The gods were against us today. It started badly, I woke with a sore head. Few too drinks the night before. Then when I got to the airport Adam says, we haven’t done weights and balance. Its a pre-requesite to go solo so we need to do it quickly now. Then by the time we finished, we watched Wilson disappearing off on a joy flight. So having waited around for another half an hour, we ran out of time. The aircraft was needed for another flight and the line of aerobatic passengers was a mile long needing Wilson…
So instead, Wilson offered to take me up after 5pm. On the way back to the airport for 5pm I listened to the airport information service (ATIS) on the phone. It wasn’t good. 12 knot cross winds ruled out the solo there and then. Anyway, I really wanted to go up with Wilson, the instructor who is going to sign me off to fly solo. The theory is that if I fly with him, he is going to point out the gaps and I can work on those.
So up we went. Taxi good, radio calls all good, run up good, take off good, circuit pattern good. I did all my checks, carb heat right and so forth. Anyway on late final I made the call to go around, I didn’t get the usual late clear touch and go. However, since this was the first time in the circuit alone, I didn’t need this clearance so I now know because I wasn’t following anybody.
This threw me a little, but learnt something new, which turned out to be not the last. On the next circuit it went ok, I was a bit high on approach, but that was easy fixed and in to land. Landing a little harder than normal, definitely a bit rusty. Anyway, on the climb, Wilson asked for clearance for a simulated engine failure and pulled the engine back to idle in the same instant. I sorted the attitude and ripped into the checks for restart. Next mistake, you must focus on the where you want to crash land before the restart checks…
On the next circuit it Wilson requested a late tower go-around. While at it the tower swapped us to the main runway. He wanted to evaluate how I reacted and positioned the aircraft. The tower called mid final, so we still had 300ft left, so I replied, punched the power and slowly retracted the flaps. So the lessons I learnt here. Aviate first, punch the power, Navigate to the side of the runway, then answer the tower. The navigate off the runway was something we hadn’t covered previously, other than to stay on the live side of the runway because of the parallel runway configuration.
Anyway, the guys in the tower had packed their bags and wanted to head home, so the circuit closed. This left us enough time to do a glide approach. I took it tight and had heaps of height left. Just as I’d been taught. Next lesson, Wilson said it must be done from the normal circuit position. Anyway, the landing was ok and we taxi’d in. Afterwards we sat and chatted over a few beers…
So the long and short of it was, he said my flying was solo standard and he would have signed off if we had more time and the cross wind was less. However he wanted me to go away and sort the few things mentioned in another lesson with Adam. Then back to do the solo. Once the first solo is done, he wants me to do a 30 minute solo within a few days, then an hour within a few days after that. Seems it is going to be a big week or so 🙂
Overall it was a good flight and I learnt a bunch, but another few hours before I’m going to realise the solo I do feel. Safety first right? 🙂
Good luck with the Solo. The blog looks very good, lots of work.
Hey mate. The work will pay off. I bet you a beer that you wont be able to stop smiling all the way home after first solo. One of the “firsts” in life you never forget… mine was 9th of January 1985. Ask me the first for anything else… hmmm? I’d have to guess. You get the idea!!