I made it through flying every day for five days straight! A new first! This morning I almost cancelled my lesson, but glad I didn’t. I looked at the weather and forecast, it was another windy day. I felt so discouraged after yesterday and didn’t need or want another day of discouraging landings. I texted my CFI asking if he thought it was worth it, and also that I had another 0.9 solo time left and I was starting to worry it the weather would never cooperate. I knew he was flying until 10am, which is when I have to leave for the train station. I started out anyway, easier to turn around than trying to rush there.
A bit before my train he texted back that it wasn’t too bad out there and I should still come out if I can make it. And that’s why I always leave for the train, just in case. So I hopped on the train, and he picked me up at the train station.
We went over what time I had left, what we’ll do Monday and Tuesday (the VOR still isn’t in the plane yet) and then he told me about his flying that morning. He said he was doing a BFR for another CFI and on the last landing had to grab the controls from him. That made me feel better about yesterday!
The plan was go up together, do a few landings and see if I’m comfortable with the winds and I’d go solo. I woke up with a headache and my head was still kind of hurting. I had taken some Motrin and it wasn’t fixing it, so I began to think it was a migraine. Last time I flew and had a migraine in the morning was my first solo, if I soloed today it was going to be good. 😛
We did a regular landing. The winds were stronger than usual, but they were right down the runway, maybe a little to the left. Oh it felt so good to not do a crosswind landing! I could have held it off more, but whatever, it was finally a good landing. I told him how much easier it is without a crosswind! He said I’ll enjoy the challenge of crosswinds one day, I responded “doubt it.”
He wanted a soft field landing for the next landing. It was a struggle for sure. I pulled the power too much at the end and it wasn’t so soft. There was more of a crosswind too so had to work it down more. Next time, he’d help me some more. It still wasn’t perfect, he definitely had to help with the crosswind. On the climb out, I was saying how difficult it is for me doing both the crosswind correction and a soft field landing. He asked if I just wanted to do regular crosswind landings, I said yes.
We did five more landings just focusing on the crosswind part. I felt much better doing that. They were getting better. He told me to make the last one a full stop and taxi back to the FBO and he’d get out and send me up solo. At least he trusted me to land in these winds by myself! I was a bit surprised, but good! We talked about what I should do up there and where I should go. He said my landing back at the airport would be the best since he wouldn’t be there to see it. I took him back, took note of the time and headed back out.
I went to the north since it takes longer to get out there and that’s where I’ll be maneuvering for the checkride. I was definitely getting pushed by the wind. I climbed up to 2,500ft and out over the water I set up for slow flight. You can feel the wind a lot more in slow flight. I only held it for a bit and recovered. I set up for a power off stall. I only ended up doing an imminent stall because I didn’t like the wind pushing me and was worried about going uncoordinated into a stall by myself. I wasn’t for pushing my limits today, I needed to build confidence.
I did that one more time and dropped down to 1,000ft to do turns around a point. I knew where the wind was from and entered with the wind. It took me one or two times around to get used to the wind pushing. I kept going until I got it down. The headwind side of the circle always feels so long before I go into a steeper turn!
Then I moved onto steep turns. My right side is always so strong. I had to work on my left side a bit more. I kept doing them until I got two within standards. I was 0.1 away on the Hobbs to complete my solo time, I headed back in.
At northport stacks, right before I called, there was a Piper calling from the same point. I didn’t see him! Where is he?! I call right after so ATC can help me spot him. I have to ident. The Piper sees me, it takes me a bit to find, but with the help from ATC I spot him.
There was a jet landing and my downwind was extended to the inner shoreline (about 5 miles away from the airport). I just wanted to land! I was also racing the clock on a TFR beginning at 2:00pm. It was about 1:48pm. I knew I was fine, but still! My turn to final was good. I stayed really focus on the way in. There was another jet taking off before me and ATC cautioned me about wake turbulence. It was still pretty windy, so I’m sure it was blown off course by the time I got there.
Speed was good, I’m not yet over the threshold, the stall horn sounds a little and stops because I add just a bit of power. The crosswind is switching from left to right. I’m being blown a bit to the right, I put in some right aileron and left rudder. Power out, stall horn sounding again, right wheel down, left wheel down, nose wheel down nice and soft. I totally celebrate with a “whooo!” then am angry because my CFI was right! It was good to get that landing in though! I felt so much better.
Also, that solo time was looming over my head and having it down got a lot of stress off of me. I feel so much better than yesterday, or even this morning. I was pretty sure last night/this morning I’d have a breakdown before the checkride. I don’t feel that way anymore. Thank God! On the ride to the train we debriefed my solo. I told him he was right about the landing. I got an “I told you so!” Obviously we’ve been spending too much time together this past week with our banter.
I also told him my worries about the oral and he put my mind at ease a bit about that. Told me to relax this weekend, and not shut myself up in a room to study. We also went over about the IACRA form and I should fill it out this weekend and text him. Also, he said he’d call someone who recently had a checkride with my DPE and he’d get the lowdown for me. We also set up Tuesday we’d go over the maintenance logs so I’m familiar with them, in case that pops up on the checkride.
I’m glad I went today. A day thought would be discouraging, was a confidence boost. I know I can manage a solo in stronger winds and land the plane well in a crosswind. Though, I’m still hoping for better winds on the checkride!
Lesson Time: 1.1 dual, 1.2 solo
Total Time: 63.7 hours