Thursday, February 14, 2008

First Solo "Flying Podcast"

Yesterday I assembled a "20dB attenuator" audio cable to interface between the Aerobat's headphone jack and my iRiver T30 mp3 recorder shown here. Yesterday's flight was primarily a preparation flight for my checkride but I did enjoy experimenting with an audio podcast recording! My cable design worked so well I wish I had made this during my early flight training so as to have an audio record of each lesson. Those early lessons are extremely "busy" times for a beginning pilot. Basically you're operating at the brink of mental-housekeeping overload. on the link below to hear a snippet of Your's Truly flying back into Austin-Bergstrom Class-C controlled airspace. You can hear my exchanges with ATC (air traffic control) as I make my way towards the approach end of runway 17L. My LightSpeed noise-cancelling headphones (and mic) worked really well to supress the horrendous cockpit noise experienced in the Cessna Aerobat.

Click here to hear my audio recording

If you are interested in making your own audio cable just leave me a comment and I'll try to follow up. The cable parts cost is about $10 if you are handy with a soldering iron. If you are not sure about which end of a soldering iron you should be holding then you can buy a cable from Their stuff is reasonably priced and works well.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Yet Another "Mock" Checkride

On February 1st I did another "mock" checkride ...this time with my regular CFI (Certified Flight Instructor for the acronym-challenged). My XC (cross-country) flight planning this time was to San Angelo with numerous visual checkpoints along the way. I decided to fly via the Llano VOR so I could have an "electronic navigation" backup to my visual pilotage. We did a "simulated engine failure" and diversion over Spicewood airport and I glided in and around Spicewood to burn off altitude before making my final approach for a no-engine landing. Unfortunately coming in over the lake caused a large "sink" right off the end of runway 17 and we had to add engine power back into the mix to make a nice landing. Now that I'm "wise" to this sink zone I'll make sure I make the approach to final with excess altitude to allow for the sink. There are numerous ways of shedding excess altitude with no engine....there are no solutions for re-gaining altitude without engine power if you encounter a "sink" zone on final. I also did a short-field takeoff from Spicewood as well as a soft-field takeoff. The runway is only 30 feet wide at Spicewood so you get the feeling you are more on a driveway than a runway! On the way back to Austin-Bergstrom I did some climbing turns on instruments "under the hood". You can see my climbing turns while on instruments in the GPS map depicted here (click map for a larger view)

The other photo here is your's truly in the Areobat cockpit with my long legs protruding. There will be more room in a C172 or C182 someday! (click photo for a larger view)