Last week I flew a couple of times. Once on Wednesday and again yesterday, Sunday. I scheduled both lessons later in the day so as not to have to deal with the low clouds. Wednesday at 3 PM was great! We took off from Thun field (KPLU) and headed to Tacoma Narrows (KTIW). Meg told me she didn’t want to do anything that day but be in “Toad Mode”, meaning she wanted to just check my proficiency and listen to me talk to the tower at KTIW. KPLU is a non-towered airport so the pilots just talk to each other to let one another know what they’re doing. At KTIW you have to talk to the tower and ground control to get instructions on what to do.
We took off from KPLU without incident, I think my takeoff was better than most of them. A bit of a crosswind, but nothing too major. I climbed up to 2,000 feet and pointed the plane to the Northwest once we got over the fairgrounds. We followed the Puyallup river out to the port of Tacoma where I listened to the ATIS at KTIW, then called the tower:
“Tacoma tower, Cessna one-one-five-one-Mike over the Tacoma dome with information India requesting permission to land runway one seven, Student Pilot”
“Cessna one-one-five-one-Mike ident and report two miles out on downwind”
I pushed the ident(ify) button on the transponder and replied:
“Tacoma tower Cessna one-one-five-one-Mike will report on two mile downwind”
We flew along the downtown Tacoma coastline and Meg helped me identify landmarks to use to set up for the downwind leg. As we got closer to KTIW the tower let me know I was clear to land, but second in line behind someone else. I somewhat bungled the read back, but hey I’m learning!
We set up for the landing and while Meg was shadowing me on the controls, I think the landing was 98% me. I still need to pull back more on the yoke for my flare and be patient. The runway will still be there, I just have to let it come to me.
We were given instructions to taxi via Bravo 3 and to park in front of the restaurant. We chatted a bit about the landing, then contacted Ground Control for taxiing instructions to take off. At the end of the runway we switched back to the tower and asked permission to take off. My takeoff again was great (I think) and soon we were out over the sound.
Meg had me do some maneuvers over the peninsula and then asked if it was ok to do a low pass over the airport and have the tower show me the light gun signals. “Sure!” The light gun is used by a tower when a plane is unable to communicate via radio. It will show green, red, or white light, or a combination. The signals tell you whether or not it’s safe to land. We did that and then it was time to head back.
My landing at KPLU was pretty good, again I think it was about 95% me. My next lesson this Wednesday all we’re going to do is pattern work. So should get about 4-6 takeoffs and landings in. I’m actually really looking forward to it!
Yesterdays lesson wasn’t my best. I wasn’t feeling great to start with, and we did S turns, turns around a point and some rectangular patterns. My setup for landing back at KPLU was just ok and we seemed to land a bit further down the runway than I would have liked. Meg said I had my B game.
She did say that she is about ready to solo me though, hence the pattern work coming up on Wednesday. So assuming I get my 3rd class medical soon, it shouldn’t be long after that until I Solo. As to that I have everything lined up to send to the FAA on the 23rd of this month. By then I’ll have been on my Cpap for 3 solid weeks. If the numbers continue where they have been it will show that my sleep apnea is nearly 100% controlled. With any luck by early July I’ll have my 3rd class medical!