What am I doing blogging? I should be writing a grant. I should be flying. Anything but blogging. Worse, I am writing a book review. I never saw the point of Colin’s, but here I am with one myself. I have not flown in two weeks. I have been reading though. Barry Schiff’s books on piloting are awesome, but today I want to tell you about the odd little book I found on Amazon. ‘101 things to do with your private pilot’s license’ seemed like it might have some good tips on maintaining the steep learning curve post-dual instruction. Instead it is a little guide to what your instructor would have told you if they were interested in answerering your questions rather than getting you through the practical test.
For example… Bob (our main Private Pilot instructor) gave us an example of four people wanting to go to Palm Springs. They were one hundred pounds over weight with full tanks. “Siphon some gas,” was his advice, or perhaps leave a set of clubs behind. Never take off over max gross though. I asked how they figured max gross. Is there a fudge factor? Would he take off 1 pound over? Would he refuse to fly if within ten pounds of max? No answer, just “Siphon some gas.” This is horse crap. Planes clearly take off above max gross all the time. How much is safe, that’s what I wanted to know. How unsafe is ten pounds versus a hundred. Can you get off the ground a thousand pounds over?
Well, from buzzing houses (everyone is going to try it), taking off over max gross, and even scud running, LeRoy Cook gives real world answers that make sense and will keep you safe.
One percent over gross? Plan for a long take off roll. Ten percent over? You may not get off the ground at all and if you have to turn around and land anything but a gorgeous landing could lead to cause big trouble. When buzzing houses start high, get speed on as you come down, do the buzz (stay above treetops), and pull out trading speed for altitude. Avoid a low, slow flight over the house since a turn will stall you and send you upside down into the very house you are trying to show off for. Scud running? Stay at five hundred feet or so. Keep low enough to read terrain. Worry about obstacles a lot. Fly over roads so the if the ceiling drops to nil you can try an emergency landing with the traffic.
Practical advice on breaking rules. This book does not advocate rule breaking, but it is the only one I have seen that recognizes that an occasional rule will be broken and that under some circumstances the breaker will get away with it.