From Cabin to Cockpit – My Adventures in Flight Training #10

What a crazy few weeks at ATP!! I am now a multi engine rated pilot!

I successfully passed my private multi engine check ride November 27th. I am extremely proud of myself, as I had eight flight hours in the Piper Seminole before going to the check ride where I had almost forty flight hours in the Cessna for my Private Pilot exam. Most of my studying was making sure I knew the plane’s systems inside and out, and how the airplane operated with a single engine. I spent a lot of hours in ground school and the flight simulator to make sure I was ready for my exam.

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Once again, I was extremely nervous for my check ride, but ended up doing very well. My weeks and hours of studying and with the help from my CFI, Paul Zapotoczny who made me once again over prepared for the check ride.

We left to fly to Gary, Indiana for the exam early in the morning so I could practice a few flight maneuvers. Before my test I had not flown the Seminole in ten days because of weather. I was pleasantly surprised when I finished my maneuvers I was still flying the plane well and remembered everything. The hours spent in the simulator paid off!

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My check ride went very well, and I am very proud of myself. I am now focusing on completing my commercial written exam, and have began my commercial multi engine flight training. I also received my CFI class date, and will be hopefully attending flight instructor school December 11th in Atlanta, Georgia. Before CFI school I have to complete three written exams and two more check rides. I still have a lot of work to do between then, so stay tuned for my next blog! I am hoping to be a multi engine commercial pilot!

From Cabin to Cockpit – My Adventures in Flight Training #9

Hello everyone, and once again welcome back to my flight school blogs! I just finished up my crew cross country portion of flight school. It was a lot of fun, and I am excited to tell you all about my adventures!

For those who are unfamiliar with the crew portion of ATP’s training, this is when two instrument rated students fly Cessnas or Seminoles spending on which program you are enrolled in to various ATP locations around the country. Sometimes students fly planes that are in need of their hundred hour or annual inspections, and planes that may need to be relocated. In my case, the Cessna we flew our first day was approaching its hundred hour inspection which had to be completed to be all the way down in Jacksonville, Florida!

 

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My crew partner and I flew a lot our first day. We began at our home airport, DuPage and flew all the way down to Meridian, Mississippi. We made a quick stop for gas and lunch in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I thought I was tired after a day of flying as a flight attendant….I was exhausted after eight hours of flying a Cessna!

 

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We spent six days on crew and flew all around Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Missouri, and then eventually made our way back to Illinois. We stopped in a lot of great cities, and I felt as if I was back to work again! Due to weather, we were stuck in Jacksonville, Florida a few days and took advantage of being so close to the beach. It was nice to take a much needed break from studying! One of my favorite experiences was landing at airports I have flown into as a flight attendant. We flew into Pensacola, Florida and also Savanna, Georgia. I had a lot of fun listening to the airline crews on the radio frequencies. It was a great learning experience landing at larger airports, and I feel a lot more confident in my flying.

 

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Now that I have finished crew, I am preparing to fly the Piper Seminole. I have almost 170 flight hours and have been busy studying the Seminole’s systems and trying to learn as much as I can before my checkride. I am given eight hours of simulator and flight time before my checkride. I have a lot of work and studying to do, as my exam will be very soon! I am also trying to prepare for my commercial written exam, which has to be done soon as well. I have a short time left in the program, and these next few weeks are going to go by very quickly! I am very excited for what the next few weeks will have in store!

From Cabin to Cockpit – My Adventures in Flight Training #8

Well everyone, another check ride is in the books! I can officially fly in the clouds; I passed my instrument check ride this past Monday! It feels amazing to have this rating under my belt.

I moved very quickly through the instrument phase of the program. I earned my private license August 15th, and my instrument rating October 9th. Because I was moving so fast, I spent A LOT of time studying.  My instructor, Maks Surowka, also spent quite a bit of time teaching me everything I needed to know for my checkride. When I was not flying or in the simulator, we were busy with ground school to make sure I was one hundred percent ready for the big day. We studied how to read approach plates, how to read numerous weather charts (I now feel as if I can give the weather forecast for the news channels!) and everything else there is to know about instrument flying.

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Now after completing my second checkride, I feel as if you never feel prepared when it comes to the day of your checkride even though you are always ready to go! I don’t think “nervous” can fully describe how I felt Monday morning! I knew I had all of the information I needed to do well, but I was still so nervous! Once again, I was awake at four o’clock in the morning to prepare for my exam. I had to plan a cross country IFR flight, prepare the weather, and make sure my paperwork was all correct before starting the exam. As I had for my private pilot checkride, I had an oral exam before the flight, both of which went very well! I was once again over-prepared and felt very confident in myself when I got over the nerves! My hours of studying and practice flights really paid off, and I am still so proud of myself for successfully passing the instrument rating checkride.

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The hard work did not stop after passing my instrument checkride, as a few hours after I completed my crew cross country ground and flight simulator evaluations. The following day, I completed my crew cross country flight. I flew from DuPage to Lansing, Michigan with an instructor. The crew cross country portion of my training consists of myself and another student who passed their instrument check ride. We will be flying Cessnas to different ATP locations around the country. I can not wait to begin this portion of training, and will be starting within the next day or so. It will be a blast to fly outside of Illinois, and have that feeling of being an airline pilot!

As always, thank you again to everyone for your support and encouraging words! I am still on cloud nine after passing my instrument checkride. My next blog will be a lot of fun to write, as I plan on documenting my experience on my crew cross country flights! I plan on continuing to work hard, and hope to finish my commercial written exam by the time I am finished with crew. Stay tuned to read about my adventures flying around the States!

From Cabin to Cockpit – My Adventures in Flight Training #7

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Hello everyone!! I am currently ONE WEEK away from my instrument checkride!!! Time is flying by, and I have been keeping myself busy! The last month has included a lot of flying, ground school, and passing my instrument and instructor instrument exams! I do not even know where to begin with this update!

After completing my private pilot checkride, I moved straight into instrument flying. I almost feel as if I am learning how to fly again. Instrument flying is so different from VFR flight rules. I now have to wear “foggles” to make sure I can only look at my flight instruments when I fly….so that means no more looking outside! I also am able to fly in the child’s, which has been a blast. I had to complete twenty hours of instrument time build before starting my instrument training. The time build was a lot of fun! I flew from DuPage to Oshkosh, WI which was somewhere I have always wanted to fly; now I just have to fly in for the air show! I also flew over part of Lake Michigan when I went from DuPage to Lansing, MI for another cross country flight. In my time build I learned how to pick up IFR clearances, how to fly solely on the flight instruments, and how to land using various instrument approaches. It is A LOT to think about while still flying an airplane.

 

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Once I was finished with my time build, I then completed numerous flight simulator lessons. These consisted of flying different approaches, departure and arrival procedures, holding patterns, DME ARCS, and more unusual attitude flying. After completing the simulator time, I then went out for my flights where I practiced everything I learned in the simulator now in the airplane. Instrument flying is a lot of fun, but it sure is different. There is so much more to think about, and everything happens so fast! I am becoming a lot more comfortable with multitasking, and am getting better with reading approach plates while communicating with air traffic control while still trying to fly the plane.

 

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Somewhere between all of my flying and ground school I also passed my instrument and flight instructor written exams! These two tests were extremely difficult because of the amount of questions there were to study. The exam is only sixty questions, but then there are over 1,200 questions to study from. It is a huge relief to have these exams finished! Next week will continue to be extremely busy as I prepare for my checkride. I am continuing to work hard, and am over a month ahead in my program. I am looking forward to telling you all about my instrument checkride, and what will be up next in my ATP program!!

From Cabin to Cockpit – My Adventures in Flight Training #6

I AM OFFICIALLY A PRIVATE PILOT!!!!  After days and hours of studying, I earned my private pilot license on August 15th!

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I was extremely busy between my solo flight and my private pilot check ride.  After completing my solo flight, I went on to complete solo cross country flights.  I flew from DuPage, IL to Janesville, WI to Whiteside, IL and then back to DuPage.  I flew this route two times for my cross country solos.  Because the DuPage airport is located so close to O’Hare, I was flying underneath the jets that were going in to land at ORD.  The solo cross country flights were a blast, and I even was able to hear ExpressJet on the radio frequencies!  Once I completed these flights, I then moved onto my check ride preparations.  I worked on flying fundamentals such as steep turns, slow flight, stalls, emergency procedures, There were quite a few days I would arrive at the training center early in the morning and stay as late as ten o’clock at night to make sure I knew everything there was to know about the airplane’s systems, the types of airspace, weather, and anything else I could have been asked on my test.

 

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To say I was nervous for my check ride was a huge understatement.  My check ride was completed in Gary, Indiana.  I arrived to DuPage early in the morning to prepare a few last minute things such as getting the weather for my flight, and asking other students many last minute questions before CFI Paul Zapotoczny and I flew out for my check ride to Gary.  Once we arrived, we met my examiner (DPE) and began with the oral portion of the exam.  I thought I was prepared, but I did not realize just how much information I knew!  It was such a great feeling to know I was so well prepared for this big day. After passing the oral, I then went for the flying portion of the exam, and completed a cross country flight, stalls, steep turns, emergency procedures, and then finished with a few landings at Gary.  It was probably by far the most nervous I have ever been flying, and my legs would not stop shaking the entire flight, but I passed, and did very well!  The flight back to DuPage was much more relaxing and enjoyable as I was not nearly as nervous and much more excited!  The great day ended with a big celebration with my family.  It will be a day I remember forever!

Since earning my pilot’s license, I have been checked out to rent a plane.  My mother was the first person other than an instructor to fly with me!  I took my mom flying to Rochelle, IL for her birthday, where we had dinner and watched skydivers for the evening.  It was a lot of fun to show my mom just how much I have learned in such a short amount of time!  I can not wait to be able to take the rest of my family flying in the near future!

 

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I still can not believe how quickly I am completing the ATP program.  I earned my private pilot’s license in two months and about a week!  I have a lot more great news to share with all of you in my upcoming blogs.  Thank you again to everyone that has been following along, and especially my family and instructors at ATP for all of your support!

My training does not stop at my private, it is now time to learn how to fly in the clouds!!

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