Break On Through…Signed Off For More Airports!

John HurlbutFlyingLeave a Comment

So I haven’t written much in my Blog lately… I’ve been super frustrated with my flight training as of late.  I soloed on August 21st, then promptly went on a weeks vacation.  By the time I flew again, it had been two weeks since that epic day.  The day I did fly, the winds were pretty strong, I was flying with an instructor I had never flown with, and had a horrible day.  I was really discouraged.

I did a couple more flight lessons, and then my instructor and I did a day of nothing but laps in the pattern, my first three takeoffs and landings were great.  So my instructor hopped out, and I was soloing again.  Super excited about it! Finally getting to fly by myself again!  My takeoff was great, my pattern was great, my landing… Excuse my French, sucked ass. I bounced three times, should have gone around, but didn’t, so my instructor called me over and she got back in the plane for a couple more laps.  On my final landing, the landing was good, but I was in a hurry to get off the runway and turned the plane too fast while braking and my instructor used a tone of voice she’s never used with me before.  I was really freaked.  I was totally disappointed in my performance that day.  I left the flight school wondering seriously (again) if this is what everyone goes through, or if I’m just particularly dense.  

Then I promptly left town for a few days again.  (My work and play travel schedule have been particularly busy this year!) 

Today (Sept. 21st) would make a whole week since I’d flown, not as bad as two, but I really am trying to fly at least three days a week so I can finish up my private license.  I got to the airport, pre-flighted the plane, found three frogs and a seahorse.  The plan was to head out to Tacoma Narrows, and if all went well my instructor would solo me there.  So we takeoff out of Thun, and as I’m turning downwind, my instructor informs me we’re missing something and we need to return.  So I extend my downwind a bit to lose some speed, turn base, then final and absolutely GREASE the landing!! Centerline, touch down on the mains, awesome!!

We head back to the FBO, shut down the plane, my instructor runs in and grabs what she forgot, and we’re off again.  We head out over to Tacoma Narrows and set up for our first touch and go.  The landing was pretty darn good.  So we take off and head around again.  This landing was ALSO pretty good, so my instructor decides it’s time for her to get out.  We taxi to the restaurant, she endorses my logbook for solo flights within 25 nautical miles of my home airport.  This is pretty cool, it means that now, when I decide to go up, rent the plane and fly by myself that I don’t have to just stay in the pattern, I can actually fly to another airport nearby and land there as well.

After all the formalities are taken care of, I’m off on my own.  I contact ground and let them know I’m ready to taxi and they send me down to Runway 17.  I switch over to the tower frequency and let them know I’m ready to take off.  They clear me and I’m off on Tacoma Narrows nice wide runway!  Soon enough and I’m off the ground!  I complete the pattern and line up for landing.  My speed is good, my angle is good touchdown!  As this is a touch and go, I jam the throttle all the way in, apply not enough right rudder, over correct and the plane takes off . . . I quickly bring the flaps up and the plane settles down on the runway again!  OOPS, brought the flaps up too quickly! Lesson learned!  Soon enough I’m airborne again!  I don’t even want to know what my instructor thought of that!  (I later learned that I got cheered from the restaurant, not sure if that’s good or bad?)  Around again, this time the touch and go comes off without a hitch.  One more landing and it’s time for my instructor to get back in and head back to Thun field.

We fly back to Thun and I have another pretty awesome landing!  I think I FINALLY have this landing thing figured out!  A break through!  Now I’m not only soloed, I’m soloed to fly to OTHER airports within 25 nautical miles!!  Next up it’s time for me to come to the airport and just rent the plane on my own, and go flying!  I think my instructor finally feels like I’m ready to do that and that I’m not going to break the plane.  Feels so damn good to be on the other side of that learning plateau!

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