, maybe the airport is open now. Nope. Well now what do I do? How bout some more circles. No, this time with positive g's. Yeah, that was fun. Is the airport open yet, nope. So after listening to all the chatter on the radio and some more circles, eventually the airport opened and I did some landings. Only 4 though. I had to hurry though because I am only supposed to be up for only a certain amount of time, in this case, an hour and a half. The landings were uneventful, a tough crosswind but nothing too terrible. On my first landing a dog or something ran across the runway at the other end. That was exciting. 

Well, after some landings time to go home. It is a long ways. To fly from area 1 to the runway they were landing at Whiting is about as twice as long as going to the reciprocal runway. 

Lower Alabama, it is now safe to come out of your homes, Red Knight 263 solo is safe on the deck. (notice the Navy term, I have become so cultured)

Happy Thanksgiving.

Chris

1 comment:

Dad said...

Got your text, Chris...congrats!

Glad it went well...you're coming into your element!

Have a great T-Giving w/ Uncle A...