Kitty Hawk Experience
having done my private pilot license in Fiji, I was
looking for a place where I could make as many solo
flying hours in my 10 day break as possible. The USA
seemed the place to go. I found Richard and Judy Kaylor
from Kitty Hawk LLC on internet. They manage a Cessna
152 that I could rent for $90 per hobs hour (running
time hour), this, including the fuel surcharge. A real
good deal compared to prices I've seen in Europe.
all I did need to transfer my license which has to get
applied for 90 days in advance. After 9/11 the USA likes
to do a background check on pilots with a foreign
license. This is a free service, once cleared, picking
up the documentation takes 30 minutes at one of the many
at the home office arranging the details of my trip was
easy. From JF Kennedy a 2.5 hour Amtrak train to Albany
where they would pick me up from the station. I had
booked a place at a camping area nearby, since spending
my money on flying the rest had to be low budget. When I
told Richard about my camping plans he offered me a
couch upstairs in the flying school and lucky me, he
also just had a shower installed.
Hurricane Gustav did show it's tail so no flying.
Instead we spend some time on the simulator. Sunday it
cleared how ever the wind was still gusty. I realized
that when I did my PPL in FIJI I never really trained
crosswinds very well. I'm glad I found that out with
Richard by my side. We spend quiet a few hours doing
them until Richard could not stand sitting curled up in
the Cessna 152 anymore. Then it was up to me.
the area around Schenectady is big fun. Lots of space,
Different kinds of terrain and many different big and
small airports. A few big lakes to orientate on and a
couple of rivers to follow from one airport to an other,
but also more challenging mountainous terrain to
practice once navigation skills. At many airports you
can refuel your self. The American way, swipe your
credit card through (Richard's credit card, in this
case) and the pump starts running.
stunning, at Great Barrington (Koladza) I got warned
over the radio for the flock of geese grazing along the
runway. And at Pittsfield I had to abort my take off, a
fox did walk on to runway.
between the mountains made me aware of the limited
possibilities in case of an engine failure. Around
Schenectady there is space. The runway is huge and there
are plenty of fields around. In the area around Rutland
this is different. A small canyon in front of runway 01,
power lines on the other side, not a good place to have
an engine failure. I preferred staying high long and
come down steep.
At an other
airport (Harriman, Williamstown) I remember having the
illusion of having reduced climbing power after take
off. I double checked flaps up, carb heat off... then I
realized the runway lays in a valley.
On my last
evening, Richard invited me over and Judy cooked us some
delicious pasta. The next morning back to JF Kennedy
airport with the Amtrak Train.
In 9 days,
I've been able to do 40 hours of flying. My luck was
that Richard had flown in the 152 for me to use and
blocked it off for me so it was just there for me!
Richard, Many thanks for all your help, instruction and
friendliness. And for letting me stay at the flying
school. Kitty Hawk LLC and Richmor Aviation is an
example of how a flying school is supposed to be run.
Hope to meet you some day in Asia!