Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Flight Report: Delta A320 Reno-Tahoe (RNO) to Salt Lake City (SLC)

It was sad to leave Lake Tahoe after another awesome trip out West! This is the first leg of three heading back from California to Virginia.

Delta Flight 2419 Information:
  • Flight: Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • Flight Time: 1 Hour 21 Minutes
  • Aircraft: Delta Air Lines Airbus A320 (N342NW)
  • Seat: 19A (window) 

Our A320 pulling up to the gate

Here are a few images of seat 19A/D to show the window alignment. Also included are photos of the cabin from the perspective of row 19 on the Delta A320:

Click below to view the full article. (If you're already on the full article, ignore this)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Flying My First Flight into a Class C Airport/Airspace (Richmond International Airport, Virginia KRIC) - Video Included

So how do you fly into a Class C Airport/Airspace? A few days ago, I had the awesome opportunity for my first flight into a Class C Airport/Airspace, Richmond International Airport KRIC. Richmond is the airport I’ve grown up flying into and out of commercially since I was only 2 weeks old. I was excited and nervous about being on the same frequency with pilots from Delta, US Airways, United, etc. Before this flight, I had only been into controlled airspace one time, at Charlottesville Regional Airport (Class D). Even then, I had only spoken with the tower, I never talked with approach.

I made my own video to help other student pilots see what flying into Class C for the first time might be like. I know that this video is something which I would loved to have see before my flight! More videos like this can be found on my youtube channel, MartinsAviation1. The title of the video below is "First Flight into a Class C Airport/Airspace (RIC) - How to Fly into Class C "

Flying into Class C Airspace for the first time as a student pilot coming from an uncontrolled field can be a little nerve wracking. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous! The night and morning before our flight, I made sure to watch some youtube videos on entering and exiting Class C Airspace/Airports. This helped me get an overall feel for the speed at which Class C communications happen. In the photo below, you'll see the airport I departed from, Hanover KOFP, and see how close the outer rings of Richmond Airspace are: 

Before our flight, I had some time to do ground work with my instructor. We went over, In detail, the calls we were going to make, when we were going to make them, etc. I made sure to have a sheet I used on my trifold pad, on which I wrote the frequencies we were going to be using as well as the major radio calls. My instructor told me that I would be doing all of the transmissions unless I needed a little help with one or two. 

Taking off from Hanover KOFP, we circled the field 500 feet above traffic pattern altitude (at 1,500 feet) to give us time to obtain the KRIC ATIS Information. The ATIS was unusually long from Richmond because of lots of airport repairs. RIC’s runway 16/34, the long 9,000 foot long runway, has been shortened by 2,000 feet to allow for some restorations that are taking place.

After obtaining the ATIS (which happened to be Hotel at the time), we listened in on approach’s frequency to see what kind of workload the ATC guys were up against. Sadly for them and us, there was a ton of traffic in Richmond. You could tell that they were trying to keep up with it all! In addition, the approach controller was in training, as one could tell when another person had to come on and give alternate instructions.

The Richmond, Virginia Sectional Chart Section-Note KOFP NW of KRIC

One thing I really learned from my instructor was the importance of “knocking on the door.” When calling up busy ATC, it’s much more respectful and courteous to them if you make a call saying similar to the following: “Potomac Approach, 16 Hotel Victor.” You don’t barge into someone’s house and demand what’s for dinner; you knock first, and let them come to the door. This lets them know that you’re there, waiting for a good moment to communicate. When we made this call, it took them a few minutes to respond. After establishing communication, we requested a touch and go at Richmond. (you can see the exact radio call at 28 seconds in the video) – this request for a touch and go should be noted, as it was important later on for us.

On short final for Runway 16, Richmond KRIC

We were directed to fly on course to Richmond KRIC runway 16 (essentially a straight-in approach flying from Hanover KOFP). On the horizon, we could see other traffic, jets landing and taking off on the same runway… it was time to use what I learned about wake-turbulence! One CRJ-200 (Endeavor Air 3906 from Richmond to Cincinnati CVG) took off right as we were coming in on final.

Flying into RIC and being surrounded by much larger aircraft was pretty cool too. I wouldn't doubt that we were the smallest, lightest traffic of the day. Our 2 seat, 730 pound Tecnam P92 Eaglet (N16HV) doesn't exactly match up with the 180 seat, 255,000 pound Delta 757-200 which was parked at the terminal.

It was awesome to be flying into a truly international airport for the first time. The farthest West any commercial flights out of Richmond fly is Dallas, North is Boston, and South is the Bahamas (via Vision Airlines). In addition, there have been flights on Air Canada to Toronto (I flew on a Dash 8 to Toronto to connect to Paris). Below is a route map of KRIC (only national flights):

When we switched over to the tower, we were cleared early on the approach into KRIC for runway 16 by the controller who asked us to follow the traffic (a Cessna Caravan) that we had in sight. This is a shortcut that controllers can use to clear someone into the airport (“follow traffic into…”), so that they can focus on other people.  The call the controller relayed to us was “16 Hotel Victor, Richmond Tower, you’re number 2, runway 16, cleared to land.”

The new KRIC Tower

It was so cool to be lining up with runway 16 in Richmond, looking around at 757’s and Gulfstream’s which were holding short for us, a tiny 2 seat Tecnam Eaglet! On short final, we let the tower know we were in for a touch and go back to Hanover KOFP. The controller asked if we had let approach know about the touch and go. My instructor got on the radio and said that they didn’t ask. That was true, they hadn’t asked, but we had told them (at second 28 in the video) that we were doing a touch and go. Somehow, that piece of info was never relayed to the tower. Oh well, it wasn’t that big a deal. They cleared us to touch and go right before we passed the threshold!

Since we were trying to enter and exit quickly, we kept our speed up on final and put in 1 notch of flaps, so that we could make a quick departure with takeoff flaps. The second we touched down, we powered right back up and went into a maximum performance climb to get up and away from the wake turbulence from the previous CRJ.

See the second part of this article series to see information about departing Class C for the first time.

Thanks for reading and watching!
-Swayne Martin
Twitter: @MartinsAviation
Youtube: MartinsAviation1

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Share Your Story: Fred Roy, Future Canadian Air Force Pilot

Welcome to the 23rd "Share Your Story" post. Pilots from around the world write in featuring their flight experiences, promoting their blogs, websites, social media, novels, etc. These posts show future aviators the diverse range of careers available to them. More details + how to participate can be found via the following: Click Here and Get Involved

The RV-4 is such a rocket; very performing little airplane.

Being a pilot is all I’ve ever wanted to be.

Extremely Cliché, I know; but it really is the truth.  I have been around airplanes and airports all my life, as my father is a professional pilot.  Today he is a Captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force, flying the CP-140 Aurora (Canadian variant of the P-3 Orion) out of CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia, Canada.  But my dad has flown quite a different aircraft before where he is now.  At first, getting his Private Pilot’s license at the age of 17 at a small airport Southeast of Montreal, Quebec, he proceeded to then fly diverse aircraft along his career. Flying MD-83s for Jetsgo (a now defunct Canadian low-cost airline), flying a Learjet 45 for Bombardier Aerospace, flying the CH-146 Griffon helicopter in the Canadian Air Force Reserves (the equivalent of the American Air National Guard) and flying the mighty Airbus A380 for Emirates out of Dubai are some of these diverse jobs.  My father really is who introduced me to the exciting and captivating world of aviation.

My father, First Officer on the A380

The CP-140 Aurora, the airplane he now flies

Needless to say, with all that moving around came a lot of travelling; and thus flying!  Having travelled a lot throughout my life so far, I really learned a lot about our world and about flying that world.  I have visited 12 countries as of yet, including Germany, Tunisia, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong, China.  All of the travelling to overseas continents occurred during our 3-year stay in Dubai, UAE, when my dad flew the Airbus A330, A340 and A380 for Emirates.  As family members we would get very cheap standby tickets with Emirates and other codeshare airlines to practically anywhere in the world.  Dubai was a great experience; that is where my passion for flight developed even further than what it was. Over there I would go to the threshold of Dubai International Airport, DXB, and watch long-haul airliners land one after the other.  I took a couple familiarization flights on an Aeroprakt Ultralight airplane, which was a lot of fun.  Flying over endless sand dunes was just unreal.  But most important out of my experiences of living in Dubai,  was making friends from all over the world who had the same passion as me; aviation.

After a flight in an Aeroprakt 22L, flying out of a small runway in Umm Al-Quwain, UAE

To read more of Fred's awesome "Share Your Story" post, click below. (if you're already on the full article, ignore this)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Airport Review: Soar Truckee at the Truckee-Tahoe Airport, CA (KTRK)

Two weeks ago, I was spending another family vacation in Lake Tahoe, California. It was my 5th time out West to Lake Tahoe for a summer vacation, but the 1st time I had done it as a newly minted pilot. If you've been following the blog, you know that I completed my first solo flight the week I turned 16 with 4.5 total flight hours. In June, I did my first solo "cross-country" flight with 15 flight hours. You can find articles and videos from these flights by clicking on this link, which will take you to the "Flight Training" section of the site: Flight Training

Lake Tahoe is essentially a 22x12 mile long granite bowl surrounded by snow covered mountains, in the high Sierras. It sits on the border of California and Nevada. Needless to say, after years of vacationing there, I was excited to see everything from a different angle! There are two general aviation airports serving Lake Tahoe (Truckee-Tahoe, and South Lake Tahoe). In addition, the Reno International Airport serves commercial traffic to the area. You can read flight reports from my commercial flying into Reno here: Flight Reports

Originally, the plan was for me to take a Cessna 172 mountain training lesson out of the Truckee Tahoe Airport (KTRK). That morphed into a glider lesson with Soar Truckee out of the same airport. I decided that it would be more valuable to learn a little bit about gliding and get some mountain training vs. flying in the normal C172. 

The Truckee-Tahoe Airport:

You can read the full article about my first glider flight lesson here: First Glider Flight Lesson with Soar Truckee

Here is the full video of our flight with added music (click on this link if viewing from an email: First Glider Flight Lesson KTRK):

The Truckee-Tahoe Airport is Northwest of Lake Tahoe, close to the town of Truckee, California. It has two runways; Runway 10/28 (7,000ft x 100ft) and Runway 1/19 (4,650ft x 75ft). When looking at the main terminal during vacation months, one can see upwards of 15 private jets ranging from Phenom 100's to Gulfstream 5's. Gliders land and depart via Runway 19, which is adjacent to the Soar Truckee Glider FBO. 

The Soar Truckee FBO, where I took my glider lesson, is located in an isolated, quiet part of the airport. The surrounding mountains are famous for gliding, thus, there are numerous gliders on the ramp, in storage, etc. This was the first airport FBO I had ever reached by dirt road! It was comprised of just one small building against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevadas. 

Arriving at the Soar Truckee site, I met my instructor, Jan Driessen. He flew with the Belgian Air Force in some of the first military fighters around. Jan has been flying gliders for 59 years, amassing over 22,000 hours in gliders alone! Knowing that my instructor has so much experience was comforting to me since this was my first glider flight. 

The Truckee-Tahoe Airport is one of, if not the most scenic airports I've ever flown out of. It's surrounded on all sides by mountains, some of which in the summer still have snow. Very shortly after taking off from the airport, you'll have great views of Lake Tahoe and some of the most famous skiing resorts in the world. 

Here is the video of our glider takeoff and release from the Truckee-Tahoe Airport: 

Flying over KTRK, my instructor and I counted 15+ private jets, an unusual amount of very expensive traffic for even this vacation destination! Every now and then, you could see one take off or land a few thousand feet below us. Here are some ariel views: 

As I said before, flying out of the Truckee Airport is highly scenic. Here are a few shots I took flying around the area: 

Here is the video of our glider landing at the Truckee-Tahoe Airport:

Overall, I had an awesome experience flying into and out of the Truckee-Tahoe Airport. The people there were friendly, always making sure you were enjoying yourself. Hopefully I'll be going back sometime soon and will take another flight around the area!

Thanks for reading and watching!,
Swayne Martin 
Twitter: @MartinsAviation

Friday, August 16, 2013

Flight Report: Delta 737-800 Las Vegas (LAS) to Salt Lake City (SLC)

After a nice 2 day stop in Las Vegas for a sunset Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour, it was time to head towards our final destination, Reno (Lake Tahoe, California). This flight, amazingly, was our only flight out West which had PTV's! Since we had been on the 757-300, the seats hadn't yet been updated. 

Delta Flight 790 Information:
  • Flight: Las Vegas Mccarran International Airport (LAS) to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • Flight Time: 56 Minutes
  • Aircraft: Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-800 (N3571B)
  • Seat: 26D (window) 

Here is the video from our Las Vegas (LAS) takeoff. You can find more videos like this by clicking on my channel name, MartinsAviation1:

Taking off from Las Vegas was pretty cool. Banking to the right, we had a view of the strip with all of the casinos/hotels we has just been staying in. 

Flying towards Salt Lake City, we could the Grand Canyon in the distance. The window views on this flight were great. Here are some of the photos: 

Read more of this flight report + see more photos and videos by clicking below (ignore this if you're already on the full article)