Flying the Arrow, Plane Washing, and My Own Box

The last week or so had been really slow. Consequently, I was holding off on another blog update until something more interesting happened. As it turns out, many interesting things happened in succession, and I’m only getting around to updating now. There is just so much to say! (Aren’t you excited?)

Event 1: I finally got a call to come into work and fill out the paperwork, go through orientation, and get an overview of the job. I met one of the current dispatchers, really nice guy. We are both in the same boat: college graduates, working dispatch, earning ratings, loving every moment we get to fly. Turns out they want me to wash planes for the next few weeks too until they hire someone on to fill that spot. Whatever, mo’ money for me. I’m still waiting to find out when I start dispatch.

Event 2: I finally started my Commercial rating! One flight in so far, and oh man was it a doozy. I am so mad for forgetting the camera. Why? Because it was my first flight in a Piper Arrow II. This baby is sick, it’s known as a “complex high-performance” aircraft in the aviation world. Complex means the gears retract (!) and high performance means it has at least 200 hp. This baby can fly, cruising at about 160 knots, or 184 mph.

The sound of this thing’s engine tells me it means business. We take off and head towards one of the practice areas (the red circle in the graphic below). The Arrow climbs at a brisk 90 knots and we reach an altitude of 5,500 ft. All the while, I’m cursing myself for forgetting the camera as the over-wing views are amazing. We do some steep turns, which for the commercial rating requires 50 degrees of bank. Next we slowed things down and did “slow flight,” or the minimum speed without stalling. Next, we stalled it, naturally. The airplane handles amazing. Love it. Came back to Livermore and did a touch-and-go. I was a bit nervous how my approach to landing would go being the first time in the airplane. Landing gear down, check for “three greens” to make sure the gear are down and locked, and landed soooo smoothly. This thing is way easier to land than the Cessna. First Commercial flight in the books; took about 4 hours for the adrenaline to wear off. And I’m going to get paid to do this?

Event 3: Today I worked my first day as a plane washer. Job description: Park car at maintenance hangar, pick up employee car, drive to flight line, pick up airplane, taxi airplane to hangar, wash thoroughly (about 2-3 hrs), taxi back to flight line. Today I washed two of the company’s Cessna 152s. Haven’t been in the cockpit of one of those in at least 3 years. Total time: 5 hours. The atmosphere is pretty relaxed, the radio in the hangar plays some good tunes (although, the hangar across the way had better tunes), the mechanics are friendly, and everyone is opening their hangars to show off millions of dollars worth of planes. Below are a few pictures.

Washing one of the Cessna 152s

The MX Hangar

Lots of Money invested in Airplanes

Event 4: This may seem insignificant compared to the other events, but at the end of my workday I got my own “box” in the office where I can store “important” papers. Even has my name on it. Totally official.

Till next week…

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~ by Marcus on September 17, 2010.

2 Responses to “Flying the Arrow, Plane Washing, and My Own Box”

  1. What a great blog!

  2. Congradulations!!! I really enjoy reading this!!! LOL

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