Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Leaving the pattern.

Well I have my solo student pilot wings, so I decided to use them. The wind was 8 knots today, and holding so when I got to the school my instructor, Jimmy, told me "I checked the weather and it looks good for you to fly to the practice area yourself."

I think he's eager for me to get solo hours and to be honest, so am I. I ran out quick and checked the fuel amount, ran the weight and balance, and got the tanks filled up. There is so much extra room with just one person in the plane, getting all my stuff organized is much less stressful. So I preflighted, taxied, and took off. For the first time, I departed the pattern by myself and flew into the Great Unknown.

Well it's actually pretty well known so I farted around in the practice area with some s-turns, turns about a point, and rectangular turns. No stalls by myself yet - that's madness. Madness I say!

So, on my approach back to the airport, I report that I'm 7 miles inbound from the southwest. The tower says "call when you're 2 miles" - pretty standard. Then he calls back and says "953, I've got traffic at your 11 o'clock at 1900 feet". I couldn't see him no matter how hard I tried and told the tower. I wasn't worried because I was at 2500 feet.

"953 I have traffic closing on you at 9-10 o'clock at 2500 feet." What?!?! Again I looked but couldn't see the traffic. I was getting a little nervous at this point and then the controller said "953 traffic is not a factor, cleared to land 28R."

I made my pattern and came into 28R WAY too high. I had the throttle to idle and I was just floated merrily 100 feet above the runway, and I shoved in the throttle and said "Tower, 953, go around." Made a right crosswind, hit all my numbers, and made my best landing so far. Go arounds are easy and only really add about 2 minutes to your flight. So instead of salvaging an ugly landing, you have the option of making a good solid one.

Next flight is next week, and we'll be learning all about soft field landings and short takeoffs and landings.

Google Earth Track: Solo Practice
Online Logbook: Logshare


Keith K. said...

Everybody hates me and my solo flying. :(

gnsgood? said...

Come on...nobody hates your solo flying :)

Keith K. said...

Just kidding, thought I'd get the ball rolling with some self pity. I'm past the exciting checkpoint, and the next one is a ways off (solo cross country). Then the checkride!

Steve said...

Sounds like a good start to "true" solo flying! I almost called up the airport today to try to get the plane for an hour this evening, but I had too much to do at home. I'm scheduled tomorrow anyway - should be fun!

Still haven't decided what I'm gonna work on tho... probably S-Turns, Stalls, Slips, Steep Turns, Turns Around A Point.

Keith K. said...

Ah, slips...yes I must practice those too, very fun.

Steve said...

Slips are definitely cool but they're still harder for me to the right. Some of it's cause of how you hold the stick so the whole position of your hand is sorta unnatural.

Anyway, I didn't get to go up yesterday (random storms) but had my first "totally solo" flight this evening and what a blast! I could get use to this whole flying thing.

Goin up this weekend at all?

Keith K. said...

Nah, I do my flying during the week as per my agreement with my wife. I fly Monday and Friday of next week.

Jock said...

Just remember, Only Nixon can go to China.

Keith K. said...

Sauce for the goose?