Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Second solo, I really CAN do this!!

As usual, when coming from the east side of Cleveland it is a hassle for me to quickly get to the airport. I finally made it, 10 minutes after my start time which is what I really hate to do. Before going flying I like to relax, have a thorough inspection of my aircraft, and talk to the other pilots about the weather conditions.

Today I was flying 733, a red and white Cessna 152 which I had never flown. Of course, the last person to fly the plane left the tanks nearly empty. The good news though, is that this aircraft was right by the fuel pumps so I easily pulled the aircraft over and topped off the tanks.

This was my first flight since my solo two weeks ago so I did not expect to go up by myself immediately. My instructor and I took off to fly to the practice area. Of course everything was not well with the aircraft, specifically the passenger side door. It popped open on my flight instructor less than a minute after taking off and he wrestled to get it shut as we climbed out to the practice area. He wanted me to demonstrate slow flight while maintaining 3000 feet. All was going well until the door popped open again. And he wrestled with the door it and got it closed and then instructed me to do a steep 360 to the left and then to the right. The left turn went well but the right turn I lost 110 feet, 10 feet out of the guidelines to pass my private pilot’s test. Considering that I have not done steep turns for months I did okay. I then proceeded to do turns around a point which I was still a little rusty on but they came out okay.

Back at the airport I did my first landing which was okay but I carried too much speed on short final resulting in too much float. On the next landing on short final Mark called out “pink elephant on runway, pink elephant on runway”, and of course I had no idea what he was talking about. Once again he called out “pink elephant on runway”, but this time I understood what he was talking about. Mark wanted me to do a goal around which came out pretty good. I proceeded around the pattern, landed, once again with too much float, but passable so Mark told me to go ahead by myself for my second solo.

The takeoff went well, except for, you guessed it- the passenger door popped open on takeoff about 200 feet into the air. I waited until I was on the downwind leg to work on it, and got it to close without much fuss. The landing went well, but before I took off again I worked on the door to make sure it was shut. Second landing went well, except for the float again which resulted in me using up a lot of runway. I taxi back for takeoff, and proceeded on my third takeoff for the day. I usually rotate at 50 to 55 knots, but at about 40 knots, you guessed it, once again- the door popped open. I decided to abort the takeoff because the door was really pissing me off now. One of the airport mechanics help me work on the door and this time it seemed to shut firmly. To take off and landing went well, still too much speed but my touchdowns were soft.

The game plan is for me to do one more solo and to show my instructor, Mark, that I know the area fairly well (yeah right, this will be a laugh), and then I can fly to three other airports in the immediate area. And honestly, I cannot wait.


Dan said...

Glad to hear you're back in the air. Sorry to hear about the door problems.
I had a lesson last night and my instructor said I was ready. But it was too dark already, darn daylight savings. So if I can get the weather to cooperate in the next couple days I hope to be flying SOLO as well. Keep up the good work! Great to see a fellow Transplant patient making great strides.

Mr. Michael said...

Work it. Get out there on your own as often as your can. Confidence grows tenfold with each solo.

And for gods sake, stop with all the speed into final.

Come skiing and you can keep all the speed you want down the hill!