Sunday, August 9, 2009

One up, one down

One week up, one week down. This past week, we started what is called the 15 day program. It is 15 days of formal release (where we are required to be there 12 hours) and formal briefs. Formal briefs are the "hazing" that we have to go through. Basically, we have to sit/stand at attention while we are given random questions called shotgun and a stand up EP. Each student has to pass a stand up EP as a pilot and as a copilot before the checkride. During a stand up EP two students are called to talk their way through an EP in front of the class and instructors at the position of attention. It is really lame and no one likes doing it. If you don't do so well during the stand up, you get told to "sit down" this is kind of bad and it can happen for any reason. Basically, stand up is a pain in the butt.

Towards the end of the week, I just felt my time was coming. On Friday, I just knew it was going to happen. Sure enough, I got called up to be the copilot on what is considered to be one of the tougher EP's, engine fire on take off. Luckily, I was prepared and my pilot and I were told to "have a seat" after some time. This was awesome because that means we did a good job and the instructor was getting tired of us being really thorough.

Another highlight of the week was my first flight on Thursday, aka the dollar ride. Don't ask me about why it is called that, it is some kind of tradition and I don't know the story. The dollar ride was interesting. It is really weird trying to fly this plane, which is basically a small airliner, like a toy plane. We were yanking and banking in the pattern and which is not normal for an aircraft like this. It turns out this is a really difficult plane to land when first learning. When you get to your slow final approach speeds, the aircraft begins to dutch roll. Dutch roll is the result of having swept wings at slow speeds. During dutch roll, the nose of the aircraft does a sideways figure 8 type motion if left uncorrected. The hard part is learning how to correct the dutch roll. After going around on my first landing attempt and probably coming the closest I have come to killing myself in a plane on the second or third attempt, I began to master the dutch roll. I even got the instructor to yell at me for greasing a landing, meaning it was a really smooth landing.

Anyway, 2 more weeks of formal release, and stand up. I got a flight Monday, a sim tuesday and another flight Wednesday. Wish me luck. Also, I forgot to mention, one flight which includes prebrief, flight and debrief, takes about 6-7 hours.

Until next time, pray for SURF


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