It was calm, clear and cool this morning. Wind was out of the south at 5 knots a little bit of haze. I think there was 8 miles of visibility. I started the flight with 8.6 hours. I missed a flight and ground school last week because of travel but I studied and took some practice tests. Grant is going to make up the ground school with me tomorrow. The guys at midwest are pretty damn accommodating.

Take off was pretty good.  I made the radio call to get out of the airport.  I still have mic fright and don’t get why.  I speak in-front of large audiences all the time.  Keeping the calls short and sweet should be easy but it’s like pulling teeth.  I need to focus on this for the next flight.  It should be simple: Who am I talking to, who am I, where am I, what do I want, what info do I have.

So, it should sound like this: Downtown Tower, Helicopter Niner Eight Niner Hotel Hotel, Departing Fostair Ramp, Requesting Northern Departure with Foxtrot.

Instead this is the nonsense that comes out of my mouth: Downtown Airport, Helicopter Niner Hotel Hotel, Fostair, Slurpy.

WTF.  I have climbed mountains, survived avalanches, managed not to get myself killed in 3rd world countries for months at a time, camped in the jungle, tricked my wife into marrying me, raised 2 kids, welded stuff that my life depended on, rebuilt engines, run a business… Somehow I become an idiot when on a radio.  Grant laughs at me.  How do I fix this.  Damn.

On to the flight.  I needed to shake off the rust and I think Grant knew it.  We used the Garmin punch in a airport about 12 nautical miles from CPS.  It was uncontrolled and would not be busy.  It is in airspace G.  If you’re curious about G, we learned about it 2 weeks ago.

From Wiki: Class G airspace includes all airspace below FL600, not otherwise classified as controlled. (AIM 3-3-1) There are no entry or clearance requirements for class G airspace, even for IFR operations. Class G airspace is typically the airspace very near the ground (1,200 feet or less), beneath class E airspace and between class B-D cylinders around towered airstrips.

Radio communication is not required in class G airspace, even for IFR operations. Class G is completely uncontrolled.

VFR visibility requirements in class G airspace are 1 mile (1.6 km) by day, and 3 miles (5 km) by night, for altitudes below 10,000 feet (3,050 m) MSL but above 1,200 ft AGL. Beginning at 10,000 feet MSL, 5 miles (8 km) of visibility are required, day and night. Cloud clearance requirements are to maintain an altitude that is 500 ft below, 1,000 ft above, 2,000 ft horizontal; at or above 10,000 ft MSL, they are 1,000 ft below, 1,000 ft above, and 1 mile laterally. By day at 1,200 feet (370 m) AGL and below, aircraft must remain clear of clouds, and there is no minimum lateral distance.

It should be noted that there are certain exceptions where class G extends above 1,200 feet AGL. This is usually either over mountainous terrain (e.g., some areas in the Rocky Mountains), or over very sparsely populated areas (e.g., some parts of Montana and Alaska).

garmin-gi106a-600x600So, off we went, we made our radio calls then went in for the landing.  I came in steep and a little fast but overall was pretty happy.   We departed, I got to punch in the heading back to KPS and once our heading was set I picked a few things in the distance and flew towards them.  I was also introduced to VOR + the GPS.  VOR is like a bicycle wheel with the spokes extending out, you snap on to one of those, keep it locked and it’ll eventually get to the airport.  The GPS seems to be like any other except this one seems very expensive.  No real need to go into details other than it makes life easy.

After heading back towards KPS, I made the call at 10 miles.  I think I told the tower we were heading east when we were heading south.  Dammit.  Once we joined the pattern I did redeem myself by thinking about each call that we needed to make before Grant made it…

The airport was a little crowded today so the first approach was rushed but the 2nd and 3rd seemed better.  Hovering was decent and takeoffs were not too difficult.

Instead of grabbing a ton of collective I’m trying to take off with the same amount as I use in a hover.  It’s tough.  Instinct tells me to get up and out as fast as possible but altitude does not equal safety in all situations and I need to be aware of that.

That’s about it on this one.  It was nice to get out of the pattern.  I might ask if I can jump in an R22 to see how that feels compared to the Guimbal.