Flight lesson update, or rather lack thereof

I was hoping that by now I’d be posting about my flight test and my success. That was the plan, but unfortunately plans don’t always go the way you uhhh plan them to.

You see, I was getting ready for my first cross-country at the beginning of November. It was a cool, clear, sunny Sunday morning when I woke up to get the latest METARs/TAFs and finish up the planning. Around 7 AM, Kenny calls me to give me the news: Tradeport has locked Peninsulair out.

Peninsulair, my (now) former flight school, had had issues with Tradeport previously in the year. The dispute was over the rent on the property Peninsulair operated on. Frankly, the rent was the least of PenAir’s worry:

  • Lack of advertising and marketing.
  • Airplanes literally falling apart around the pilots.
  • Of a fleet of six or so planes in working order, only 1 was night-flight acceptable (i.e. the necessary avionics were in place AND functioning).
  • No commercial training program.


It’s easy to point out the failures of a failed company. There are always enough fingers to do the pointing and really it doesn’t help any with hindsight being 20/20 and all. PenAir did have a few things going for it as well:

  • Only flight school in Hamilton.
  • Only flight school in the area accessible by public transportation (see my earlier post).
  • Operating out of an international airport giving its students much radio practice in a (sometimes) busy airspace.
  • Perfect location for sightseeing flights: 1 hour to downtown Toronto and back or to Niagara Falls and back not to mention the beauty of lake Erie’s shore

From In the sky and around CYHM

Unfortunately, none of this helped and in the end Tradeport had its way. There is a lengthy discussion on AvCanada defending Peninsulair and putting the blame on Tradeport for those interested.

After all is said and done, it comes down to this:

  • Peninsulair is out of business. There are rumours of possible buyers, but even so, PenAir’s days at CYHM are done.
  • I am looking for a flight school to finish off my remaining lessons: cross countries, diversions, instrument time.

My options as they stand now are Spectrum Airways at CZBA (Burlington Airpark) and Brantford Flight Centre at CYFD (Brantford). Both are within an hour’s drive but therein lies the problem: I don’t have a car. Buying a car for the two months or so it would take me to finish off the lessons I have left doesn’t really sit well with me.

Until I find a place to fly out of again, Flying Dan is grounded. In the mean time, enjoy my previous flight lessons posts.

Link List
The Hamilton Spectator – Locked out…and looking for help
The Hamilton Spectator – Lease woes buffet flight school
AvCanada – Peninsulair locked out at CYHM by Tradeport!
Brantford Flight Centre
Spectrum Airways

Flight Lesson Update: I SOLOED!

It’s been a while, a lot of things have happened in my flying career. First and foremost:


From First Solo

I SOLOED!

It was an amazing experience! Kenny and I went up for a couple of circuits then he had me practice an engine failure for the full-stop. We taxied back to Peninsulair, all the while he let the controllers know I was going up for my first solo. I dropped him off, taxied on the apron, did my run up checks (Brakes ON, Switch Tanks, 1800 RPM, etc.) listened to the ATIS and called Ground.

Me:“Hamilton Ground, Cherokee GQEQ with information ___ (I forget what it was)”
YHM Ground: “QEQ, Hamilton Ground. Runway 24, winds ___, taxi Charlie, Hotel, hold short runway 24.”
Me:“Charlie, Hotel, hold short runway 24 for QEQ, and I can take the intersection departure.” (Meaning that I did not need the full runway, I had 3100′ left from the intersection of taxiway H and runway 24 and I was going to use that).

I taxied to the runway, went through my pre-takeoff checklist, took a deep breath (then exhaled) and pulled up to the hold short line (200′ from the runway).

Me:“Hamilton Tower, QEQ is on Hotel ready for takeoff 24, for a circuit.”
YHM Tower:“QEQ, Hamilton Tower, altimeter ____, winds ____, from the intersection of Hotel, cleared take off 24.”
Me:“QEQ.”(I acknowledged the instructions) *hit the throttle and start rolling toward the runway*
YHM Tower:“QEQ hold your position, I’ll have company Cherokee do its touch and go and then let you go so we’re not rushing you.”
Me:*hit the brakes* “QEQ”


From First Solo

This is when the fun started. FTDS was doing touch and goes and they were on final for 24. As I was waiting for my clearance, I hear the tower clear TDS for a full-stop on the runway because a coyote decided to run across runway 24 towards me. I guess he was excited for me too. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my furry friend for giving me some extra time to mentally go through the maneuvers that were to follow.

TDS taxied up the runway all the way past Hotel taxi way, where I was still holding short and finally received its takeoff clearance. Tower instructed me to “line up and wait” so I throttled up again and made it onto the runway. Once I received my clearance:

  • Throttle max
  • Keep straight with the runway
  • Engine instruments green, air speed active
  • Air speed 55 and OH MY GOD THE PLANE ROTATED ON ITS OWN!

I continued my climb to 500′ Above Ground Level. There I retracted the flaps, fuel pump off, engine instruments green, fuel pressure holding. Turn left and continue climbing to 1000′ AGL. Once at 1000′, I turned left again, paralleling the runway (on the downwind leg) and admired the view. I especially enjoyed the view off my right wing, seeing as how with Kenny there, I don’t get to see out that window. I started my downwind/landing checks and completed them well before the end of the runway.

Once at the end, I throttled down to 2100 RPM, 10 degrees of flaps and slowed down to 80 knots. Watching the runway, I waited until it was 45 degrees behind me to set flaps 25 and slow down to 70 knots. After four swings of the trim wheel to get the approach speed set up I began turning base and called up the tower.

Me:“Hamilton Tower, QEQ is turning left base, 24, full stop.
YHM Tower:“QEQ, Tower, winds ____, cleared for landing runway 24.”
Me:“QEQ.”

I touched down, a bit rough, taxied to the end of run way, off on Bravo, and all the way back to Peninsulair.


From First Solo

Kenny was waiting for me.


From First Solo

From First Solo

Kenny wasn’t the only one waiting for me though. Glenn had a present for me:


From First Solo

It was an amazing experience. The first solo is one I will never forget. Since that Saturday’s 0.3 solo hours, I’ve added on 4.8 more and even headed out to the practice area on my own.

Now that my midterms are somewhat over I can start studying for the Written PPL test. I’m also preparing for the cross country part of my training. I’m preparing for a cross country this coming weekend, one that will take me from Hamilton(CYHM) to Kitchener/Waterloo(CYKF) to London(CYXU) to St. Thomas(CYQS) to Welland(CNQ3) and back to Hamilton(CYHM). I’m looking forward to a long trip and I’ll make sure to post pictures!

An average landing

I had my instructor film my approach and landing today as we were coming back from the practice area. This is a view from the passenger’s seat (so when you go flying with me, this is what the landing will look like). I wouldn’t say it was my greatest landing but it certainly was not the worse. Have a look below!

In flight videos for your entertainment

In case you didn’t believe that I was ACTUALLY taking flight lessons and learning to fly, here’s a picture

My instructor, Kenny, is the camera man

My instructor, Kenny, is the camera man


…and 3 videos for you.



Regular flying around




Steep turn (bank angle of 45 degrees)




Westjet 737 landing at Hamilton Airport while we are on the base leg