Thursday, June 21, 2007

Comments Welcome!

I don't have a hit-counter on here, so the only way I can really track views (as far as I can see from spending a while hunting through the admin options) is by comments.

So... speak up, speak your mind, and ask questions! This blog is as much for you as it is for me, so let me know if there's anything you'd like to know or if there's anything that needs more explanation. And if there are any errors, feel free to point them out.

We're just starting our TSS/EDS simulator time here, and there's a lot to write about. I would like to get some photos to illustrate what I'm talking about, but haven't had a chance to snap some.


r9s said...

how is the transportation to the academy? are you driving? sharing a car? how is the faa shuttle?

Wicked Penguin said...

There are shuttle buses that make scheduled runs to most of the FAA Housing places. I know several people in my class ride them, but they make their rounds so it can take a little while to get where you're going.

A lot of the folks end up just bumming rides off people who live in their complex. That's the case with one of my friends here in class - for day classes she either rides with her friend or takes the bus, and during night classes I drop her off at her building in my complex.

Personally, I rented a car here from Walnut Gardens for $7 a day, a blue Chevy Cavalier. It's about as basic as you can get - no power locks, no power windows, bad shocks. About the only amenity it has is a CD player, and it sometimes scratches CDs. However, the rental place is very quick to fix anything wrong with it. So far I've had a dead taillight and a flat tire, and both were fixed instantly.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the posts. I am slated to head to OKC in January. What is your living situation? Did you recruit roommates or do you live alone? Thanks.

William said...

Hey Wicked, how are you doing? I hope your enjoying everything, I know I am in Stuart over at ATP. Can't wait til the day you get to vector me around the skies!
Bill Holland

Wicked Penguin said...

@anon: I live alone in a 1BR. It's honestly one of the more expensive options, but I have a lot of stuff and really wanted some room to spread out. I've seen what the efficiencies look like, and I would have gone crazy in a place where the bed takes up like 75% of the floor space. Plus with my wife visiting periodically, it just made the most sense.

If you are bringing your own car, there are other options outside of the FAA Housing. Look around on Craig's List and other places. One girl in my class rented out the second bedroom in a house owned by a married couple who are Air Force controllers for $400.

The most cost effective option is finding a roommate. A lot of people here arrived with a single-occupant place already booked, but after meeting someone in our class they ended up rooming together in a larger place. However, having a roommate is not for everyone (I've been married too long to co-habitate with anyone but my wife, LOL!).

@Bill: Hey Bill! Doing well here. It's not a shallow learning curve but it's going well for the most part. The best part has been meeting a lot of interesting and fun people from all over the country. The work itself is challenging and intense, just like I thought and hoped it would be.

How's life in Stuart? I flew in there with my wife on my first cross country after I got my license. Neat airport that one, with its triangle runways. If you like Mexican food, check out Dos Amigos Cantina, a divey but awesome Mexican place a few minutes from there. It was a kickass "$100 Burrito". :)

ATC is pretty damn cool, but it's not for everyone, especially with the state of the agency. That's awesome that you're pursuing your dream and doing what feels right. There are a few people in the class that wish they'd maybe gone that route. What stage are you at now in your flight training and what kind of aircraft do they have you flying?

William said...

When I first got here, was flying a C172R for time building, flew all over Florida, from Daytona to Marathon, MCO, FXE, Occala, and others. Still need to do 14 hours of time building. Couple of days ago started flying a Piper Seminole, PA44. Have about 5.4 hours in it now. This stage of flight school is kicking my ass right now, I fly again tomorrow and then Wednesday is my pvt multi check ride. Can't explain it, my head is not where it needs to be, I feel like I'm at less of a level right now than when I passed my pvt check ride. It is no walk in the park for me at the moment. I didn't study as hard as I should of my first week now I am doing it on top of flying a new airplane. These pipers surely do not land like a Cessna, and if you try to cut the engine and flare in these, you will be in trouble. I gave my CFI a near death experience as we stalled 20ft above the runway. I was quick and gave it full power and landed within tolerable limits. Could of ended up in a hospital with a destroyed airplane.

James said...

Thank you for the informative blog Rossmore.

I'm a fellow MDC'er and still awaiting a firm offer. Anyways, I wanted to ask if you could give better detail on how you made the dry erase strips. I wanna practice y'know? Thanks again.

Jimmy Van Eman
vaneman1 @ gmail dot com

Wicked Penguin said...

Bill: It's common to hit a learning plateau when you're in intense training of this type. You're absorbing a lot of information and simultaneously trying to put it to use. You feel like you're not moving forward, and sometimes starting to slip backwards. It's totally normal - I know a lot of us here at OKC are going through that. Just keep at it and it'll start clicking again.

It sounds like you've got to fly the Piper right on to the runway, unlike a Cessna which you can just cut the power on downwind and short-approach-it in. The Diesel 172 that ADF had flew like that - you had to keep the power on at all times, like a jet.

And as far as near-death experiences, don't feel bad. It sometimes takes a good scare to drive a lesson home. Hell, my CFI nearly killed ME one time. We were doing Touch and Goes at OPF and practicing short approaches. He had the controls and was showing off his short approach skills. Over the "obstacle" we go, cut the power, nose over, runway comes up, pull back on the yoke...and the nose doesn't come up. I vividly remember the windshield rapidly filling with runway. At the last second it levels out, but BAM! we hit on all three gear at once. I swear to God I thought the wings were going to come off. We immediately made it a full stop and pulled off the runway, and checked to make sure all of the airplane's parts were still attached. Let's just say the lesson ended right then and there, and we trundled back to the parking area a few inches shorter. I think he was trying get me back for when I nearly cross-control stalled on a forward slip a few days before, LOL...

@James: I'm glad you're enjoying the blog.

Here's how I made the dry erase strips:
1) I created them in Adobe Indesign.
2) I saved them as a PDF.
3) I took them down to Office Depot and had them printed on a really thick, solid paper.
4) I had the guy there laminate them for me, so I could write on them with dry-erase markers.
5) I cut them them up using their paper cutter.

All-told, it came out to like $11.

Here are the links to the PDF files - you can just put them on a disk and they can print it out there. One has numbers in each field, one does not.

No Numbers
With Numbers

Note: these are not exactly to measurements of the real strips. I mean, they're very close, but don't try stuffing them into a strip holder. They're a few millimeters too big.

They came in very handy during our weekend practice sessions. We would sit around my coffee table with the airport map, and trade off being local, ground, and ghost pilot. We had a good time with it - every session started off serious and eventually devolved into us getting stupid. Lots of fun.

James said...

Thanks a million for the dry erase strip instructions and the PDF's! You are the best!