Day One (May 7, 1994)

I arrive at the airport, where John meets me. My hotel won't check me in until 1:00 PM, so John and I begin work over lunch. Initially, we review some basics, what the instruments do and how they work. After lunch, I check into the motel, and John sets up the 'portable' flight simulator. My first impression of the motel is that its rather nice - apparently it was once an open air building, but has since been roofed over with retractable skylights which are open. Lots of kids around but, after all, it is a Saturday. John and I talk some more about IFR operations, some things to add to my usual pre-flight procedures, and some new good habits to get into. Then we crank up the simulator.

I'd flown the simulator at my local FBO about 2.5 hours, but that was over 2 years ago. More recently, I'd spent about 10 hours with the IFT-Pro PC-based simulator, so I did quite well. Then he threw some partial panel at me. (On the first day?!) I manage to keep it right side up, and apparently do well enough that John decides we'll go flying today instead of tomorrow, as originally anticipated.

We head to the airport and launch out to the local practice area so he can see how I fly, and so we can calibrate the airplane. We do climbs, turns, descents, and choose tachometer settings for various modes of flight. After a while he says we should land to stretch our legs, and seeing as we're near Fitchburg, that's where we'll go. I get a real greaser in (lucky me!), but detect one helluva nosewheel shimmy as I roll. What's more, I can barely steer without using the brakes. We taxi to parking, and climb out to find one *very* flat nose wheel tire. After a bathroom break, we scrounge up an air tank and find that the tire will hold air, although it does seem to be hissing a bit. Quick like a bunny into the plane, taxi to the active, pause for a safe runup and detailed peek at the sky (no tower at Fitchburg), and we're off on a simulated soft field takeoff to keep the weight off the wheel. Not one of my better ones.

Back in the air, we essentially repeat the earlier maneuvers, but with the hood on. I do better than I'd expected. John calls in to BED, and gives me simulated radar vectors to final. Of course, the lower we get, the more turbulent it becomes, but I do okay (better than the crosswind landing I manage). The tire is lower, but not completely flat, so we taxi back and tie down. I make arrangements for repairs,and John drops me off at the hotel at about 8:00 PM. Its unseasonably warm, and I discover that the room air conditioner doesn't work. In fact, it pops the circuit breaker every time I reset it. Oh well. I grab some pizza from across the street and begin the homework John assigned, planning a flight to New Haven. I look up and its well past 11:00 PM, so I turn in for the night. 


1.5 hours simulator; 2.6 hours airplane
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