Thursday, May 31, 2007

First week at ATP

I got to ATP in Riverside, California a week before the beginning of the program to build time. The minimum time for the program is around 85 hours, which I did not have. Unfortunately, the only Cessna they had was broken so there was a lot of free time I had to study and get situated. I decided to go home for a couple of days, though, before the actual start date. But the week the program started, it was a lot busier. I flew the Piper Seminole for the first time the second day and had an interesting first time.

We go around the pattern the first time and begin our "Gear down, before landing checklist". I put the gear down and I check the 3 green lights for the first time to check if they all came down. We get the nose gear and the left main gear light, but no left main gear light. My instructor and I look at each other, and he begins to troubleshoot. You can exchange the little lights so that you can make sure the light is actually working, to no avail. We cancel our landing and he tries to cycle the gear, still nothing. So we advise the tower and she verifies that the gear is in fact down. So we continue the pattern and come back around to land, leaving the gear down. We land uneventfully. It was pretty scary and exciting for my first time. Afterwards we find another plane and go up and have an uneventful flight. The Seminole is fun to fly, but very complicated compared to the Cessna that I'm used to.

We also did some time building to Sacramento Executive, Paso Robles and back in the Cessna. It took almost 8 hours of flight time, but a lot of fun. I'm obviously more comfortable in the Cessna, so I was a little more at ease. I was also able to fly through some actual IMC (instrument meteorological conditions) and fly above a marine layer in Southern California. When we turned to intercept the Lake Hughes VOR, we heard a traffic advisory for us. They were telling an Expressjet ERJ and we look to our right and see it fly past us at about the same altitude. It was a wonderful sight. Also flying back into the Los Angeles area was cool, seeing a lot of aircraft and being over the city. This evening I'll be flying to Phoenix for some more time building. It should be another fun flight. More to come...