Classes at 5000 Feet

Grant Rhue

Grant Rhue,
Junior, Aviation

Athens, OH 20 April 2013 – As I look back on this semester’s courses, one course stands out because of its challenging and interesting content. That course is Commercial Aviation (AVN 4200). It is a commercial flight training course that provides an introduction to complex aircraft and flying
for hire.

Completing this course feels like another milestone in moving toward my career in flying. In the OU commercial training fleet, we use the Piper PA-28 Arrow—200 horsepower engines and retractable landing gear. It flies about 40 miles per hour faster than the smaller Piper Warrior and has new systems to learn.

Piper PA-28 Arrow—200

It was strange to take your hands away from the controls and let the plane fly itself. Unlike the earlier flight courses, there were more opportunities for practicing maneuvers. Some of the maneuvers included chandelles (180 degree turn with a climb) and lazy 8’s (speed and altitude change throughout flying in a figure eight pattern), and these are more demanding in terms of skill and focus. These maneuvers help a pilot to develop a feel for the varying forces on the plane during the different patterns and demonstrate the aircraft’s performance.

I did only one cross country flight this semester and that was from Athens to Huntington’s Tri-State Airport. It was a clear and sunny day with excellent visibility, and you could literally see for miles. The rolling hills and the rural landscape made for a scenic ride, although flying the faster aircraft made it seem like a shorter flight than usual. Overall, this was a good semester, and as I reflect on it, I am surprised at how much I learned.

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