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Old 21st September 2011, 23:42   #31
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

One more post from me before the Mods close the thread, and this is to describe a bit about my Cessna experience (since some of you have asked), more actually about my first flight.

As I mentioned before, I had to come back to the USA around 3rd qtr 2010. My family was still in India then. So I was alone here, thinking about what I could do to make my life more interesting. In hindsight, I can't come up with a good reason why I took to flying. I guess I just wanted to try something new. I was not even one of those kids who dreamt of becoming a pilot or spent their childhood acting like one (as in those
HDFC Bank ads), other than tearing pages from my maths notebook in school, making paper planes and throwing them around in the classroom. But one fine morning, I found myself at a flying school and got enrolled into a Private Pilot course.

Learning to fly involves a lot of studies. They give you a bunch of thick books and operating manuals to read and DVDs to watch, and you have to remember lots of things because they have multiple-choice exams along the way which you are required to pass with at least 75% score. I rediscovered Bernoulli here. Now what Mr.Bernoulli said didn't make any sense to me back in Class XII. I just remembered his name because CBSE board insisted that I do. But here it truly made sense. Imagine just the pressure difference caused by the airflow between the top curved surface and the bottom flat surface on each wing,lifting up planes as small as a Cessna or as big as an Antonov 500.

Among other things, I also had to learn the military alphabet code like Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta for radio communication. This reminds me of the desi guy who was trying to book a ticket over the phone: "Yes, this is Siva... no, no, Siva, S-I-V-A. S for 'Shicago', I for 'Ingland', V for 'Vater', A for 'Aaxygen'". But I digress.

So after a few ground lessons, one day I was ready to take my first flight. It was evening, so my first flight was actually a night flight. After the intructor briefed me, he asked "Do you have any questions?". I actually asked the following.

Me: Does this plane have parachutes? (not that I knew how to strap one on).
Instructor: No
Me: So what happens if we go up there and you have a heart attack?
Instructor: Oh, I had my physical done just a few days ago and I am in fine health. But if I have a heart attack, set the transponder to 7700, change the radio to xxx frequency and scream SOS, and the tower will guide you down.
Me: Yeah, I have seen that in the movies. Does it really work?
Instructor (with a very encouraging smile): Don't worry, we'll be fine.

So I muttered "Joy Ma Kali", which is what all bengalis do before attempting anything foolhardy, and off we went to the aircraft. Then begins the preflight inspection using a checklist, where you go over the plane, check the tires and brakes, the control surfaces, the rivets, propeller, then climb up on each wing to visually check the fuel level
etc.

After that was over, my instructor asked again, "Any more questions?". Being an Indian, out of sheer habit I wanted to ask "dada, mileage kitna deta hai?" (Whats the fuel efficiency?) but desisted since I didn't own the plane and the point was moot.

Now the fun began while trying to taxi to the take-off point. You have to keep the nose wheel on the yellow line, and you steer with your feet (the left and right rudder). As a car driver, it's infinitely difficult in the beginning because of the tendency to correct any veering off by turning the wheel (yoke) with your hands, and when nothing happens, it takes a few seconds to realize that you are supposed to use your feet. It took me many taxi-ings to finally get over that.

So we literally zigzagged on the yellow line to the end of the taxiway where the runway begins, went through another elaborate checklist, and asked tower for take-off clearance. After getting clearance from the tower, you start the roll, give full throttle, steer with the legs, compensate for any cross-winds, get to a ground speed of 55 KIAS
(knots) for the Cessna, then a slight pull on the yoke to bring the nose wheel up, and you are flying. Nothing in the world can really prepare you for this feeling. I can only describe it as tremendously exhilarating.

The landing is a different story and probably the most difficult to master. Basically you have to land the plane on a hyphen (-), because thats what the runway looks like from 2000 ft up, provided you can find the airport first. Commercial and millitary planes of course have GPS and are in constant communication with ATC, but these training Cessnas don't have that luxury. Anyway, it just takes lots and lots of practice to gently touch down the plane.

I am now about halfway through my course, but honestly I don't know if I can continue long enough. There is intense pressure from home to give up flying. Besides its very expensive, and sometimes I question my decision of spending so much money to just chase a fascination, especially in today's tough economic times. Whenever I call my mother in Kolkata, the conversation begins and ends with when I am going to quit. My father doesn't say anything, thankfully.

I keep telling my wife and mom that statistically, flying is much more safer than driving a car, but I guess it's the human perception of feeling safer when the feet are planted firmly on the ground. My wife has a tough time
during turbulence on flights, and nowadays I tell her to just close her eyes and imagine she is in my Fusion and we are driving in Bangalore on the ORR near Agara lake. It seems to work a bit.

Happy motoring, all.
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Old 22nd September 2011, 10:20   #32
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Good to see a fellow aviator join the forum! Your thoughts on Bernouli's principle are only better explained by this video (at about 4:10). The part of squawking 7700 got me rolling in laughter. Take care, see you in the skies.

And the part about turbulence reminded me of this incident with a friend of mine many moons ago. I told him the same thing, ME : "close your eyes and think that you're driving on a bumpy road". HIM: "yaar meri aur fatt rahi hai". ME: "Kyun?". HIM:"Yaar mere pass 118NE hai, aur jab bhi gadhe ke oopar se jaati hai, uska fuel ka pipe nikal jaata hai".

Last edited by duke : 22nd September 2011 at 10:36. Reason: added the anecdote
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Old 22nd September 2011, 10:26   #33
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

I have never posted twice in anyone's intro before (not even my on, if I remember correctly) but just HAD to here. What a welcome addition to the forum you are, Mr. S

The Cessna experience was brilliant. Hope to see a dedicated thread on this with lots of pics of course!

Rated 5 stars.
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Old 23rd September 2011, 16:34   #34
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Welcome to the forum, loved your introduction. waiting for your travelogues and how about a review on the Cessna can be the 1st of its kind on the forum Drive safe.
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Old 6th October 2011, 21:34   #35
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Guess I'm a bit late to the party - but had to mention that this is a great intro thread. Welcome to tbhp Sinha da.
BTW - which part of NJ did this double theft happen? I was in NJ for 2+ years (Randolph) and we barely used to lock our doors / cars.
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Old 6th October 2011, 22:34   #36
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackasta View Post
Guess I'm a bit late to the party - but had to mention that this is a great intro thread. Welcome to tbhp Sinha da.
BTW - which part of NJ did this double theft happen? I was in NJ for 2+ years (Randolph) and we barely used to lock our doors / cars.
Thank you.
It was in Carteret, NJ - exit 12 off the Turnpike. A bit shady area but had the convenience (for my commute) of direct express bus to NYC, and the apt complex was new, AND the police station was literally the next property. Yet this happened.
I agree Randolph is much more safer and residential.
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Old 7th October 2011, 11:55   #37
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

welcome to the community! nice read with respect to the Cessna and look forward to more stuff from you!
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Old 11th October 2011, 22:27   #38
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.sinha View Post
Imagine just the pressure difference caused by the airflow between the top curved surface and the bottom flat surface on each wing,lifting up planes as small as a Cessna or as big as an Antonov 500.
Antonov 500 is a fictional plane....
The biggest plane in the world as of now is An-225. Man, its huge..

Anyways sir, interesting flying experirnce u had. This reminded me of my initial days of flying. You'll never forget when u take off for the frist time. Now it has become a habit...flying everyday for hours...

Happy landings....

Blue skies always....
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Old 13th October 2011, 23:05   #39
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Default Re: After 9 cars, 1 motorbike and a Cessna, I am finally a T-BHP member now !!!

Amazing intro mr.sinha..Worth a read
Welcome aboard
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