Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Progress Test preparation via Miami

Last week saw my instructor himself take a course to instruct flying the big brother of the Piper Warrior that I am flying at the moment. This meant, apart from one solo I would have a week off!

The following day from the last update, we again experienced some pretty extreme weather. This time the lightening struck twice within metres of the apartments. Not really something I want to experience again any time soon!

Since the weekend was free for all of those on our course it was decided we would head to Miami for a few days. Four of us set off on Friday evening.

Our wheels for the weekend

The journey takes you straight down the the I-95 interstate and takes around 3 hours non-stop. After a quick stop en route we passed Fort Lauderdale International Airport. It was around 9pm and the sun had long disappeared. The interstate runs right under the flight path for the main runway at the airport and as we passed we saw outside of our right window lights - and lots of them. The jet was at most 100ft above the road as it made it's final approach. The light was blinding. Whether a future pilot or not, it was a pretty cool sight!

We arrived late at night in the city and had to find a hotel (the trip was decided on a whim!) We tried numerous hotels and each of them were full. We finally reached one in down town Miami where we would stay the night. I'm not going to name the hotel chain but it wasn't a bad choice!

The following morning we checked out and headed for South Beach where the rich and famous play. It is very much in line with Puerto Banus with regards to the types of cars and yachts on display yet it has a character I find hard to put my finger on. We headed for something to eat at a little restaurant on the front before visiting the world famous beach. The beaches here in Melbourne seem to have stronger waves whereas those in Miami were much more calm; not that I touched the water seeing all the jellyfish there were.

After an eventful evening we headed back on the Sunday. I would have to say now that Miami is one of my all time favourite cities I have visited and I would recommend anyone going if they get the chance; and if they have been, they should most certainly go again! 

Monday. 3pm. Flightline. I look out of the window and see a parking lot (see I'm getting into this American thing pretty quickly!) of planes. Something I hadn't seen for a week. Paperwork completed I headed to the plane.

My instructor, as always, followed suit around five minutes later. Pre-flight complete, engine started and within only a few minutes we were holding short of the active runway here in Melbourne. Would I be rusty? Could I remember a soft field take-off - could I remember how to take off?!

"FIT 40, left turn on course approved, cleared for take-off runway 27L at Delta."

"Engine gauges are in the green, airspeed is alive...55 knots" 

We were airborne. Well after a week I hadn't managed to forget everything so I was relatively pleased as we headed south. A few manoeuvres, landings and navigational tracks and we were back on Floridian soil. 

Yesterday was my final flight before my progress test today. It again included the same as everything the day before and I landed feeling quite confident that it would go well the following day. 

Today I took my progress test - more on that later this week...

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