It’s quite a while since I’ve been under the intense spotlight of an instructor, so it was going to be interesting to see how many bad habits had crept in and how much knowledge had slipped away.
Showered and topped up on a peanut butter sandwiches, I hit the road early, so to make the airfield early. The hostel is near the down town area of Phoenix and the airfield is on the southern edge of Chandler which is also the southern end of the city. About 40km on the motorways, but an easy drive.
As was expected there was plenty of ehhs and ahhs in response to quite reasonable questions to ask a PPL. But, the instructor was a cool guy who brought me up to scratch on everything I needed to know.
The instructors at Chandler are career instructors and not just time building to the airlines. On may last trip, the instructors were just time building and although really nice guys, the experience level definitely shines out.
In fact the instructor I’ve been dealing with, Jason, was previously a regional airline pilot until deciding that instruction was a more rewarding career. You can certainly tell the difference, he came across very knowledgeable and professional. While still down to earth and able to crack a joke or two.
After a thorough brief and signing my life away, we heading down to the aircraft I was to be checked out in. The aircraft, N7408C, is a Cherokee 140, but with an upgraded 160hp engine. The aircraft itself has a particularly beautiful paint scheme, an excellent ploy by the Chandler Air Service, that can only strengthen our diplomatic relations.
After a thorough walk-around under the watchful eye of Jason, we climbed aboard and started working our way through the checklists. I quickly realised that the faster I worked through the checklist, the faster I got the engine started and some air circulation through the cockpit. Fairly quickly we were calling Chandler Ground for a taxi to runway 4L for a departure south to the training area.
We done some slow flight, steep turns, stalls and a engine out simulation before heading back to Chandler where we did some touch and goes. The aircraft flew really well, we did about six or seven stalls in all configurations, attitudes and bank angles and on no occasion was there any attempt for the wing to drop, just a relatively gentle dropping of the nose. It seems to be a very forgiven airplane.
Chandler have just two Cherokee 140’s, of which their main purpose is hour building. They’ve also a number of Warriors which are slightly more expensive, so I’ll be perfectly happy to do all the hours in the Cherokees if possible. On the other hand if there comes a situation where both Cherokees are booked, I’ll get a checkout on the Warrior. But, after looking at the schedule it looks like I’ll have no problem getting the Cherokees.
After lunch we attempted to go back out for a few touch and goes in the second Cherokee, all was going fine until we noticed that there was some sort of a greasy splatter all the way up the windscreen. This is something neither me or Jason had ever encountered before, it was on the inside of the windscreen and seemed as if it was coming through the ventilation system. Simply because we couldn’t figure it out, we decided that the best course of action would be to go back and get it checked out. It boggled the engineers too, eventually we found an explanation off another pilot who experienced the phenomenon before. It appears if left in the heat long enough a windscreen will sweat.
By the time we figure this out, we decide the best use of the remaining time, would be to plan tomorrow.
Tomorrow should be a interesting day, we fly to Sedona, then onto Payson and back to Chandler. The route to Sedona will also take in a Class B transition of Phoenix International Airport, that basically means flying directly overhead a busy international airport. Which means we can effectively take a more direct route, the ability to do this is yet another classic example of where aviation in America works.
Finally, after a long day and a head full of knowledge, I decided it was time for a bit of grub. So, I naturally stuck “Irish bar” into the satnav which promptly brought me to Rúla Búla where I enjoyed the exquisite reproduction of Irish cuisine, the traditionally named “Hot Bollix Potato Balls.” Very succulent with just the right amount of salt and a nice creamy sauce for dipping the balls into.
Anyway, after loads of bollix, I’m off to do some flight planning.