Sunday, April 25, 2010

BPPP completed!

Today I finished the BPPP course... what a work out!  I flew with Waldo Anderson who is a seriously experienced pilot and an FAA examiner.  The guy has been a pilot since 1955.  The ride today was sort of like an instrument and a multi checkride rolled into one, but with a lot less stress.  We started out by planning a short flight to Modesto, spent some time learning how to setup the garmin for the flight plan.  I took off and did the Buchanan 9, then got it on course and the auto pilot flying.  At Baron speeds we arrived few minutes later... the first approach was a coupled ILS, followed by the published missed and hold.  The Garmin WAAS unit hooked up to an auto pilot with GPSS is simply amazing.  I just flipped it into GPSS mode and watched it navigate to the holding fix and then enter and fly a perfect holding pattern.

Then we followed that up with another ILS, this time sans auto pilot.  I'm sure if you looked at my GPS and altitude track it would be very obvious which one was hand flown :)  Then we made a full stop landing, taxied back for another takeoff and Waldo pulled an engine on me at the start of the takeoff roll... throttles closed and hit the brakes, no problem.  Next he simulated an engine failure after takeoff but prepped me for it.  One criticism he gave me was to get on that rudder sooner... at takeoff power you really have to stomp on it and watch your heading asap so it doesn't wander.  We came around and did an uneventful single engine landing.  After that we did a precautionary shutdown and feather of an engine and flew it like that for awhile by hand and also let the auto pilot fly it.  During the preflight he had attached a "yaw string" to my plane and during the single engine work he showed me how to trim the airplane up and get the yaw string centered, which means the plane is not slipping or skidding and you're getting max performance.  Then we did some air work including steep turns, spiral recovery, power on/off stalls and banked stalls.  Then we shot the RNAV approach into TCY, followed by the NDB.  My plane doesn't have an ADF and I hadn't realized you can shoot NDB approaches with the Garmin.  After that it was RNAV back to CCR and we called it a day and put another 4.0 in the logbook.

The BPPP was a great training exercise, a fun way to hang with other pilots and well worth it if only simply to to fly with such an experienced instructor on the final day.  The ground portion was also very well done and great instruction, though if I had my druthers I'd suggest they figure out a way to get people flying each day as I think that would help balance the book stuff with some hands on practice.  Waldo gave me a BFR and also an IPC though I was still technically instrument current.  I'm looking forward to doing it again next year.

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