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.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Solo Work

KRYV 071416Z AUTO 16010KT 10SM CLR 10/06 A3035 RMK AO2

A cool morning at the airport. Originally I was to fly in the afternoon with Kevin, but he was on assignment out of the area. So a solo practice it would be. After all, I still needed a bit over 3 hours of solo time to fill the required hours. I spent a few minutes in the lounge area filling out my maneuver card. Short field takeoff, clearing turns, steep turns, slow flight dirty, slow flight clean, then to Dodge County for a couple of landings, then back to Watertown. There I would try as many landings as I can, with at least one short field landing, and a soft field takeoff. The winds, as they always do, would influence the conduct of the flight today.

Takeoff was from Runway 11 and I rose quickly in the light aircraft and cool air to my maneuver altitude. The ride was very smooth, great conditions for maneuvers. The steep turns come much more naturally these days. Using power instead of elevator to make minor altitude adjustments is much easier. Still have to work on maintaining the bank angle, but that's minor. The slow work was good, but I can probably try slowing a little more to get closer to the envelope.

My mistake of the day was my approach into Dodge County Airport. I announced entry into downwind for Runway 20, except I was on the wrong side of the runway. I was making right traffic instead of left. Once I realized that, I called to announce that I was breaking off to the west and would make a proper re-entry. It was my second incorrect pattern entry during solo flight; I need to work hard on that. I made two landings, both were right down the center line. The thing that seems to happen now is that I bounce between the main gear wheels when landing before the plane settles down. Maybe it's just a little extra speed.

Getting back to Watertown, I had a real crosswind situation now with the wind coming out 190 to 200 degrees. Way I figure it, you can never have too many crosswind landings. They're the most difficult, and when Murphy is playing, that's what you have to expect on the checkride. So bring it on. There was some suspense as I entered the pattern. Just as I was entering the crosswind entry into the pattern, another plane called to say they were entering 45 to downwind. Sure enough, I looked up and the plane was in front of me. I quickly called out my location, with the other plane in sight, and I would allow the plane in ahead of me and I would be #2. I could have claimed right-of-way since I was lower and already in the pattern, but I would not beat him to that position, so it made sense to let him go first. But just that little bit of suspense threw me off enough mentally that my first landing was sloppy. I took it around again, and again the landing was sloppy. The wind was just a bit gusty, and puffs were catching me and pushing me off of the centerline. I didn't have much time left, so I decided to call it a day and taxied in. Another solo hour down, two more solo hours to go.