Bigs Aircraft

Human Skill + Machine Performance

Month: March 2017

Venice, Florence, Rome, and Surprise!

Well, two suprises for today:

  • When I picked up my daughter from school yesterday, she surprised me by saying ‘VFR daddy’.  I asked her what’s going on.  It turns out she had an exam at school about Venice, Florence, and Rome.  To make it easy to remember, she looked up online for an acronym and found out VFR 🙂

Well, where is the surprise you might be asking.

  • Your captain speaking…. I soloooeeeddddd  todayyy…  I did 3 take off and landings by myself.  Hurraaayyy.

Frankly, I didn’t realize the passenger seat was empty till I parked the plane back at the school.  Then it hit me I flew a plane by myself from take off to landings 🙂

I was wondering when is the right time to solo and frankly today was the perfect day.  Weather was kind of calm, I was top notch, calm and was ahead of myself.  My three landings were perfect (ahemm).  Can’t ask for a better day than this.

I have to thank my instructor Mats for bringing me to this level and then trusting me that I’ll be fine.  When I look back, I can connect the dots on what he showed me and why in the specific order he did that.

What’s next?  Well, I need to do more solo flights, especially going away from the airport a little bit and then coming back for landing.  Also I need to start cross-country flights, which means I need to fly to an airport at least 50nm far away.  That should be fun.

If you are a student pilot, all I can say is you will solo at the right time.  don’t worry about it.

Thoughts – How flight training made me a better person…

I realized I’ve made certain changes to my lifestyle and mindset after starting private pilot training.  I like to mention a few today:


Every pilot must get a medical check at various periods, depending on the type of flying they like to do.  For example, captains flying Boeing 777 passenger airlines, go see a doctor very 6 or 12 months (depending on if they are under or over 40yrs old).  For average Jose pilots like me, a 3rd class medical requires visiting the doctor every 5 years if you are under 40yrs and every 2 years if you are over 40yrs.   I have to see a doctor every 2 years.

The visit contains a bunch of checks – similar to car dealers 120-point checks for their certified cars.  We go thru blood pressure, sleep, mental, physical, eye, dexterity, hearing, you name it checks.

For me, blood pressure was a risky area so I worked 2months to improve my blood pressure.  I lost ~10lbs by eating healthy and less portions than I actually need.  I saw my PCP for consultation and started medication.  I started exercising.  I pay attention to my sleep quality.  I reduced alcohol intake.  I got my certificate already and technically I can stop doing all the healthy things I mentioned for the next 1.5 years until it is time to go see the doctor again.  But I’m continuing these healthy activities because I also feel better!

Alcohol Intake:

If you are stopped for alcohol test and refuse to take teh test, you will lose your license.  If you get a DUI,  you will lose your pilot license. Worst, if you are a career pilot and get a DUI, your career will be over and you will have to find another line of work.  (I’m rephrasing the part losing your license, but FAA pays special attention to alcohol/drugs and may deny, suspend, revoke your license.  It is very serious business.)

I’m now very careful about my alcohol consumption when I’m outside.  If I think I will drink more than allowed amount, I plan for transportation back home.

No matter what, you keep flying the plane:

This is from my instructor Mats.  He told me in all situations including emergency or even hopeless situations, you keep flying the airplane and keep flying the plane.  Everything else is secondary.  Even you know you are going crash, you still keep flying until plane comes to a halt in one way or other.

I apply this to my life.  Life always have problems otherwise it would be boring.  Since starting flight training, I now keep thinking I have to keep flying the airplane.  So I keep working on the problems and keep trying solution after solution.  Do I have thoughts about giving up, that I would never accomplish what I want to do?  Does it look difficult and impossible?  Yes, but I keep flying the plane and eventually get to where I want to.  Alive and in one piece 🙂

So no matter what, keep flying the plane.

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