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 #5

Eight weeks and fifty three flight hours later, I DID IT!!! I completed my first solo flight! I am so excited to share my first solo experience with all of you!

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I completed my solo evaluation flight Monday, and was able to fly my first solo flight the following day.  I woke up around three in the morning for my first solo.  The winds had to be perfect; no more than ten knots of wind and no more than a five knot crosswind.

Before sending me off, my instructor Maks Surowka, and I performed three take offs and landings in the traffic pattern to make sure I was ready.  I then dropped him off, and went on my way as a student pilot first solo flight in the traffic pattern!  I do not think I have ever had more emotions going through my mind until I was lined up on the runway by myself.  I was ready to go, excited, nervous, and knew there was no going back once I took off!  Once airborne, I was not as nervous until it came time to land.  I knew I was ready for my solo flight, and was very confident in myself.  My landings were probably the best I have ever done, mainly because I knew my CFI would not be there to save them!

 

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I was soloing in the traffic pattern for about one hour.  Once I was finished,  returned back to our parking and we were all ready to celebrate!  Later in the day, Maks cut the back of my shirt. For those unfamiliar with the ritual, the instructor cuts the back of the pilot’s shirt into a rectangle and the pilot writes their solo dates and plane number on the back.  It means you’re “free” from your instructor and on your own!  It was a very memorable day, and I am extremely proud of myself!

 

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My week did not end there, I finished my required four hours of solo flights in the traffic pattern, and completed another cross country flight.  I now am preparing for my two solo cross country flights which I am hoping to finish in the next week.  My private pilot check ride is also quickly approaching, so I have been very busy studying and having a lot of ground school to prepare me for the big day! I am hoping to be a private pilot by mid August!

Once again, thank you to everyone for all of your positive feedback and support! I am continuing to work hard, and am rapidly making my way through my ATP program.  I am hoping my next blog entry will include my first solo cross country flight!

Stay tuned for my next adventures!!

From Cabin to Cockpit: My Adventures in Flight Training – #4

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Sometimes it is good to take a break from studying and relax! Last weekend, I had the opportunity to fly with my brother at Cushing Airfield. It was a blast being able to fly with my brother, Logan, before he goes back to UND in August. I also flew with one of the ATP instructors and my brother to the Chicago skyline! It was very cool to experience takeoffs and landings at a soft field airport and also to see the city!

 
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This past week I have been busy studying for my private pilot oral exam and also busy preparing for my solo flight. I finished two cross country flights, flew at night for the first time, completed my solo preparation flights, and now am waiting for my solo evaluation flight.

Cross country flying has been a blast! I am still getting the hang of when to call different ATC frequencies, and figuring out how to talk on the radio for un-controlled airports. It definitely feels weird to fly outside of the traffic pattern, as this was what I have been primarily flying the last few weeks. I also completed my first night flight. I flew up to Janesville, Wisconsin and then back to DuPage for my night cross country flight. It was a lot of fun being able to see the city lights, and very neat to be able to land at the airport at night!

I am currently preparing for my first solo flight. I am scheduled for my solo evaluation early this coming week, and am hoping to complete my solo by the end of the week. I have fifty flight hours, and am very close to the end of my private pilot stage of the ATP program. Everything is going by so fast, and I am continuing to work hard. This coming week is going to be very exciting, I can not wait to share my first solo with you all in my future blog!

 

From Cabin to Cockpit: My Adventures in Flight Training – #3

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The quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “Nothing worth having comes easy” is the perfect way to describe my last week and a half of flight school. I have been very, very busy these last few days. I completed and passed my takeoff and landing evaluation, completed my first cross country flight and I passed my private pilot written exam!!!!

I was very fortunate to be able to complete my takeoff and landing evaluation last Saturday with my CFI, Mike Roubik. It was a pretty big day for the both of us, as it was my evaluation flight over my takeoffs and landings and his last flight as an instructor before heading off to his first career as a pilot. Chicago’s crazy crosswinds were putting up a challenge, but I am very proud of myself for being able to land the plane up to standards and was able to pass the evaluation! It is a great feeling knowing I am one step closer to my first solo flight and also earning my private pilot license.

I now have a new flight instructor and we have been very busy! I completed my first cross country flight this past weekend, and it was a blast! Each cross country flight is about three hours long. My instructor and I have reviewed how to use ground reference points (railroad tracks, cities, rivers) to guide me to my destinations. We also use the ForeFlight program on our iPads and the navigation systems in the airplane to direct us where to go. The downside to this stage of flying is the weather has to be perfect. As a VFR pilot, there are cloud and visibility requirements I have to follow, and Chicago’s weather has been very uncooperative the last few days. I am hoping to be able to complete my next cross country flight later this week when the weather gets better.

My former CFI, Mike Roubik, and me
My former CFI, Mike Roubik, and me

While waiting for the weather to clear, my instructor took me and a few other students up to the air traffic control tower at our airport (KDPA). It was pretty awesome, and made me a lot more comfortable being able to put a voice and face together for when communicating with ATC. Being able to see everything they do in the tower and understanding how pilots and ATC works together was very cool and an awesome learning experience!

This past week I have also completed and PASSED my private pilot written exam!!! I am extremely proud of myself, and this is a huge weight off my shoulders. I am now preparing for my private pilot oral exam and check ride, which will be coming up very quickly! I am hoping the weather will clear, and I will be able to finish my cross country and night flight this week. If everything continues to go as planned, I will be a private pilot in no time!

Thank you again to everyone who has been following my blog. I greatly appreciate all of your positive feedback! I have had flight attendants reach out to me about attending flight school and it makes me even more motivated to keep working hard and following my dream to be a commercial pilot! These next few days are going to be pretty busy so stay tuned, and I can not wait to share more of my adventures with you!!

From Cabin to Cockpit: My Adventures in Flight Training – #2

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What. A. Week! Thank everyone for all of your support of my first blog entry! I am so excited to go through this journey with all of you!

I am just finishing week four. Time is going by so fast, and a lot has happened the last few days. I can officially land a plane, complete my maneuvers almost to standards and am starting navigation logs so I can begin cross-country flying! I am also very busy studying for my written test and have started reviewing material for my oral. On average, I am spending about eleven hours a day at the training center studying. This is A LOT of work!

Ground school has taught me a lot about myself. I started flight school knowing there was more to flying a plane than landing and taking off, but I was not expecting to take at least four hours to complete a navigation log for a flight that may take only thirty minutes. There is so much involved in flight planning, and I still have a lot to learn. I have also learned to be more patient with myself, as math is not one of my strengths and flying airplanes requires a lot of it. I have been spending a lot of time practicing problems such as finding airspeeds, flying distances and density altitudes on the E6B Flight Computer. I now understand why some pilots call it the “Whiz Wheel” as for a while, I was whizzing past all of the correct answers! Repetition, asking questions and knowing my goal of being a commercial pilot have been keeping me focused on working hard and continuing to do well. I am very proud of how far I have come with my training and can not wait to see how much I will improve these next coming weeks!

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My flying has greatly improved. I have been told by my CFI I am flying like a pilot. My instructor is also using the words “Linnea” and “solo” in the same sentence…I am getting closer and closer to my first solo flight! I will be evaluated on my takeoffs and landings this weekend. My landings are no longer making my CFI shorter, and I am getting a better idea of how to land and take off in Chicago’s crazy crosswinds! Maneuvers have been a blast, and I am becoming a lot more comfortable with flying and also understanding how important it is to think ahead of the plane.

While this past week was a busy one, I am so proud of myself for how hard I am working and how far I have come. I am right on track with my flying, I am understanding “flying math” more and I am living my dream of becoming a commercial pilot. Thank you again for reading and following along! Maybe next week I will be able to tell you all about my first solo flight!

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