Friday, March 23, 2007

Private Pilot!

It's official. On Thursday, March 22, Erik, my instructor, signed the back of my student pilot permit, effectively upgrading me to a private pilot. I'm pretty stoked. I have a flight booked later today with my first passengers. None other than Merilee, and Olive or Oliver (we should probably change that name to Zucchini soon due to the size of it). We'll take a flight this evening over to the Red Deer River gorge and back to the Three Hills town. The wind and turbulence calm down significantly around 6:00 pm and I want to make it as smooth a flight as possible. Sunset is already as late as 8:30 here.

The privileges that come with the private license include: the privilege of flying an airplane in Canada (as long as you're type rated on it), the privilege of carrying non-paying passengers and the freedom of being able to get to far off places in a relatively small amount of time. That last one is not always true. Aviation is fraught with many a delay or weather hinderance. I've heard it said around the airport, "Time to spare, go by air."

Prairie doesn't hand out wings when you become a pilot but they do give you epaulettes (shoulder straps). I'll get a picture of them.

So I'll continue to work toward my commercial license including night and instrument ratings over the next few months and the summer. Thanks for your interest in the journey so far. Why not come out here and I'll take you for a flight!?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

"4D" Ultrasound

Here's our first look at our kid in 3D! The technology is great but the images didn't come out like the brochure showed. We didn't end up buying the $20 DVD but we took this video with our digital camera. The technician was having a hard time getting a good angle on our shy little guy (or girl) was hard enough to make out the head and arms, let alone any identifying features.

Private Flight Test!

The long space between posts can mean only one thing...I was working hard on getting to my private flight test. On Thursday the 8th of March, the day finally came.

The examiner flew her little 150 down from Red Deer where she works as an instructor the rest of the time. She's easy-going and reminds me a lot of our wedding photographer, for those of you who remember, always happy and trying to make you feel comfortable. The test is broken down into individual tasks and knowledge areas. Each is marked out of 4 points. 1 is a failure, 2 is a below-average but still a pass, 3 is standard knowledge and 4 is excellent or above average knowledge or skill.

She starts with about 20 minutes of oral questions which was the part I was dreading! If you get a 1 on anything on the ground, then the test is over and you don't go flying. I got a little confused as to where to locate some specific numbers relating to the weight of the aircraft with the aftermarket equipment installed. I got a 2 out of 4 on that. But the rest were 3's and 4's.

Anyway, the flight went great. Navigating, diverting to an alternate, stalls, slow flight, steep turns, instrument flight – all top marks, which was a relief. Here's a photo of the test result. All that matters is that I passed and that I have this piece of paper in my hand.

Next I just have to write the written part and I'll have my license! Anybody want to go for a flight!