Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Private Pilot (PPL) Checkride: Part 2, The Flight Test

This article is the second of two articles, both of which go into detail about my PPL Checkride. Questions, topics, and trouble-areas from my checkride have all been included with no filter. My email is swaynem13@gmail.com. Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions. 

After successfully completing the first half of my checkride, the oral exam, it was time to prepare for the second half. After the oral finished up, my examiner asked for me to re-plan my cross country flight plan with current winds and temperatures (to my first two checkpoints). In my case, this was Short Pump Mall and the Luckstone Granite Quarry, about 5 minutes flight time to each checkpoint. He let me know that I'd be the PIC on the flight, and we'd only have to exchange controls when needed for instrument flight. In a real world emergency, he let me know that I'd be the one in control and making the decisions. This is a big deal for any student pilot, it's the first time you get "Pilot in Command" time while someone else is in the plane with you. My examiner let me know before the flight that he wasn't expecting perfection, and that if I was above or below practical test standards, to audibly tell him "I'm high and correcting" for instance. 

My checkride's route

Check out my route of flight for yourself via this CloudAhoy link: Click Here

We took a quick break for water before we went out to preflight the plane, Tecnam Eaglet N16HV. When we were about ready to go outside, the examiner told me to head out and that he'd catch up with me in a few minutes. In a way this was unexpected, as I thought he was going to be following me through every step of the preflight. This assumption couldn't have been more wrong in my case. When he did come outside, he sort of just stood at a distance, occasionally looking over to see what I was up to. I think in doing this, he was trying to asses how I do my preflight check without anyone hovering over my shoulder. I had anticipated and prepared being quizzed on everything that I was doing, but that never ended up happening. 

Once we were ready to go and the plane had been thoroughly inspected, we got in and started it up. I remember that the first time I turned the key, I only got the prop to spin, but the engine didn't start. I took a deep breath and turned the key again. This time, the engine got up and running right away with no hesitation. 

  • I'll take a quick pause to explain a really great strategy for the flight portion of your checkride. Make sure you are very vocal with your examiner about what you are doing and why. He isn't in your head, so go through the checklist aloud, say what you're looking for, what decisions you're making, and why... all the way through the checkride. As you'll see in a little bit, there were a few times that it was especially good to explain why I was making certain decisions or veering from a normal procedure. Also, remember to make checklist usage a big part of your whole flight, it has become a real focus in the PTS. 

After getting the weather, checking radios, and determining the runway to use, we began our taxi. Each of us checked our brakes, and we were off! I made sure to turn CloudAhoy on, on my iPhone, so that the flight's 3D path would be recorded for later analyzation. On my lap and in-between my legs, I had my: tri-fold kneeboard with flight plan, sectional chart, and electronic E6B flight computer. All of that plus a stick vs. yoke configured airplane makes for a serious lack of space! 

On our taxi out to Runway 16, I made sure to keep my speed down and under control. The FAA generalizes a safe taxi speed to be nothing more than a brisk walk. I did have to ride the brakes a little to keep the speed down, but it was well worth it. The Tecnam P92 Eaglet I fly is equipped with a multi-function display on the pilot side, a Garmin 496 GPS in the center, and has most of the flight-essential instruments in old fashioned gauges surrounding. I was surprised that the examiner didn't dim or turn off either of these glass displays. Even though I wasn't using the GPS, I still found interesting that it was still up and I could see my location. Some examiners will choose to cover up or turn off glass displays, so beware that you might be in that situation! 

Upon reaching the hold short area, we began our runup with no issues. As we were about ready to go, a plane was about to being its turn to final from base. Under normal circumstances, we would have had plenty of time to go, but I was asked to perform a short field takeoff for the first takeoff. With these takeoffs, you have to back taxi a little on the runway, to use all available runway, stop and apply full power, and accelerate to Vx before rotating. All of this takes more time than normal, so I decided to wait for the traffic to land. I explained to my instructor why I chose to wait it out and that it would just be better to be patient in case we were to have an issue. He said "very good," and we waited. 

After traffic left the runway, we lined up and began our first takeoff of the day. There were light winds and everything went perfectly. Shortly after departure, we turned to heading and I started my timer. After about 4 minutes, we reached the first visual checkpoint, Short Pump Mall. Timing was pretty good, just about 40 seconds off. From there, we continued to my second checkpoint, which was off by just about 40 seconds as well. 

At this point, as expected, he gave me a hypothetical situation and subsequent diversion. He told me that there were thunderstorms directly ahead of us and that we'd have to divert to another airport. I told him that we had two options, to return directly to Hanover OFP, or to plan for Chesterfield FCI. He let me know that for our purposes, it'd just be better to pick FCI. All he wanted to see was that I knew a generalized heading to FCI, distance, and time enroute. We were 15nm away from FCI, needed a heading of about 145 degrees, and had groundspeed of about 95kts (as read from the GS chart I made before my flight for different directions). This made the math pretty simple, and I told him that it'd take us about 10 minutes to get there. To see how close I was, we hit "nearest" on the GPS, clicked "enter" for FCI, and saw our route to be 142 degrees and that it'd take us just over 10 minutes... not too bad! 

Diversion calculations done, we headed NW for instrument work

We didn't actually end up flying to Chesterfield, it was just a hypothetical situation posed by him. It was time to do some simulated instrument work. We exchanged controls with the standard 3 point system, I got on my instrument hood, and we began some testing. Here's what he had me do: 
  • climb to a given altitude 
  • descend to a given altitude 
  • straight a level flight
  • turn to a given heading
  • unusual attitude recovery 
    • he put the plane into a high, left climb, and cut the power - I had to correct the airspeed and attitude 

The only comment he had for me about my slow flight was that I could use more rudder input. To let the plane maintain straight flight, apply more right rudder. When you want to turn left in slow flight, release this rudder pressure, and the plane will bank left (from left turning tendency). 

From that point, we moved into slow flight situations. Here's what we did:
  • straight and level slow flight at 43 kts
  • turns to given headings
  • recovery from slow flight 

Shortly following slow flight, we did both a power on and power off stall (both straight, non-turning). Stalls were done in takeoff configuration for power on stalls, and in a landing configuration descent for power off stalls. Both stall situations went well, and I only had to do them once each. 

After stalls, we moved into steep turns. Before each steep turn, we did a left then right clearing turn. They were standard steep turns, entering from a given heading (in my case, North - 360 degrees), staying within + or - 100 feet, and exiting on the same heading. We did one right and one left steep turn, so nothing too hard! 

As I expected, he gave me a simulated engine failure, that would bring us down to a lower altitude for ground reference maneuvers. I picked a large field and entered on a right downwind. Going through the normal steps, I explained what I would do had there actually been a real engine failure. Essentially: pitch for best glide, fly to intended landing, begin restart procedures, communicate, and prepare for the landing (following the plane's checklist). I made sure to stay high, as you can always do S-Turns or slip the plane in to get down quickly. In general, in these situations, it's much better to be high than low. Since I did end up on a high final, I let the examiner know that I was going to do some S-Turns and then would slip in for a landing. About 150 feet above the ground, he said "ok, we've probably annoyed the neighbors enough, go around. Our intended field of landing is shown below: 

At this point, we went around, and climbed to an altitude of about 700 feet AGL for ground reference maneuvers. We only did one ground reference maneuver because the first one went so well, which was a turn around a point. As you can see in the photo below, we did a full left turn around a barn that I picked out: 

Following this ground reference maneuver, he asked me where I thought Hanover OFP was, and I correctly pointed out the right direction. The examiner asked me to fly us back towards Hanover at an altitude of my choice, saying that we were moving on to the final landings of the ride. For our navigation back, I was allowed to use the GPS. Since there were lots of planes in the pattern, we wanted to make the most accurate position reports possible. 

The first landing was to be a short field landing with a touchdown point of my choice (I chose the 1000 foot threshold bars). Heading back to OFP, we were on a direct, long final for Runway 16, but I opted to enter a midfield crosswind, as I had always practiced short field landings from the pattern vs. in a long final. We kept our ears and eyes peeled, as there were 2 planes on downwind, 1 landing, 1 turning final, and 2 waiting to depart... a pretty busy day! 

Entering our midfield crosswind, I saw that a plane to our right had turned downwind, which was going to create a sequencing conflict. I had to choose pretty quickly what our fix would be. After having crossed over the field, I turned in an upwind direction until the plane passed by, at which point we followed the plane through the pattern. This was the only issue my examiner had with the checkride. It's not safe to be flying counter-direction to the pattern, especially with so many planes in the air. He said that I made the right choice given the situation, but that it could've been avoided had I crossed upfield vs. midfield. In the photo below, I've circled this incident from our route: 

The first landing (short field) went great! I came in with just enough power to even out our descent, and touched down right in the center of the thousand-footers! That was a great feeling and super smooth landing. After this full stop landing, we taxied back to Runway 16 for a soft field takeoff and landing. The takeoff went just as well, staying in ground effect until Vx, and rotating out. I made sure to make a point of keeping back elevator pressure for our simulated takeoff, doing a wheelie down the runway. A video example of the technique is shown below: 

The final item of the day was our soft field landing. On short final, I took a deep breath, knowing I had passed everything so far, and told myself not to mess up the very last thing on my checkride. One smooth landing later, we were done. I had a feeling that I had passed and was pretty happy with my performance. After clearing the runway and shutting down, I was greeted with the much appreciated handshake and congratulations! 

We then headed inside and got some paperwork done. You can see more photos from the day here: Newest Licensed Pilot in the USA

Overall, I was surprised by how easy the checkride felt. I was over-prepared, as most students are who go into the exam. I actually enjoyed being tested on my knowledge and skill with different tasks. If you're well prepare, you'll be surprised to find that you enjoy being tested on everything. I learned a whole lot from the experience too. Flying with the examiner, he pointed out small things I could fix or improve to be an overall better pilot, which was awesome! 

Another view of our flight

As my english teacher would say, you should be happy to have the opportunity to "show what you know" through testing. The checkride isn't something to dread, rather something to get excited about. An endorsement from your instructor to take it symbolizes the fact that if she or he were given the opportunity, they'd feel safe giving you the license on the spot. The checkride is in place almost to serve as a second opinion on this decision, so it's not supposed to be something extremely hard once you've gotten to the point of taking it. 

Thanks for reading! My first flight as a private pilot is scheduled for this weekend, with my grandfather!
-Swayne Martin 
Twitter: @MartinsAviation

Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Private Pilot (PPL) Checkride: Part 1, The Oral Exam

This article is the first of two articles, both of which go into detail about my PPL Checkride. Questions, topics, and trouble-areas from my checkride have all been included with no filter. My email is swaynem13@gmail.com. Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions. 

My examiner began the oral portion of the checkride by explaining that he was going to follow the PTS, but had his own sheet to make things flow a little better, and to touch on topics on which he wanted to focus specifically. He reassured me at the beginning that he wasn't expecting perfection, and that this truly is a license to learn. I was told that if there were a few questions that I didn't know the answer to, I could use "my library of resources" that I brought with me to find the correct answer. He let me know that this would be ok for a few questions, but that I shouldn't need to look up answers for more than a few. (It ended up being that I didn't have to look up answers for really anything). Basically bring every book you used to study to the checkride itself. In my case, I had my Jeppesen and Gleim as well as the required FAR/AIM, AF/D, etc. 

The oral portion of my PPL checkride began as expected. The primary questions were about what information, documentation, and equipment that I would need to begin my flight. This includes knowing currency requirements for day and night flying, ARROW documents, required equipment and instruments for day and night flying, appropriate aircraft logs (and entries), etc. 

There was only one issue with this beginning portion of the checkride-- the aircraft maintenance logs. Here is a piece of advice for students who are about to take their checkride: double check (the day before) the aircraft logs and familiarize yourself with the proper entires and locations. I incorrectly assumed that my aircraft's logbooks and their currency would be up to date. As we were going through the aircraft logs, my examiner and I noted a procedural oversight that resulted in a last minute scramble to get everything in order (as it stood in the logbooks, the aircraft was technically "un-airworthy"). This could have been completely avoided had I thought the day before to double check the logs. 

While my examiner reassured me that the responsibility for the oversight was not mine, nonetheless, I should have checked the logs earlier. As far as he was concerned, I did the only thing any pilot could do-- identifying the mistake, and having it corrected. If need be, go out to the airport the day before and meet with one of the mechanics to go through the books, and get an explanation of what each entry means and for how long it is valid. 

After that isolated incident, the oral portion went smoothly for me other than a handful of missed questions. Below, I'll go through more stages of the checkride, including some of the questions I was asked. 

Shortly following the opening section on requirements to fly that day, we moved into discussion about the cross-country flight that I had been asked to plan for that day. I was requested to make a 290nm xc flight plan from Hanover KOFP to Asheville KAVL (North Carolina), with the examiner weighing 200 pounds, and with 40 pounds of baggage. Normally, students are requested to make such a long xc flight plan for the checkride. This flight plan alone required me to order 4 new sectionals (one just an updated version). For a flight from KOFP to KAVL, I had to have the Washington, Cincinnati, Charlotte, and Atlanta sectional charts. Most examiners will ask for a flight plan near the max range of the aircraft, to test your fuel calculations and fuel stop planning. I believe it was my examiner's intention to do this, but I ended up being well within range of Asheville, with 8 gallons (or 2 hours flight time) to spare. 

As I laid out my sectional charts (which had already been marked for route and checkpoints), he went over my flight planning sheets. I was allowed the night before to use Foreflight forecasted winds aloft for my flight plan, which made the process a little easier. I took screenshots on my iPhone for each forecasted winds aloft page, and printed them out, as shown below. In the margin, I wrote the interpolated values for temperature, speed, and direction, for my altitude. There were five legs total in the trip; I waited to plan the first leg (OFP-FVX) until the morning of, so that the weather would be more current. The night before, I had printed out TAFs, NOTAMs, and TFRs that were along my route, so that he could easily go through some of those. He never ended up asking to see them, but it was good to have them nonetheless. You can see some the flight plan sheets and information below. 

I paid special attention to terrain avoidance heading into Asheville, as it's a pretty mountainous area. I planned the flight to head through low points and passes in the mountains, following highways, so that I wouldn't have to explain terrain avoidance, or plan an additional climb. (Make your flight plan simple to follow!). Below, you can see the route I took into KAVL: 

We then moved into some information about my specific aircraft. Topics and questions he asked about are listed below: 

  • Powerplant
    • I was asked about the Tecnam's engine and some simple specifications, such as that it's horizontally opposed, etc. 
  • Weight and Balance
    • Max and minimum weights 
    • Basic vs. empty weight (which I should have but did not have filled out for my aircraft) 
    • Make sure that you have with you an official POH for your aircraft that has all of the required information and weights that are specific to your aircraft, signed and filled out by a mechanic

After those topics (with which I had no issues), he quizzed me on some basic sectional chart knowledge. Here's what he asked:

  • He put his finger on different classes of airspace: 
    • asking what the requirements were to fly during the day and night in those areas 
    • asking what the "bases and tops" were for different airspace
    • asking what equipment and procedures are required for different classes of controlled airspace 
  • I was asked about isogonic lines and their meaning
  • He asked what information (and frequencies) I could read about an airport directly from the sectional, and what types of information I'd have to refer to the AF/D to get more knowledge on 
  • Special Use Airspace
    • pointed to an MOA and asked what to do when flying through them, how to find if it's active, etc
    • pointed to some restricted airspace and asked about that
  • He pointed to a VOR and asked about how to ID one and how to enter it into my NAV system, what frequency to use, and how to contact the associated FSS (how one receives and transmits on different frequencies) 
  • He pointed the the white square box around Charlotte and asked what that was for (to signal a terminal chart area) 
  • He pointed to a military training route, just wanting me to ID it separately from a victor airway essentially 
  • Pointing to Mountain Air (cool airport, look it up), I was asked what I could expect flying into an airport at a higher elevation, on hot days, being heavy, etc. 

That was it for the sectional quizzing. The only question I missed was when he asked me what the "L" stood for when we looked at an uncontrolled field on the sectional. I mistakenly said that it signified left traffic, when it actually is information about airport lighting. When I missed that, the examiner simply asked where I could find the correct answer. I told him the chart legend, and we flipped over to it, and read the correct information together. I almost said that the military flight route was a victor airway, but quickly corrected myself when I paid closer attention to the black color of the line he was pointing to. Other than that, quizzing on the sectional was easy, going completely as expected. 

Following the flight plan and sectional information, we went through aviation weather. He asked me the simple question: "What do you do when checking weather before a flight." After that, we moved on to reading some basic prog charts and radar summary charts. He asked me about different lines and their meanings on the charts. We went through cold and warm fronts, what to expect, what an AIRMET and SIGMET is, and what the difference is between them, and when structural icing conditions can occur. Listed below are a few points that I missed in relation to this section: 
  • When he asked me what kind of weather I could expect from a cold front, he gave me the options cumulus clouds or stratus clouds. I said stratus, which was the wrong answer. Cold fronts are often associated with cumulus clouds, thunderstorms, squall lines, etc. 
  • I missed a question when he pointed to an isobaric line on a prog chart. I believe I said something like "those lines have to do with cloud cover." He corrected me, and we moved on, so it was no big deal. 

We then moved into other sections, briefly touching on various topics with about one question each. This is basically how it works - if you can answer the first question correctly and confidently, the examiner is most likely going to move on to another section. If you answer incorrectly or hesitantly, he'll probably quiz you more. Below are topics and questions I was asked: 
  • Aeromedical factors
    • What is spatial disorientation and when does it occur? 
  • Aircraft systems
    • What is the Pitot-Static system and what does it do? 
      • Explain what were to happen if ____? (if blank were to be blocked..)
  • ADM
    • What are some situations that could require good aeronautical decision making? (Resignation, "Macho," etc. - all from the PTS)
  • Runway Incursions
    •  How do you avoid runway incursions and what are your personal procedures to avoid them? 
  • LAHSO Operations
    • What is a land and hold short operation and what are your responsibilities when issues a LAHSO clearance? 
  • Lost procedures 
    • What do you do? 
      • The 4 C's: Climb, Confess, Communicate, Comply 

After successfully completing the oral portion (a huge relief for me!), he told me to revise my flight plan for the first leg, to plan my xc flight to the first two waypoints, and to add current weather information. We then took a short break for some water, and headed out to the airplane to pre-flight.

So there you have it. That was the first half of my PPL Checkride! There will be an article coming soon that details the flight portion and closing. Make sure to email me if you have any questions. 

Thanks for reading,
-Swayne Martin 
Twitter: @MartinsAviation

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Newest Pilot in the United States - Passed My PPL Checkride!

It's the end of the beginning portion of my aviation journey, as the title of this blog reads, "From Private to Professional Pilot." Fittingly, getting my Private Pilot's License is a major milestone, but just one of many for the future! 

Just a heads up to all of those interested, I will be writing a separate article for the blog about my PPL Checkride experience, with details about the major stages, etc. I'll give information about my cross-country flight plan, studying strategies, etc. This post is more about my relief and happiness that I've finally reached a major life-goal of mine. 

Thanks Mom and Dad!

Finding words to describe what today has been like is going to be a challenge. Getting my pilot's license is something that I've been dreaming about for as long as I can remember. After finally becoming reality, it still hasn't hit me yet. I've been training so hard, for so long; all of this almost feels unreal somehow. Knowing that unless I really mess something up or loose my medical, that I have a pilot's license for life is an incredible feeling.

Two weeks ago, I flew my last flight as a student pilot, with my awesome instructor Graham Frye, out of Hanover KOFP (HOVA Flight Services). It was in preparation for today, my PPL Checkride. As every pilot knows, right when you really want the weather to cooperate, it won't. So for the next 2 weeks from that day, we planned 3 checkride flights, all of which were cancelled due to snow storms. On the bright side, I got school off for a few days around and on my 17th Birthday! 

With my awesome instructor, Graham Frye

Waking up at 6am today to do some final flight planning, I was nervous, anxious, and didn't quite know what to expect. Checkrides are something that pilots go through constantly over their career, but being the first, I had no idea what was heading my way. Having studied for the past few weeks, and knowing that my parents and grandparents were going to be there, I didn't want to let myself or anyone else down. 

Arriving at the airport, I met my examiner for the first time. He instantly put me at ease with his laid back, yet knowingly systematic style. As he put it "let's get this mission done." After passing the oral (saving this for another post!), we headed out to the plane to pre-flight and got on our way. 

I'll save the flight portion for another post as well, but I will point out one very distinct feeling I remember. I remember being on final approach for my last landing (a soft field landing), knowing that I had passed everything thus far. I told myself "ok Swayne, let's get this landing down and not screw it up at the last second." I felt so at ease yet highly alert. One more landing, and I would have that certificate in my hand is what I told myself. After a flawless calm-wind approach, just as I was passing the numbers a few feet off the ground, the wind gave a brief but sudden gust, as if it was saying "remember to stay on your toes." That little bump pushed us down, requiring nearly full aft elevator, but still resulted in a greased landing. It's almost like nature was reminding me to stay alert, especially at the times I'm starting to feel the most comfortable. 

After parking the plane and shutting down, I was greeted by the much appreciated handshake and congratulations from my examiner. Walking back inside the FBO, I couldn't help but have a huge smile on my face, and gave my mom and grandparents a big thumbs-up and hug as I walked through the door. After the paperwork and official "Temporary Airmen Certificate" was signed, we got down to some pictures! 

Imagining the future?

Did I get much sleep last night? - No. But now that I've finally accomplished one of my biggest goals in life, I can put my head down in a few minutes, and sleep soundly knowing that I've done something I only dreamed of until this moment. 

Do you know what the best part of this is? My journey just began. 

Thanks for reading,
-Swayne Martin 
Twitter: @MartinsAviation

I want to say a special THANK YOU to all of my friends, family, followers,  mentors,  and instructors that have helped me so far on my path. I know for a fact that I wouldn't be here right now, writing this article, if it hadn't been for each and every one of you. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Checkride Schedule Update

It's my 17th Birthday, which makes me eligible for my Pilot's License! As I expected, winter storm Pax messed up my plan for having the checkride today. With snow, rain, hail, icing, turbulence, lightning, and low ceilings, it's definitely NOT the most ideal day for flying! Check out some of the weather from Foreflight below: 

On the bright side, I woke up on my birthday to inches of snow, with school closed!!!

So as of now the PPL checkride has been pushed back to next Friday at 9am, let's hope it'll work out! Send your good vibes towards Richmond! 

I'll be back with more posts soon! Thanks for reading,
-Swayne Martin 
Twitter: @MartinsAviation

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Airport Review: Falwell (W24), Virginia - A "Ski-Slope" Runway

Falwell's airport in Southwest Virginia has one of the most unique runways in all of Virginia, if not on the entire East Coast. You can only take off from runway 10, and land on runway 28, due to a massive runway gradient. Between the end of runway 10 and the opposite, runway 28, there is a 150+ foot drop down a pretty steep hill. Falwell's runway looks more like a ski-slope than anything else. People have been known to use it as such after a heavy snowfall!

Our flight from Hanover KOFP to Falwell W24 was a longer flight of 83nm (one way.) There and back, I flew a total of 2 hours simulated instrument flight time, which fulfilled the rest of my requirement towards the PPL. On the same day, I decided that I might as well start the Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Program: a program where you have an aviation "passport" for Virginia, acquiring a stamp for every visited airport. If you ever complete the book, you receive a very nice, free leather aviators jacket. (there are also sub-categories of achievement, where one can receive a free flight bag, etc.) Here's my book and the stamp I got from W24: 

We departed shortly after 4:30pm and arrived at Falwell just before 5:30pm. Our leg to W24 was at 4,500ft, route-mapping below provided from CloudAhoy: 

En-route to W24 

Descending into W24

Arrival at W24 (*note some GPS inaccuracy... we didn't miss the runway!)

As I took off my "foggles" (used for simulated instrument flight), for our descent, I was greeted with a pretty awesome sunset over the Virginian Mountains:

Shown below is a video of our arrival into Falwell W24, landing on runway 28. The footage was filmed with my GoPro Hero 3 and includes some time-lapse video, with most radio calls included. You can find more videos like this on my Youtube Channel: MartinsAviation1

As you could see in the video, we had a little trouble finding the airports FBO, which is hidden in the anthill layout of Falwell. If you try to find the FBO, just remember to take the lowest taxiway, which leads to the lowest point of the airport. Upon finding the FBO, we were greeted by a really friendly manager who walked out to put chocks on the plane, later leading us inside for our passport stamp. 

Our plane on W24's ramp (yes, I parked backwards in the spot!)

Falwell's FBO (not my photo)

As I alluded to above, Falwell's taxiways were like an anthill. Some leading seemingly nowhere, some leading directly to houses, and one leading to the FBO. All of this is built right on top of a steep hill! My instructor and I felt like we were off-roading in our little Tecnam. Make sure to add a lot of engine power while taxiing up the hill, so you don't get stuck! 

As planned, we departed runway 10, from the top of the hill. Our next route of flight would take us to Lynchburg KLYH, but that's for another article. One quick piece of advice for taking off... make sure you're not fooled by the steep hill, pay close attention to your airspeed, and rotate very gradually so there's no chance of a tail-strike. Below is a video of our takeoff with audio included:

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at Falwell. W24 has become one of my favorite airports in Virginia, one I can't wait to visit again and show off to passengers with my PPL! 

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