Stranded In The Southland

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Oops, Not So Much

So, I picked up the Jeppesen Private Pilot textbook the other day, figuring that I needed to get going on learning the background information I'd need to pass the FAA's written exam. My buddy, T., from work, had suggested it, and the school I wanted to switch to seemed to use it exclusively.

Imagine writing a flying textbook for folks who haven't yet graduated from high school -- keep the vocabulary simple, keep the math simple, and just make it as basic as possible. Argh. And then, just when I'm getting used to being spoon fed, the book takes something like four pages to explain the million and one details of how to read an aeronautical chart, or the insanely complex arrangement of different classes of airspace.

Oh, well. I'm fascinated by this stuff, so I'll tough it out, but I'm just saying.

I headed out to take a lesson with a different instructor on Sunday. We were spared the Santa Annas, thankfully, so I could actually fly. The new instructor, C., seemed cool, and spent a whole bunch of time with me, going through a complete pre-flight on the airplane.

He let me prime the engine, and try to start it. At which point a whole bunch of blue smoke started coming out of the front of the plane. We shut it down, and hopped out to check it out. There was still a wisp of blue smoke, snaking its way out of the air intake. Doh. C. tried one more time to start it, but then decided that maybe we should have a mechanic take a look at it.

Bummer, but I guess I don't want to take any chances with powerplant failure. Better to be on the ground, wishing you were in the air, than in the air, wishing you were on the ground. I've got another lesson scheduled for Wednesday morning.