Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Cessna 172 Checkout Flight

For nearly all of my flight training, I flew in either a Tecnam P92 Eaglet or Tecnam P2002 Sierra. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out this article: What Exactly is a Tecnam Aircraft? I've also had the pleasure of flying in a few different types of aircraft. For a full list, check out the "Aircraft Flown" column on the right side of this page. 

As a private pilot, I can legally fly any plane under 12,500 pounds that does not require a type rating or additional endorsement. To rent aircraft from FBOs, you normally do a checkout flight with one of the company's instructors. Yesterday, I followed through with my plan to make a transition to the Cessna 172, becoming eligible to rent and fly the plane solo. I did this because the Cessna has 4 total seats vs. the Tecnam's two. That way, I can fly more people and split the cost for flying at a lower rater per person ($35 per person, per hour). HOVA Flight Services out of Hanover KOFP has three C172s for its students, all three of which I've flown in. 

I really enjoy flying the Skyhawk. It's easy, forgiving, and doesn't float down the runway like the Eaglet! It's an older, heavier bird than the smaller Tecnam, which makes it fun in its own respect. As my awesome instructor Graham Frye put it: "Once you have your PPL, the real fun starts. You get to try out different aircraft, learning their individual characteristics and tendencies. You'll begin to develop a sense of what you like to see in planes you truly enjoy flying." 

After two snow days with school off, the weather finally cleared enough for a flight. I took the snow day as an opportunity to call up the school and schedule a flight with Graham. With variable winds at 3 knots and clear skies, it was an awesome day for a flight! We were scheduled to be in Cessna 172R N9525V. I didn't originally intend for this to be my "checkout" flight, just a chance to fly more in the Cessna. In the end, doing the checkout style flight was perfect for the day and time.  

I had Graham do the walk around with me, to go over different things I needed to check for on the unfamiliar aircraft. Luckily, I didn't miss the big problem with the plane before giving it the thumbs up: ice build-up on the elevator and trim tabs. He had left it there for me to find, making sure I wouldn't skip over it, which would be a very dangerous situation! After the walkaround and cabin check, we were ready to go. Our plan was simple, fly for about an hour around the practice area to the Northwest and return for a landing or two. Our route of flight is shown via a screenshot of CloudAhoy below: (explore the route on Google Earth for yourself via this link: Click Here)

We began going over basic maneuvers in the plane. Steep turns came first: 

We then moved into slow flight and stalls: 

An emergency decent came next, brining us down to ground-reference maneuver altitude: 

Turns around a point (well, two points!): 

We then returned to Hanover OFP for a straight in approach to Runway 16. After a greased touch and go, we did one more full-stop landing for extra practice. Both landings went great and the day was done! After lots of adjusting, we got the plane tied down and headed inside to sign off paperwork. Now that I can rent the C172 from the school, I'm looking forward to my first solo flight in the plane soon! 

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

1 comment:

  1. I know that you are planning to fly your mother's friends places. $35/hour sounds good to me.


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Many Thanks, Happy Flying,
Swayne Martin