|21. First Self-Booked Flight|
|I took the camera with me for a quick self-portrait before taxiing...|
Today was a kind of a special Solo. For today's lesson I had to book the plane, turn up alone, pre-flight the plane, and fly touch and go's for as long as my wallet would allow - with no Bruce in sight.
The booking started well. At least this time there was a plane there for me to fly. Last weekend was to have been the original 'Independant Solo' day, but Bruce had taken the plane for a cross-country run, and never returned in time. After waiting over an hour past my due start time, we gave up and went shopping. This of course turned out to be a bit of a crappy day, since my wife Laurie had also made the trip to take a couple of piccy's etc. At one point things got a little worrying when I received a cell call from a guy who had booked the plane slot after me, saying Bruce STILL wasn't back.
I had sudden thoughts of plane wrecks / problems etc. While the guy was on the phone, he said 'ah, I think that's him taxiing in now'. It was, and the mysterious disappearance turned out to be that Bruce had assumed no one else had booked the plane the rest of the day - he'd not checked the main diary! He called me and couldn't apologize enough. Anyways, the day ended in a positive note: While being forced to go shopping earlier than planned, I came across a thicknesser/planer in Lowe's, which was marked down $70, and it was the last one. :0)
Moving on...before I was side-tracked. The flight today went relatively OK. It was a no-wind day, coupled with no Bruce in the right seat, made the first touch and goes high. I was rather puzzled at first, I kept checking that I was doing everything right, but I was still coming in high. In fact, the first 3 landings I had to taxi back each time because I felt I didn't have enough runway left to take off after rolling out - and it's a 4000ft runway!. In reality I probably had plenty of room and time to bury the throttle into the firewall, but I wasn't in a race, and I was kind of enjoying taxiing off and going back around to the threshold on my own..in my own little world for the first time.
I did fleetingly think about trying a slip during one of the high approaches, but the couple I had done in the past were always with a crosswind, so I knew I had to lean into the wind and use opposite rudder. Today, the wind was dead, so I got a little confused as to which way I should slip...so I didn't bother attempting one.
Eventually, after passing the numbers on downwind I decided to force myself to count to 10 before I even thought about turning to base. This finally cured my over-shooting, and I was now landing just 20-40 yards past the numbers. Interestingly, I noticed the plane was a little more 'twitchy' during flare today, is this because of no wind? ie. the plane controls better with SOME wind to fight against?
All in all, it was a good day.
Sean, the local Taylor A&P at Brundage Aviation took this pic after I landed.