Here at this, another Friday, and the laundry refuses to clean itself, but look at the weather. How can I pass up a nice day like today? So there is only one thing to do.
Check weather, and reserve a plane because clothes can wait. Besides, clean clothes really are over rated.
So I’ll go online and check the AOPA website and check the weather and see if I can find an excuse for going out to the airport, or reason for staying home and try to convince the clothes to wash themselves. The weather won.
So I hopped into the car and drove down to the airport using I-77 instead of the I-71 this time. And it looks like Yahoo maps was correct because I cut five to seven minutes off of my drive time and it seemed to be a quicker with more interesting scenery.
15 minutes from the airport I call my instructor Mark, to get okay to fly. Based on today’s whether he was confident but told me to double-check with an instructor on the field for a final okay.
When I arrived at the field 733 was parked right by the gate and it was tempting to fly this one today, but I did not feel like fumbling with the passenger door in flight as I usually end up doing with this airplane. 400 was parked near the pumps just in case I had to fuel up, and before going inside I checked to see how much fuel she had. Surprisingly both tanks were over three quarters full.
Inside, after two or three minute conversation, Logan, one of the flight instructors gives me the thumbs up.
Everything seems to be going pretty good today, I walk out to the aircraft perform my preflight, start up the engine which is usually very hard to start. So today I used to shots of primer instead of one and she almost made it on the first try. So I do two more shots and she started off okay. I taxi out to the runway and perform my takeoff checklist and as usual on this aircraft there is engine roughness on the magneto check. In on the second attempt on leaning out the engine and running up to burn off carbon deposits she seems to purr okay. But, during the run-up there is an unusual smell which may be oil, or not, so I taxi back to the hangar to see if a mechanic could verify what was going on. One of the pilots came out and tell me that that smell is normal and that it was oil that may have spilled during a refill. So I taxi back out and take off and fly over to Wadsworth Muni.
I announce myself 3 miles out and that I was coined to enter crosswind for runway 20, and while entering crosswind for a downwind it was announced that they were using runway 02 so I called up my downwind as an upwind instead to find that I had a Piper Arrow behind me on upwind also. The landing went okay except that it was a little sloppy and I also landed fast. So I made the second turn off for another trip around the pattern. The next landing was better, and the one following I came in hot again. Self diagnosing the problem I need it to use my flaps sooner in approach and to stay ahead of the aircraft.
I left the pattern to fly back to Skypark which was usually one of the more difficult things for me to do because Skypark is not an easy airport to find. On departure from Wadsworth Muni I found the salt shaker (and area landmark) and set up the usual course to fly back to Skypark and actually found it pretty easily.
I call land a 2 mile 45 for the active runway and start my first approach back home. One thing that was bugging me, at the same time is why I fly at Skypark is that I was making sloppy landings at Wadsworth Muni (coming in fast) and I could not do this at my home base. My first landing back home was hot (landing too fast), in fact the following three landings were all the same. On my third landing I debated going around but I landed about 200 feet before midfield and had no problems coming to a stop. After my third landing I decided I needed to do it right before I called it a day. I only got the final landing half right and decided that I had enough for today and if I could I was when I come back the next day or within a week and do it right.
While normally I would be upset at my flying today I had to remind myself that I had not flown in little over three weeks and overall I did okay.
Every pilot remembers their first solo flight. This was my fourth solo flight and it had special meaning because this was the first time that I had the opportunity, on a whim, to grab my flight bag and go flying and all I needed was an okay for my instructor. This was the first time flying by myself from start to finish. For a student to fly to another airport is further validation of his or her skills and abilities. And today, what a validation!
But of course, on my way home there is a nagging thought and sure enough early in the evening when I’m cleaning up I realized that I had left a couple items in the airplane.
Well maybe next time I’ll get it right.