Rich's Quest For Flight

My father was a pilot. He died doing what he loved to do. It has been a goal of my life to become a pilot. Now I have chance to do so. Follow me as I pursue my dream.

Friday, April 28, 2006

KRYV 282215Z AUTO 11012G16KT 10SM CLR A3020 RMK AO2

Another nice Wisconsin day, especially if you like gusty winds. But before I get into the lesson, here's a news bulletin:

That's right folks! It's my medical certificate! I am now officially a student pilot. It was a bit of an adventure, though. I originally scheduled the appointment for 11:45 a.m. today, but then my return flight from my trip to Kentucky was scheduled for early this morning. My plane didn't land in Milwaukee until 10:21 a.m., so I had to hustle to get to Fort Atkinson for my appointment. I was in phone contact with the doctor's office and the people there were very accomodating and understanding. In a way, it was an old fashioned physical such as is rarely administered any longer. There was a questionnaire to fill out. I was measured, had a urine sample, and blood pressure taken. Then the doc (a nice, elderly gentleman) came in, reviewed my questionnaire and did all the things a doc used to do when giving a checkup, including the turning of the head and coughing. Then, after remitting $107, I had my certificate in hand, good for two years.

I didn't have long to get back home and gather my kit for my lesson. I have maintained my custom of walking to the airport, just under a mile away. I like to think that it helps get me mentally prepared for the lesson to come, then to provide me the opportunity to blow off steam once I'm done.

It was a mixed bag today; some success and some frustration. Although conditions were bumpy and gusty on the ground, things were quite different at 4,000 feet. It was quite smooth. After clearing turns, I tried steep turns. The first one went badly. Perhaps it would have helped if I was at the proper speed before I started the turn. Adam didn't remind me about airspeed, and perhaps he was testing me to see if I remembered. Once I set up properly and at the right speed, I tried it again and it was much better. There was some practice with slow flight and stalls which went fine. Then we headed over to Dodge County (KUNU), and as we flew over the airfield, Adam cut the power to throttle and I got to rehearse my engine failure and power off landing. I did fine to pitch the plane and glide it in, but now I realize I forgot to run through the troubleshooting checklist. I'll have to talk to Adam about it on Sunday. After a "normal" touch-and-go to gauge the crosswinds, Adam had me practice a short field landing. It didn't go very well. Let's say I was rusty. All the the brainpower that I put into trying to remember how to do one caused me to miss the first one badly. I didn't even correct properly for the crosswind. So we went around and tried it again. The approach went better, but I floated too far down the runway to make it a satisfactory attempt. We did a couple of soft field landings and take offs, then we departed Dodge County and headed back to Watertown.

This would be the second time that I used Runway 11, with the right hand pattern. The first time didn't go well since I was a bit disoriented between landing on this particular runway for the first time and using a right traffic pattern. This time, with no crosswind, I did much better. I am pretty certain that both landings were all mine, with no help at all.

So now we reach a critical point in my training. I have my medical certificate, so now all that stand between me and my first solo is my instructor's judgement. When will it happen? I've resolved to not ask. I have a feeling that it will just happen. I may show up at the field and Adam will tell me to take her up by myself. Perhaps we'll do landing practice and he'll get out of the plane and tell me to take it around a couple of times. I just have this feeling that he's not going to tell me ahead of time. He just might decide I'm ready during a lesson and go with the feeling.

I know this much; Sunday's lesson will be a ground lesson for knowledge review. The forecast calls for rain, so we made that decision now that we're not going to fly. Adam already told me that our next flying lesson will involved ground reference maneuvers (more about that next time), so I doubt the solo will happen then. I am not traveling next week, so I've scheduled lessons for Tuesday and Thursday.

So stay tuned for the next exciting edition of Rich's Quest For Flight.


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