Student Pilot -2012

01/09/2012 - 05/25/2012

1/9/2012 - Today I met with Sean Davis, my soon to be instructor... He was a very nice guy and got me signed up to be a member of the Des Moines Flying Club.

1/14/2012 - My First Lesson! Today marked the beginning of a terrific new "Hobby". While it was very cold out, I was not thinking about that at all as Sean showed me how to do a pre-flight inspection on the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190), taxi the plane, take off, and fly to Ankeny, IA. We completed 2 take-offs and landing and just got familiar with the airplane. Sean ran the communications and assisted me with the landings however, I did a majority of the flying on my own. We practiced Straight and Level flight, Turns, Climbs, descents, Airspeed turns, trimming, and basic controls. We flew for 1.3 hours. Sean is such a great instructor! The picture below was taken just after my first lesson... Can't tell I was extremely excited can ya?

1/27/2012 - Well after some lesson's canceled due to weather I got to go flying again! Today we flew to Ankeny again in the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) and did 4 take-offs and landings. We practiced Medium Bank Turns, Slow Flight, Stall's, and intro into crosswinds! Another great flight and I just loved it! Today we flew 1.5 hours. I also completed some of the communications but not much.

1/28/2012 - Today we flew to the "North Practice Area" in the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) and worked on some Medium and Steep turns, slow flight, Power off Stalls, and we completed 6 Take-offs and Landings with Crosswinds at the Des Moines Airport. Sean was very patient and an excellent help in instructing me on the way to land with strong (at this point in my training they were "strong) winds. We flew 1.6 hours today. Another great day of flying.. still extremely cold but I didn't notice!

1/29/2012 - Today I flew the Archer II (N2974N) for the first time. While it fly's a lot like the Cruiser it was a bit bigger. We flew to Newton and I got to use the Auto-Pilot for the first time, along with the use of some navigational equipment. Today I practiced Take-Offs and Landings.. 15 of them to be exact! Today I did a lot more of the communications with minimal assistance from Sean.We flew 2.4 hours today Another great day of flying!!

2/10/2012 - Today I was informed by my FAA Medical Examiner (Dr. Ledet) that I had passed my physical and I could pick up my Class III medical certificate on Monday. I also had also received my Security Badge for the airport so I was able to get in the gate today without being escorted by Sean. Sean provided me a key to the hangers so now I can complete pre-flight and get the airplane out of the hanger prior to Sean arriving. I had been practicing Take-Offs and Landings with my flight Simulator and boy has that helped! Today we flew the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) and completed 12 Take-Offs and Landings into Crosswinds at the Des Moines airport and I feel so much more comfortable flying! Completed almost all the communications today. Sean told me that I was doing terrific and while most people take 20 hours to solo, I would probably be soloing at ~12 hours. We flew 1.6 hours today.

2/17/2012 - Today I arrived 15 minutes early, pre-flighted the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) and pulled it out of the hanger all by myself! Sean got in and we Taxied out and started practicing Take-Offs and Landings at the Des Moines airport. Today I felt so comfortable flying!! Sean commented that I was doing terrific and we discussed soloing however, we put that on hold for today. I completed 15 Take-offs and landings and flew 2.2 hours. Today was the best day of flying with minimal instruction from Sean other than when we practiced short-field Take-Offs and Short-Field landings. Another great day and I am anxious to Solo Soon!

2/18/2012 - Sean is busy this weekend and next and I gotta say.. 3 weekends in a row without flying just wasn't working for me haha! Soooo.... I talked to Sean and today I flew with Tom Merfeld, one of the officers for the DSMFC. He was a great flight instructor also and worked with me on Take-offs and Landings in Ankeny in the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190). We practiced Airspeed control a lot more than I had previously practiced and I appreciated the help! Landings were a little different due to the difference in instruction/speed however, I think over time this is going to help me tremendously! We performed 14 Take-Offs and Landings all together today with 2 in DSM and 12 in Ankeny. I am going back up tomorrow with Tom and looking forward to it! I really appreciated Tom filling in and not making me go the weekend without flying.. today was such a beautiful day out with just a little crosswinds and as always I had a blast flying!! We flew for 1.8 hours today.

2/19/2012 - Today Tom and I went flying again.. Tom let me pick where to go so we took off in the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) and went to Newton and did a few Take-Offs and Landings and then we went to Pella and did some more. We continued practicing Airspeed control and it continued to help my approaches. Completed about 15 Take-Offs and Landings today and flew for 2.2 Hours. Tomorrow I am flying commercial to New York for work but hoping to fly again next weekend when I get back. Another great day of flying with no wind and clear skys!

2/25/2012 - I flew with Tom again today! We flew the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) to Ames today. We worked on Landings again and today I feel ready to Solo! Tom is a terrific instructor and has helped me master Airspeed control which really helps with my approaches and landings. Completed 14 total Take-Offs and Landings between Ames and Des Moines. We flew for 2.2 Hours. Tom is confident that Sean will let me Solo soon and I am looking forward to it.

3/1/2012 - Sean and I went up today in the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190). We flew to Newton and worked on a few landings along with some Instrument Flight. It was a little windy today so didn't do too much along those lines. 7 Take-Offs and Landings today and flew for 1.6 hours. We discussed Solo a little and Sean will be getting a Pre-Solo test for me to take. Still pretty excited for that day to come! Today's flight was much needed and relieved some stress of my daily life :) So relaxing in an airplane 3,5000 ft in the air!

3/4/2012 - Sean had me completed a Pre-Solo Written test and I aced it! It was so iffy on if we were going to be able to fly today.. We did end up getting to fly for about an hour.. 0.9 Hours to be exact. We went up in the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) and did some take-offs and landing at the DSM Airport. After 5 Great Landings, Sean told me to go to Elliots (Where we usually get fuel) and asked for my logbook. He signed me off to solo! However, as we pulled in to Elliots it started no solo today :( Great day of flying.. great time.. really bummed out about the snow. Hopefully next time!

3/5/2012 - Sean and I flew today in the Archer II N3574K. We flew to Ankeny and worked on some Take-Off's and landings and then flew back to Des Moines and did quite a few Take-Off's and landings. It was fairly windy so got a lot of good cross winds practice in. 8 "Day" landings.. We also flew into the evening and so I got some night flight time in along with one night landings.. It's so amazing flying at night! We flew for 1.6 hours today and I am now over 22 Hours of Flying!!l!. We decided to do my first cross country tomorrow since its going to be pretty windy again and don't want to waste a bunch of time with Take Off / Landing practice since I am ready to solo.. just need a good day to do that.

3/6/2012 - Today I was able to take my son Wyatt with me on my First Cross Country Flight in the Archer II N3574K.! Wyatt was so excited.. this was the first time he has been in a small plane or flown with me! While today was my first Cross Country, it was also the first time really getting a good feeling for flying / landing at night! We flew to Lamoni, IA tonight and touched down once there and then flew back to Des Moines and touched down once there. 1.5 hours of flying and 2 landings... Was such a great time getting to share my flying experience with my son! I look forward to many many more!

3/8/2012 - Sean and I went up in the Archer II N3574K today and flew to the Newton area. We flew using VOR Signals instead of eye sight to navigate.. was a new concept for me but was a good thing to learn. I learned how nice it was to use Auto Pilot and did not have to "FLY" the plane much tonight accept to land the airplane. We flew 1.6 hours and I landed the airplane just once today.

3/9/2012 - Sean and I went up in the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) with the intentions on soloing today however, Archer II (N2974N) got a flat tire on Runway 13 and because of the winds.. we didn't get to solo. I did 4 day and 4 night landings before calling it a day. We flew for 1.2 Hours.

3/10/2012 - Sean and I flew the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) to Ottumwa, IA Today. We practiced using VOR Signals to navigate to the KOTM Airport. We landed 3 time and then Sean told me it was time to do my Solo's. After signing my log book and my medical certificate he got out and I Took off! I can't tell you how exhilarating this was! I flew the traffic pattern and landed and took off again right away. On the 2nd landing I came in a little high so I came to a complete stop and taxied back and took off again... the third landing I caught some wind and corrected and still landed great! I came back and picked Sean up who to my surprise had videoed 2 of my landings! (See Below) We then took off and flew back to Des Moines where I landed again. Today we flew for 2.2 hours, completed 7 landings and I spent about 30 minutes flying all by myself... I will NEVER forget today.. and so far my big smile has not gone away from my face... I think I might be smiling for a while! A GREAT DAY OF FLYING... Thanks Sean!

Landing #1

Landing #2

Right after we landed back in Des Moines Man I feel like a million bucks right now!

Coming back to pick Sean up

Better stop and let Sean get back in the plane.. although I am enjoying being by myself :) !

3/11/2012 - Sean and I flew the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) on our last Daytime Cross Country Flight. We flew from Des Moines, to Cedar Rapids via VOR Vortac Highway using flight following for the first time and then to Iowa City via GPS and back to Des Moines using GPS. We flew for 2.7 hours and I landed once at each location making 3 great landings! My next step... a solo cross country to either Mason City, IA or Centerville, IA... Hoping for a nice day soon so I can do that!

3/18/2012 - Today I got to do my first Cross County Solo!!! I flew the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) to Webster City, Iowa landed and headed back. When I took off winds were pretty calm.. however once in Webster City area it started getting pretty windy... I think I did a terrific job considering! Made a PERFECT landing in Webster City and a pretty good landing in Des Moines but with the winds gusting to 23 mph it sure wasn't perfect... but good practice! I felt a little scared after taking off today when I was heading to Webster City, there was a lot of turbulence, and the clouds were pretty low (I couldn't go over 3,000ft) and since this was my first time going somewhere by myself it was a tad nerve-racking but by the time I landed in Webster City I was pretty comfortable and the fear was gone. Coming back to Des Moines was a lot better and I am now over the "Fear" of flying by myself. I was able to fly over my house on the way back and Katie and the boys got to see my fly over! I am looking forward to my next Cross Country! Flew 1.8 Hours today with 2 Landings.

3/22/2012 - Today I dd my 2nd Cross Country Solo in the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190). My mom got to come out to the Des Moines airport with Wyatt today and see the airplane. I then flew to Centerville, Iowa! I decided to take a small detour and fly over Rathbun Lake and Moravia, IA as that is where I had grown up. Upon arriving in Centerville my son Jaden and his Mom and Sally were there waiting for me and got to watch me land! As soon as I pulled up Jaden flew over to the airplane to see me! He was pretty darn excited! I had a great time visiting with them before getting back in the airplane and flying back to Des Moines! It was a very nice day out... a little cross wind but nothing I couldn't handle! 1.9 Hours and 2 landings later and I am getting closer to being done.. Can't wait till my next flight!

3/23/2012 - Today Sean txt's me "Beautiful Day for flying, 190(N38190) open all day!" I had to work all day.. but thanks to him I started thinking about it all afternoon so I got him to let me fly back to Centerville, IA since I didn't have time to do my big cross country. I flew the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) Solo to Centerville, Landed and got out for a few minutes. I got to meet the Airport manager (I believe) and talked for a few minutes then I headed back. I landed JUST after the sun went down but it was still light enough to land. I'm not supposed to fly after dark yet by myself so just barely made it back in time! Today I felt totally comfortable, no uneasiness and 2 perfect landings after flying for 1.8 hours.

3/25/2012 - Today I got to fly my big cross country. I started later than expected due to crummy weather conditions however, by the time I took off in the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) it was beautiful! I flew at 5,500 Feet to Waterloo and landed there for the first time! I taxied to the FBO and took a few minutes to check the weather in Mason City and check out the facilities. I then took off again and headed to Mason City at 4,500 ft and landed there. Once again I took a few minutes to check out the FBO there and talk to a Pilot for a couple of minutes. I then took off again and flew around a helicopter that was assisting the Iowa State Patrol with a Speed Trap setup on the interstate. I landed back in Des Moines feeling accomplished after having a terrific flight by myself! Today was the completion of my last required solo cross country and now I just have to finish up a few things to get ready for my check ride! All together today I flew for 3.2 Hours.

4/11/2012 - Today I pulled up to the hanger and the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) was up on a jack.. apparently someone got a flat tire. I talked to Sean and we decided to take the Archer II N3574K up for a night flight. We Did some take off and landings tonight to try to get the night requirements out of the way but only ended up flying for 1 hour. Night flying is so different than Daytime Flying.. I see it as very peaceful and look forward to getting more comfortable with it!

4/13/2012 - Today I went to take my Private Pilot - Airplane Written Test at Exec 1 Aviation in Ankeny. I had been putting it off as there is a LOT of information covered in the reading material however, I wanted to go take it and give it a shot! I had taken about 10-15 practice tests on Sporty's Website and was scoring ~80-95 % on all tests. To pass the Written test you have to have a minimum of 70%. I arrived and Lynn (The Proctor) got my information and I had to pay $140.00 to take the test. She showed me how to use the system and I got started. I finished the test in about an hour and took another 30 minutes reviewing my answers, not feeling the best about my results. This was a LOT harder than the practice tests. I Closed my eyes and hit finish and the results showed up on the screen... I PASSED!!! 78%! While I was disappointed with that percentage I was extremely excited because I honestly thought I would be returning to take the test again. They sure know how to give you some trick questions! Now that I have passed the written test I only have about 5 more hours of practice with Sean to finish up and then I can take my check-ride with the FAA Examiner! I am almost done and look forward to getting my Pilot's License!

4/21/2012 - I arrived and got the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) per-flighted and pulled out of the hanger and when Sean pulled up he advised that he wanted to grab a sandwich and advised me to go do 2-3 landings while he was doing that. I took off and did 3 perfect landings before picking Sean back up. I obtained clearance to Ankeny and we practiced some short field takeoff's/landings and soft field takeoff's/landings. We then flew out north-east of Ankeny and practiced Slow Flight, Power-Off and Power-On Stall's, Ground Reference Turns, and some IFR Flight training. We then landed and went to Elliots where Sean got my "Pilot's Application" Filled out and we went over things that I needed to know for the Oral Exam. We discussed finishing up training and said I was almost ready to go test! From the sounds of it 2-3 more flights before I am able to test.... Getting Excited!

4/26/2012 - Today I flew the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) for my last night flight instruction. We flew for 1.1 hours and I spent about 30 minutes of that doing "Instrument Flying" behind these really weird looking glasses (See Below) where I can only see inside the plane flying strictly by instruments... is actually kind of fun. 3 landings at night which I did pretty good on. Another great night of flying! Getting closer and closer...

4/28/2012 - Today I flew the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) with Sean and we flew over to Ankeny. It was very cloudy so we couldn't go very high. We practiced for the check ride along with doing another .7 hours of instrument flight practice. All together 1.5 hours of flying and while it wasn't the best day for flying.. any day flying is a great day! :)

5/14/2012 - Today I flew for an hour just practicing some Take Off's and landings in Des Moines in the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) to finish off my solo time I needed.

5/15/2012 - Today I flew the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) with Sean and we flew to Ankeny. We practiced some short-field / soft-field landings and I asked Sean if we could do a "Real" Soft-field landing. He said maybe and we did some more checkride prep stuff and some IFR Stuff and then headed to Indianola. We also practiced unusual attitudes, Emergency Landings, Ground Reference Maneuvers, etc. Once there Sean let me land on a grass runway for the first time! It was a lot easier than I expected! Great day of flying for 2.3 Hours.

5/16/2012 - Today I flew the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) with Sean and we flew to Ankeny. We practiced some short-field / soft-field landings along with Steep Turns, Ground Reference Maneuvers, etc. Almost a full check-ride prep run through. Sean was running late so only flew for 1 hour today but getting better! Hoping by the weekend I will be ready for my check-ride!

5/18/2012 - Today I flew the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) with Sean and we flew to Ankeny. We practiced for the check-ride with some short-field / soft-field landings along with Steep Turns, Ground Reference Maneuvers, Stalls, Unusual Attitudes, etc. A full check-ride prep run through.

5/19/2012 - Today I flew the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) with Sean and brought my son Wyatt along too! We decided to fly to Pella to get used to the airport/area as that is where I will be going to take my check-ride. We practiced for the check-ride with some short-field / soft-field landings along with Steep Turns, Ground Reference Maneuvers, Stalls, etc. Almost a full check-ride prep run through.

5/20/2012 - Today was my last Check-Ride Prep Lesson with Sean. We flew the Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) to Newton, Pella, and Knoxville and then back to Des Moines. We ran through EVERYTHING that will be on the check-ride along with going over some knowledge stuff. I did pretty good and Sean said I was good to go test. He signed my log book off, got information to submit to the FAA Application System, and txt Shane @ Pella - FAA Approved Examiner to setup a time to go test! Can't wait.. I am a little nervous but Sean is a good instructor and since we both think I am ready... lets go for it! :)

5/25/2012 - CHECK-RIDE DAY! - I left the house at 6AM and arrived at the airport. After the pre-flight on Cherokee Cruiser (N38190) I checked the weather and Pella was showing some low visibility's and possible mist. It was sprinkling in Des Moines so I called Shane @ Pella to discuss the weather situation. Shane advised Pella was clear and he thought it would be ok to come on over so, I did just that! I lifted off at approximately 6:45 and arrived in Pella around 7:15am. I went into the FBO and met Shane and we went down to the basement and completed some paperwork. Shane and I discussed general aviation and after about 45 minutes of discussion, and passing the Oral Exam it was time for the flight exam. We took off and flew about 1.2 hours going over all the manuevers I had been practicing with Sean. A few minor issues but nothing where I failed and after landing Shane announced that I HAD PASSED! As he said the examination was nothing more than making sure I knew the basics and that I was a SAFE pilot. The Pilots license is a license to learn and I know I still have a lot to learn and look forward to doing just that! I AM NOW A CERTIFIED PRIVATE PILOT - SINGLE ENGINE LAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

***THIS CONCLUDES MY "Student Pilot" Log***

, I hope it has been informational for all those interested in becoming a pilot and invite you to email me should you have any questions.

I would be glad to share my experiences with you. Scott @