The Sugar Flight - a Blog!
My blog, The Sugar Flight, will keep you updated on my flying hours, what I learnt, what I loved, and what I need to work on. This page is for all things flying....I hope you like it! Jade
|Posted on 6 July, 2015 at 5:55||comments (7)|
After an incredibly busy 2 months of school and business, I was finally able to get up in the air again! On the first day of school holidays my family and I woke up early and headed to Cowra where I am to spend the next 6 days. We arrived at the airport around 2pm, and at 3 I watched my mum, dad and 2 brothers take off in FYI – it was my youngest brothers first time up in a small plane and he was so excited! They flew whilst I patiently waited for Christian, my instructor, to finish with his other students. Then at 4.30, just as dad was landing, I was finally ready to taxi down the runway.
By the time we were up in the air, the sun was starting to set, making this my first ever evening flight – and the view was amazing. There was absolutely no wind, and it was a perfectly clear winter’s evening with an incredible sunset. I was also able to wear my new (pink!) aviator sunglasses that I got for my 14th birthday.
As I hadn’t flown for several months I was actually a bit nervous and just hoped that I hadn’t forgotten everything. While a couple of my landings needed work, it all started to come back to me and I got much better towards the end of the hour. Still, Christian only needed to touch the controls once (when I ballooned a little on landing) – the remaining 56 minutes were all me!!!
The sunset was stunning, and I loved the point of view from the sky. It felt amazing to be up there again, and I can’t wait to do it all over again tomorrow before starting my week long BAK course.
|Posted on 21 April, 2015 at 3:20||comments (0)|
The weather conditions have improved slightly since yesterday - it was only 15kts today with a small amount of crosswind. It was raining a little, but not too heavily. After a (very!) cold and wet pre-flight, I gladly climbed into the cockpit to defrost. My little brother Cooper (aged 10 - and another aviation enthusiast) was going to come up for a ride, but wisely choose not to when a big gust of wind moved the plane a little, yanking the controls.
Once I did all the pre-flight checks, I called in and taxied over to the runway. We got to the holding point and I called in again only to be greeted with the usual "Cowra Aerodrome CTAF" before heading down runway 15 and taking off. We sped through upwind, crosswind and downwind due to the strong wind - our groundspeed on downwind was about 140kts! We were knocked and buffeted every which way during the whole circuit and I had to battle the small crosswind as well. However, after the first circuit we had to do a fullstop as we forgot my cushion to sit on - I'm still too short to see out the window without it!
Once I had my cushion, we were once again on my way. It was a grey old day, so landings were particularly tough. Going from a ground speed of 140kts to 40kts was the biggest change and required a lot of attention, concentration and change in RPM. Heading down final and trying to keep the aiming point stationary in the window was incredibly difficult due to the gusts that were pushing us away and causing sudden, small wing drops meaning I had to have my feet going like crazy on the pedals. The throttle was hardly ever still.
Although the 15-20kt wind (plus a crosswind of 10kt) made everything difficult, I managed to complete some of my best unassisted landings as I'm starting to understand how much back pressure to apply in order to match the sink. I even managed to get the stall warning to go off on the last landing!
Overall it was a fabulous flight, We got knocked and bounced every which way but that just added to the experience. Can't wait for next time!
Location: Fly Oz, Cowra
Instructor: Christian Charles
|Posted on 21 April, 2015 at 1:55||comments (0)|
Today I completed my flight radio operator exam. The original plan was to fly circuits, but there was no way the weather conditions were going to allow for that. I turned up to Cowra airport only to be greeted with rain, low cloud, hardly any visibility and a 25knt crosswind on the ground (getting up to 50knts at around 5,000ft). Not the greatest of flying conditions! Since there was no arguing on whether I could fly or not, it was agreed we would have a day of groundschool. Not nearly as much fun, but just as important.
Since I had read over the flight radio textbook a little, I agreed to completing the exam. Christian, the newest instructor to join the Fly Oz team, took me through the powerpoints. We covered everything from emergency operations without radio, to the way the ionosphere absorbs radio waves during the day but refracts them during the night. He explained everything and answered any questions I had in detail. Thankfully, being the daughter of a Naval Officer (and private pilot) I didn't need to worry about 24 hour time or the phonetic alphabet, as dad taught me these at a very young age (most kids play spotto on long car trips, but we played 'say the car numberplate using the phonetic alphabet').
After we had covered everything Christian left me alone to sit the test. After about 30 minutes of circling answers, checking the ERSA, reading off previously taken notes and wondering whether you would use the right or left runway at Bankstown if you were flying blind, I finally checked through my test and handed it in. A few minutes later I left with a smile on my face, an exam pass written in my logbook and a score of 30 out of 33 (around 90%). Not much could bring my mood down considering I hadn't planned on completing an exam today and consequently hadn't really studied at all.
Hopefully the conditions will improve tonight and I can go up tomorrow.
Fly Oz, Cowra - 20/04/15
|Posted on 4 March, 2015 at 21:35||comments (0)|
I always forget that it’s attitude, power and then trim. I'm tending to chase the instruments rather than set and attitude and hold it with my elevators. I set the attitude and then the trim but sometimes forget about the power, which, as you can probably guess doesn’t really work! We flew some circuits this morning. It was a nice sunny day with not much wind, and if there was any wind it was straight down the runway. An almost perfect day for flying!
I grabbed the keys and headed out to PMU to do the pre-flight. I checked all the wires, the oil, the fuel, and the stall warning. All good! I ran back into the clubhouse to get my headset and sunglasses, I also let Mark know that we were all good to go. After doing the start up checks, we sent out the regular radio call and taxied over to the runway and got ready for take off. “Cowra traffic, Cherokee Papa Mike Uniform is rolling runway 30 for circuits, Cowra”. I pushed the throttle all the way up and we roared down the runway. With one eye on the airspeed indicator and the other outside to make sure I stayed on the centreline, we soared into the sky.
Whilst my landings are getting better, especially the approaches, I still need to try and use much smaller changes to make sure I stabilise my approach to maintain the centreline more acurately. At the moment I am still having to make lots of compensations close to the ground. I need to keep my aiming point stationary in the window so that it keeps my approach consistent. That way, the runway will stay as still as possible but just get bigger as I get closer. Rudder use on final is also critical as it will keep my wings more level and add a degree of safety in case of a wing drop.
All in all, a great day out (is there ever a bad one when flying?). I can't wait for this afternoon when I get to do it all over again!
|Posted on 18 December, 2014 at 0:55||comments (0)|
Today I finally got to sit in the left-hand seat of the cockpit and fly a plane! My instructor for today was Lyn Gray, chief instructor for Fly Oz, Cowra, and also the person who taught my dad to fly 11 years ago!
With a mix of excitement and nerves I grabbed my headset and headed towards the plane (Piper Cherokee UQM). First up Lyn showed me how to do a walk around, including how to check the fuel, the oil, the spark plugs and so on. We then hopped into the cock pit and she showed me how to do all of the start up checks. This involved tuning the radio to the Aerodrome Weather Information Services (AWIS) station (133.625), and making sure both magnetos were equal in RPM drop. We then taxied over to the runway, where Lyn made the radio calls on my behalf. Lyn mentioned that I picked up taxiing quickly - probably because I've never driven a car and so didn't have the instinct to use the control column like most others. My age was actually helping me!
Lyn talked me through and helped me with my first take off, which was both exciting and scary but also easier than I expected (not that I knew much at this stage, so still had a lot to learn!). And then we were airborne - I'd done it! I never expected to be doing this at 13 and was instantly hooked!
We headed over to the Cowra training area where the focus of the lesson was on the effects of controls. Essentially I spent the hour moving the various controls in different ways to see the effects they had on the movement of the plane. As I did so, Lyn talked me through how moving the inside parts impact upon the various outside parts of the plane, such as how the left aileron lifts up and the right aileron goes down when you turn the control column left.
The weather was perfect for flying and the view out over Cowra was beautiful. I was amazed at how at peace I felt looking out at the different coloured fields. It was better than I could have imagined, and I knew then that flying was something I just had to continue with!
Before I knew it we were heading back to the airport. As it was my first lesson Lyn landed the plane, with me ghosting so I could feel everything that she did. I was in awe at how easily she did it and hoped that one day I could land a plane as well as her.
And with that, I had my first log book entry!
Instructor: Lyn Gray
Location: Fly Oz, Cowra
|Posted on 20 November, 2014 at 15:50||comments (2)|
When I was 13 months old, my dad returned from a Naval deployment to the Gulf and, with the extra allowances he earnt, he set out to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot. Over the next 3 months I spent most weekends watching the planes (and learning to walk unassisted) in the hanger of Clamback and Hennesy at Bankstown airport.
Finally, dad got his licence and the fun began! Strapped into my car seat in the back of the plane, with earplugs instead of headphones, I went for my first flight in a Piper Cherokee. Most weekends thereafter, our Sundays were spent flying somewhere from Bankstown - my mum's favourite trips were up to the Hunter Valley or the scenic Sydney route. When I was two we went on a flyaway to Coffs Harbour. This remains the furtherest I've flown in a single engine plane - but hopefully not for too much longer.
When I was two I got my first set of headphones, and at five I insisted on sitting in the front of the plane, with poor mum delegated to the back seat with my younger brother (who was two and now sitting in the car seat). My parents thought it was just for that flight, but I've never once returned to the back seat! I still remember the first time dad let me hold the controls - I loved it then and I love it now.
I've also been lucky enough to have lived overseas for 6 years of my life - 3 years in Asia and 3 in Tonga. Unfortunately during these times dad wasn't able to fly very much, but we compensated by flying all over the world on commercial flights. I've spent a LOT of time in airports and on planes and always considered these to be the best part of the holiday. I decided at a very early age that I would be an International Commercial Pilot - I still find it hard to believe that a job exists where you're paid to fly and travel!
In August 2014, my mum was at a market where there was a cupcake stand. She called me to tell me about it and suggested that I could do something similar, as I've always loved to cook and bake. The following month I did just that - I booked a market stall and baked 150 cupcakes. Feeling very excited, and a little nervous, we headed off to set up my first stall. Unfortunately things didn't go quite as planned and the market owners wouldn't let me sell my cupcakes there as "they had an exclusive arrangement" with another cupcake provider - using the excuse that she had food handling qualifications. I was devastated, but thankfully I managed to sell all of my cupcakes to friends of mums by putting out a post on Facebook. So instead of selling at the market stall, we spent the morning driving around canberra delivering the cupcakes to family friends, who I'm sure were buying out of pity (but hopefully subsequently loved them!). I'm still very grateful to everyone that bought that day!
The following month I tried again, but this time at a different market - the Fash and Treasure Markets at EPIC. Having learnt my lesson from last time, I first contacted them to check that I could sell the cupcakes there, and thankfully they agreed. So, this time I set off with a little more confidence, but was still a bit nervous given my first experience. I need not have worried. Cathie and Steve, the owners of the market were incredibly impressed with my cupcakes, and my age, and said I could sell at every single one of their markets going forward - and I have! I'm now the one with the "exclusive arrangement" and all of the food handling qualifications!
I was amazed at how much money I made from that first stall, and quickly realised it was enough to pay for my first flying lesson! And so it began.....