Collected wisdom of a 100-hour pilot

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by GreatLakesFlying, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. GreatLakesFlying

    GreatLakesFlying Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2018
    Messages:
    226
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Leo
    A year ago I earned my PPL. Since then I've been trying to make up for all the time I lost waiting to become a pilot. I logged 100 hours as PIC (55 of them solo), 322 takeoffs -- and, in case you are wondering, an equal number of landings.

    What did I learn in the past year? What am I looking forward to learning in the year ahead? Here's my collected wisdom for the benefit of mankind.
    • Warn passengers about landings, if it's their first time in a small airplane. I describe landings as going over a speed bump at 30 mph -- or, for Chicago residents, as doing 50 mph on Lake Shore Drive after a heavy season of snow plowing and before the potholes get fixed.

    • Hair product and headphones don't work together. Don't ask how I know. Just don't.

    • Tell passengers that throttling down is necessary for landing. I had a couple of passengers who panicked as I pulled the throttle back in the pattern.

    • Warn passengers about crosswind landings, lest they freak out by the yoke turned left or right to lower the wing.

    • When I have a friend flying with me for the first time and once we are cruising, I pull a large bolt from the pocket of my kneeboard and I ask "hey, can you find where this fell from?"

    • Having read one too many stories about lost logbooks, I photograph mine everytime I fill a page worth of entries. I now have nearly 11 photos of my logbook's cover though I am not sure what to do with them if I lose the darn thing.

    • I pre-fly the aircraft as if I am observed by a DPE observed by an FAA inspector. No matter how much I trust my FBO, their aircraft are flown by other renters as well. We are all human, we all make mistakes. So far I've caught a tire damaged by excessive braking and a dead bird in the air intake.

    • I post-fly the aircraft as well, just to make sure I did not hit anything big or damaged a tire by braking too hard, or that I have not left any personal belongings behind. (I have a "before leaving airport" checklist to make sure I do not forget cameras, USB cables, headphones, or that bolt I use to terrify passengers with).

    • Flying through very busy airspace is not as intimidating as I thought. I call for Flight Following and it helps. I am grateful for the service. My airport (06C) is known for its awesome restaurant -- Pilot Pete's. It is a small, single runway, pilot-controlled field just west of KORD. Its elevation is 801, TPA is 1601, the Bravo shelf on top of the airport is at 1900, and the surface sector of that Bravo is 3 miles to the east. Just 8 miles to the southwest there is KDPA's Delta, and to the southeast, we have KMDW's Charlie. It's tight, busy airspace but manageable and ATC helps a lot.

    • When the frequency is not terribly congested, I always thank the controller. Yeah, they are doing their job, yes I am a taxpayer, but I can't stretch how much I appreciate ATC services. So Ps and Qs, whenever possible.

    • Refresh skills: often, when I fly solo over the countryside northwest of Chicago and past the Bravo space, I would advise ATC, make a couple of clearing turns, and practice slow flight, power-on/off stalls, and steep turns. I practice crosswind landings whenever possible. I perform every landing as a short-field landing because this was the most challenging task for me at the checkride. Every 15 hours of solo, I go up with my CFI for an hour to practice emergency landings, unusual attitudes, plus whatever else he throws at me. It's the best $40/hr I get to pay towards my continuing education as a pilot.

    • Improve skills: video-recording my flights has helped me to identify areas for improvement. For example, I noticed that I often opened a transmission with an "and", e.g., "And Waukegan tower, ...". Or that I kept touching down left-of-centerline. I've made a list of improvements that I am working trough every-time I fly. My use of "and" has been reduced to less than 10% of the transmissions and more than half my landings now are on centerline.

    • Read: I read about aviation history and technology, aviation policy, but I also re-read/browse the AIM, PHAK, AFH, the POHs and ADs for the planes I fly, FAA circulars, etc. There are some PoA members that are a fountain of knowledge, and I enjoy reading them.

    • Watch: There are a few Youtube channels that are awesome. I like Mr. Aviation 101 and FlightChops a lot. @Radar Contact's channel makes ATC more personable, and the videos are fun to watch. Suggestions for other informative aviation-related Youtube channels are always welcome.
    What am I aiming for in the year to come: IFR training and a few more cinnamon-apple donuts at KJVL. I hope to find a flying buddy, someone based near 06C to share flying with. And maybe begin contemplating membership to a club or an airplane partnership.

    I joined PoA in March of 2018 in desperation, because I was getting nowhere with my old flying school. Many of you were incredulous at my story, but thanks to the feedback I got here I moved on and crossed the finish line. Thanks, PoA.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  2. kaiser

    kaiser Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2019
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Schaumburg, IL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    kaiser
    I love our airspace! - even when I'm directed to line up on a 3 mile final #5 to land (I'm a student out of KDPA)
     
    Avi8or2012 and GreatLakesFlying like this.
  3. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,447
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    RyanShort1
    LOL! Try flying EVERY landing with passengers as a bit of a "soft field" landing - try to reduce the sink rate before the wheels touch!
    Maybe reduce throttle more gradually?
     
  4. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2014
    Messages:
    1,891
    Location:
    NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    exncsurfer
    @GreatLakesFlying ,

    Congrats on your one year flyiversary.

    A couple more youtube channels you might like,

    bush planes:
    Corey Robin, his 'fly with me friday' episodes are my faves:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPMLBO8JzvBjy3N-hZcFWDQ
    Trent Palmer, he is a pro drone film maker who flies for fun and makes high quality videos:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4SXMZsFPZMFN5-3UuF-k6w

    steveo, if you like watching someone fly turboprops IFR mostly, he is pretty good at keeping it interesting
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT4l4ov0PGeZ7Hrk_1i-5Ug

    Swayne Martin, videos from private pilot fun flights to his progression into professional flying jobs in Hawaii and now a regional airline.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVT_dmXuWdhwrkuqPG3pFQg
     
    GreatLakesFlying and Sinistar like this.
  5. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    5,597
    Location:
    KFAR
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Priyo
    Great write up. Thanks for sharing
     
  6. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2016
    Messages:
    3,109
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brad
  7. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2016
    Messages:
    3,109
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brad
    Congratulations!!!! That first year goes fast. Sounds like you are having an awesome time.

    I am closing in on about 1.5yrs since PPL and about 40 passengers so far. I can't once recall describing the landing. Maybe I should be? If I manage to thump it down I'll probably let out a grumble and then ask how they are doing after we clear the runway. I always give a takeoff brief. During arrival I always explain why we do the pattern and mention that if things aren't lined up right we'll just go around and do it again. I guess I want to downplay the landing so I can get in my zone. Curious now what others tell passengers prior to landing (other than the seatbelt should be on, which it always is).
     
    GreatLakesFlying likes this.
  8. Cluemeister

    Cluemeister Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2015
    Messages:
    767
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cluemeister
    I don't say anything about the landing, as most of the time I take passengers it's on a calm evening or early morning. I do describe every change just prior to doing it. "We're going to take a left turn here", or "I'll begun to pull back power here." Also, if my avionics make a sound, I let them know what that signal means.

    They appreciate the information, and hopefully it minimizes the concern that a certain sound or motion is bad news.
     
  9. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    7,483
    Location:
    Vail, Arizona
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Timbeck2
    I always try to fly as if I have a pyramid of wine glasses stacked up in the back.

    Of course it doesn't always work, but I try.
     
  10. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    12,984
    Location:
    high desert NM
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    Especially make sure they know that the stall horn sounding off right before the touchdown is normal.
     
  11. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Messages:
    4,696
    Location:
    Eclectic, AL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Hank
    With much of a crosswind, say "watch this--I'm gonna land on just the left wheel!"

    And after taking friends to dinner at a sleepy airport, say "look out there" then turn on the lights . . . .
     
    GreatLakesFlying and LongRoadBob like this.
  12. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,451
    Location:
    Basra, Iraq
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katamarino
    Top marks for the bolt of terror.

    I had a small bolt fall out from under my panel and land on my foot while flying, for real. My mechanic said it probably wasn't important. I later discovered my nav lights had stopped working.
     
  13. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    7,483
    Location:
    Vail, Arizona
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Timbeck2
    More impressive from the air. I have first hand experience that is isn't so much on the ground.

    Me: Watch this <click, click, click, click, click, click, click>
    Daughter #2: What?
    Me: The lights came on. Did you see it?
    Daughter #2: No. What lights? How long until we can get some heat in here?
    Me: <sigh> It'll be a few minutes. Chandler traffic, Cherokee taxiing from parking to runway four left, departing to the South. Chandler.
     
  14. jaymark6655

    jaymark6655 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Messages:
    332
    Location:
    Bedford, IN
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    jaymark6655
    Don't trust the FBO, I did a preflight a plane once and it turned out they just finished replacing the rudder and forgot to safety wire the control cables were they connected to an adjustment clevis.
    For the log book, I built an Excel backup instead of taking pictures.
     
  15. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Messages:
    4,696
    Location:
    Eclectic, AL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Hank
    Just the opposite when I did it. They asked how I was going to find the runway in the dark, and I just clicked the radio, bringing up all of those beautiful blue lights. Quite the positive reaction from my dinner guests.
     
    Zeldman and Eric Stoltz like this.
  16. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Messages:
    2,799
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SoCal RV Flyer
    I always tell my new pax that on takeoff the plane will "wheelie" from about 38 kts to rotation at 60 kts...SOP in a Vans -9A, but it unsettles some folks. Also I give 'em a heads up about the yaw required to stay over the runway centerline. Little things, but the more they know what to expect, the lower the anxiety.

    I always save the "Cheated death yet again!" for the taxi back to the hangar. :D
     
    TipTanks and GreatLakesFlying like this.
  17. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    964
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Andrew Sarangan, CFII
    Unless you have to make a short field landing, there is nothing wrong with carrying a tiny bit of power to extend the flare and soften the landing.
     
  18. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    5,597
    Location:
    KFAR
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Priyo
    Mine is simple. - shut the F up and dont touch anything. No wonder I don’t get repeat pax
     
  19. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Messages:
    4,696
    Location:
    Eclectic, AL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Hank
    Throttle to idle when I know I have the field made. But I do warn pax to not talk to me while taking off and landing.
     
    Huckster79 likes this.
  20. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    5,638
    Location:
    A Rubber Room
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    “Landings are like going over a speed bump at 30 mph”? You really need to work on those landings.
     
    Huckster79, Rgbeard, 1RTK1 and 2 others like this.
  21. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2018
    Messages:
    2,312
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Juliet Hotel
    I always ask pax if they've ever flown in a small airplane before. Then I talk about how the plane is much lighter than an airliner and therefore they will feel more movement than they would on an airliner. They will feel any turbulent air more than they do on a jet. The turns may seem steeper than they do on a jet even though they aren't any steeper. And even though the air may cause the plane to react more (bumps and g-forces) the plane will not lose control and will not fall out of the sky.

    Also don't scare the pax. Don't joke about loose bolts or strange noises or anything of that nature. Those jokes aren't funny. First time I took my wife up in a Steerman I said hey the engine sure does sound weird today and then I turned on the airshow smoke. I thought that was hilarious. My wife, not so much. Don't scare the pax.
     
    Ghery, GRG55, mcdewey and 3 others like this.
  22. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,370
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jacker
    Full ones, or ones you emptied during the flight?
     
    WannFly and Zeldman like this.
  23. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2012
    Messages:
    4,394
    Location:
    Hopewell Jct, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Shepherd
    Leo: To back up my logbook, I use "Flight Log". It's free, it syncs with Dropbox and Google (probably other stuff), and all my devices.
    If I need a paper or electronic copy for Avemco, I can print up a copy or send them a digital copy.
    Every time I fill up a page, I download a new copy to DropBox and delete the older version.
     
    GreatLakesFlying likes this.
  24. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Messages:
    6,632
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Unit74
    We would do well together.
     
    WannFly likes this.
  25. ETres

    ETres Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Messages:
    611
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ETres
    Good stuff, OP! Thx for posting.
     
  26. GreatLakesFlying

    GreatLakesFlying Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2018
    Messages:
    226
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Leo
    Your tower controllers keep me on my toes and they have a sense of humor! Last week I was flying back from C73 and decided to make a few touch-and-goes at DuPage.

    10 miles out: Diamond 6US, enter midfield right downwind 20R.

    6 miles out: Diamond 6US disregard, fly over the tower, enter left downwind 20L.

    While on left downwind 20L: Diamond 6US extend downwind expect left base 20R, I'll call it.

    A few minutes later he called my left base and cleared me for the option on 20R. I joked that I could continue on left base for 20R to left downwind for 10, he came back laughing telling me not to tempt him.
     
  27. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    2,690
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ircphoenix
    That IS hilarious!
     
  28. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2016
    Messages:
    977
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ryan Ferguson 1974
    Exposure seems to make a big difference -- like everything else in aviation. The more you do it, the less intimidating it becomes.

    This is why I'm a big fan of pilots learning tailwheel and aerobatic flying. Their confidence in the airplane, and themselves, really soars.
     
    GreatLakesFlying likes this.
  29. Stephen Shore

    Stephen Shore Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2017
    Messages:
    333
    Location:
    Longview, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    sshore
    Good write up.

    I really don't take many passengers up - just a fairly stagnant list of family and co-workers (plane is flown for business). I pretty much just ask if they have any issues with motion sickness in cars, boats, etc. I have found that if they aren't subject to motion sickness in any other environment then they probably will be fine flying.

    I don't do the jokes - definitely not a good thing to do in my opinion. I would not want to be out on a small boat in the ocean and the Captain joke to me that we have a hole in the hull and we're about to sink.
     
  30. TipTanks

    TipTanks Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2018
    Messages:
    199
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    TipTanks
    Typically ask if they have been in a small plane before... "No"... "Yeah me either, I guess we can figure it out together" :) or
     
  31. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2018
    Messages:
    2,312
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Juliet Hotel
    Took my wife up in a 172 on our first date. Tower cleared us for takeoff. I asked her if she was ready for what was about to happen. She asked 'am I going to die?' As I'm going to the firewall with the throttle I said 'Of course you're going to die. But probably not today.' She married me anyway. o_O
     
    TipTanks, Sinistar, NHWannabe and 2 others like this.
  32. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    7,483
    Location:
    Vail, Arizona
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Timbeck2

    After I empty them, I have to fill them back up with another substance a little later...so yes and no.
     
    LongRoadBob likes this.
  33. kaiser

    kaiser Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2019
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Schaumburg, IL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    kaiser
    One particularly busy day at DPA in the pattern for me ... they were calling not only my base, but crosswind and downwind turns too. When they operate on the parallels, I often expect to side step - loads of bigger traffic in and out of there.

    I do agree they are fantastic controllers and I’m happy to be learning here.
     
  34. avi8tor

    avi8tor Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2014
    Messages:
    24
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    avi8tor
    Glad to hear the controllers at DPA are better now. 20 years ago they weren’t that great
     
  35. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,370
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jacker
    As long as they are filled, I guess that is the main thing. :)
     
  36. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    12,984
    Location:
    high desert NM
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    TMI... :lol::lol:
     
  37. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    8,134
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    That's not the issue. Some passengers are often sightseeing and react to the audible change in engine RPM...even if it's just 1" of MP or 100 RPM. They immediately assume there's a problem with the engine and its going to quit. Years ago my GF, now wife, was on her first flight with me. She's always a bit nervous, even in a Boeing. She was looking out the right side window when I took just a wee bit of RPM off to slow the plane. Almost had to peel her off the headliner despite the seatbelt, LOL.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  38. Captain Larry

    Captain Larry Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2013
    Messages:
    16
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Larry Nelson
    Liked your bolt story....going to steal that one. Congrats on your milestone.

    When I am flying with some folks and have my thermos of coffee with me, I always offer to share. After the coffee is consumed, someone will always ask "what do you do if you have to go to the bathroom?".......I always reply "I just use the thermos"......
     
  39. charheep

    charheep Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013
    Messages:
    781
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    charheep
    DPA and ARR have some very patient controllers. They must to deal with me. On my first passenger flights I go around the plane and tell them anything that might worry them, like me draining the sumps, checking fuel and oil. Then in the plane any changes to the engine noise or sounds (gear, flaps, prop) I give a warning beforehand. They really dont know whats going on and usually judge things on sound. Thankfully the Bonanza makes almost any crappy landing seem good, so that makes me look good. And I always ask them while taxiing if they are ok. And right after run-up I give them a solid genuine out. If they seem ok by then, its wheels-up.
     
  40. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    25,358
    Location:
    Michigan
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ed Frederick
    100 hr wisdom? *laughs*
    "you don't get to have opinions until you have 20,000 hours"

    - 121'ers on this board
     
    WannFly likes this.