More about the keys to the car in a moment...
Sydney Airport, now that was an experience, apart from the chunky landing fee they charge, it feels like they just don't want you there when they have a couple of 747's , an A380 and squeezed in between a "small" Saab 340, the last thing they want to worry about is an R44 on a training flight (I suppose I can see their point of view). My instructor warned me to be on the ball when I had to read back the ATC instructions and I should have warned him I'd be looking back at him with a semi confused look when the initial clearance to track towards the airfield was given. I stumbled my way through that and flew a Cape Banks 2 inbound. Settling into the hover at the main pad, my instructor told me not to muck around and get over to the parking pad as the tower doesn't like you hanging around. Before I could radio that I was on the ground they'd asked me as the skids touched the ground - come on fellas give me a break. So we wound the machine back, flicked the governor off and chatted for a minute and I noticed a nice EC135(?) come in beside us. As I wiped the drool from my mouth the instructor said we'd probably go out the same way, so we got back on the radio for a clearance and were told to hold for a "few" minutes, mmm quality ground time. When ATC did come back and give us clearance and the frequency to call it seemed like a blur as we wound up, off to the pad turn, up and confirmed we were airborne. As we headed out and rounded Cape Banks on our way back up Victor 1 towards the harbour I could definitely feel the pressure come off and was happy with a R405 run down the harbour.
Now keys to the car...
I received my PPL from CASA in person a couple of weeks ago and phoned my dad straight away and said I'll book in for a flight. He and I both couldn't wait (as I promised him he would be the first pax) and a couple of days later we were heading off up the Lane of Entry and coming back down the coast / R405. So in the morning of that flight it was like the instructors were also like a dad giving the keys over to the family sedan for the first time. So where are you going, whose going, what time will you be back, how much fuel you taking, throttle closed, remember nice and easy... don't get me wrong I wasn't offended, in fact it was appreciated as I'm probably sure they've seen confidence which could translate to over confidence (or cockiness) from newly licenced pilots. I was determined to treat the few flights I've done in the last couple of weeks with passengers with the full respect they deserved. This was most evident when I took my wife and 2 boys up for a harbour flight, I must admit I was a bit nervous and remembered the CFI saying it will be the safest you'll fly and you'll check everything 3 times. I've enjoyed taking up those few family and friends and also a couple of people I know won't be able to afford it when I start asking for payment. My wife has seen a different glimpse of what makes me tick and what drives me to do what I do.
Last week and this week have also been about going back out and reviewing different modules of the training conducted, from confined areas to low level (oh man it was even better in the 44 than the 22, got to love that power margin), slope landing, low level auto's and have been into Richmond Control Zone as well.
As I enter this final stage of CPL training, the budget is shot, there is a bit of preparation to go (about 12 hours flying), some reading and re-reading to do (KDR's, flight manual, AIP.............) and contemplating life post training. But I think the biggest challenge is preparing mentally. I was told last week my test date and can feel the butterflies already . A few guys around the school have said you'll be right, but one said everyone will tell you you'll go okay but you'll be nervous which is understandable. So I guess it's all about preparing the best you can and hopefully all the training and hard work will come through.
Until next time...
Follow choppernut on his journey to CPL(H).
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