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Dillon

First Solo!

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Well folks... I finally did it. This hard-of-hearing pilot got through all the red tape and over all the obstables and accomplished my first solo! I have LONG since been ready, says my instructor (since before I had 5 hours total time) but because of the paperwork that needed to be done because of my profound hearing loss (I'm deaf without the use of hearing aids), I wasnt able to solo until I had about 15 hours. But I did it! I will have a video shortly, as well as pictures. Stay posted!

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Todd,I'm really glad you got it all worked out. CONGRATS my friend. :-)Well done!

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Todd,Hearty congratulations. It seems that you had more of a hill to climb than the rest of us. Hats off to you. Add to that, getting solo in excellent time too. The challenges don't end there, I thought the most meaningful solo was the navex. You're really on your own then. Exciting and fun :)

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Thanks :) I wanted to follow up with some pictures... Here are a few of the best I could find :) Sorry about the lousy quality... I had to take this directly off of the video. Kicking the instructor out of my planehttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/141630.jpg1st solo takeoffhttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/141631.jpg1st solo landinghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/141632.jpgNews crewman (Will talk about that in another post)http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/141633.jpgThumbs Up!http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/141634.jpgBringing it home for one last landinghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/141635.jpgParkinghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/141636.jpgThat's that!http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/141637.jpgThese three people are all the instructors that have taught me. Tenaya, the pregnant lady in the middle, is the one I have the most time with, and is by far my favorite instructor... what a wonderful person!http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/141638.jpgCutting off the shirt-tail! (I look so dirty because I work as a painter, and I had come straight from work to the airport to do this flight)http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/141639.jpg

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Which station, KSEE? LOL. Can't rememebr my stations anymore. Looks like a fun time. :-) Great pics! FCH for the flight, right?

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Jeff, KSEE 24 was the one. FCH was the place. :) Wish you coulda been there... it was a sight lol... I was looking at this camera guy like... umm... whats going on? "We're doing a story" "A story... on what?" "You":-lol

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Hehe, ya. Make sure you get a copy of video so I can see it when I'm there this year sometime.

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Todd,Congratulations! Looks like the Tule fog cleared up nicely for your solo.Because of your hearing loss did you have to do a Certificate of Demonstrated Ability? I'm curious since I've had two students who had color blindness, but never taught anyone with hearing loss. It would be helpful to know what the process was that you had to go through.Anyway, congrats again! It's a great feeling, eh?John

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John, that was the bulk of the red tape... the SODA (Statement of Demonstrated Ability) or CODA. What happened was I got a medical certificate as anyone else would, with the sole restriction of needing to wear corrective lenses. However, I knew I would need to get a correct medical that stated "Not valid where radio use is required" before I could solo. That would require taking a flight to demonstrate my ability. Just before I was going to schedule that flight with an FAA Examiner, he called and said that he would skip the flight and go ahead and mail me the updated certificate. As soon as I got that certificate, I was good to go. Hope that helps with your curiousity!And yes... the best feeling in the world :) I will never forget this day. I think it hit home when he unplugged those headphones... *click* and he was gone. It hit again when I was climbing out, looking over to the right side, not having his head in the way... but a clear view out over the right wing... it was amazing.

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Thanks for sharing Todd--I'm about fifteen hours behind you--took my first flight lesson in over twenty years today. Being in the real cockpit has no comparison, does it?-John

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No it doesnt, John. It's a whole different world... naturually, :-lol. Flying in real life truly IS flying... where flight simulator is just that... it's just a visual simulator. Can be a great training tool but when I really need my fix, I dont get on the computer... I call and find out when the next available slot is to go flying. How was your first lesson?

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Congrats Todd and welcome to the club!I hope you remembered to the write the .3 or whatever the hours were in the correct column of your logbook!! I know I didn`t..CheersJames

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Well, Todd, I gotta tell ya':CONGRATULATIONS! :-)I looked at that Cherokee 140 and said:"That's what I soloed in, back in 1974!"I looked at the reg. number, 8168N, and noticed its proximity to that on my Piper Dakota, 8086N.I saw the video camera that filmed your solo, and realized that my solo was taped also, but back in 1974, by a Sony black and white video rig, that cost, well, more money than we would care to envision today (we borrowed it from my high school, and it would be worth about $30,000 in today's money).Small world, and my best wishes for many happy years of flying.Regards,http://www.dreamfleet2000.com/gfx/images/F...R_FORUM_LOU.jpg

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Lou, Thats amazing, all those close similarities. The 140 is such a great little plane... I defintely prefer it over the 172. A little while ago I had a short flight in a 172, and I didnt like it near as much as I enjoy flying 68N or 244SD (Both 140's equipped with 430XP's). And on a cold, clear morning, it's hard to beat the 180 (3958R). That thing really soars out of the pattern compared to the 140's. Speaking of expensive cameras, I was thinking "Oh this is awesome... these news crews have the best cameras around AND pro cameramen... when I get ahold of the raw footage, I can make a really awesome solo video to memorialize this event with!" But... they said that I will only be able to get ahold of the tape they aired on TV... not the raw footage. Sooo... that was a disappointment. BUT I was able to film this with a good DV camera... which you (and the rest of you that are interested) can download here:Full Length/Full Resolution Video:http://idratherbeflying.net/Videos/Solo.wmvShort Length/High Quality Videohttp://idratherbeflying.net/Videos/SoloFL350.wmvThe full length video is a whopping 340MB, but it shows the entire event, from startup to sign-off to shutdown to full news interviews.The shorter one is just from the signoff to the last landing.Thanks to everyone for the pats on the back... I appreciate it :)

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Great video and great message to get out to everyone. Now, was that Mom in the video, who I talked to on the phone when we were getting you out to SkyWest? LOL. Tell her hi for me.Man, you sure burned up the pattern also, rofl. I didn't even do that many circuits when I soloed. :-)Great job, Todd!

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Jeff, Yeah that's the one and the same :)Talk about burning up the pattern... it still amazes me how fast I go through it at times... it seems like I'm just getting settled into my downwind and I'm already pulling off power and dropping the flaps... keeps me on my toes :-lol I did 8 landings, not counting one go-around. I think I omitted a couple in the video... but there are 8 logged in 0.9 hours, so you are right, I do quite a few circuits in an hour. Flight simulator seems to be a little bit slower for some reason. I'm not even going that fast either... I'm under 90 knots the whole time, usually. Not more than 100, for sure. I'm probably going to try slowing down my approach... I will talk with my instructor about it but it has always been 70 kts on approach, but the book/checklist says 65 with 25 degrees of flaps (two notches). I rarely see the stall light flick on on my landings... only time it does is when I balk it and I float a ways down. To me, that tells me I'm a little too fast because I'm having to burn off too much speed and I'm never really getting a good mains-only touchdown. At the very best, its mains first with the nose coming down a second later. I'd like to see if I can start getting it down to where I'm coming down on the mains and I roll on the mains only for, say, 3 seconds, if that makes sense. I know I'm nitpicking :-lolI read an article a short time ago in AOPA Flight Training, and it talked about how to make those "graceful" takeoffs... long story short, it says the key to doing them is to pick up the nosewheel only, and let the plane do the rest. Thats how I'm able to consistently get those smooth takeoffs now... so now I'm searching for that "key" to a perfect landing... except there really is no one "key". But I want to see if turning down my approach speed and dialing in a couple turns of nose-up trim will help. Lou... what do you think?

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Todd, I know the feeling. I had to peel 5 kts off my approaches and what do ya know, almost perfect every time. The magic number was actually about 5 kts less then the checklist. It's something you kind of have to feel. If your checklist is one of those ones that you can buy anywhere, then the chances are that number could be a bit off compared to the POH.It took me forever to figure out why I was floating so much and that was exactly the reason...to darn fast.Finally, after an actual porpoise, I slowed the next approach to landing and just happened to note the airspeed was about 5 kts slower. and perfect. I didn't have all that forward momentum as before.Try that and I'll bet you get the stall warning light to go off right at your touchdown. hehe. Just don't forget that judging your height above the ground also comes into play, and don't be afraid to pull the power all the way back to idle when you're ready to kiss the runway. I used to have a problem with carrying too much power over the numbers thus causing a bit too much airspeed (5 kts or so). That will also do it. For some reason I had a mental block about pulling the power off. Now I can do it anytime while in the pattern and still make a regular landing.Slow flight is your friend. It's my favorite thing to do. :-)Edit: I almost forgot. Here's a good example I think: http://www.onlinesimulationsolutions.com/k...edia/mcigph.wmv Sorry it's a bit long to get to the end. We were filming for the KCI scenery a few years ago and some tornado damage footage.I nailed this one. It's from MCI to GPH.

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Jeff, currently here is how I've been doing it:Abeam threshold, I'll be at pattern altitude, 1,100 feetSet 2 notches of flaps (25 degrees), power to 1700, pitch for 70, then begin descentTurn base, power to 1500, continue to hold 70Turn final, maintain 1500 and 70Anywhere from crossing the fence to crossing the threshold but no later than the threshold, I will pull off all power, depending on how high/hot I am. If I am right on the numbers, power will be off when I cross thresholdTell you what, I honestly dont think I have ever had a landing where I gradually round out, stall light flicks on, mains touch down, then the nose touches down when I let it, not because it's only 3 inches off the ground or because I did a 3-pointer. At least not in the PA-28-140... I have in the 172 a couple of times. It's always been kind of a gentle brumbrumbrump. Hearing you tell me about how slowing it down helped you confirms my thoughts on this. I DO want to be careful about being too slow on approach though. I will always rather have a slightly-hot brumbrumbrump landing than a niiiice and slowwww approach and suddenly lose 5 kts headwind... ya know what I mean? What I ultimately want to do is find that sweet spot to pull off the power so I slow down enough by the time I round out that I'm not so hot.

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Todd,I can't officially tell you anything, but here's what I think, and run this by your CFI.At FCH you have to watch those power lines. Remember when Pat crashed the ultralight and broke his back a while back? Those lines are right at the approach end of the runway.Anyways, fly the approach the way you were taught. They all fly the same. In the sundowners 70kts was also called for. Try dialing down to 65 on short final, then power off over the numbers somewhere around 55-60 ish, let it just settle to the runway.Edit: Don't forget to maintain your focal point also while in the flare. It's different for everyone. Some teach the end of the rwy. Just keep the same sight picture somewhere.

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Yeah I'm not looking to cut it from 70 to 55 and drag it in... I do want to try 65 as it says in the POH and see if it helps... you said it helped you a bunch when you did that. Wouldnt hurt to give it a try :)

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Sorry I was editing the post again...LOL Here it is. Keep 65 all the way down on your final, and when over the numbers pull it off and you should settle around 55-60. Sorry for the confusion there.Edit: Don't forget to maintain your focal point also while in the flare. It's different for everyone. Some teach the end of the rwy. Just keep the same sight picture somewhere.Edit #2: You fly these airplanes by pitch and RPM. Worry about your altitude at the top of the pattern. The pattern can be different for each airplane and person also. A good rule of thumb is to keep the airport just off the wingtip so if you loose the engine you can make the airport.Don't worry about a specific altitude while on final. Your head should be outside the aircraft unless you're IFR. At this point you should have picked out your reference point at the beginning of the runway somewhere (landing zone), and keep the pitch of the plane on that until you transition to the flare. Then just adjust your pitch for speed and you shouldn't have to jockey the plane and power around to much except for some trim once you've put your final flaps in.

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"A good rule of thumb is to keep the airport just off the wingtip so if you loose the engine you can make the airport."Found out the semi-hard way that that is actually too far out lol... Tenaya cut my power when I was on downwind and told me to try to make it... I was just barely too far out. I wouldve put it in the trees next to the airport, probably. Next time around, we tried it again... this time I made an EXTREMELY fun simulated emergency landing. Right about where I would be abeam the runway threshold on downwind, I "lost" power... turned toward the airport, made sure I was getting my best glide performance to make it easily, dumped flaps, banked it hard and low to line up with the runway and touched down just as I rolled out. Talk about a blast!

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Yep, I've had CFI's do that to me also to teach me a lesson. I don't do that anymore...rofl.I also wanted to make clear to anyone else that may be reading this post about the airspeed we're talking about.We are talking about some 3rd party chacklist having the final approach speeds off by about 5 kts.Todd and I are talking about correctly flying the aircraft according to the manufuacturers POH published figures. For me those numbers are the only numbers unless you want to become a test pilot. You do not, trust me.BTW, when I get out there, we are getting a plane at FAT this time, and you can fly me around for a while. Sound like a plan? :-) I can do the comms.

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