Monday, April 2, 2012

Commercial vs. Private

First of all, an update: I had a hankering for a burger and some onion rings so I headed back to the made in-house, lightly breaded, delights at Splasher's. Guess who sat down next to me. The kid that got hit by the car on the night of the brew fest. Hard to say if the accident had any affect on his mental status cuz he was drunk again. He has a bunch of broken blood vessels in his left eye just like my friend Andy got in college from vomiting too hard. The kid has blond hair except for a new patch that's coming in dark grey. That's what he slid on during his trip across the asphalt.

Now that I have a PPL, my course of study has changed. There aren't any ground school requirements for commercial training so the school has students work on their Certified Flight Instructor training in ground school while improving their flying skills in pursuit of a Commercial License. Back to ground in a minute.

I have a different instructor. I picked the helicopter up, backed out of the parking spot, stopped, made a pedal turn, and taxied out for take-off. Once I was cleared by tower, I did all my pre-take-off checks and slowly pushed forward. As we climbed out Chase said, "OK, That was a great taxi and take-off for a private. That won't fly in the commercial world." No more taxiing at walking speed, no more stopping to do pedal turns, and pre-take-off checks happen on the go.

We headed north so Chase could evaluate my off-airport skills. The FAA's definition of an airport includes, "an area of land or water that is used or intended to be used..." Think field, gravel bar, or that little spot in the middle of all those trees. Chase directed me to a ridge line with a microwave tower on the end of it.

What you do is orbit the spot a couple of times figuring out the wind, obstacles, etc. and decide how you're gonna get in there. (The acronym is WOTFEEL, someday I'm gonna write a post all in acronyms but today ain't the day.) So I'm circling, looking at trees, power lines, and goats while we gain and lose elevation due to turbulence coming up the ridge. And I don't like it. I said so, assuming that Chase was testing my decision making skills. He tells me that we can safely get in there and I need to figure it out.

I did and then he says, "OK, let's dive off the ridge." What about low g, mast bumping and all that other bad shit? "You know how to safely fly, now we're gonna show you where the limits are." So I'm thinking about something Hunter S. Thompson said about not knowing where the edge is until you jump off it as we dive over the ridge. Total roller coaster stomach hitting your Adam's apple sensation. I think this stage of training might be pretty fun.

Back to ground school. I have to teach the whole Private syllabus while my instructor pretends to be a student. Most people struggle with the teaching aspect. I have a little experience teaching skiing to kids that are only in lessons cuz their parents want to be on the upper mountain, showing Richie-riches from Manhattan that have never been barefoot on grass how to camp, and fat white guys how to not get eaten by bears, so I'm comfortable with that role. Plus one of the degrees I never used was pretty heavy on speech courses. One prof made you start over any time you used the word, "like" and another refused to let us use notes.

The teaching is all about employing the FOI's (fundamentals of instruction, man that acronym post is gonna be a gas). Some of the FOI's are good, most are common sense and some are just plain silly. The instructors are big on using different colored markers while writing on the white board. That's all well and good, but come the fuck on, we put people on the moon using chalk of only one color.


cynicalbuddha said...

Sounds like your having a blast in Hawaii. Maybe a little too much fun. One wonders if Alaska is going to get Shane Patrick back.

shanepatrickwrites said...

relax. my heart is in alaska, so is all my stuff