Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Departure Gets Delayed

Dear Followers, as I mentioned on my last post we were supposed to leave on the 2Nd of September but due to some paperwork delays from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) one of my friends' Visa has been put on hold until that document comes through. So, since we have to wait for his Visa, a delay on the departure date will be required! Till when? Still don't know, but we are expecting to depart no later than next week's end. As soon as I have new details on the departure date I will let you know. For now, since I'm ready to go, I'll seat and wait, wait, wait...

Friday, August 21, 2009

USA Goes Forth

This morning I woke up to the sound of the mailman ringing the doorbell to deliver me my USA Visa. It most obviously the day started out in the best possible way. After my interview in the United States Embassy last Wednesday I was given a Visa issuance clearance and only two days after I have it my hands. What does that really mean? As simple as this, I now have clearance to go to the United States with my teammates and start building my flight time!

By the way, did I mention I am not going alone? I almost forgot, I am going with 3 friends of mine which are also low hour unemployed pilots, meet the Team:

- Costa, Duarte
Age 24
Nickname Dudomix
Likes Mechanics
Dislikes Running
Flight Hours 180:00 h

- Lameiro, Nuno
Age 24
Nickname Zica
Likes Agriculture
Dislikes Cucumber
Flight Hours 200:05 h

- Sales, João (Myself)
Age 23
Nickname Saletti
Likes Squash
Dislikes Waiting
Flight Hours 232:15 h

- Vieira, Luís
Age 32
Nickname Billy
Likes Kitesurfing
Dislikes Liver
Flight Hours 204:00 h
The four of us are going to Daytona Beach, Florida, where we have found a place to build flight time in order to enter the aviation business by earning the required experience to start working. We will be flying a Cessna 172SP fully equipped to fly IFR (Instrument Flight Rules). Since all the paperwork is done we have now scheduled our departure to Tuesday, the 2Nd of September. We will be buying the tickets soon! Countdown starts today...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

USA Visa

Now the time has come to take care of the Visa to the United States of America. After receiving my FAA acceptance letter and getting the paperwork in place I've been taking care of all the required forms, papers and documents that are required for a non immigrant to request a Visa to enter the United States. After lots of forms with many questions regarding your past,present and future as well as family, educational and economical background I've now scheduled an interview at the United States Embassy in Lisbon for tomorrow. Let's hope for the best!... I will let you know how it was later on!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jumpseating The Caravan

Last year when I was still in Évora finishing my commercial pilot licence I got in contact with a pilot who was working there flying parachuters. This guy flew a Cessna Caravan C208 a few times a day, taking the divers for their jumps. A few days after meeting him and after several "walkarounds" to the plane and lots of take-off and landing observations from the ground I decided to take a shot and have a talk with him. After finishing my instruction flight on the Socata TB20 I strolled to the parachuters hangar and looked for the pilot. We chit-chatted a little bit and after asking his boss for permission I got the thumbs up to join him on the right seat of the Caravan.
I jumped in through the ladder on the back of the plane and moved forward to the right seat, plugged in my headseats and in a couple of minutes the guys were on board and the engine was roaring. We moved to the active runway and lined up for departure. At this moment I was amazed with the size of the "Van", it was like riding a really big Cessna 172. I was seated 2 meters above the pavement and the engine idling in front of me was impressively silent.
As the pilot eased the throttle forward the engine came to life plunging me to the back of my seat and making those 3 tons of aircraft lift easily into the air. From what I recall it took us something like 10 minutes to reach Flight Level 150 and once there and over the aerodrome the 12 sky divers jumped out of the aeroplane and we started our impressive descent! Descending at 4000 feet per minute we entered downwind at FL080 and turned base at 3000 feet only to be established on a very short final quite close to the runway and only at a few feet over the ground. Once on the runway the braking action became apparent with the reverse being engaged and the aircraft stopping in less than 500 meters.
That was about it, in just 15 to 20 minutes of flight I was overwhelmed with the performance display and added the C208 to the "Favourite Aircraft List". I now seriously hope I have the chance to fly one myself one day!
The aircraft I flew in was N9347B, a Cessna Caravan C208B built in 1988 and leased to a portuguese company to perform sky diving activities.
1. N9347B loaded and ready for another flight, taxying to the active runway at Évora (LPEV).
I seriously recommend every pilot and aviation lover to try and fly a Caravan at least once, it is an amazing experience!
References: Photo copyrighted by

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Aircraft I've Flown - New Addition

After all those aircraft described on the other post I've recently flown another one, an "old lady" with more then twice my age. I'm talking about a Morane Saulnier MS 880 Rallye with 100bhp. I've had the chance of flying such aircraft for 3 times now since it was bought by a friend of mine last year. The aircraft flyes smoothly and apart from lacking advanced navigation instruments it is a very nice machine to fly low and slow with the sunset on your back. The interior has been refurbished and the engine overhauled, its registration is D-EPOR and it is based at Évora Aerodrome (LPEV).
Since I do not have photos of the aircraft I've decided to post a photo of another MS880 Rallye. (Note this one is a Rallye Club, but they are quite similar)
1. Morane Saulnier MS-880 Rallye Club.
By the way, the black and white seemed appropriate since this lady is from a much classic era.
After this new addition, you now can see all the planes i've flown.
Hope you like it!
References: Photo copyrighted, taken from

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Hour Building, a Way to Increase Your Flight Time...

Hour building programmes are a common thing for low hour pilots who want to increase their flying hours quickly, while paying for it. This is mostly found in the United States, where general aviation is far more developed and cheaper than the European light aviation. Since a pilot needs something from 300 to 500 flying hours to land his first job in aviation and jump the barrier of "Paying to Fly" to the side of "Getting Payed to Fly" but the ATPL Courses include only 150 to 200 hours of flying one must get the remaining hours by flying on his own.

Naturally this is my case, I am missing a couple of hours to start looking for a job in the aviation business and since I've been unemployed for almost 8 months I feel the timing is right to start doing something about it.

So, the questions are, how many hours shall I do? Where shall I do them? and In which aircraft? I've been studying the situation and hopefully will come with a solution in the following days! Then, I will let you know!

Meanwhile, I've sent a letter to the FAA to convert my European CPL(A) licence into an American PPL(A) licence so I can fly in the USA. The answer as already came through a letter allowing me to go to the USA for an interview in Orlando to deal with the paperwork! Sweet!...