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Schlagwort: PPL



Visibility: good
Temperature: 18°C
Wind: 150°, 10 knots, gusts up to 15 knots
QNH: 1015hPa
Location: Drewitz (EDCD)
Equipment: Cessna 150

My alarm clock wakes me up very early today. It is the big day – the check ride for my private pilots license is scheduled for this noon.

I arrive at the airport early. The instructor and I do the flight planning together before we take-off for Drewitz, were we will meet up with the examiner. It is about half an hour as the Cessna flies.

Last night, the examiner gave me the routing on the phone. Drewitz (EDCD) to Kamenz (EDCM), from there over to Bronkow (EDBQ) which we are going to use as a turning point and then back to Drewitz. On the way we will do some air work, in Kamenz we plan to do emergency landing drills and a landing without engine power. I am not familiar with the area and I have not been to Kamenz before. We will see how it goes.

In Drewitz we still have time for a few landings. My first approach is pretty lousy, the second one is a bit high and after the round out I drop the aircraft onto the runway with a thud. The third try is better. I’m not sure I’m ready for this.

We taxi to the apron and wait for the examiner to arrive. He is on a check ride with another student from my flight school. When they arrive, the other student and I shake hands and he tells me not to worry. “He is a nice guy”.

The examiner and I do a quick preflight briefing. Then we take off. My instructor has told me to keep talking. So I talk. I explain everything I do and  comment on everything I see. The examiner nods and does not say much.


The first part of the trip is easy. There are many references to navigate by. The air is rough and I have difficulties holding my altitude. It can be difficult to find an unfamiliar airport. Luckily I find Kamenz without any problems. I enter the pattern and we land. The cross wind is close to the limit of the C150 and I am having difficulties working against the drift. The landing is not cat like but acceptable. We go around and as we are climbing out, the controller calls us. Pattern work is not permitted during the lunch time at Kamenz. Neither the examiner nor I knew that and so we have to change our plans. We have to come back down to pay for the landing. So we make the next approach the landing without power.

No power

We climb to 2.000 feet and I fly over the runways threshold. Then I announce my intention, make sure the mixture is rich, turn the carburetor heat on and pull the throttle to idle. I trim Lima X-Ray for best glide at about 80 mph and make a 180 degree turn to the left. I check the position relative to the runway. We are sinking fast. I turn towards the runway and we come out of the turn very low. I get a bit nervous and the examiner tells me to add a bit of power. Bummer, that is not the idea of the drill. I don’t know if that is a serious problem or not.

We park the aircraft, pay the landing fee at the tower and go back after a little break. The instructor points at the tower. The elevation of the airport is painted in big numbers on the wall. 495 feet. My altitude indicator shows over 600 feet. “There are the hundred feet you were missing on the landing” he says. When we left, I set the altimeter to the QNH. That is the pressure altitude that is published by commercial airports. I am surprised that it is so much of a difference. Before we go again, I set the altimeter to 495 feet.

The next part of the trip leads to the way point of Bronkow. I am getting more relaxed. My navigation works and the examiner is getting more talkative. I have prepared the radial of a near by VOR as confirmation for my navigation. I turn the navigational radio on to the VORs frequency (tell the examiner about it) and watch the VOR indicators slow movement as we get closer to the way point.

Air work

The last leg of the trip is very easy. There is a very big power plant just right of Drewitz and I can see it from the waypoint. So from now on, we just go towards it. We are using this bit for “air work”. The examiner lets me fly full circles at a specified bank and we do stall drills. When it is time to contact Drewitz that we are approaching, he tells me to fly another landing without power there. I fly over there threshold at 2.000 feet again. This time I make the turn steeper. When I am sure I will make it to the runway, I start setting flaps. 10 degrees, check altitude and position, 20 degrees, looking good, 30 degrees, the little Cessna feels like a giant holds it by the tail. The nose is in a steep dive and we are crossing the threshold at about 20 feet – good.

“That’s it” the examiner says. “Was that enough or did you have enough?” I ask. “I’ve had enough” he says without smiling. We taxi to the apron and he tells me a few things I should work on for the future. “You will get your license in the mail” he says and shakes my hand. Now he smiles.

On the way back to Strausberg, I fly my last leg of the day. I am tired but very happy. After take-off, I contact the controller in Drewitz. “D-EALX leaving the frequency with a newly passed check ride.” The controller congratulates me, my instructor smirks.

To be continued…


(originally posted on May 20, 2012 by tilbo at

3 out of 3

3 out of 3

I passed “Flight Rules and Air Law” with 95% on the second attempt.

Next stop: Check ride!!!

To be continued…


(originallly posted on May 14, 2012 by tilbo at

Flying Katana

Flying Katana

Visibility: good
Temperature: 16°C
QNH: 1008hPa
Location: Drewitz
Equipment: DA20 Katana

As part of my training, I have to fly two different kinds of aircraft. My flight school has a deal with a flight school in Drewitz. They train on a DA20 Katana, an Austrian built light trainer.

Today is a great flying day. In the morning I had the second part of my theory test. In the afternoon I go flying.

The plan for the day is to take the trusted Cessna over to Drewitz. There we will fly the Katana for about an hour before we go back to Strausberg. The weather conditions are easy and we will not file a flight plan for the half hour trip over to Drewitz. But we plan the flight on the map and talk about the Fürstenwalde VOR which is about half way on our route and will be our guide.

Cottbus-Drewitz Airport (EDCD)

Like many airports in the region, Drewitz is a relic of the cold war. The runway is the right size for an airliner and the hangars are reinforced concrete, overgrown with grass. On approach I’m having a hard time. The runway is so much wider than the one in Strausberg that it is hard to estimate the altitude correctly. There is a new, beautiful terminal building that my flight instructor is making fun of. There are no commercial flights in or out of Drewitz.

The Katana D-ELPN (“Papa November”) is waiting for us already. We park the Cessna next to it on the apron and change planes.

DA 20 Katana

The DA20 is a very popular trainer. It is about the same size as the Cessna but that about sums up their similarities. The Katana is a low wing composite aircraft. That means the fuselage is mounted on top of the wings. It is made primarily from composite materials, not from sheet metal.

The aircraft is powered by a Rotax engine, much like the ones powering many Ultra Lights. It is very efficient and quiet. Last but not least, this Katana has a constant speed prop. The pitch of the prop is adjustable. This allows the engine to run at it’s most efficient RPMs. The constant speed prop is new to me and the settings are a challenge.

Up, up and away

We go through the check list and the flight instructor takes his time to explain “Papa November” to me. We start the engine and go. The Katana has a free moving front wheel. The steering works by breaking the main wheels individually. It takes me a long time to get used to that and I’m sure the controller on the tower has fun watching us meander down the taxi way.

We take off and the air flow through the small windows is cooling us down. We were starting to steam under the large glass canopy. Once airborne, I feel at home in the DA20 instantly. She reminds me of the Ultra Light aircraft I fly but is a bit more stable. The visibility, without the wings above us, is stunning.


We climb above the pattern altitude to do some air work. While we are doing our “lazy eights”, we hear a formation of military C-160 Transall transporters announce their intention to perform some short landing maneuvers in Drewitz. They are very close to the ground and we decide to stay out of their way and watch the spectacle from above. They are coming in low and slow, touch down on the outmost edge of the concrete of the runway and break violently. Watching the large turboprops from up here is a treat!

After the two big guys are gone, we have the pattern to ourselves again. We do two or three touch-and-go’s before we call it a day. The Katana was clearly a great experience but I am also happy to be back in “Lima X-Ray” for the way home. The trusted Cessna and I have become friends.

To be continued…


(originally posted on May 11, 2012 by tilbo at

2 out of 3 – or almost only counts in horse shoes, hand granades and thermo nuclear warfare

2 out of 3 – or almost only counts in horse shoes, hand granades and thermo nuclear warfare

Visibility: good
Temperature: 16°C
QNH: 1008hPa
Location: local aviation administration
Equipment: Computer in the testing center

I am at the local aviation administration for the second part of my theory exam today. I know the drill already. Sign in, find a computer in the examination room and go.

When I sign in, I tell the examiner that I will have to come back for a third appointment after this. I had a busy time at work. He informs me that I can only take two appointments and that there is no third unless I fail one of the parts.

Stupid of me not to confirm the test centers policies. On the other hand I could not have made more time available for studying anyway. So I will see how far today gets me. I am going to try tree subjects without preparation today – “Meteorology”, “Aerodynamics” and “Flight Rules and Air Law”.

After about three hours I’m done. The test goes well. I have studied a lot for “Navigation” and one part of the exam is the very example trip that I practiced last night. I answer the questions half from memory and get 100%. Not bad for the subject I was most insecure about. But it also means I spent too much time preparing for it.

“Flight Rules and Air Law” is one subject I did not prepare. I know many answers and some are simply guessing. I have a bad feeling in “Meteorology” and am fairly confident in “Aerodynamics”.

After I have finished the test, I go out and tell the examiner to not hold anything back from me. I failed “Flight Rules and Air Law” by one point. I would have needed 75% and I only got 73%.

The friendly examiner says how sorry he was. I smile at him and tell him that the overall result was better than I had expected.

To be continued…


(originally posted on April 30, 2012 by tilbo at

1 out of 2 (or 3)

1 out of 2 (or 3)

Visibility: good
Temperature: 12°C
QNH: 1018hPa
Location: local aviation administration
Equipment: Computer in the testing center

I am at the testing center of the “Joined Aviation Administration” of two states. It is located in an old office building with a friendly atmosphere at the international airport.

I am taking the first part of the theory exam today. Seven subjects are being tested. The exam can be taken in up to three individual appointments in any combination of subjects. A very friendly way to test the hundreds of questions from the text book.

The exam itself is a computerized multiple choice test. My original plan was to break it up into two appointments. However, reality caught up with me and I only managed to prepare two of the subjects as thoroughly as I wanted. I would have loved to do four today.

At the testing center I am still on the fence if I should try the other two subjects anyway. But in the end I decide it would be better to be back for a third appointment voluntarily than involuntarily after failing “Aircraft Performance” or “Flight Rules and Air Law”.

I pass “Special Procedures” and “Human Limitations” with 92 percent and 96 percent respectively. Somehow fitting :-)

Now it is back to ground school for the next round!

To be continued…


(originally posted on March 31, 2012 by tilbo at



I am studying for the theory exam of the private pilots license right now. That’s why there will be no exciting reports about exotic trips and flying adventures for a bit.

For now just navigation, meteorology, aerodynamics and law. Wish me luck!

To be continued…


(originally posted on March 18, 2012 by tilbo at

Second first solo

Second first solo

Visibility: about 10 kilometres
Temperature: -1°C
QNH: 1025hPa
Location: EDAY
Equipment: Cessna 150 (D-EALX)

It is a cold morning. The first of the season, really although it is nearly February. The grass on the airfield is covered in white frost. The atmosphere is dense and cold and the wind sock hangs down with not enough air movement to shake off the nights frost.

There is a lot of activity on the airfield. A crew of four workers is getting three of the Stemme motor gliders ready that are parked on the apron. They perform checks and wipe the ice off of the wings. Two or three other aircraft are being made ready on the apron.

At the door of the flight school I find a note “Meet me at the hangar”. I arrive over there as the instructor has just started to pre flight the little Cessna. I check the fuel and we pull her out of the circular hangar.

Lima X-Ray starts up almost immediately. Good girl. We taxi over to the apron and give her a minute to warm up. The carburetor pre-heat expedites this process.

We take off into the cold. The sky is grey but the ceiling is more than high enough. There is almost no wind. Perfect conditions for a low time student.

The first landing is a greaser. I round out, hold her parallel to the runway until the stall horn chimes and then let her settle onto the runway. Just like I learned it. The flight instructor is happy. He gives me a bit of advice on the timing and tells me to fly a larger pattern. He starts talking about a solo.

After the second landing he breaks. He tells me to do another two of three landings on my own – if I feel like it. Is he kidding? I’m thrilled!

I am giddy but not quite as excited as with my first solo. After all I have flown aircraft on my own before. I know that I will be able to land it somehow. On take-off the missing weight of the instructor is noticeable but not as much as in the ultra light. I reach the pattern altitude a bit faster, that’s about it.

Lima X-Ray and I have started to become friends. I treat her gently and she forgives my clumsiness in return. My first solo landing is very respectable. Not as greasy as when the instructor was sitting next to me but good enough. As I take off after my second landing, I pass the instructor while he walks down the side of the runway. Apparently he is not afraid for his property enough to stay out in the cold.

After two touch and goes, I announce my intention to finally land on the third run. My instructor comes on the radio and tells me to keep going if I like. I sure do!

After six successful landings I have had enough. Lima X-Ray and I are done for the day. We go back to the apron and taxi by my first love, the trusted Lima Juliet. She is about to take another student to his wings. I waive at my old instructor and he smiles at me.

To be continued…

(originally posted on January 25, 2012 by tilbo at



Visibility: less than 5 kilometers
Temperature: 10°C
QNH: 1014hPa
Location: EDAY
Equipment: Cessna 150 (D-EALX)

I have an appointment at a different flight school in EDAY today to sign up for the PPL, the Private Pilots License. It is the next step from my Sports Pilots License.

The new flight school is in the tower building. A friendly office manager welcomes me to a tidy room with large windows. We go through the details and start the paper work.

Next door, a flight instructor is preparing a check ride with another student. It is a rainy day with a low cloud ceiling. The weather is around minimums and they are debating weather or not to cancel the check ride.

New part of the airport
I have been flying in EDAY for a little over a year but I had not been to the round hangar at the far end of the airport. This is where the Cessnas of the new flight school are living.

D-EALX, Cessna 150

Meet Lima X-Ray
My new ship is going to be Lima X-Ray, a Cessna 150 that is older than me. She has the look and feel of an old-timer but I know that her logs are up to date and that she is absolutely airworthy. The aircraft is larger and heavier that the light sports aircraft I had been flying so far, but the cabin is surprisingly narrow. We pre-flight the aircraft and I get my first hands-on experience with a certified aircraft. I read the flight manual of the C150 last week. That helps me now.

We taxi to the runway. The fight instructor operates the radio and I concentrate on steering. On the runway I slowly push the throttle forward. The Rolls Royce engine has a reassuringly deep vibrato. At 60 mph I start taking weight of the front wheel. At 80 mph I carefully lift Lima X-Ray off the runway, ease back on the joke to let her pick up speed close to the ground before I pull her up gently at 90 mph. So far so good.

We climb out of the pattern and break through a layer of scattered clouds at about twelve hundred feet. I know the area but I quickly loose my orientation with the poor visibility and my concentration on the new aircraft. The instructor keeps track of were we are while I do full circles to get a feeling for the handling of the aircraft.

Back in the pattern we do an approach. I am in charge of steering and holding the correct speed. The instructor takes care of the power settings and the flaps. I am pleasantly surprised how stable the glide path is and how easily Lima X-Ray comes down onto the runway. It is a calm day, that certainly helps. On the next round the instructor adds the flaps to my responsibilities and from the third touch-and-go on, I also set the power. I’m officially flying the little Cessna now.

The fifth landing is our last one for the day and we taxi back to the hangar. I’m enthusiastic. Not surprising, I guess…

To be continued…


(originally posted on October 27, 2011 by tilbo at