Inflection Point

By lex, on February 20th, 2010

So, I got checked out in a club Citabria on Tuesday. It had been a few months since I got my tailwheel endorsement, and then there was that Stearman flight in late December, which I hardly count. CFI Dave treating that machine as though it was his first born, and providing me more or less continuous – if tactful – guidance on how to not crease his baby.

It was a weekend co-worker who gave me the check-out, to go along with my Biennial Flight Review. The flight itself was something of non-event, which was grateful after such a long layoff. The club machine was something of a beater – the owner used it for banner tows, apparently – but it appeared mechanically sound. Getting out of the chocks was the hardest part – heel brakes – but after a few moments the feeling came back. We took off to the east and did some some power-on and power-off stalls in the southeast county practice area, with slow flight and steep turns thrown into the mix. The obligatory simulated engine failure was initiated on the return to Gillespie, and I went through the ABC mnemonic (Airspeed – Best place to land – Checklists (carb heat, fuel, comms, etc.) while looking for a plausible place to put her down. With a 70 MPH glide speed and 4000 feet beneath us, it seemed an almost trivial thing. I remember how much stress it used to cause me, back in the day.

It’ll prolly stress the hell out of me if and when the actual event occurs too, but that’s to be determined.

The landings were happily uneventful. I guess I’ve got the sight picture of how the airplane looks on deck, and how to make it look like that when full stall comes on landing. The winds were pretty much down the runway, just a  hair of left-to-right. Carried a bit too much smash on the second landing when another simulated engine failure was presented, which resulted in a bit of a bounce. I just held the stick back in my lap and let her settle back to earth again.  Active feet on the rudder while the airspeed bleeds off is an important key to success.

So now I have a key, and the opportunity to build proficiency – or ignominy – and all that waits is a chance to build another 90 hours to get a crack at those Travelairs.

Should be interesting, either way.

Update: Got distracted by life – it happens – between first drafting this post and finishing it, so I rather forgot the point. I was idly Googling “pilot jobs Sandy Eggo” (like you do) when an interesting position flying right seat in Lear 35/36s came up –

Our aircraft provide a full range of capabilities, including towing (targets, radar calibration spheres, decoys, etc. ), EW systems, customer specific payloads, and testing at most altitudes, speeds, and environments.

OVERALL SUMMARY OF POSITION: First Officer on Lear 35/36 for DOD training support flights worldwide IAW 14 CFR Part 135, ICAO and applicable DOD regulations. Provides training support for USN, USAF and NATO facilities and units using a Lear 35/36 configured for EW transmissions or target tow capability for ship and aerial gunnery. Also flies support missions in two-ship formations for air intercept control training and DOD RDT&E programs including flights down to 100 ft. AGL.

Which sounds like an awful lot of fun, even if it probably does pay half of what I’m making now.

I’m intrigued.


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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Flying

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