Browsing Posts in Flight Training

“I couldn’t have been more impressed with your performance,” is what the FAA Inspector said after the debrief referring to Matt’s CFI check ride.  I couldn’t have been any happier for him as it sounded like he really did just hit it out of the park.  The ground portion of the check ride took 2 days totaling around 10 hours, and the flight portion began with a 2 hour ground lesson, and 2.2 hours flying spanning 3 days total.  In then end though Matt completed his CFI on his first attempt with the FAA, which is rumored to only happen about 20% of the time.

Matt has been great fun to work with on his CFI and I couldn’t be happier to have him on board as a CFI with us Aces High Aviation.

Congrats Matt, you really gave this all you could and it paid off huge dividends!

I’d also personally like to thank California Flight Center for allowing us to use 738PR, one of the hardest working 182RG’s in the industry!

Congratulations Matt, the CFI is as tough as it gets!

Alex completed his first solo June 9th with three very nice landings.  He is moving through his training very quickly with his 2-3 flights per week.  Certainly proof that dedicated studying pays off dividends!  Well done Alex, next up is the best part, solo cross countries!

Alex with Cessna 6111Q

Matt H. and I took a day trip up to the Lake Arrowhead Airport to check things out and practice some dirt landings at a mountain airport.  The plane of choice for the day was the Cessna 207.  The Lake Arrowhead airport is privately owned, but open to the public.  If you’d like to visit contact Mark, the owner, to let him know of your plans and he will plan to meet you and show you around.  There is a $20 landing fee and a rental Jeep or pickup is available.  Mark will also drive you into the town of Lake Arrowhead if you’d like. Camping and target or trap shooting is available on site and free of charge. Hikers can either hike to the nearby hot springs or to the river that is just east of the airport.  Mark, the owner is very enthusiastic about having visitors fly in to see his airport.  His ultimate plans involve paving the runway, building a restaurant and an onsite vineyard and winery.  He also hopes to build a bunch of private hangars.

The airport is located in a shallow valley with a hill to the south.  The runways are 9/27 and is 3,650′ x 75′ and consists of decomposed granite and dirt.  For a soft field the runway is in great condition with only minor low spots and bumps but nothing a typical general aviation aircraft can’t handle.  The airport sits at 4,610′ so density altitude can be an issue during the summer.  With a good breeze it certainly seemed the airport could become a bit of a challenge.

Lake Arrowhead airport combined with a trip to Big Bear and possibly a dry lake bed will serve as a good introduction to light mountain airports as well as benign soft field operations.   Any pilots who are interested in this sort of training should contact me and we can discuss training options.

While Ben was out doing his flight review we took a day to focus on mountain flying.  The Cirrus was the plane of choice due to it’s speed which makes for a quick trip up the Owens Valley.  The one downside to the Cirrus is its relatively long takeoff rolls however runway length wasn’t a realistic concern at Mammoth since the runway is 7000′ long.  During the flight up we were able to again enjoy the poppy bloom.  On the way home we followed the west side of the valley and played around in the hills. Then we headed west and worked our way into the Kern Valley.  From there it was south towards Tehachapi.  The Owens Valley is great for light mountain training because we are able to safely dart into the valleys and canyons while still having safe ‘outs’ in the main valley.  We were fortunate enough to have nearly perfect weather for our flight.  It was a sunny and calm 70 degrees when we landed in Mammoth.

This came through today from the FAA and there is rain in the forecast so we better take a moment to review hydroplaning procedures.  If you’d like to recieve quick tips like this one from the FAA you can subscribe to their safety email list here.

Approach and Landing
Safety Tip
December 2010

Hydroplaning is a condition that can exist when an airplane is landed on a runway surface contaminated with standing water, slush, and/or wet snow. Hydroplaning can have serious adverse effects on ground controllability and braking efficiency and can render an airplane partially or totally uncontrollable anytime during the landing roll.

When confronted with the possibility of hydroplaning, it is best to land on a grooved runway (if available). Touchdown speed should be as slow as is consistent with safety. After the nosewheel is lowered to the runway, moderate braking should be applied. If you don’t notice deceleration and hydroplaning is suspected, the nose should be raised and use aerodynamic drag to slow to the point that the brakes do become effective.

Do you want to know more? The Airplane Flying Handbook and other FAA manuals are available here.

For the most part in a light general aviation aircraft braking effectiveness isn’t a major issue since we normally have significantly more runway than required.  If you suspect hydroplaning plan on using your brakes as little as possible and remember to fly the plane all the way to the tie downs with proper crosswind taxi techniques.   When flying in and out of Long Beach in stormy and windy conditions also remember that we are spoiled and can land and depart in 5 different directions, including  34L , 16R and 12.  All you have to do is ask our ATC friends and they will work it out.  For heavy rain runway 30/12 might be the best option since it is grooved.  Be safe out there, and don’t get too wet tying down the plane! ~CP~

I get a lot of satisfaction watching former students going out on their first flights. Here is Calvin heading out for his first flight. I even got to watch him make a greaser of a landing!

I attended the meeting to discuss the change to the Long Beach class D airspace into class C on June 23. Attached is a photo of the proposed plan. Comments will be received until July 31, 2010. Comments can be sent to:
Clark Desing, Operations Support Group AJV-W2
Western Services Area, Air Traffic Organization
Federal Aviation Administration
1601 Lind Avenue, SW
Renton, Wa 98057

My primary concern with the design is the airspace that covers the western area of the Port of Los Angeles.  If the plan could be changed to use the Vincent Thomas Bridge, then eastward towards the Queen Mary then to then along the coast to the Emmy and Eva platforms I believe it would be a program that would work well for everybody.  There was a lot of concern by pilots who were based in Fullerton, Hawthorne and Torrance who were not happy about the idea of having to use ATC services to transition the airspace.  There were lots of complaints about getting ‘denied’ by Socal Approach.  I was last denied during the week before Christmas in 2007.    I got the impression many of the disgruntled pilots weren’t using the proper procedures that were available to them.  The reality of it is is that the Los Angeles basin is a very busy area and all pilots transitioning the area should become familiar with the advisory services provided my Socal Approach and the standard procedures.  There were also concerns about the abilities to perform such duties while traveling at such fast speeds (many of the pilots flew high performance aircraft).  Again, pilots should only be flying aircraft in which they are comfortable and capable of flying.  If they are unable to keep up, either slow down, get some training or hire a second pilot.  I’d be more than happy to sit down with any local pilots and review the procedures and techniques or spend some time flying with them or even sit right seat if needed.  Having pilots familiar with the local airspace and services will make our flying environment safer for everybody involved.

Chris Rosenfelt visited Beale Air Force Base and went for a ride in a decompression chamber, below, you will find his assessment of his experience. Thanks for submitting this Chris!

Hypoxia – a state of oxygen deficiency in the blood, tissues, and cells sufficient to cause an impairment of body functions.

It is one thing to read about Hypoxia in a book and quite another to experience it first hand. Thanks to a program administered by the FAA, in conjunction with Beale Air Force Base, I was able to experience Hypoxia first hand in a safe environment, and I now know what my specific symptoms are. First, I felt light-headed, followed soon there after by an inability to concentrate (some might say that I have that problem normally, but that’s another story). This made it extremely difficult to complete the basic

math problems that were presented to me by an Air Force instructor. The final symptom I experienced and the one that encouraged me to reach for the oxygen mask, was tunnel vision. There is only one word to explain tunnel vision…. Yikes! I would prefer to never “experience” tunnel vision again, but the experience did serve an important purpose, because now I am aware of my personal hypoxic symptoms. If I ever experience those symptoms while flying at altitude, I will now know what is happening and I can take immediate corrective action.


The program that I enrolled in is called Aerospace Physiology Training and is available to most civil aviation pilots that hold a valid medical certificate. The nearest training location to Long Beach is Beale Air Force Base (40 miles north of Sacramento) and the cost is only $50. That includes a full day of interesting instruction on various topics such as Aviation Oxygen Equipment, Respiration/Circulation, Spatial Disorientation and one hour in the altitude chamber. As a bonus you will see a lot of neat aircraft in action at Beale, plus you could fly there and add to your cross-country time!

To learn more about this program or to register for it, go to and click “Pilots” at the top, followed by “Training” on the left side, and then “Airman Education Programs”, and finally “Aerospace Physiology Training”.

~Christopher Rosenfelt