My First Cross Country Flight

John Hurlbut3rd Class Medical, Flying0 Comments

Today (Sunday) I hit another milestone in my flight training, my first cross country flight!  As I’ve mentioned before a cross country flight is a flight more than 50 nautical miles from your home airport.  The plan today was to fly from KPLU (Thun Field) to KHQM (Hoquiam).  My flight lesson started at 9:00 AM, and I booked 4 hours of time.   I got up at 7AM and started plotting my course on the Sectional Chart and filling out my flight plan.  I quickly realized I hadn’t allowed myself enough time to plan this flight!  It’s crazy that a 2 hour flight, takes that long to plan.  I’m sure as I get better at it I will be faster, but today there definitely was a steep learning curve. I called Lockheed Martin Flight Services for a standard weather briefing.  Told them we’d be cruising from KPLU to KHQM at … Read More

My First Learning to Fly Post Not About Flying

John HurlbutPersonal Growth0 Comments

So the tagline of my site is something like “Just a guy trying to fly, both literally and figuratively”. This probably fits into the latter category. Anyone who has ever read any of my blogs before knows that probably the biggest thing I struggle with is my weight.  I’ve always been overweight, obese, or morbidly obese.  In 2009 I tipped (shattered) the scales at probably close to 360-370 pounds.  I stopped weighing myself after I hit 350 and had basically resigned myself to the fact that I was just fat.  At some point that year I investigated weight loss surgery and opted to go in for the Lap Band procedure.  My official starting weight was 358 lbs at my doctor’s office.  They required me to lose 10% of my body weight before my surgery, which I did.  I was in the 320’s when I had surgery in August of 2009. … Read More

Planning My First Cross Country Flight

John HurlbutUncategorized0 Comments

No, I’m not going to the East Coast.  Yet.  But I did just book a flight lesson for next Sunday, June 22nd (weather permitting) that will be my first dual instruction cross country flight.  A cross country (XC) flight is defined as a flight that is more than 50 nautical miles from your home airport.  I’ve chosen to fly to Bowerman Field (KHQM) in Hoquiam, WA. The flight should look something like what’s depicted here in Foreflight.  It will require me to talk to controllers at McChord (KTCM) and Olympia (KOLM) as I transition across their Class Delta (D) airspace. Meg will be looking for my overall flight plan.  Not only the route we’ll fly, but how high we’ll fly, how much fuel we’ll consume, how fast we’ll go, and how accurately I predict when we’ll hit certain checkpoints.   I’ll need to be especially cognizant of the weather, paying attention … Read More

ANR Headsets – Bose or Lightspeed

John HurlbutUncategorized0 Comments

Thinking ahead again to WHEN I have my 3rd class medical certificate, I’m going to reward myself with a new headset.  General Aviation planes are loud.  Well all planes are loud, but GA planes don’t come with any noise dampening at all to save precious pounds.  You’re literally flying around in a soda can with an engine. A very loud engine.  So a quality headset is a must. Currently I’m flying with a nice David Clark H10-13.4 headset that I bought off a professional pilot on eBay.  David Clark makes some of the finest aviation headsets around and they’re virtually indestructible.  They have a great reputation and their customer service is second to none.  Even after buying new ear cups and a microphone windscreen, I saved about $100 on a new headset of the same model.   This headset is destined to be my passenger’s headset once I have my license. … Read More

$1,000 Worth of Hamburgers…

John HurlbutFlying2 Comments

There’s no question that flying is the most expensive hobby I’ve ever undertaken. The cost of getting my private license alone will be in the $10,000-$12,000 range.  Then of course the question is: “Now that you HAVE your license, what do you want to do with it?”  Of course I want to remain proficient, so my goal after getting my license is to fly a minimum of 5 hours per month.  But I’m not going to spend all that time in the traffic pattern around my home airport. What’s the fun in that? I DO plan to get my instrument rating as well, so that’ll take a fair amount of time.  I’d like to also get my multi-engine, high performance and complex airplane ratings as well.  Seaplane would be a lot of fun too.  But keeping current with all of those would require a whole lotta time and extra money. … Read More

Learning Plateaus Suck…

John HurlbutFlying0 Comments

“More Right rudder John” “Don’t let the ball slip out John” “I feel like we’re a little fast John” “It seems like we’re a little high let’s fix that” “Let’s not do that again shall we?” “No more that 20 degrees of bank John” “More right rudder John”  (Yes, I know I already said that, pilots know what I’m talking about). I’ve hit, according to Meg, a “learning plateau”.  It feels like I’ve never been at the controls of a plane before. Yesteray was supposed to be a day that we just practiced takeoffs and landings.  We got all of two takeoffs and landings completed.  Yesterday I was frustrated, Meg was frustrated, even the plane seemed frustrated with me. I expected to get at least four takeoffs and landings in yesterday, instead I got two. The first takeoff was one of my better ones.  But climbing out I was pitching … Read More

A Couple of Flight Lessons and Cpap Update

John Hurlbut3rd Class Medical, Flying2 Comments

Last week I flew a couple of times. Once on Wednesday and again yesterday, Sunday.  I scheduled both lessons later in the day so as not to have to deal with the low clouds.  Wednesday at 3 PM was great! We took off from Thun field (KPLU) and headed to Tacoma Narrows (KTIW).  Meg told me she didn’t want to do anything that day but be in “Toad Mode”, meaning she wanted to just check my proficiency and listen to me talk to the tower at KTIW.  KPLU is a non-towered airport so the pilots just talk to each other to let one another know what they’re doing.  At KTIW you have to talk to the tower and ground control to get instructions on what to do. We took off from KPLU without incident, I think my takeoff was better than most of them. A bit of a crosswind, but … Read More

Back on the Cpap Again…

John Hurlbut3rd Class Medical, Flying0 Comments

Yesterday I spent the bulk of my morning at the Medical Supply place at St Clare hospital getting my new Cpap machine and getting fitted for a couple of masks.  This was an entirely different experience from my last machine, my Bipap machine.  The last time the medical equipment company basically just gave me the machine, a couple of instructions and sent me on my way.  There wasn’t a ton of time fitting masks or really going over the machine or anything.  It was horrible in comparison to what I did yesterday. The person took her time to really explain the machine, how it works, how to clean it, how to change settings and more importantly making sure I had a mask that fit well.  I actually paid for a second mask just so I didn’t have to go back if I didn’t like the first mask. She also took … Read More

A Little Simulator Time Today…

John HurlbutFlying0 Comments

One of the plusses of flying at Safety In Motion Flight Center is that they have a Redbird FMX full motion Flight Simulator. Occasionally I think of it as a drawback when in reality it’s a pretty amazing training tool.  Today Meg and I were supposed to fly to KTIW (Tacoma Narrows) where, winds permitting, I was actually going to get to land today. Unfortunately it wasn’t the winds that stopped us.  We occasionally have a marine layer that settles in the Puget Sound region and doesn’t burn off until noon or so.  That was the case this morning.  When I woke up it was pretty overcast and I called Lockheed Martin Flight Services for  a Standard Weather briefing already knowing that the cloud layer was too low.  The cloud layer was reported at 1,900 feet for McChord and 1,800 feet at KTIW.  As the plan was to fly from … Read More