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jagabom

My First Real Life Landing!!!!!!!!!!!

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Well, after 20 years of simming and dreaming to be able to do the real thing, I am finally back in the cockpit! I took a few lessons about 8 years ago, but it kind of fizzled out quickly as I couldn't really afford it.I started groundschool about a month ago, and started flying again last weekend. Today, I finally got to do what I had been dreaming about for a zillion years- my first "real", hands on landing! Two words- OOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH YYYYYEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!I can't even describe how satisfied I feel right now. Flying is such a rush- It is information overload, fear, excitement, nervousness, and adrenaline all rolled into one sweet ride.Today's flight went like this: I showed up at the airport, and my instructor wasn't their yet. Some smug looking guy walks in with his headset bag, and bangs a few times on the counter at the FBO. The person working the counter comes out, and I hear the guy make some comment about the instructor always being late, blah blah (it was 9:55, not after 10- his watch much have been wrong). So, the guy behing the counter tells him he must be mistaken, and that he was not scheduled today. The guy immediately starts copping an attitude, and it turns out the scheduling got screwed up. I then realize this guy is trying to take my flight time! The instructor walks in, and this guy starts yelling at him- brilliant move- yell at the guy who is very much responsible for you not killing yourself in a plane wreck. So the instructor blows it off, and tells me to go preflight 48L. Fine with me, before this guy punches somebody. I mean, so there was a scheduling mishap- no need to treat people like trash.So I head out to the tarmac, and as I'm walking up to the plane, I notice the door is open. All of a sudden it opens and this kid is staring at me. I'm like "Uh- 48L? hmmmm. Are you coming in?". He says no, the plane was not scheduled so they took it. Crap. I have to go back in. Luckily the nut job had used up his temper and left. My instructor tells me 316, and off I go again. These are Piper Warrior IIs by the way- Owned by Robinson Aviation at Tweed New Haven airport.I get to the plane, open it up, and start the preflight: Master battery on, Strobe on, landing light on. Hop out and do a quick walk around checking that the lights work, and test the stall horn by just lifting the flap up. Go back in, everything off, unlock the controls, grab my fuel tester. Full walkaround starting with right wing flap- linkage slight amount of play. Bolts are secured. Aileron link pins not broken. Tip looks good, leading edge looks good. strain some fuel- no water or contaminents. 3 fingers travel in the strut. Tire pressure and tread look good. Open the right cowl, and check engine oil- about a quart low. Check for problems there and close it up. Check the alternator belt behind the prop. Check the prop for problems. Check the front gear, and the front fuel strainer. Check the brake fluid level. All good, so check the left wing, and also the pitot tube. Check the stabilator, trim tab links, and trim coil. Check the antennas. PHEW!!!!My instructor comes out, and I tell him we need some oil. We flag down a truck and he spends a few minutes bumbling around for a funnel (you would think they'd have one that fits?). So I hop in, and get my kneeboard on, my headset ready. He hops in, and I start with the prestart checks. I go to start the engine and ask for the key. He says I have it. I say if that were the case I wouldn't be asking him (jokingly of course). He disembarks, goes and gets the key, and returns. This hasn't been the ideal day has it? Did I mention the ASOS was reporting 12 kt winds / 15 kt gusts? Yeah right- the windsock looked like it had taken a Viagra.So, it starts pretty easy, and everthing is routine from there. I bunked up the tower call confirming our takeoff clearance, and just said "Roger, cleared for takeoff" instead of "316, Cleared for takeoff". Not a big deal at a small airport like Tweed New Haven, but I am a perfectionist, so I wasn't happy with myself. I forgot the reg. number since it was the first time I was in this plane, so I just said Roger. Stupid. Look at the placard.I immediately noticed when we got out of ground effect that the ASOS was telling a big, fat lie. I had to make a 15 degree correction to track the runway, which means the crosswind had increased significantly (ASOS reported winds out of 330- we took off runway 32).So it was the bumpiest I'd seen it. Looks like we're not going to get any good pattern work in. ####- that is what I was really looking forward. Ground reference maneuvers were about as fun as doing taxes- but like everything else it's a neccessity, so you'd better know it.I told him I'd like to fly up to my house on Lake Quanoppaug and take some pics, and we can just do maneuvers up there. He said fine. So I snapped a few pics, but my wife wasn't even home, so I was a little bummed she wouldn't see me. My neighbors did see me and said they were waving, but I couldn't see them (Connecticut is nothing but trees). So we did some turns around a point, and flew back toward the shore and practiced some slips along I-95. He showed me some other stall types- Cross controlled, and elevator trim stall. I did one cross control stall and it was pretty basic. I really don't see how I would ever get into a stall like that- you really have to try to do it- but again, never hurts to know. The elevator one I didn't even practice- again such an odd situation to get yourself into, that it isn't likely to every happen. And a stall is a stall- recognize it, correct it, and be done with it.So we start heading back west toward the airport. I bring it down to 1000 feet about 8 miles out, and we just follow the shore. I contact the tower, and they tell me to report back on a 3 mile final. I wouldn't really be on a three mile final- that would put us out in Long Island sound, so it's more like a base and turn to final about 1.5 miles. It's really bumpy. I put in 2 notches of flaps and start our descent about about 70 kts, 1600 RPM. About a mile out the 3rd notch goes in and I pitch for 63 kts, using the throttle to adjust our rate of descent. I'm right on the centerline, crabbed, and all of sudden this gust puts us in a 20 degree left bank, and I quickly correct, but I'm having trouble with speed, so I put in more throttle. He grabs the yoke and helps me get it squared away. Now we're high, but the instructors telling me "Don't let it drop below 63 kts". I'm trying- but the bumps are getting to me. I'm trying to keep the wings level, and it's tough. So we get 50 feet, and I start bringing the throttle back. 30 feet- nose level. Sink to about 5 ft, and HOLD IT! HOLD IT! HOLD IT! YERK!!! wheels screech down, rolling out- brakes on, taxi off Bravo and hold short. YES!!!! My instructor says good job, but I'm thinking I may need to check my shorts. I told him that wind was probably a little much at my stage, but says I did fine and it's all good practice. Clean it up, wait for the poor sucker just heading out for an intro flight (BAD day for an intro flight! I hope the instructor at least warned him!). Taxi back, avionics off, mixture lean, batt. off, xpnder to STBY. Lock the controls, and we're outta there. YES!!! Awesome flight! I guess any flight you walk away from is awesome right? I can't wait to go again, but I know my bank account is suffering, so I'm gonna have to really get aggressive with my consulting side-job.Any of you that have been wanting to do it for real, but have put it off- Stop putting it off!!! Just do it- even if you can only afford an hour a month, it will be an hour that will last for weeks in your head.And the inevitable question- How real is Flight Sim? There is just no comparison- The real plane is much more pitch stable, but real life is a much rougher ride. In FS, it's really hard to maintain altitude when maneuvering, but in real life, it's not that hard- you can still get off by a few hundred feet if you don't keep your eye on the altimeter, but you can really "feel" the plane- which is impossible in even a full motion sim. Could an extremely competent flight sim pilot land a small plane first try? No way- it just wouldn't happen- you would overshoot the approach most likely, come it too high or just not be able to track the centerline and get it configured for landing. Landing in FS gives you a serious feeling of over confidence. In fact, at least in New England, I'm not going to use weather in FS that has anything less than moderate turbulance. Always with some haze too.One FS thing that is VERY useful for me, is Megascenery NY. Just from using that, I am EASILY able to know where I am in real life. I knew right where my lake and house were because I'd flown over them in Megascenery so many times. HIGHLY recommended.And that is all I have to report! Most of my friends and wife when I told them were like "ok- you did what again?". So I figured you guys/gals would appreciate it much more! Happy landings!

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Hi Christian,Sounds like it was a really awesome experience for the most part! Glad to hear you handled the winds ok. :)Thanks for sharing,OneTinSoldier

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>Did I mention the ASOS was reporting 12 kt winds / 15 kt gusts? Yeah right- the windsock looked like it had taken a Viagra.Great job and have fun with it. BTW many windsocks are 15kt socks (more common than not at GA airports in the US). That means at 15kts they would be straight out so ASOS was probably correct.

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Well,Ya said it all!! As soon as your really on the ground,accept my "congratulations!!!" I hope the experience becomes addictive,and you pursue it. CHEERS! :-beerchug VIN

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Hey Christian, sounds like a real fun, tense flight. Congrats on the landing. It was really good reading.Around 25 years ago, right after I got out of the navy, I started taking lessons with cessna flight training. I logged 21 hours before I got married and started having a family. That really put a dent in my flying budget...but, it was what it was.Now, with the kids grown, and two out of four out of college, I decided to check into an "introductory" flight, if for nothing else than to fly a real plane again. I feel it may be a little late to go for a ppl, but I really would like to go up again in the left seat just to feel the motions and fly in a real plane again. I was shocked to find it was only $49.00, and will be going up next saturday...weather permitting. I can hardly wait, as I can still remember the sensation of flying in the small cessna 172. Thanks for sharing your flight. I too am looking to restore a long lost memory.

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Nice description, but I give FS more credit than you did. I was easily able to fly a pattern and land a Cessna 172 on my first try based on everything I learned back in FS2002. With FS2004 and Level D 767, I was easily able to handle a $17 million Level C 767 doing a complete cold start, programming the FMC, take offs and difficult approaches like LGA Expressway Visual 31 and JFK 13R approaches, including instrument approaches with 10Kt crosswinds and 1/2 mile forward visibility. Everything was learned through MS Flight Sim.Yes the real thing is great, but these desk top sims really go a long way in preparing you for the fundamentals and then some.Paul

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Congratulations on a great flight! I'm still learning too (have about 250 hours TT), but one thing I have learnt is that each and every flight is unique. Don't be too harsh on FS9. Sitting at a PC monitor only somewhat looks and sounds like the real thing, so there's no way that it will fully replicate real flying. People wouldn't want to fly if they could do it for a $70 sim package and it was the same :) There's a lot that FS can do to prepare for flight, and if you ever get to instrument flight you will really be able to use FS as a tool.Your description and enthusiasm is why I would some day like to go get my commercial and CFI license and rating respectively, and if my health is still good enough to be PIC when I'm retired in another 10 years to take up flight instruction. I'm currently doing some of the commercial written theory. I would love to teach someone as eager as I was (and still am).I hope you have many more safe landings. Remember the old formula: # of Take-offs = # of Landings + # of Crashes. The trick is trying to keep the term "Crash" to the lowest possible integer :)Bruce.

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Hi Christian,What a nice story! A fun to read. I took some PPL lessons 2 years ago. You're right: one hour of flying is lifting your mind up for more than a week. Unfortunatly I had to stop due to the cost. I envy those who can fly for USD 49! In the Netherlands where I live (EHGG) an hour of flight costs at least 150 dollars. A teacher about 40 dollars per hour and one landing 20 dollars. So, make 5 cirquits!I'm enjoying my "flightporno" now at MSFS and I think it's quite real although there are a much differences: no avgas at my fingers!Thanks again for sharing your enthousiasm!Herman

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Thanks guys-I do see alot of value in FS, as I've been using it since version 2 back in 1984. But other than basic ideas and help with navigation, it's not a very realistic depiction of flying. The slip indicator is completely FUBAR'd. In real life, you only need rudder when you are banking- once you are in the bank, the ball stays right in the middle with no rudder input. In FS, it unrealistically requires pedal input to keep the thing centered. I don't know how the MSFS team missed such an obvious flaw but they did.The biggest problem is that there is just no sensory input. Not even a $17 million flight simulator can really simulate flying that well. I've been told by a few ATP pilots (A younger 737 FO, and a 747 Captain) I know that as good as those sims are, they are only useful for certain types of training. I am friends with the daughter of the captain, and she always had an interest in flying, so I'd install Flight sim on her computer for her. Her father would fly it every know and then, and I'd ask him his opinion. I was always optimistic, but he was less than thrilled by it. I can now really see why. Progamming computers is simple- anyone could do that. Hand flying a heavy in bad weather to an approach at minimums would require the kind of confidence and skill that only comes with thousands of hours of experience. Sure, alot of FS junkies could do it a few times on a sim, but a seasoned captain could do it every time. I wouldn't hesitate to say that a private instrument rated pilot with 250 hours would be 1000x better at flying a plane like a 767 in real life versus and FS junkie who has desk flown it for 1000 hours.Paul, I have to wonder who in their right mind would let you fly, and land an airplane, all by yourself, with no prior experience. That sounds extremely dangerous. I certainly haven't met an instructor who would let anyone do that. We had a discussion about flight simulator one night with the instructors at my flight school, and they found flight sim to be rudimentary at best. One of the other students even told him before his first flight that he had a lot of simulator experience, and said he thought he could land it. My instructor laughed and said (I quote) "yeah buddy, you'll grease it". The guy has around the same time as me now, and has not progressed nearly as far as he thought he would initially. Your best preparation is to read and re-read your materials, do the practice tests, pay attention, and write everything down. If you can, take a tape recorder in the cockpit.I actually felt the same way that this guy did about flight sim before too, but it's just a whole different experience. I really wish it was as easy as FS- I would be a friggin top gun instructor! I mean, I've flown the PMDG 737 half way around the world, helicopters in thunderstorms, NOE in a Concorde at night. And I bet I could hop in a full motion sim and fly it well, but I'd be a different story in real life. In a sim, the only wind shear you'll get is when they program one in. And it's going to be survivable too- what would be the point of programming in situations that would be unrecoverable, or always fatal? Ever heard of a full motion sim that simulates a spark in the fuel tank and blows the plane to pieces? Or a fan blade that detoriates and cuts off 3 of your hydraulic systems? Or a solenoid that sticks open and causes the plane to go into an uncontrollable dive? If you have an engine out in FS, you can literally land anywhere and walk away from it.I guess my point is that yes, FS9 can teach you basics, and for my training now, I am using it to practice procedures- but you will never fly safely, or correctly, until someone shows you how to do that. I don't care how many books you read, there is nothing that can substitute real training- you'll never die flying flight sim, unless you spill your coke on the keyboard and electrocute yourself.I am looking forward to the next incarnation of flight sim, and it is something I will always enjoy, but I really look at it in a different light now.

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Excellent post Holmse. Nothing like real but simming can still be close, especially with lots of monitors. I also used to fly. Nite I think is closer to real then day.JimCYWG

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Having used FS for years before getting in to the real thing, I believe that FS with the right add-ons and hardware can actually teach you to land a real plane in optimum conditions. It wont be a kiss landing, but you're likely to survive.I think that the "feel" factor that you get from real flight combined with visual references makes real flight easier than in a sim (including FS for that matter). Without visual references, in clouds or IMC generally, the "feel" factor makes it way harder to fly in real life than in a sim.Just my 2 cents.Neah

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yup, nothing beats the real deal. Welcome to a small club of people who's flown an aircraft by themselves...you should feel proud! Wait till you do your solos....what a rush...you'll never forget that day.i agree with you about FS9's lack of "feeling," which can results in sim-pilots think that real flying is easy. In fact, in a different forum, a lot of people thought that they can land a 737 in an event the pilots passed out, purely from fs9 experience. I don't think they can even land a cessna safely on their first try without an instructor's help. There is so much more to flying than just knowing which buttons to push. That said, FS9 does have a ton of benefits and it does teach you about flying. Those who know FS9 can certainly pick up things faster once they make the transition to real planes. I use it mainly to practice for approaches into new air fields. I also use it to help plan my VFR routes before i go up (i fly out of Los Angeles, right next to LAX...so traffic is extremely busy here...as well as airspaces). Of course i use real terminals/sectionals for actual flight...but FS9 gets it pretty close.Another thing i like to do w/ FS9 is to practice for emergenices around the areas i fly in real life. For example, what will happen if i lost my engine cruising at 4,500, 7 miles from my home airport. Can i glide the plane back safely? Well, there's no way to test this in real life (aside from calculating decent rates)...but i can go all the way in FS9...such as when to trade my precious airspeed for flaps...etc.all in all....i love FS9, but it doesn't beat the real deal. But it is a lot cheaper! :)-fz

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>yup, nothing beats the real deal. Welcome to a small club of>people who's flown an aircraft by themselves...you should feel>proud! Wait till you do your solos....what a rush...you'll>never forget that day.You're right fz. I didn't forget my solo... had it back in 1997.I fly out KTMB which is very close to KMIA. My most frequent routes are KTMB-KEYW and KTMB-KISM ;)Cheers.Neah

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