# Learning to fly.

#### Janus

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While Integral, Ivan and I were visiting the Air Museum, I related to Ivan how, more years ago than I wish to remember, I took flying lessons.

I also mentioned how I learned in the Piper Tomahawk PA-38, and that it had some 'unique' flight characteristcs.

Anyway, I got a little nostalgic yesterday and decided to see what the web had on the Tomahawk. I found this page.

http://www.pipertomahawk.com/

It has pictures (the model I flew had the tomahawk on the tail), gives specifications, and discusses the flight characteristics.

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#### Ivan Seeking

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What was the most difficult part of getting your license?

It struck me as funny that the maximum landing and take-off weight are both specified.

#### Moonbear

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Ivan Seeking said:
It struck me as funny that the maximum landing and take-off weight are both specified.
At least they're both the same! :rofl: It would really be bad, especially if the maximum take-off weight were higher than the maximum landing weight (the co-pilot really wanted to go skydiving, right?).

#### brewnog

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Moonbear said:
At least they're both the same! :rofl: It would really be bad, especially if the maximum take-off weight were higher than the maximum landing weight (the co-pilot really wanted to go skydiving, right?).
Or, urm, burn some fuel while he was up there...

Ahem!

#### Janus

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Moonbear said:
At least they're both the same! :rofl: It would really be bad, especially if the maximum take-off weight were higher than the maximum landing weight (the co-pilot really wanted to go skydiving, right?).
Actually, for some planes it is. For instance, the Cessna Citation has a Max TOW of 30,000 lb and a Max LW of 27,100 lbs. As Brewnog noted, fuel consumption must be taken into account. If your flight is long enough to brun enough fuel, then you can load it up to max take off weight. If it isn't, you have to adjust your take off weight such that your landing weight falls under the max by the time you get there.

#### Janus

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Ivan Seeking said:
What was the most difficult part of getting your license?
Landing. I told you about the first flight after I did my first Solo.

Later, the cross-country solo threw me some curves. First I had some VOR problems during the first leg, Then I hit a head wind in the Second leg which put me behind schedule. I landed in Newport and had to fuel up. By the time I was ready to take off againl, a fog bank was rolling in. I barely got out before being socked in.( I actually just skimmed the fog bank on my downwind leg.)
when I got back to my home airport it was dark (I hadn't done any night flight training yet.) I picked out what I thought was the runway( and not the freeway), lined up, started my final and radioed to general traffic that I was on final (the airport no tower), and then they turned on the runway lights! Luckily, I had guessed right and I was lined up on the runway.

Another fun point is learning to read weather forecasts such as:

SIG AND WX...
OVR LND
15-30 SCT CIGS 80-120 BKN DVLPG BY 10Z. SOME AREA
CIGS 3-8 BKN VRBL OVC VSBYS 1-3F TOPS 40. LYRS
MERGING IN WDLY SCT SHWRS OR 1SOLD TSTMS TOPS TO
350. AFT 12Z CIGS 10-30 BKN VSBYS 4-6l-F IPVG
BY 16Z TO 30 CT CIGS 120 BKN WITH WDLY SCT CIGS
80VC VSBY ITRW. TOPS ACAS CENLY ARND 180-220.
OTLK...MVFR GF.

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#### Ivan Seeking

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Janus said:
Actually, for some planes it is. For instance, the Cessna Citation has a Max TOW of 30,000 lb and a Max LW of 27,100 lbs. As Brewnog noted, fuel consumption must be taken into account. If your flight is long enough to brun enough fuel, then you can load it up to max take off weight. If it isn't, you have to adjust your take off weight such that your landing weight falls under the max by the time you get there.
And what if your long trip is cut short for some reason? Can you dump the fuel?

This just doesn't seem like a good idea.

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#### Ivan Seeking

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Janus said:
I picked out what I thought was the runway( and not the freeway), lined up, started my final and radioed to general traffic that I was on final (the airport no tower), and then they turned on the runway lights! Luckily, I had guessed right and I was lined up on the runway.
Luckily??? :surprised

How often do you guys miss; a few time a week...? :uhh:

#### Janus

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Ivan Seeking said:
Luckily??? :surprised

How often do you guys miss; a few time a week...? :uhh:
As few times as possible.

Actually, if I had some night flight training I would have known to call the airport once I was in visible range , and they would have turned on the runway lights sooner. (even though it was an uncontrolled airport they had a radio and monitored local radio traffic)

#### Janus

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Ivan Seeking said:
And what if your long trip is cut short for some reason? Can you dump the fuel?

This just doesn't seem like a good idea.
Well generally, it isn't a good idea to load your plane up the max in the first place. Besides, max weight isn't as much of an issue as weight positioning. You have to keep your COG within the proper envelope or it could spell disaster.

#### Moonbear

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Ivan Seeking said:
Luckily??? :surprised

How often do you guys miss; a few time a week...? :uhh:
We have a couple little airports around here for those cute little planes, and every so often, one of them winds up landing in the middle of a road somewhere. Though, I don't think they're confused about the runway; I think those are emergency landings or just plain crashes (no pun intended), nonetheless, it seems to happen surprisingly frequently around here. Well, not right here, but over there, on the other side of town where the airport is. :uhh:

#### Ivan Seeking

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Janus said:
SIG AND WX...
OVR LND
15-30 SCT CIGS 80-120 BKN DVLPG BY 10Z. SOME AREA
CIGS 3-8 BKN VRBL OVC VSBYS 1-3F TOPS 40. LYRS
MERGING IN WDLY SCT SHWRS OR 1SOLD TSTMS TOPS TO
350. AFT 12Z CIGS 10-30 BKN VSBYS 4-6l-F IPVG
BY 16Z TO 30 CT CIGS 120 BKN WITH WDLY SCT CIGS
80VC VSBY ITRW. TOPS ACAS CENLY ARND 180-220.
OTLK...MVFR GF.
Let me guess: Rain.

#### Ivan Seeking

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Moonbear said:
We have a couple little airports around here for those cute little planes, and every so often, one of them winds up landing in the middle of a road somewhere. Though, I don't think they're confused about the runway; I think those are emergency landings or just plain crashes (no pun intended), nonetheless, it seems to happen surprisingly frequently around here. Well, not right here, but over there, on the other side of town where the airport is. :uhh:
As I told Janus the other day, I once had to give directions to a helicopter pilot. As soon as we took off I was pretty much lost. Eventually I got my bearings a bit, but I never realized how unfamiliar things look from above. I can definitely see how this could be a problem. In fact, this would probably worry me the most; getting lost and landing in a Walmart parking lot or something.

#### Moonbear

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Janus said:
Another fun point is learning to read weather forecasts such as:
I think I can make out about every 5th word there. :rofl: Here's my attempt at translation (or not...just seeing if I can figure any of it out)

SIG AND WX...
Signs and weather
Over land (that was an easy one)
15-30 SCT CIGS 80-120 BKN DVLPG BY 10Z. SOME AREA
15-30 cartons of cigarettes :tongue2: 80-120 beacon (?) developing by 10 zulu some areas
CIGS 3-8 BKN VRBL OVC VSBYS 1-3F TOPS 40. LYRS
more cigs 3-8 beacon verbal over-the-counter (oh, that's OTC...darn) visibility 1-3 feet (yikes!) tops 40. Lightyears (oh, wait, no, that's layers! Phew! That was sounding like it was going to be a long flight.)
MERGING IN WDLY SCT SHWRS OR 1SOLD TSTMS TOPS TO
merging (yay, an easy one) in wildly scattered showers or isolated thunderstorms tops to
350. AFT 12Z CIGS 10-30 BKN VSBYS 4-6l-F IPVG
350. After 12 zulu, (still wishing I could figure out cigs) 10-30 beacon visibility 4 - 61 feet (I really hope that means something other than what I'm guessing; and no clue on IPVG either...not even a funny guess).
BY 16Z TO 30 CT CIGS 120 BKN WITH WDLY SCT CIGS
by 16 zulu to 30 cartons of cigarettes (what's with all the smoking?) 120 breaking with wildely scattered cigarettes
80VC VSBY ITRW. TOPS ACAS CENLY ARND 180-220.
Okay, I give up on this one, the weather is still crappy sounding.
OTLK...MVFR GF.
Outlook...moveover girlfriend. :uhh:

Alright, this pathetic attempt ought to get us a proper translation now.

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#### Smurf

I don't know moonbear... I'm beginning to suspect you weren't even really trying there.

#### Moonbear

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Smurf said:
I don't know moonbear... I'm beginning to suspect you weren't even really trying there.
Who, me? I plead blondeness.

#### FredGarvin

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Ivan Seeking said:
As I told Janus the other day, I once had to give directions to a helicopter pilot. As soon as we took off I was pretty much lost. Eventually I got my bearings a bit, but I never realized how unfamiliar things look from above. I can definitely see how this could be a problem. In fact, this would probably worry me the most; getting lost and landing in a Walmart parking lot or something.
That's when, if all else fails, you go idavertant IFR....I Follow Roads.

#### Moonbear

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Darn, I was so sure one of you folks around here would read my sad attempt to translate that weather report and feel the need to provide a proper translation.

#### Janus

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FredGarvin said:
That's when, if all else fails, you go idavertant IFR....I Follow Roads.
That's what I defaulted to when I had the VOR problem on my Solo Cross country. What happened was that I was flying along a VOR line (away from the station), and at a certain point I was going to switch to a new station and follow a new line. After following the needle for quite a while, I decided to check to see if I could pick up the new station. I switched frequencies but couldn't raise it, so I went back to my old frequency only to find that I couldn't raise it either! I had lost the signal some time back and the To/From indicator never released to "no signal". I had been following a dead needle for I don't know how long! I was in a pretty hefty crosswind, and I had no idea how long I had been off VOR so I didn't have good idea of how far I had drifted off course. So it was pull out the map and look for landmarks I could recognise from the air. I found a road and followed it until I hit a cross road which matched one on the map and then followed the right road to the airport.

That was one of those practical lessons you learn. Periodically switch your VOR off of and back on to a station that you are flying from, to make sure you still have signal.

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#### Janus

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Moonbear said:
Darn, I was so sure one of you folks around here would read my sad attempt to translate that weather report and feel the need to provide a proper translation.
Okay:
SIG AND WX...
OVR LND
15-30 SCT CIGS 80-120 BKN DVLPG BY 10Z. SOME AREA
CIGS 3-8 BKN VRBL OVC VSBYS 1-3F TOPS 40. LYRS
MERGING IN WDLY SCT SHWRS OR 1SOLD TSTMS TOPS TO
350. AFT 12Z CIGS 10-30 BKN VSBYS 4-6l-F IPVG
BY 16Z TO 30 CT CIGS 120 BKN WITH WDLY SCT CIGS
80VC VSBY ITRW. TOPS ACAS GENLY ARND 180-220.
OTLK...MVFR GF.
Reads as:

Significant clouds and Weather:
Over land,
1,500 to 3000 feet scattered, ceilings 8,000 to 12,000 broken developing by 1000 Zulu
Some areas, ceilings 300 to 800 feet broken, variable to overcast with visibilities from one to three miles and fog.
Cloud tops will be 4000 feet. Clouds layers will be merging in widely scattered showers or isolated thunderstorms with top to 35,000 feet.
After 1200 Zulu, the ceilings will be 1,000 to 3,000 feet broken with visibilities from four to six miles, in light drizzle and fog, improving by 1600 Zulu.
After that time, clouds will be 3,000 ft scattered, ceilings 12,000 feet broken with widely scattered areas having ceilings of 800 feet overcast.
Visibilities may lower to one mile in thunderstorms and moderate rain showers.
Tops of altocumulus and altostratus generally around 18,000 to 22,000 feet.
The outlook calls for marginal VFR (visual flight rules) in areas affected by ground fog.

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