This is a continuation of my multi-part series on learning to fly.Â You can read the whole Fly With Francis series here. The lousy Pacific Northwest early spring weather notwithstanding, I’ve made good progress towards learning both the Garmin G1000 instrumentation and the Diamond DA-40 aircraft. We recently got a decent break in the weather […]
On March 1 at 6:30 a.m., Alaska Airlines’ first Boeing 737 MAX 9 took to the skies from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on a flight to San Diego. That flight made Alaska the third U.S. carrier to place the MAX into service since the plane’s grounding was lifted at the end of 2020, and it was […]
Qatar Airways (QR) launched service from Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, to Seattle, Washington, on Jan. 29, 2021, two months ahead of schedule. It also marked the first new service to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Inaugural flights are always a joy to cover – you get to see other media […]
After a year and a half of concerted effort, I’ve finally completed my initial training and earned my private pilot certificate in early November. It’s a great feeling!
For those who’ve been following along on my adventures at Galvin Flying, it’s been a long process of successes and setbacks, many of which were weather related because I live in the Pacific Northwest, where the local joke says that it only rains once a year â€” it starts raining in late October and stops raining on July 5 (it always seems to rain on July 4).
Anyway, I did several mock checkrides in the weeks leading up to the actual FAA one, and had to complete Galvin’s end-of-course checkride before that. The end-of-course checks are designed to be more difficult than the actual checkride to ensure that pilot candidates are as prepared as possible.
The FAA examiner, also known as a designated pilot examiner or DPE, selects from a long list of information and flight maneuvers for the actual checkride known as the Airman Certification Standards. The check airman who oversees the end-of-course checks runs through the entire list to be sure you’re ready.
So, itâ€™s been a while since Iâ€™ve written an update, but that doesnâ€™t mean Iâ€™ve not been making progress.
Since the last installment, Iâ€™ve done my three cross-country solo flights – theyâ€™re a requirement for the PPL, and consist of several solo flights away from oneâ€™s home airport. Cross-country meaning, you know, crossing the countryside and not a transcontinental flight in a small plane, which would take a couple days at best.
Requirements for the cross-country flights are that the each one has to include one leg of at least 50 nautical miles and a full-stop landing. For the long cross-county, the flight has to be a minimum of 150nm and include one leg of at least 50nm and full-stop landings at three airports, including returning to the point of origin.
For my flights, the first one was from Boeing Field (BFI) up to Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula. It was a spectacular day – completely free of turbulence, hardly any other air traffic, and clear as the proverbial bell.
The second one was the following week, from BFI to Chehalis, Washington, a bit south of Olympia. It was far more normal, with usual amounts of air traffic and slightly bumpy/windy conditions.