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Thread: SCI Pilot stuff and flying fun etc....

  1. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Colorado Boy View Post
    Here's a picture of the Ercoupe door modification:

    Thanks for that picture. Was the STC available or did you get copies of it somewhere? Just making that door would be a challenge. I think it would be a fun airplane though!

  2. #52
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36Ms71VPVQY

    the first "car" to go supersonic. this is a bbc documentary and over an hour long but thought some on this forum would like it. i observed a sled run at EAFB, but that's not what this is. enjoy!

  3. #53

    First Flight Report

    I finally got back in the air last week! I made three flights in a Cherokee with the Blackwood hand control.

    The first day my biggest challenge was figuring out how to get into the airplane and it took me quite a while, maybe 20 minutes, even with some help from my instructor. Then, I spent about 20 minutes just taxiing around a large uncontrolled ramp area where I could make lots of turns both directions and practice using the hand brake. After I felt somewhat comfortable with steering, we took off for some air work. I went to the practice area and just flew a lot of turns both directions and practiced some slow flight and stalls. I had a little trouble with pushing on the yoke when I pulled the flap handle and sometimes when lifting the rudder control for right rudder.

    The second day, I got into the airplane in maybe half the time and didn't require any help from my instructor. We set up some cushions behind my back and inbetween the seats to give me somewhat of an arm rest. That was a huge improvement. Also, I wore one of my back braces which is just a fancy kidney belt than can be pulled pretty tight. It helped with my stability and made it easier to lean forward when using the brake or grabbing the flaps. The airwork was getting easier and I did three landings.

    The third day, I got into the airplane by myself in just a few minutes and the whole process was much more comfortable. We just stayed in the pattern and did landings. I would taxi back instead of doing touch and go's because I wanted to get comfortable witht he whole process and I don't want to be rushed. I think I did five or six landings and my last one was pretty damn good so I decided to end on that one!

    Overall, I am very encouraged by how quickly I'm improving. It's a lot like when I learned to drive with hand controls. At first that was very mechanical and I had to think about the movements before doing them and sometimes got it wrong. Well, flying with the Blackwood hand control is very similar in that you have to re-learn how to control the rudder and steering. At first, it was very mechanical for me but it is getting much easier pretty quickly. I still have trouble with correcting drift just before touchdown when it is a very small amount of drift. With your feet it is just automatic but, for me, I still have to think about it which slows down the whole process of making the correction. I am confident it will come with just a couple more flights.

    One of my biggest challenges has been keeping my upper body in a good position. (I'm a T-4 complete) It's hard for me to lean forward without pushing on the wheel or banking. I like to fly smoothly and so far it is pretty hard to be smooth. I have tried different cushions under and behind me and getting my seating set up really helped with my upper body stability. My back brace helped, too. Trim is very important too because it is hard to pull the yoke back without pulling my body forward if there is not enough nose up trim. I have been trimming full nose up for landings and that has really helped. Also, I'm using the shoulder harness to hold me back but then I have to remember to loosen it so I can lean forward to grab the brakes.

    Getting into and out of the airplane is also quite a challenge for me. I got a yoga mat at wallmart and it is the perfect size for the Cherokee wing. It's easy to transfer onto the wing but then the hardest part for me is getting both of my feet up onto the wing. It was pretty uncomfortable at first because of the angle of the wing makes it feel like it will be really easy to fall forward off of the wing. I put my right foot on the step and my left foot on my chair then scoot up the wing as far as I can. Then, I grab one leg at a time and bring it up under me indian style. Once I'm in that position, it is pretty easy to scoot up the wing and just bring my legs up after me. When I get to the door, I turn and face my back to it. Then I push up and over the small door sil onto the right seat. A couple more scoots backwards pulling my legs behind me and I'm in the left seat. Then I can bring my legs around and cross them in front of me. I am (or was) 6'2" so my legs are always in the way. I cross them in front of me and have the seat almost all the way back. The hand control can swing out of the way so it is not a factor.

    I get out going backwards, too. Once I'm on the wing with my feet through the door, I lean back onto my back and swing my legs around so they are in front of me. Then I scoot down the wing opposite of how I go up. Getting off of the wing is easier and I just let my feet down in front of my chair and transfer into my chair.

    Doing the preflight inspection is not too difficult although I can't reach the fuel tank drains under the wing. If the examiner is going to hold me to that, I'll have to get a strong grabber stick and use that to get a fuel sample. I can open the cowling and check the oil and give a good visual inspection.

    I'm sorry for the long post but, I figured you might have some interest in what it is like if you're thinking about trying it. I beleive the hand control might be easier to learn for someone who has never flown because they wouldn't have to re-think it - it would just be the way it is. Overall, I'd say it is a very simple and effectifve solution for flying with out the use of your legs. The Cherokee has to be the all around easiest airplane for flying without your legs. Once you figure out your best procedure for getting into the airplane, the actual flying is easy although flying smoothly will be harder to achieve than what you're used to.

    I really encourage any of you who might be considering it to go try it! I'm waiting for my authorization to take my SODA flight and once I find out exactly what that will entail, I'll let you know.

    It is really great to know that I can fly again and will get my certificates back. It has been a goal of mine since day 1 of this new life and definitely one of the biggest milestones of my recovery. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

    David

  4. #54
    David, that is awesome, a great read!

    I am so glad you have gotten back and flying again, most of that mirrored what I went through too.

    The SODA test did not bother at all about pre-flight inspections. We just landed, shook the examiners hands and they climbed on it. They were very nice and told me they were not looking for "commercial-pilot" type precision. Basically, as long as I could show I was in control of the plane then they were happy.

    I flew on Saturday and took footage of me getting in and out, including loading the chair in the baggage hatch on my own....I'll post it soon for refence to others.

    For sure it is a little harder for you being incomplete, but sounds like you totally got this one down.

    Mark

  5. #55
    Thanks Mark.

    I hope my SODA flight is casual like yours!

    I'm really glad you filmed yourself getting into the airplane and I look forward to seeing it. Maybe someday when I get better at it I will do the same.

    How often do you fly?

  6. #56
    My SODA was actually done by the book. I had a young FAA examiner next to me with his senior FAA examiner, examining him, in the back. There were so many clipboards and check-marks going on....we were all being examined....no, that was not a soft test, but they told me what they wanted and would not be holding me to maintaining altitudes etc....so you should get the same.

    I just put the video together of this Saturday. I flew to Cobb county in Atlanta to go get lunch with a friend. I had to clip some of it to keep it short...I am still learning how to speed up loading the chair myself.

    Also, I have some trunk going on, hence I don't faceplant the asphalt as I sit on the trailing edge, I know not everyone has that...but there you go.

    As for flying, I am currently going every couple of weeks or so. It costs $99/hr wet (if I book a block of time in advnace). What are your rates???

    Here is the vid: Good luck and keep it up David!


  7. #57
    Thanks for posting the video, Mark. You make it look easy! I'm flying an old cherokee 140 (with 160hp) and it doesn't have the baggage door so I haven't tried to load the chair in yet. I think I could get it up over the wing and in the door but it would be quite a challenge, I'm sure. You look fairly tall - what size is your chair and wheels?

    They charge $85/hr for the 140 but the owner of the school has been very generous with me and he is only asking that I pay for the instructor's time. He's not charging me for the aircraft rental. He taught me how to fly aerobatics and I did some competition aerobatics with him back in the "80's. He's been very helpful to me with this. I've been very lucky to know some good people in my life.

  8. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by STOLhorse View Post
    Thanks for posting the video, Mark. You make it look easy! I'm flying an old cherokee 140 (with 160hp) and it doesn't have the baggage door so I haven't tried to load the chair in yet. I think I could get it up over the wing and in the door but it would be quite a challenge, I'm sure. You look fairly tall - what size is your chair and wheels?

    They charge $85/hr for the 140 but the owner of the school has been very generous with me and he is only asking that I pay for the instructor's time. He's not charging me for the aircraft rental. He taught me how to fly aerobatics and I did some competition aerobatics with him back in the "80's. He's been very helpful to me with this. I've been very lucky to know some good people in my life.

    No baggage door??? I wouldn't bother taking it unless you had assistance or really needed to. You'd be bashing up the plane trying to haull that thing up the wing and get it in the back. It could definitely be done, of course.....

    As for the cost to fly - just wow!!! You are very lucky, make good use of that (without abusing the generosity of course).

    On a related note, I bought a flight simulator for RC planes. And I've been flying all different models. I was orignally wanting to buy a helicopter, but have found myself flying the aerobatic 3D planes the most.

    Well, I took the plunge and bought this one:



    It is electric powered and seems to have one helluva powerful motor on it....

    I did fly RC powered planes back n the day, but they were glo-powered and that was in 2001. It's gonna be great to get back into it.....

    This is a video of the exact same plane....its not me, I hasten to add...but something to aim for


  9. #59
    Senior Member IsMaisin's Avatar
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    I used to love hanging out the side of a helicopter. The view was incredible and the feeling as we would twist and turn through the hills and just over the trees was amazing. I've always envied the pilots who could enjoy the freedom and view from the air.
    Played with bombs- No SCI, Brain Damage enough that I require a chair and a caregiver.

  10. #60
    Well, I haven't been on here in about a week but the big news is I got my SODA waiver on Monday! The check ride (medical flight test) was really straightforward with no surprises. We went over all the papers for the airplane and she had me figure the weight and balance. That was about it on the ground and then we went to the plane. She watched me preflight and then I started to climb in. For some reason, I had a hard time with my legs but she was very patient. She moved my chair to the office for me and then climbed in. I tried to be thorough with checklists, passenger briefings, etc. We went out and did a couple of stalls, some slow flight and then came back to the airport. I did two touch and goes and a full stop - normal, soft field, and short field with a slip on final. That was it. She was very reasonable and easy to work with and it was a good experience. (Can't say that about all check rides!)

    I was worried about restrictions but that worked out okay, too. I was issued a temporary certificate that still reads ATP multiengine but limited to "hand controls only, single engine. I'll have to do another medical flight test in a multiengine plane to get those privileges back. Fair enough.

    This was a BIG milestone in my recovery and I'm glad to have it done! What's next? I don't know but I'm giving serious consideration to getting my instructor certificate. We'll see....

    Thanks to all of you for answering my questions and, if anybody has any questions about learning to fly or getting back into it, feel free to contact me.

    David

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