Saturday, January 24, 2004

SOLO! !! !!!

1/24/04 - SOLO!! It's a gray and cold day, with a front going through and rain forecast for late afternoon. B is the instructor, and I haven't flown with him at all since the dry lake, and was intimidated by him then, so I'm not looking forward to today.

We did three patterns, good takeoffs, good landings. He doesn't have much to suggest, except that I'm not flying the plane all the way through the touchdown and rollout, and I'm not perfectly coordinated in turns. When I critique some landings, he says I'm being too hard on myself.

After three, he says "I think you should do another three." So then on #4, he pulls a rope break at about 400'. No problem, I'm half expecting it anyway. Without saying a word, I nose down and do the 180. I spent a few seconds too many searching for the emergency landing area, so we end up a little high over it, but I decide to hop over the taxiway and land in the regular area. No problem.

Then one more regular pattern. Bill gets out to help push back, and doesn't get in again.

I fly an 800' pattern, good takeoff. I notice the glider floats higher with just one person in it, so I have to nose down quite a bit to stay with the towplane. Other than that, no problem. Great approach, great landing. Touched down a little before the box, stopped straight and well inside the box! Very good flight!!

Later, after A flies, I go up again to 2000' AGL, just below ceiling. Over the airport it's clear, but away from there I have to dodge descending clouds. Actually a lot of fun! Very fun to just fly around without any commentary. I get upwind of the IP with a couple hundred to spare, so turn around a bit and then go in the pattern right at 1000'. No sweat. I remember there's a 10kt wind down the runway, so I adjust position and altitude well. (Still a bit uncoordinated, but OK.) Approach is good, I adjust and float toward the box. I guess I forgot the headwind at that point, because I land a little early and bounce a couple of times. Rollout is not the straightest or smoothest - I drag a wing wheel a little before stopping, but again nicely inside the box. I had adjusted my aiming point back a bit in the last couple of weeks, so now I guess I need to bring it a bit closer to the box. Other than that - awesome!!

Now 58 flights, just under 13 hours. (I forget and write my solo time in the Dual column!!)

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