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We are embarking on the 2011 flying season. Once we get beyond this early February snow, we will be ready for challenges ahead. As with any new adventure, we have a tendency to look back over the past and highlight our achievements so as to build on them in the future. The same holds true with flying. The first take off you made, your first solo, the first cross country, and the check ride that you passed are all major building blocks to becoming a great pilot. There are also many things we don't think about that help us become a great pilot, like a good fleet of aircraft with GPS and intercoms, exceptional maintenance, great instructors, the VIllage of Bolingbrook that fully supports the airport, a pleasant and comfortable FBO and Flight School, and an award-winning, great restaurant on the field. The aviation community is small, and friendly people, warm surroundings, and a welcome sign that is always out make Clow International Airport a great place to learn and hang out.
We expect February will get warmer and turn into a great month for students working on their private or instrument license. The overcast and higher freezing levels should make February and March ideal for instrument training. You can get with your instructor and experience first hand what flight in the clouds will be like after you get your license. Too often pilot get their instrument rating and never have an opportunity to fly in the clouds. It is something that you should experience first with an instructor. If you haven't started your instrument training remember that an instrument rating will make you a better pilot, whether you're flying IFR or VFR. It will also make you a safer pilot because of the expanded knowledge you have with regard to weather, airspace, ATC use, and aircraft performance. This is a great time to start your instrument rating; you can finish this rating by the summer and use your new skills to fly those trips you always wanted to make. At A & M we offer you a very structured course that is designed to get you your rating in the shortest period of time and provide you with the skills and knowledge to feel sage and fly safely in the IFR system. We have state of the art airplanes with GPS and MFDs and aircraft with the G1000 system that offer unbelievable situational awareness, our aircraft have great autopilots that will reduce your work load and make instrument flying enjoyable. Currently, all our instructors are capable of training students for their instrument rating. We also have a Frasca 141 that is great for training; it allows you to stop in mid flight and see your mistakes, plot your course over the ground and see how you did vs. the instrument approach you were flying.
The only thing keeping you from that instrument rating is a two hour commitment per week and a little studying at home. An instrument rating is one of the biggest accomplishments you will ever complete in aviation;for the weekend flier it will give you the confidence you need to use your license on less than desirable dys and get above the clouds for that smooth ride to your destination.For the person looking for a career in aviation, it is like crossing the Continental Divide; it is all downhill from there. So call up the Front Desk and schedule your first lesson. Begin the Adventure!
The Frasca 141 simulator is a unique training tool.It has the ability to simulate many different conditions and test the pilot's skill in identifying and resolving those conditions. You can control the wind, turbulence, loading, fuel, and center of gravity.You can fail the landing gear, flaps, generator, vacuum pump,or electrical system. You can also fail the artificial horizon, VSI, turn and bank, DG, altimeter, and subject the pilot to pitot ice. Failures of thenavigation system or engine systems like mags, fuel pump, prop governor, or even a total engine loss can be simulated. The weather can be adjusted, ceilings and visibility changed, flights can be done in the day, dusk, or night. These combinations can challenge the best VFR or IFR pilot. It is also a great exposure for the student pilot to experience emergencies that can not be duplicated in the plane.
The simulator is also available for your instrument flight training and keeping current. If you need to get those six approaches in, the simulator will give you the best bang for the buck. You do not have to worry about icing or low ceilings in the simulator. Get on the schedule and give it a try. Staying current is a lot easier than getting current!
Flying private aircraft is a thrill and allows the pilot to explore, go places, and enjoy the freedom of flight. There is nothing better than getting in an airplane and going to that little resort on the lake, that golf course in Michigan, or that fishing trip in Canada. All those places probably have only one runway and, should there be a crosswind, what will you do? Clow International Airport also has a small, narrow, North/South runway that makes your training exciting, but improves your skills tremendously. Picture doing all your training at an airport with two or more runways. The only time you experience a crosswind is when you come in to an airport lie Clow for a few landings. That is completely different than landing at that airport every time you fly. Although you may find delays in getting solo flights completed, the crosswind experience you gain will be there when you need it. Especially when the weather is perfect and you plan on taking a trip to one of those great little spots where a crosswind can always be present. If you were back in Chicago under similar circumstances you may not go fly, but the training and experience that pilots gain at A & M Aviation allows for a successful outcome. Don't be fooled by thinking that big airports with multiple runways provide better training; they are there to service the corporate world and slowly chip away at your skill.
For our winter fliers, we continue to put the planes in the hangar overnight to ensure they are ready for flight the next day. We hope this will enable you to come out early and often.
Flight training is a constant challenge with the weather, westerly winds, and scheduling difficulties. To help students continue on a timely training schedule, the Front Desk will offer options when a student's instructor's schedule is full. For example, if you call for a 10:00 AM Saturday appointment and your instructor is booked, the Front Desk will offer other instructors that are available at that time and throughout the day. Should you choose to fill the instructor, he will review your syllabus with your instructor and conduct the lesson so that you continue to advance toward your goal. We hope you take advantage of the option should you be the victim of the winds and bad weather or find yourself not being able to fly as often as you wish. As always, Jolan and I are available should you have any questions or scheduling concerns.
Dinner flyouts will be starting in April. We will schedule a dinner flyout on the third Saturday of each month through October. For our first flyout April 16th, we will plan for one of our favorites, Watertown, Wisconsin and Steakfire, the grill your own steak restaurant. We will plan a 4:00 PM departure. I will be finalizing the rest of our dinner flyouts, so if anyone has found a good spot, let me know or post it to the email list and we will include it this year.
Our summer trip is open for suggestions (New England, Canada fishing, Kentucky Lake houseboats, Sandusky, ?) and the winter trip will be to the Bahamas in November. If you're interested in either or both trips, let us know so we can finalize dates around everyone's schedules. And don't forget our popular Mackinac Island trip, scheduled for September 9th, 10th, and 11th this year.