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Schlagwort: D-EKKS

Bianual check ride

Bianual check ride

Visibility: Ok
Temperature: -5°C
QNH: 1030hPa (high pressure)
Location: EDAY (Strausberg)
Equipment: Cessna 172 (D-EKKS)

Private pilots have to take check rides with a flight instructor every other year. This is to make sure that they do not take on funny habits – or that they stick to the ones their instructors taught them.

The day at the office is light, the weather is good and so I decide to fly a Cessna instead of my desk today.

When I leaf through my logbook, I realize that it has been over a year since I last flew „Kilo Sierra“. I read up on the most important check lists and speeds. I also familiarize myself with the cockpit again. I have made it a habit to take pictures of the instrument panels of all the aircraft that I fly. Studying the photos helps me to remember the differences between the planes.

Flying with a passenger 

When I arrive at the flight school, a new student is finishing a theory lesson. The flight instructor asks me if he can come with us. Of course he can! 

I remember how much I appreciated being a passenger on numerous occasions during my own training. It is motivating and great fun. The experienced instructor knows this.

Flight planning 

Our trip today will be a triangle. EDAY-EDAV-EDON and back to EDAY. We will do touch-and-go’s in EDAV, air work on the way to EDON and navigation training on the way back. EDON will be a waypoint for is today, not a stop.

Easy does it

We are in a weather inversion. The visibility is not great but gets much better above about 2.200 feet. „Kilo Sierra“ and I are still friends. On final approach into EDAV, I’m a bit too fast for the instructors taste. Other than that we are both happy.

Approach into EDAY (I’m the photographer in this one, not the pilot)

The sun is shining. By the time we start making our way over to EDON, it is pretty much in our face. Combined with the climbing inversion, this makes for very limited visibility forward.

The flight instructor is keeping the eyes outside, I’m concentrating on the navigation and using the occasion to practice some instrument skills. An unexpected extra on this trip.

When we are done, I have a little more than one hour for my log book. I am familiar with „Kilo Sierra“ again and I think my passenger had a good time, too. That’s a successful day!

To be continued…

Sun & Plane

Junior aviator

Junior aviator

Visibility: about 8 miles, low hanging clouds
Temperature: 3°C
Wind: 260°, 4kts
QNH: 1009hPa
Location: EDAY
Equipment: Cessna 172 (D-EKKS)

On the way to the airport, my passenger is shifting in his seat. He doesn’t say much. Probably a bit nervous and anxious to get there. The morning is cold and the clouds look a bit too low for my taste.

When we arrive, a solitary Cessna is doing pattern work. I start the pre flight and all of a sudden he has a million questions, is very excited and interested in every detail. I put the booster seat on the back bench and help him to climb in. When he gets his own headset, he is very proud – and he looks quite cute in in, too.


The grandfather is also here. He will take the other rear seat in order to calm the junior aviator down. After all is is going to be his first flight with dad.


The night was rainy and the ground is still wet. I taxi „Kilo Sierra“ carefully through a puddle. After the run-up, I check in with the two behind me again. Ready for the flight? They are!

The air is cold enough to give the engine something to bite into. We reach the clouds before we reach patter altitude. It’s pretty clear that we will not go anywhere else this morning. Still, there are cheers from the back on every turn. The little passengers enjoys the view of the ground when I bank the plane.

We do a touch-and-go and a second round to see, if the wind is blowing the low clouds away. But we are not that lucky, the cloud base stays low and we decide to call it a day. After the two quick rounds, we are back on the ground. A bit shorter than I had hoped but the passengers don’t seem to mind. The first of hopefully many more trips to come!

To be continued…


Night flight

Night flight

Visibility: CAVOC, more than 10k
Temperature: -9°C, clear and cold night
Wind: 070°, 7 knots
QNH: 1027hPa
Location: EDAY
Equipment: D-EKKT (Cessna 172)

It is one of the sunniest days in weeks and while everyone else enjoys the sunshine, I anticipate sun set.

Dusk is turning the clear sky to shades of dark blue when I arrive at the airport. I have double checked the batteries of my pilot flash light, I will need it tonight. The office of the flight school is packed. Pilots are standing around in groups, chatting, laughing. It’s like a cocktail party but without the booze.

Night VFR is a separate endorsement to the private pilots license in Germany. The airport has longer hours for night training once a month. I will have my second or third lesson tonight.

The apron is illuminated by flood lights and I don’t really need my flash light for the preflight check. But I’ll be damned if I don’t use it tonight! A student pilot asks if he can come for the ride. Of course he is welcome.

Night at EDAY


On my first night flight, the full moon was reflected by the full cover of snow. Easy conditions for starters. Today there is neither moon nor snow – but stars.

The plan for tonight is a trip north to the Friedland VOR (FLD), close to the coast. The tower opens our flight plan and we are off into the night. The air is cold and glassy smooth. The large Lycoming takes big, hungry bites out of it and we climb fast despite three people and a big load of fuel.

The radar frequency is busy with coordinating airliners for evening flights into the two major airports. They don’t have much patience for us and seem glad when they can hand us off. The new frequency is almost silent and the controller is chatty. The lights on the ground are getting fewer and further apart as we are leaving the perimeter of the Big City. And all of a sudden I realize that the black void under the stars on the horizon must be the Baltic Sea. Magic.

“Kilo Sierra” is a lady with a lot of experience under her wings and not a lot of upgrades since she left the factory. She is kept up very well but her condition is pretty original. So I know exactly how a pre-GPS student in the 70s felt. The illumination on the control panel is pretty minimal. Some of the instruments have dim lights. Others – like the artificial horizon – have no illumination of their own. There is a small, adjustable map light with a red bulb close to my head. I use that for the instrument panel and after a period of adjustment, it works surprisingly well. I keep my flash light on the seat. It makes me feel better but I only use it once or twice.

Night VFR
Night VFR


On the way back we fly towards the lights of the Big City. A different kind of magic. Suddenly we encounter light turbulence and the lights disappear. We are flying into a cloud that I did not see in the dark. I was trained to focus on the artificial horizon when I loose visual contact to the ground. It is quite amazing how difficult it is to keep the airplane straight and level once you don’t see the ground any more. I am grateful for the training with the IFR cap I have had.

Back at the home base, the pattern is still busy. It is both important and difficult for a novice to build a mental picture of the positions of everybody in the pattern. I will need a bit more time for the night VFR rating and a lot more until I feel comfortable flying at night. But I’m very much looking forward to the process!

To be continued…

Apron at night
Apron at night


(originally posted on April 18, 2014 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/night-flight/)

Navigation training

Navigation training

Winter is time for training. With low visibility and unpredictable weather, long trips in VFR are uncertain business. Staying on the ground is not an option, staying close to the airport is a compromise. I’m using the occasion for some navigation training. My plan today is a simple triangle to a near by VOR and back.

The air is cold and the plane is light. “Kilo Sierra” is eager to get of the ground.

The first leg is easy. I have dialed in the VORs frequency in the navigation radio. On the “Omni Bearing Indicator” (OBI), I turn the dial until the indicator needle moves into the center at around 140°. That is the course to the VOR.

03 Anflugkarte

The way is not very far and after about 15 minutes I am near the VOR. Directly over it, there is no reception. The NAV flag on the instrument comes up to indicate bad reception, so I know that I have reached the waypoint.

Now comes the second part. I turn the OBI to my new course, bank “Kilo Sierra” to the left and watch the directional giro turn slowly. The “to” flag on the OBI switches over to “from” and I am on my way. On this leg I don’t have a physical way point. I will request my bearing from the airport to determin the turning point.

I’m flying a triangle. From the airport I flew south-east to the VOR. From the VOR I’m flying north-east to my next way point. And from there I am planning to fly south-west, heading 230° for approach into runway 23. So my next turning point will be when my bearing to the airport is 230° (or a bit before as the airpane needs time to turn).

Todays flight is a training mission. I know the area and I have a pretty good idea of where I am. After the calculated time I see the town that is close to the mark on my map for the turning point. I start calling the airport “Delta Kilo Sierra, requesting QDM”.

“QDM” means the the magnetic heading from the aircraft to the airport. There are many “Q-codes”. Their origin is marine morse code, when brevity was key. The most common one for aviation is “QNH” which is the local atmospheric pressure calculated to mean sea level.

“270″ is the somewhat expected answer from the tower. I am 40° away from my desired course. After a few moments I ask again. “262″ is the instant reply. The radio operator at the airport has a large display for “QDM” and its counter part “QDR”, the magnetic heading from the station. With every transmission from an aircraft, the display lights up and shows the direction the aircraft is in. A very helpful tool for the small airport which does not have radar vectoring.

I am close to the airport so the degrees go fast. I decide to start my turn onto the desired course of 230°. When I am on course, I ask again for the “QDM” to confirm the heading. “226″, almost perfect.

Back on the ground I taxi to the apron and park “Kilo Sierra” next to another Cessna. An instructor I know is near by, his student is doing the pre flight. He smiles at me “I was wondering who it was requesting ‘QDM’ on a clear day like today”. I smile back “It was hard work trying not to see the airport from where I was”. The instructor looks at his student “Beautiful day for some navigation practice, don’t you think?”

To be continued…


(originally posted on March 13, 2014 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/navigation-training/)

First solo – again!

First solo – again!

Visibility: more than 10 kilometers
ceiling: more than 5.000 feet
GAFOR: “C” clear skies!
Temperature: 29°C
Wind: VRB, 1-2 knots (dead calm)
QNH: 1024hPa
Location: EDAY (Strausberg)
Equipment: “Kilo Sierra” (Cessna 172)

Yesterday I had my first five solo rounds in “Kilo Sierra”, the four seat Cessna 172 I’ve been training on lately.

This was the third time I had a “first solo” in a new aircraft. A very special moment every time. But also a situation that I can face with more confidence now, compared to the “first first solo“. The day was sunny and very calm, perfect conditions.

Next stop: Check ride for the 2 ton rating!

To be continued…


(originally posted on July 27, 2012 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/first-solo-again/)

I’m flying in the rain

I’m flying in the rain

Visibility: fair, rain showers
Temperature: 24°C
Wind: 290°, 2-5 knots
QNH: 1017hPa
Location: EDAY (Strausberg)
Equipment: “Kilo Sierra” (Cessna 172, D-EKKS)

Weekends at the airport are usually busy. Today it is warm but rainy. A front with rain showers and low clouds is slowly moving over the city. Many pilots stayed at home.

When I arrive at the flight school, a charter customer and his friends are drinking coffee. They got caught in a rain shower and decided not to continue their pleasure flight.

My instructor sees the weather as a learning experience. So we go. On the way over to EDON (Neuhardenberg), we get caught by the rain. He tells me to do a full circle “use the instruments and try not to loose altitude”. I concentrate on the artificial horizon, the change indicator and the directional gyro. The sound of the rain hitting the metal roof of the cabin resonates with the engines sound.

What are you doing, out there in the rain?!

Neuhardenberg does not answer our call for a long time. Finally a confused voice comes on. “We are closed today. But what are you guys doing here in the rain, anyway?”. So we “divert” to EDCE (Eggersdorf). Not the first choice on a day like this as they have a grass strip which is not too comfortable when wet.

We are following the FWE VOR (Fürstenwalde) which should bring us right by Eggersdorf. I concentrate on staying below the clouds. Eggersdorf is not far and I look for the airfield ahead and to the right. When I spot it, we are almost past it already. We are still at 2.000 feet and I will not be able to get down to pattern altitude in the remaining distance.

“Delta Kilo Sierra flying over the runway”

The instructor tells me to fly along the runway, continue to loose altitude while following the crosswind leg and sink into the pattern on the downwind leg. This gives me time to see what is going on in the pattern and makes it easy to communicate where I am to the others. He says this is a good strategy for a “surprising arrival” at an airport. And he tells me that those can happen…

Airspeed, direction, possitive rate of climb

We are alone in the pattern and go through our program. Short landing, short take-off, simulated engine failure after take-off, landing without flaps. During our last round, the rain shower reaches Eggersdorf. The controller suggests the airport restaurant to wait for the rain to pass. “We would miss all the fun!”, the instructor answers. So I fly into the rain with very little visibility. “Check airspeed, direction and make sure you climb” says the instructor. That is what Captain Dave always pays attention to. For me it’s the first time that I need to check the instruments to make sure I have a positive rate of climb!

To be continued…


(originally posted on July 11, 2012 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/im-flying-in-the-rain/)

172 heavy

172 heavy

Visibility: fair
Temperature: 20°C
Wind: 210°, 5 knots
QNH: 1016hPa
Location: EDAY (Strausberg)
Equipment: “Kilo Sierra” (Cessna 172, D-EKKS)

The training on the 172 goes well and I like the aircraft. Today I have my first passenger flight!

The flight instructor told me that we have to fly the 172 at its maximum take-off weight (MTOW) at some point. He asked me if I wanted to bring some “ballast” in the form of passengers to the next appointment.

I sure do and both my wife and her mother are game. They are also not too heavy. That is important as the MTOW with four people and fuel is easily reached in the small Cessna.

The plan for the day is pattern work in Neuhardenberg (EDON), a large and mainly deserted airfield east of Strausberg. Before we take off, I do a last check with the passengers. All smiling faces, okay, let’s go!

The start run is a bit longer and Kilo Sierra finally looses ground contact in order to begin a concentrated climb. She feels even more stable today, not being bothered much by the cross wind.

After the short hop over to EDON we enter the pattern in the downwind leg. The first landing requires a lot of comments from the instructor. After that it is getting better. I am surprised at how much power I need on final. The additional weight shows.

After two or three landings I look back to the passengers. There are still some smiles on the faces.

To be continued…


(originally posted on June 26, 2012 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/172-heavy/)



Visibility: fair
Temperature: 18°C
Wind: 190°, 5 knots
QNH: 1018hPa
Location: Strausberg
Equipment: Cessna 172 (D-EKKS)

The stamp on my private pilots license is not quite dry yet and I am getting to work on the first additional rating already. Today I am at the airport for the first lesson in a Cessna 172. It is a four seated trainer and easily the most popular aircraft in general aviation.

The Cessna 150 that I trained on so far, is her “little sister”. I have read both of their manuals and they are very similar. Still, the 172 is a big step up in size and in power.

We start our morning with some theory in the office of the flight school. The instructor tells me the biggest differences and we go over the fuel system with the tank selector.

When it is time to meet “Kilo Sierra” in person, we start with a walk around. Cessnas are not beautiful and not very efficient either. What makes them the biggest brand in general aviation is reliability, sturdiness and very easy handling.

Kilo Sierra is white and blue and I like her instantly. She is not as old as my trusted Lima X-Ray, but she still has a certain vintage charm to her. And of course, the ashtrays can not be missing!

Kilo Sierra is not much more complex than Lima X-Ray was, but she could be. Her instrument panel is about twice the size and many of the instruments are redundant. She could be rated for IFR. She has a second VOR receiver, a second altimeter and a radio compass.

I am anxious to see what she can do, so we start-up and go. The 5 liter engine vibrates deeply and is very responsive to the throttle. On take-off, I am surprised by the torque effect. The propeller turns to the right and pushes the aircraft to the side. That’s normal and needs to be compensated with the rudder. What gets me is the amount of force I need to keep her on the center line – and we are not even airborne yet.


We lift-off and the difference in weight is immediately apparent. Kilo Sierra glides through the air noticeably calmer than the smaller Cessna or my beloved Ultra Lights. Control inputs require a lot of force and the engine moves forward decidedly. I like it.

Air work

We fly direction east, climb to 3000 feet and start with some basic air work. I try to hold my altitude and the course. Then we fly standard circles (3 degree turns) and try a few stalls. I get calmer and more confident. Kilo Sierra handles like the more comfortable and more stable version of Lima X-Ray. How could that be wrong?

After warming up, we go over to Eggersdorf. We are the only plane in the pattern. Our first approach is a bit low. Kilo Sierra will sink fast without power. The flare is easy and the landing a bit fast but not too bad.

On the second approach, the altitude looks better. I set flaps, adjust power and trim to stay on the glide path. Looking good, flare and touch down. Is it possible that this is easier than with Lima X-Ray? We try different kinds of landings. Short, long and go-arounds. I’m thoroughly enjoying myself.

Before we go home, we put in a pit-stop at Eggersdorf. The fuel is a bit cheaper here than in Strausberg and my flight instructor wants to use the occasion to top-up. We put 80 liters into her two tanks and only weep a little when it comes to payment.

Kilo Sierra has left a lasting impression on me. I can not wait for my next hour on the 172!

To be continued…


(originally posted on June 13, 2012 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/172/)