Author Archive

Chocks away: Learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings.

June 1, 2015 by falstro. 0 comments

Back when I started my flight training I decided to take notes after every flight. I figured it might be interesting for someone at some point, but I soon realized it was a great tool for reflection and learning. Now, more than a year after passing my private pilot checkride, and my flight hours having entered the three digit range, I figured I’d share my diary with you in a series of posts, along with one or two reflections after a few more hours of experience. I hope you enjoy it!

Day 1

Katana DA20 We sit in the cockpit of the Katana DA20, parked on the ramp at Worms airport, Germany. It’s a rather small aircraft, and it’s cramped. My instructor talks me through the very basics, how to put your hand around the controls, the throttle and RPM levers with a finger still touching the console to get a feel for the lever position without looking and having the hand positioned to move both levers forward if need be. The Katana has a constant speed prop, which some may argue is overly complex for a trainer, but I don’t agree, I think it’s good to have it in you right from the start. On the other hand, the Rotax equipped Katana doesn’t have a mixture control, which I think would’ve been beneficial so I guess it evens out. more »

Upper Middle Rhine Valley

May 3, 2015 by falstro. 0 comments

Middle Rhine stretching from Bingen to Cologne

Middle Rhine stretching from Bingen to Cologne

A couple of months ago I took a friend up for his first flight in a small aircraft, alongside this stretch of river Rhine which is quite beautiful. I figured it would be a nice thing to show a first timer. I’ve flown it a couple of times, twice as a student, and a few times since getting my ticket. On this trip though, the sights turned out to be extraordinary. The pictures don’t really do justice but at least I’m glad I got a few of them to share. more »

What if the plane keeps going… up?

May 1, 2015 by falstro. 1 comments
VFR sectional chart excerpt

Planned route, Worms-Aschaffenburg
(Yes, this is what German ‘ICAO’-sectionals look like)

It was my first cross country solo as a student pilot. Although I had soloed for the first time almost 7 months earlier, a long winter with poor weather had unfortunately not allowed a cross country solo until now, this beautiful morning in early May. I was heading to Aschaffenburg, 34 nautical miles northeast of my home field, Worms, and with a nice little Diamond DA20 Katana that translates to about 25 minutes enroute. Aschaffenburg is about 20 nautical miles south east of Frankfurt, and sits underneath Frankfurt’s class C airspace with a 3500 feet AMSL floor (roughly 2500 feet AGL). Frankfurt is a very busy airport, but Germany doesn’t use class B airspace anywhere and sticks to class C. If you’re familiar with US class B though, it has about the same feel to it, established two-way radio communication is not sufficient to enter, you’ll need an explicit clearance, although, in a VFR aircraft, you’re not very likely to get that clearance, at least not in Frankfurt.

more »

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