Friday, October 18, 2013

Caitlin's Second Post as a Girls With Wings Dreams Take Flight Scholarship Winner!

Caitlin's Second Post as the Girls With Wings Dreams Take Flight Scholarship Winner! Caitlin's lessons have been funded in part by the generous donations that people have made to Girls With Wings. The Dreams Take Flight Dreams Take Flight Scholarship is designed to introduce the world of aviation to someone who would benefit from experiencing the joy of flight. The award of this scholarship is intended to fund introductory flight training to encourage achievement of a stated goal, whether in aviation or in another field of study. There is no prerequisite flight training required for this scholarship, just enthusiasm and the desire to learn. The Dreams Take Flight Scholarship is an award in the amount of $500.00. Read more about our scholarship program.

From Caitlin:

This past month hasn’t progressed as much as I’d like, but I might have been too ambitious with my expectations. I’ve gotten in 5 lessons. I’ve still done a lot in my training and am happy with my progress. 

I spent a lot of time flying cross-countries. I got both my short solo cross-country and long solo cross-country done. The first one was so exhausting! I felt overwhelmed with all the new tasks I had to do while flying, and all by myself! Now I not only had to fly, but talk to new air traffic controllers, take note for emergency places to land, record the time between check points, and always think of the next step. When I got to KPOU (61nm away from KFRG), I felt so excited and relieved! I made it! I thought to myself the hard part was over, getting back wouldn’t be too much of a problem. It felt good to have done a cross-country by myself, another big step in the process! 

My CFI said he wanted me to take my written right around the time I did my first solo cross-country. He was leaving on vacation for a week, so I took that opportunity to schedule the test. I don’t know how many practice tests I took, but it felt like a lot. I used Sporty’s Study Buddy and that helped me immensely (and is free!) I thought I’d have to take the test out at the airport, at my former school, which just added two times the amount of stress to an already stressful situation. Thank goodness for the Internet though! I found a CATS testing center six blocks away from my apartment, no two hours of traveling, and being in an awkward situation! I was so excited when I left with a 90%! I texted my CFI, my boyfriend, my mom, and my best friend – in that order - I felt good about it. 

After about 12 days off from flying, I went straight back into my long cross-country. I was a little nervous about doing it after not flying for so long, but it built a different kind of confidence. After I made the first successful landing, I realized I wouldn’t automatically lose my flying ability right away. The plane didn’t have its VOR, so I suggested a way to adjust our original long dual cross-country to make it a bit easier for me. It was just switching the second airport to one along the coast of Connecticut. 

My first stop was KGON - Groton, CT. NY Approach was dead silent and not on their usual frequency, but luckily I found them thanks to a tip off from my CFI. Even when I got flight following, no one was talking so the cockpit was pretty silent. I learn I talk to myself a lot more when that happens to feel more comfortable. 

When I arrived at my next stop, KBDR, I heard that ATC cleared a Grumman Tiger to land on the other runway before me. I was watching for him on his short final, I didn’t see him in the air and definitely didn’t see him on the runway clearing it. I knew I should do a go around, and just as I was about to execute it ATC also said to go around. On my downwind, the controller said thanks for helping him out by going around. What? A controller thanking me for following his orders? That NEVER happens at Republic. 

I got a treat at Bridgeport! There was a P-51 Mustang, B-17 and a B-24 parked right in front of me. I, of course, check them out from behind the rope. I would have loved to look more closely at them, but I had to get back to the airport. 

My CFI and I have also accomplished all 3 hours of my night requirement in one go. It is so different from day flying. Though, I do feel I’d want more time with a CFI in the air before doing a solo cross-country at night. 

Lastly, I got very lucky with my CFI and he took me to a grass strip not too far away from our airport. It was such a different experience and not exactly what I expected from the simulated versions of soft field take offs/landings. You forget when simulating it that during the entire taxi process the yoke has to be held back all the way. My arms got a work out that day. 

I’m hoping to do my last push in the next few weeks to get to my check ride. I have a few more hour requirements to fill and then just A LOT of check ride prep. I may be starting to have some “get-there-itis” but I’m pushing through it and staying focused. If you are interested in more updates on my training, you can always check out my blog: I hope to write on here again when I pass my check ride! 
 I feel so grateful for winning the Dreams Take Flight scholarship and becoming part of the Girls With Wings community! It's been great getting to know other scholarship winners and supporting them through their training. After earning my PPL, I'm still uncertain what I want to do. I know I will continue training, but not sure if I want to go into my instrument rating (after saving up!) or do some aerobatic training! I do believe I want to earn my CFI eventually and share my love of flying with others. I know most importantly, I want to advocate for general aviation and for girls to earn their wings. 

And we know you'll do it and do it well, Caitlin. We're so proud of you - and we look forward to hearing more of your progress. 

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