The goal of this blog is to show the steps which I will be taking over the next few years in my pursuit of a Professional Pilot career. I will show step by step my path towards this goal, beginning with my first Flight Lesson. In addition, I will show you what inspires me in aviation from the flights I have taken to the people I have met. Along the way, I hope to inspire young or new pilots to follow their passion and take it to the next level.
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
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.
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
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
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)
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:
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
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)