Thursday, February 12, 2015

Trip to Serra da Estrela

On Christmas Day a small break after lunch was enough for a quick flight to Serra da Estrela. :)

Leiria -> Coimbra -> Barragem da Aguieira -> Serra da Estrela -> Coimbra -> Leiria

Barragem da Aguieira

Small villages on the mountains

Having a look to the towers on the top of Serra da Estrela
Lagoa Comprida

A little cloudsurfing :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Trip to Portas de Rodão

On Christmas Eve I planned a flight to visit a beautiful place that I heard talk about: Portas de Ródão.
This place was near the border with Spain and the planned route was:

Leiria -> Serra de Aire e Candeeiros -> Santarém -> Montargil Dam -> Avis -> 
Vila Velha de Rodão -> Vila de Rei -> Leiria

Montargil Dam

Nice location for a house!

Following Tejo (Tagus) River to Portas de Rodão

Portas de Rodão insight. Almost there! 
Portas de Rodão
Zêzere River

Zêzere River
Almost home!!
One more beautiful sunset was setting

Friday, November 28, 2014

Practicing emergencies and landings

I did this short flight to practice emergencies, different landing configurations. I took my brother as my copilot (non-pilot) to give him a small idea the kind of things we train.
The flight consisted on:
- simulated engine failure at 1000' on our way to our house for a fly-by
- engine fire
- wing fire
- 2 Simulated engine failures on the pattern circuit. 
- Go-around
- Landing with 10/20/40 deg of flaps

It's been a while since I practice emergencies and go-around so this flight was mainly to test my proficiency on this. I like to critic myself in every flight and on this one I point out the following:
- I didn't had a problem with the memory items for the engine fire and wing fire 
-  On the first simulated engine failure on the circuit I didn't had enough energy to reach the runway because I extended too much the downwind. I should had executed an immediate turn on the runway direction. Nevertheless I recognized the situation quickly and in a real situation I had decided to land in a field before the runway. On the second try I arrived with more energy but nothing I couldnt dissipate on the ground (80 mph instead 70mph).
- Because of this high energy I executed a Go-Around with flaps 30. I didn't lost altitude but pitched up to much and let the airspeed drop to 60mph. I recover quickly by droping the nose and selecting flaps 10. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

MEP/IR Revalidation exam

Almost one year after I had finished my commercial pilot course (17 July) it was time to revalidate my Instrument Rating (IR) and Multi-Engine Piston class (MEP). Each one is valid only one year, if this deadline is crossed more training (money) is needed before the checkride (exam).

The last time I flew an instrument approach was on my exam. So a few days before my checkride I started refresh my memory reading the theory (procedures, systems, procedures, malfunctions,...).
Then I installed the Flight Simulator to practice NDB, VOR and ILS approaches. It's cheaper to practice at home in the computer than in the air where things happen quickly and there is no "pause" button to think what to do next. :)
In the end, it only took me some approaches to get confident again on my capabilities to fly in instruments (inside clouds).

I was planning to fly from my hometown aerodrome (Leiria, LPJF) to the place where I was going to do the exam (Santarém Aerodrome, LPSR) but it was foggy at my hometown, so car trip it is.
To set things more interesting, three new things for me: aerodrome, airplane (Grumman GA-7 Cougar) and the examiner. I studied the airplane POH well (Pilot Operating Handbook) and watched some youtube videos about the LPSR approaches.

The exam started with my first brake failure! As soon as we started moving I did the normal brake check, for my surprise I didn't have any brake force, zero, nil, nada, none!!!That's the reason why during my training my instructors gave me a "lecture" every time I forgotten to do the brake check as soon as the plane started moving! Thanks! Back to the problem, I initially even thought that I was doing something wrong, misplaced my feet or the brake system was different!! Then the examiner did the brake check on his side and it was fine. We checked it on more few times and we decided to continue the exam with brakes been actuated by the examiner. The rest of the flight was uneventful! We did some instrument approaches at Montijo airbase (LPMO) and some circuits at LPSR (one of them with a simulated engine failure).

In the end I was again good for another year! Smile

Here are some photos and a video from the exam flight:

Turning inbound Montijo NDB to start the appproach.

Outbound leg

Vasco da Gama Bridge