Pilot in command

My ride for the first PIC in Pori.

My ride for the first PIC in Pori.

The flights as pilot in command commenced this week. To be able to start the CPL later on, we have to have 100 hours PIC under our belt. 50 hours of the total must be cross-country flights, including one that is over 300 nm (540 km) in length and includes two full-stop landings at different airports.

I had flights scheduled from Tuesday to Thursday this week. The first one was a progress check with a teacher to give me a permission to fly solo in Pori. We flew to the training area and did stall recoveries, slow flying and turns. Coming back to EFPO, we stayed in the traffic circuit for a few rounds. The crosswind was pretty hard again that day and I got to practise landings again. I did landings with flaps up, flaps 10, flaps 20, flaps full and a couple of spot landings as well as a go-around.

OH-CAS at the fuel station.

OH-CAS at the fuel station.

On Wednesday morning we had an exam on aviation regulations. In the afternoon I had my first PIC scheduled. The crosswind was possibly even worse than the previous day and while waiting for it to calm down, my 2-hour plane reservation expired. I had better luck the next day. I had a plane booked for the morning from 8 to 10. The wind was calm or 1 knots. What a perfect weather to fly.

I took off from runway 12 and with a right turn I headed towards the training area and climbed to 2500 feet. I flew around the training area to see where its’ boundaries lie and to familiarize myself with the area. It was my first time over that area and the first time alone in the Pori airspace. The air was still, no bumps on the road. It felt so good to be up there by myself.

Heading out to the training area.

Heading out to the training area.

The surroundings of EFPO are divided into six VFR training areas (plus a few IR training areas). That enables the ATC to assign a different area to each plane, which makes practising maneuvers safer. Of course you still have to keep your eyes open for other traffic.

The western Finnish seashore.

The western Finnish seashore.

Fields are abundant here too.

Heading back towards the airport.

After about 30 minutes in the training area I flew back to EFPO for the traffic circuit. I did a few rounds just practising the normal approach and landing. The wind was still calm to 1 knots and so the conditions were perfect for getting the feel of the plane and concentrate on the right speeds during the approach and landing. Flying feels pretty good again after the summer break.

Flying as PIC we plan our flights, destinations, routes and possible exercises ourselves. It is our own responsibility to try to develop as pilots. We have to set our own goals and challenges. That means for example not always taking the easiest route, e.g. along the seashore, or the same route to a certain destination. The time as PIC is supposed to build our confidence as pilots in command, the ones who make the decisions, be it an easy one or a tough call, as well as perfect our flying skills and routine. After this week’s PIC flight, I now have 12 hours 47 minutes as PIC. A few more hours to go until 100 and plenty of time to grow as a pilot.

This picture speaks a thousand words and feelings.

This picture speaks a thousand words and feelings.

8 responses to “Pilot in command

  1. PIC time building looks like a lot of fun!
    Try and challenge yourself each and every flight! It will be a wonderful learning experience for you. I have about 20 hrs PIC now :)

  2. When I was solo, I found that I didn’t have to do anything intentional to challenge myself. Just by being in the air, making decisions, and flying there were plenty of opportunities to find a challenge. Ha ha.

  3. So glad to have found your blog Niina, I’ve truly enjoyed reading it!

    Time building certainly is very rewarding and especially cross-country flying teaches you things that I think could never be taught by any FI. And even by the little experience I have I can already say that challenges do not always need to be looked for. At the moment I’m halfway on my PIC time building process with just over 50 hours.

    I am sending my application to the academy tomorrow. Hopefully this time it’ll be my turn too :)

    • I used to love reading other pilot training blogs and wanted to give something back. That’s why I’m always very glad to hear comments like that. Thank you! I wish you all the luck with your application process. It’s a long one, but hopefully something good awaits in the end. :)

  4. Niina,
    I really appreciate the detail of your writing, and the pictures you post in your blog. It’s taken me back to my early training days (which wasn’t really so long ago, in my mind), and also recent times. I also envy your future planes, especially the Phenom 100 you will be using for MEL training, and the EXTRA. I admire your positive attitude and willingness to make the best of situations. Perseverance and determination will get you everywhere, as you’ve already discovered!

    • Thank you Suzanne for your lovely words. Yes indeed, the planes we will fly are pretty awesome. For anyone dreaming of becoming a pilot in Finland, getting into the academy is pretty much like winning the lottery. I’m really glad a lot of people, like you, enjoy reading my story.

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