Almost Ready & Training on a New Plane

I’m almost done with working through my test prep process for the Instrument Rating Knowledge Test and I hope to test as soon as I an arrange to get to the testing center. My scores on the pretests from two different sources are promising for at least a respectable outcome 90-97%.

I also began training on a new plane. Unlike cars, for the most part you cannot just jump in another plane without a little training; every plane has slightly different flight characteristics, different V-Speeds for takeoff, stalling, best glide, climbing, etc. The plane I began training on today has a variable pitch prop (constant speed prop) verses a fixed pitch propeller that I used to get my pilot’s certificate, its faster, and also has  an advanced avionics package verses the standard dial gauges I have used up to this point. I purposely trained on the older type to aircraft so that I could concentrate on developing my airmanship with the intention of transferring to this aircraft prior to beginning my flight portion of my instrument training.

When I awoke and checked the weather, particularly the wind, I thought for sure the lesson would be cancelled.

But Not, and in fact that’s what I like so much about Dream Flight School. At some schools they wait for or will only fly in close to ideal conditions; however, at some point and especially once the student has obtained their pilot certificate, they need to learn to fly in windy conditions up to the capacity of the aircraft. Sooner or later even with the best laid plans a pilot will return from a flight or arrive at location to find the winds stronger than forecast. They will also encounter weather such as rain, snow, fog, ice, or a mixture of all. Therefore by training in them and developing stick and rudder stills you learn your own limits, the limits of the plane, and how it reacts in different conditions while you have an experienced instructor in the right seat. Of course it all should be done safely but it should be done. So the winds made for a stressful lesson but it was good for me. I was able to experience how the DA40 performs in gusty variable winds, my last two flights in the airplane had been in calm conditions. We also experienced weather that we knew was present in the area of the airport: rain clouds just a few miles on either side of our flight path. We could see the perception  falling out of the bottom and I was able to experience snow and rain. At one point we experienced so very light icing therefore we immediately altered course and got out of there!

Normally it takes 3-5 hours of training to go from a Cessna Skyhawk 172 to a Diamond DA40. I completed 1.1 hours yesterday and my instructor said one more flight should do it so I hope to be done on the low end of that number. He also said we would wait for the calm day so I could work on those good landings and the avionics package without having to concentrate so hard on the flying part while getting bounced around like we did today. All in all though it was tough, one of my landings really sucked, but it was good to get going again after not flying since December 20th.

I have the sickness, I must FLY at ALL COSTS!


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