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The Pitot Static System

These are my study notes on the Pitot-Static system. If they are helpful to you in studying to become a pilot please feel free to make use of them. If any part is confusing make sure you bring it up with your instructor, and feel free to drop me a line at rob@robchipman.net.

The pitot static system runs three of the six-pack instruments – the altimeter, the vertical speed indicator & the air speed indicator. The system makes use of a pitot tube and a static port.

The airspeed indicator uses the difference between ram air and static air to mechanically calculate airpseed. The pitot accepts dynamic ram air. The static port measures static air pressure. The two are connected though the gauge itself, with a sealed aeneroid capsule separating the two pressure zones. The capsule, or bellows, is an aeneroid capsule sealed at sea level pressure. As the higher ram air pressure compresses the capsule a simple, but very precise mechanical linkage moves the airspeed needle to indicate the correct speed.

Obviously, blocking either port makes measuring the pressure difference impossible. On the pitot side of the system the pitot tube has a heater to combat freeze up. On walk around you should check that the pitot heat is functioning by turning the pitot heat on and touching the pitot tube. You also have to check that nothing like dirt or a bug has gotten into the tube opening. A pitot tube cover, made of red vinyl so that you don’t forget to remove it, helps with non-ice blockages.

The static port can get blocked by bugs or dirt, or if ice forms over the top of it. There is usually an alternate static port to be used in the case of emergency. Some planes have two static ports.

The positioning of the pitot is set for maximum performance. It has to work through an attitude range from normal flight to a stall attitude and still provide ram air pressure for the system to function. It’s placement is, therefore, strategic.

The static port is positioned out of the airflow and away from form generated turbulence so that it can read static air pressure as accurately as possible.

The static port allows the air sped indicator, the vertical speed indicator and the altimeter to measure and use static air pressure as the plane flies. A blocked static port will cause a frozen altimeter, an even vertical speed indicator and a low reading air speed indicator.

As mentioned, the static port has an alternate port for emergencies in order to remedy these issues. A second static port also helps avoid errors due to slipping (when you’re in a slip that exposes the static port to ram air pressure the airspeed will read low in error). Errors also occur if the density of air varies from what the capsule was calibrated for, as a result of icing or water, or from a contaminated or blocked pitot. Do not try to suck a blockage out of the static port – they are very sensitive.

The density of air malfunction can be fixed by calibration.

A blocked pitot turns the air speed indicator into an altimeter, meaning going up increases indicated speed and diving means slowdown in indicated speed, even in a high speed dive. This is because the ASI aeneroid capsule will compress as the plane ascends and expand as it descends, since there is no ram pressure from the pitot to counter it. Of course, indicated airspeed with a blocked pitot will be random.

The ASI is the only one of the three pitot static three pack that uses both static and ram air pressure.

The altimeter works on standard pressure of 29.92 @ 15 degrees centigrade, which is what 14.7 pounds of atmosphere works out to be in be in inches of mercury at sea level. It also has a sealed aneroid capsule that expands and contracts with changes in altitude. As you ascend the capsule expands, moving a needle mechanically, registering an increase in altitude.

If pressure was always the same (29.92) then that simple altimeter would always be accurate. Atmospheric pressure varies, however, meaning the starting line gets moved with the weather. In other words, if you’re in a high pressure zone you need to move the baseline inside the altimeter up, and if you’re in a low pressure zone you need to dial the benchmark inside the altimeter down. How do you do this?

The Kollsman window (invented by Paul Kollsman in 1928) is the answer. It allows you to adjust the altimeter for variations in barometric pressure and pressure altitude. The window is where the
little knob goes through the altimeter and allows you to adjust the elevation/pressure. Once you start using it you’ll see that it makes sense. Setting the pressure at the reported airport pressure will move the indicated altitude needle pretty much exactly where the airport altitude is; conversely, if you set the needle where the airport altitude should be you’ll be pretty close to the pressure that the ATIS gives you. (Don’t adjust the altimeter this way – use the ATIS).

Errors with altimeters have to do with pressure differentials. Since you set the altimeter to a specific barometric pressure that is identical to your starting ambient pressure, and since you can fly into a different ambient pressure by flying to a different pressure zone ( high pressure/low pressure/high/low temps), the altimeter will not read accurately without intelligent re-adjustment.

To remedy this you re-set the altimeter with updated altimeter settings that come from FSS or ATIS. If you can’t acquire these you can reason that hot atmosphere means less dense air, and therefore the aircraft is higher than indicated.

At standard atmospheric temperature (15 degrees centigrade) the plane is at true altitude. Colder temperatures mean denser air, meaning that the plane will lower than indicated UNLESS THE ALTIMETER IS ADJUSTED. Being too low, especially in bad visibility, and especially in mountains, is a hazard, and mountains in bad weather are often colder rather than warmer.

Remember, hot air is less dense and allows the static aeneroid capsule to expand more. Cold
air is denser and so the capsule expands less.

Again, the static port can ice over or get blocked otherwise. If this happens the altimeter won’t work. There will be no change in the static pressure so capsule neither expands nor contracts. It stops where the blockage occurs. A blocked static port will cause a frozen altimeter.

Low pressure zones rotate counter clockwise. If you notice persistent rightward drift you are likely flying into a low pressure zone. Rightward drift therefore indicates that you’re flying into lower pressure, which can mean lower temperatures, meaning denser air, which can mean you are flying lower than indicated altitude.This gives rise to the saying “high to low, look out below”. If you are able to keep an eye on outside temperature you can also get hints from that. (Cabin temperature can be very comfortable even when its below freezing outside, but don’t let this lead you to assume its always warm outside at 5,000 feet AGL).

Abnormally high pressures (over 31.00) don’t register on the altimeter. That reading requires a very dry high pressure. You will know when it happens and must subtract 100 feet for every .1 inch of mercury over 31.00.

Mountain effect, in altimeter terms, means that winds deflect off terrain effecting micro pressure environments. Think of the Bernoulli effect and how a Venturi works. Local pressure can ary enough to effect the instruments. Although air waves can extend 100 miles from the mountain the big key is to realize that when you’re flying in mountainous areas you have to keep a sharp eye on your instruments to detect possible errors.

There are four types of altitude: true, absolute, pressure and density.

True altitude is actual height over mean sea level.

Absolute altitude is actual height above ground.

Pressure altitude represents physical distance above sea level and is measured in inches of mercury, millibars or hectopascals.

Density altitude is changed by pressure and temperature. Density altitude represents variation from molecule density.

THe altimeter measures actual altitude, but to really understand what it’s telling you you have to understand the other concepts.

The Vertical Speed Indicator measures the rate of climb or descent. It’s a trend and rate instrument. That means that it will indicate whether you are trending up (ascending) or down (descending). When the needle is above the baseline you’re trending up, and when its below the baseline you’re trending down, or descending. It’s not exact, but its still very useful.

The rate is the speed of the climb/descent (the speed of the trend), measured in feet per minute.

Again, this instrument works with the static port and an aenoroid capsule. The aneroid capsule has a calibrated hole that allows the bellows to expand and contract as it catches up to ambient static pressure. This makes the VSIread 0 at level flight. There are predictable errors and malfunctions.

There is a lag error that can sometimes be 6 to 8 seconds. THis occurs because the capsule has to equalize pressure, and this takes some time. The reading on the dial comes from the capsule equalizing (when its equalized it will read 0).

Reversal error occurs when the needle goes down first after indicating an ascent. Additionally, a sudden pitch change can make a vertical speed indicator change in the opposite direction.

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around goof off based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.

Where’d You Fly Today?

Backcountrypilot.org has a great thread called “Where’d You Fly Today?” that provides some great pictures. Here’s my experiment with a video malfunction :-)

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around goof off based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.

Some Tips For Successful Circuit Flying

Before we go too far, understand that I’m not in the position to tell anyone how to fly. I’m way too new at it and there are way better instructors out there.

What I’m doing with these tips is sharing some stuff that made sense to me, as a new pilot, while learning from a good instructor. For me learning is hearing something repeatedly until I’m ready to absorb it. The tips themselves are obvious, but it took me a while to learn them because I was usually overwhelmed by all the new information swirling around in my head flying the aircraft. Each of the tips makes it easier to process the information.

It goes without saying that all of these tips were told to me from the beginning, but I wasn’t ready for them until I was actually flying circuits and running into simple problems, like coming in too high, or too low, or not getting my calls done in time. Every circuit under my belt gave me a chance to solve the last problem and then move to the next problem.

So, the idea behind these tips is to give anyone who can make use of them a jump start. Instead of taking as many circuits as I needed to have each little “aha” moment, maybe you can get to them more quickly by learning off my experience. These tips are, therefore, not lessons in flying the circuit, but tips for learning to fly the circuit better and faster so that you can solo and get on to the next level of your training.

One place every student ends up is in the circuit. The circuit is an agreed upon pattern that pilots use in order to maintain traffic separation and make the lives of air traffic controllers easier. Everybody flies the circuit at a particular airport the same way, so everybody knows where everyone should be.

There are rules and protocols that are pretty standardized. Most of the time the circuit is a left hand one, meaning the pilots turn left from one leg to the other, but occasionally they are right hand circuits.

The circuit consists of five parts: the take off leg, the crosswind leg, the downwind leg, the base leg and the final leg. Sometimes the last two legs are referred to as the approach legs.

The take off leg starts on the runway and continues until the turn out, which is generally at 500 feet AGL. A left turn brings you to the crosswind leg. With some planes, like a 170, you climb to 1000 feet AGL through the crosswind. With others, like a 150, that doesn`t climb as well, you might start the turn at 800 feet AGL. Either way, circuit height is generally 1000 feet AGL, and you`d like to get to circuit height by the time you`re ready to turn into the downwind. If you turn at 800 feet AGL you obviously have to execute a climbing turn.

The downwind gets its name because we land into the wind. Another way of saying into the wind is upwind. The opposite of upwind (which is the way you`re flying) is downwind, hence the name.

The downwind is the leg during which you do your pre-landing checks and make the call to the tower for clearance. As soon as you`ve completed the turn from crosswind to downwind check your spacing from the runway, make sure you`re flying parallel to it, establish yourself in straight and level flight, and then immediately get on the checks. The sooner you do this the more time you`ll have to make your call for landing clearance and look for traffic. That`s the first tip. Get into straight and level right away, check your position and do your checks. Be quick, but be consistent.

Once you`ve gotten clearance from the tower you can start getting ready for your turn to base. The time to turn is when the end of the runway is at a 45 degree angle from a point in the middle of the rear wing root and the stabilizer.

You have to slow down to go down, and that means you need to get to your approach speed and attitude as soon as possible. To do this you should try to do everything the same way every time. You have some latitude in the order, but usually you`ll pull the power back first. Pick a target RPM and pin the needle right on it. If you make it into the white arc that allows application of flaps you can either apply flaps in stages or set them to 20 degrees right off the bat. The key is to be consistent each time.

If you aren`t in the white arc you can start the turn. This will bleed off energy and get you into the white arc. At this point you can apply flaps. Again, apply them in stages, or apply them all at once, but be consistent. That`s tip two – consistency.

If you haven`t turned yet, do so now(assuming you`ve made your calls, received clearance and are ok with traffic).

When you reduce power the nose will drop and you`ll have to pull back on the yoke to maintain the desired attitude. When you add flaps the nose will go up, and you`ll have to adjust again. You can trim the plane each time. Trimming makes it easier to fly and allows you to concentrate on other things, like rate of descent. You want to be descending at 400 to 500 feet per minute. Tip three is to confirm your target RPM, your approach speed, and your rate of descent. Get them established as soon as possible during the base leg.

A good approach makes for good landings. Proper approach speed, power setting and rate of descent should put you on a good approach, and if you do everything consistently you`ll have consistently better chances of establishing a good approach. At this point on the base leg you need to look at the runway to decide when to turn to final. Consistency kicks in here once again: I like to start the turn when the runway has passed the pitot tube and is almost at the strut. You may pick a different time, but be consistent. If the end of your turn lines you up with the runway you`re doing it right.

All that`s left is to stay on the glide path all the way down and land. If you`ve done everything correctly and consistently you should have no problem.

The only fly in the ointment is that wind, temperature and loading conditions vary every time we fly. Being consistent with your inputs from flight to flight won`t get you to the same point on the runway every time because your inputs are only half the equation. You have to compensate for ambient conditions. And here is tip number four: if you`ve been consistent with all your inputs you`ve established a consistent benchmark. You can now adjust intelligently for wind, temperature or loading in order to stay on the optimal glide path. In fact, you will almost always have to adjust. The tip is that you should be aware that you`re adjusting from a benchmark that you are adjusting from a benchmark that you established on purpose, not just guessing what you should do based on how things look.

The last tip is pretty simple, but it took me a while to realize it and put it into practice. We fly circuits to practice, and we do it repetitively. It stands to reason that if you`ve done everything consistently and you`re high on your first approach you can fix it on the next circuit by extending the downwind a little, or reducing power more. And that`s tip five: if the last approach wasn`t perfect, make the logical adjustments to fix it on the next one. You’re the pilot in command, after all.

Bird Strike

I had a birdstrike on one of my first flights. I think what happened was that a small bird flew across the runway as I was taking off. It was probably sparrow sized, I never found it, but it left a dent in the landing gear fairing that looked like what you’d get if you whacked it with a big rubber mallet. It also made a big thump just as we rotated.

I’ve seen both herons and bald eagles sitting on the runway at CYPK, and come close to eagles while in flight. They look very cool, but considering what a crow sized bird did to the 150 below I think its pretty clear that you have to avoid birdstrikes!

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around goof off based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.

GoPro Test Flight


I tested my new GoPro on Friday. It performed wonderfully.

I used the suction cup mount and attached it to the side of my C-150. It stayed in place at speeds up to 100 mph, and it hung in through some pretty bumpy landings.

I used a chunk of rope as a safety strap, and although I didn’t need it this time I’m going to find an easier system. I’m sure the GoPro would survive the fall but I doubt I could find it if it fell off the airplane.

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around goof off based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.

My New GoPro!

I got a new GoPro Hero camera in the mail today. It’s charging up as I type. From what I can see, the mounts are pretty cool, but I’m not sure I’m going to depend on the suction cup to keep it on the plane at 110 MPH.

I am, however, going flying tomorrow, and I’m taking the camera. Its unlikely that I’ll get wicked video the first time out, but with new snow and a clear day I should get some outstanding scenery on the test run for the GoPro!

Want one? Buy it through this site by clicking on the ad on the right.

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around goof off based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.

Transponder Failure

It was a beautiful day on the South Coast yesterday, and I was able to get into the circuit for a bit. Halfway through a funny thing happened. Tower asked me to recycle the transponder, telling me that I’d stopped showing up. (This isn’t as bad as it seems, because I was still on radar – they knew where I was, but couldn’t tell my altitude, but given that I was at circuit height it wasn’t a big deal). Anyway, I recycled it and tested it and it was dead. Tower asked that I get it looked into once I landed.

Luckily for me, one of my partners is an avionics guy. What I thought was going to be a big production actually turned out to be super easy.

The first step is pulling the transponder. If you’re only experience is installing car stereos, a NARCO AT 150 is a treat.

NARCO AT 150 Transponder in Cessna C150L

The transponder is the unit at the bottom, and you’ll see there is a little hole on the bottom right of it right under the IDENT button. Guess what? An Allan key fits right inside.

NARCO AT 150 Transponder in Cessna C150L

You stick in the Allan key, and that unscrews a long retaining screw that attaches the transponder to the back of the instrument panel. You can see how nicely it slides out. Not at all like my ’72 Toyota Celica with the AM/FM 8 track.

NARCO AT 150 Transponder in Cessna C150L

You can see the attachment point at the end of the mounting box, along with the connector.

NARCO AT 150 Transponder in Cessna C150L

No wire harness or plug. Instead, it connects just like a card in a computer.

NARCO AT 150 Transponder in Cessna C150L

Once it was out we threw it on a few testers. Surprise, surprise, it worked fine. We cleaned the connector with alcohol and re-installed it. I powered it up, gave it a little bit for the tube inside to warm up, but no luck!

Of course, there’s an obvious thing I should have checked in the first place, possibly while in the air – the fuse. I pulled it, inspected it and found nothing wrong. I replaced it and miracle or miracles, the transponder light blinked blue. Back in business!

What happened? Gremlins?

Of course not. Remember, I was flying circuits on my way to soloing. Take off, turn out, do the downwind check “Primer in and locked, masters on, mags both, fuses and circuit breakers in….”

And that’s when I screwed my own pooch. Running my hands over the fuses must have been the cause. I won’t do that twice, and if I have another non-critical electrical failure I’ll be sure to check the fuses early in the game.

Live and learn….

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around goof off based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.

Weight and Balance

Weight and balance is something critical to airplane flight. Weight is pretty obvious – if you’re too heavy you may not get off the ground, or if you do you may find that you exceed the structural capabilities of the aircraft once you start flying.

Balance is equally important. The aircraft has a natural center of gravity. If you add a weight aft of the CG the tail will drop. If you add weight ahead of the CG, the nose will drop. This matters when flying. Nose low will mean more work when landing, while tail heavy could result in little room for the flare.

Additionally, balance factors in because 20 lbs. loaded at the center of gravity doesn’t weigh as much as 20 lbs. placed 45 inches aft of the CG once the plane starts climbing, banking and descending (think of holding a pail of water in one hand at your side, and then imagine holding it straight out from your body. The weight doesn’t change, but one way sure feels heavier than the other, right?

Every plane has a designated center of gravity, center of gravity arm, or station (they’re all the same thing). In my plane, a C-150L, the station is located at the firewall. They are measured in inches back (of forward, in the case of the oil) from the firewall. Loading Arrangements Cessna C-150L

Its easy to see in the diagram that the CG Arm for the pilot/passenger, for example, is on average 39, but can range from 35 to 41. Shorter legs, smaller Arm, longer legs, longer Arm. Similarly, baggage in Area 2 has an Arm of 84.

For the C-150 I use the Owner’s Manual and its weight and balance section. This approach actually ignores Arm altogether by plotting the weights on a chart that will then give you the moment. Moment at each station is what we want in order to calculate the W&B.
Weight and Balance Sample Problem Cessna C-150L

The sample loading problem shows the math. The licensed empty weight of the plane is 1,069 lbs. This figure is on the official W&B sheet (it starts at the factory and then is changed from time to time as equipment is added or taken out and the plane is re-weighed. My plane, for example, now weighs 1107.9 empty. Don’t use the sample weight. use your correct weight). The moment comes from the same sheet.

Oil weighs 11 lbs for 6 quarts, and because its forward of the CG it is assumed to have an arm of -0.1. The same thing happens with fuel. Because its always in the same station we can just take the number of gallons, multiply it by 6lbs for the weight, and use an arm of 5.7.

Those are the first three rows of the W&B worked out. Now comes the work. In the sample problem the pilot and passenger are assumed to weigh 340 lbs. In your case you can easily figure out the weight. What, however, is the arm, and what is the moment?

The C-150 POH has a handy graph to bypass the arm/moment calculation:
Weight and Balance Loading graph Cessna C-150

Follow the solid black line to the point where the 340 lb. weight line crosses it, and then go down to find the moment, which is 13.3. Simple, right?

What if you don’t have the graph, or, if you want to adjust the arm, as Note 1 suggests is possible? Simple. The relation between weight, arm and moment is (weight x arm)/ 1000. So, for the example weight you would multiply 340 by an arm of 39 (the center of the pilot/passenger area from the Loading Arrangements diagram) for 13,260, which you then divide by 1,000 to get 13.26 (which the POH rounds up to 13.3).

This would allow you to use a smaller arm if you were short, or a longer one if you were tall. You could customize your W&B for more accuracy. You could do it on a simple Excel spreadsheet, an iPhone app or on paper.

Once you’ve figured out the weight and moments for each station you can plot the Center of Gravity Moment for the full weight.
Weight and Balance Center of Gravity Moment Chart Cessna C-150

The sample problem weights total 1600 lbs. That’s max for this type of airplane, and note that you add, and do not subtract, the weight of the oil even though it has a -arm). Totaling the moments gives you 56.7. Those two co-ordinates are right on the envelope line, so we’re ok to fly at this weight (we’re within limits, as they say).

Next, we have to figure empty weight. That’s simple. Assume that you have no fuel and subtract that weight and that moment from the equation. The empty weight would now be 1,465 lbs. The moment would be 51. Again, those two co-ordinates put us right where we need to be.

Strictly speaking, you should calculate some residual fuel weight to be really accurate. Even if you ran dry of fuel in flight you wouldn’t get rid of all the fuel in the tanks, so you’d still be a bit heavier. Of course, you’d still be within limits.

What happens if you aren’t within limits? That depends on where you fall on the chart. Some planes have utility and normal categories, meaning that the CofG Moment Envelope has two areas – a narrower “utility” envelope and a wider “normal” envelope. If you are within the normal envelope but not inside the utility envelope you can still fly, but you are restricted in what sorts of manouvres you can do (no spins, for example). Some planes, however (like mine) have identical normal and utility envelopes. In this case, if you’re outside of the envelope you have to either reduce weight or move it around. In other words, if you’re too heavy you can reduce fuel (sometimes you’re just over, by say 6 pounds, and you can conclude that you’ll use a gallon of fuel in run up and taxiing), or reduce baggage. If your CoG is too far forward or too far aft you can move weght around. What you can’t do is fly outside the envelope for your plane.

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around goof off based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.

Port Alberni Airfield

Port Alberni Airfield, better known as Alberni Valley Regional (CBS8), is the feild servicing Port Alberni/Sproat Lake, etc. Latitude is 49°19’19″N (49.321944) and longitude is 124°55’52″W (-124.931110).

Airport elevation is 250 ft (76 m).

It has 1 runway, 3952 × 75 ft (1205 × 23 m), and it is paved. There is avgas available.

Alberni airstrip

I flew there yesterday. It wasn’t as sunny as I hoped, but it was still a good flight with great scenery.
Salish Sea and Qualicum

Leaving CYPK I climbed to 2,400 feet and entered Vancovuer Harbour control zone just past Burnaby Mountain. From there I skirted the edge of the North Shore, leaving the zone as I crossed over Bowen Island. I continued to Halfmoon Bay, just south of Texada and Lasqueti Islands, and then changed heading to Qualicum, climbing to 4,500 to cross the Strait.

Once over Qualicum I began a slow descent into Port Alberni, and came to a full stop. My brother, sister-in-law and nephew were there to meet me, and they took the pictures of the plane. After that a quick ouch and go and it was time to split.

On the way back I took a few pictures of the Mars Martin Bombers. They are huge aircraft!
Martin Mars Water Bombers
Martin Mars Water Bombers

The return trip was just a reverse of the trip over until we entered Harbour airspace again. Flying east I had to stick to the south side of the Harbour. This is not always the case – it’s controlled airspace, so you go where he tells you. If you stay above 2,500 you can avoid the Harbour Traffic Zone, but you’ll be YVR Terminal airspace part of the time.

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around goof off based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.

I Passed the PSTAR!

I wrote the PSTAR exam Tuesday night and passed.

The PSTAR is the Pre-Solo Test of Aviation Regulations. If you’ve been following this blog you’ll know that there are 200 questions from which 50 are chosen. You need to get 90% to pass.

I copied all 200 questions from the Transport Canada site and created an online quiz in order to force myself to learn the stuff. It worked quite well. I got 100% on the test.

The quizzes need some work in order to be more helpful to aspiring pilots, so I’ll keep working on that.

Meanwhile, I’ve got the medical, the Radio Operator’s Certificate, and the PSTAR, so now I can solo! That’s the door to the next level!

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around goof off based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.