After soloing, I headed off for a much needed vacation. It was my birthday week and Teri and I try to get over to Leavenworth a couple times a year. This time was for a week. It was awesome, I had a really relaxing time, but I didn’t get to fly. At all. OK, 10 minutes in the right seat of a DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver where I didn’t get to touch anything, but I’m not counting it because it didn’t get logged in my logbook. But no flying to speak of.
So coming back, the earliest I could fly was on the 4th of September, which was a full two weeks since my solo. And it showed. To top it all off, my normal instructor wasn’t available so I flew with the Chief Flight Instructor for Safety In Motion Flight Center, Shawn Pratt. Shawn is really nice, and I’m not intimidated by him, or so I thought. I won’t go into details, but it was definitely an off day for me. We did 5 laps in the pattern and called it a day. It didn’t feel like anything went right. The combination of not flying for two weeks, flying with someone new (who will eventually do all of my stage checks and determine if I’m truly ready for my check ride) and just overall numbskullery made for a bad day of flying.
Today, had Thursday gone well, I would have been flying all by myself doing laps in the pattern. But since it didn’t, I wasn’t. My instructor and I did a quick debrief about what Shawn had said I needed to work on, then we were off. Headed to Tacoma Narrows for some touch and gos. The takeoff from Thun went smoothly, Talking to the tower went OK, although I flubbed a little bit when the tower controller said “State Intentions”. We did 5 or 6 touch and gos, then headed back to Thun. We opted to fly over McChord on the way back, which is slightly quicker and I got to talk to another controller AND mess with the transponder.
The setup for landing at Thun was good and I think it was my best landing all day. We put the plane away, and went in for another debrief.
I think the key for me is I have to fly 2-3 times per week. I have a trip to Austin coming up week after this, so I need to make sure I fly the day before I leave and the day after I get back. I feel like I’m kind of in the home stretch now. Even though I’ve got quite a few more things to accomplish before I’m signed off to do my check ride. But the days are getting shorter (Night flying!) and the weather is going to turn to crap. I’m still hoping to complete my license by December 10th, 2014 as we leave for Hawaii for two weeks after that. But I’m going to just let it happen as it happens and try to get my 2-3 flights in per week.
I’m really looking forward to my solo cross country’s coming up! Night flying is going to be pretty intimidating, but I’m excited for it as well. Now it’s time to put everything together and prove to my instructor, the chief instructor and ultimately the flight examiner that I am a pilot.
Next lesson I’ve requested that we just beat the pattern to death again. I’m going to get so bloody good at this. It shall happen.