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Guest fyrestrtr

My Real life flight training cont... I Did it!!!!!!

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So I had forgotten that I booked a lesson for this afternoon until I looked at the schedule online. I called the ASOS and it reported 260 at 3 knots. Nice. My boss was out today, so I asked the second in command if I could sneak out this afternoon. He said that's fine, and I grabbed a sandwich to go at a local shop. It was a big "Sicilian" sub, and even though it was delicious (spicy!) I decided I should only eat half, just in case my instructor wanted to do any 'unusual attitude' practice. That is where you close your eyes, or put on some foggles, and the instructor jockeys the plane around for a good thirty seconds or so until you don't know which way is up, and then he tells you to quickly take the controls and correct the airplane. And usually it will be very nose high, low, or in a bank and dropping. Due to an inner ear problem I have from a really bad ear infection a long time ago, my sense of inertia is a little off to begin with, so I tend to really on instruments more anyway. So I just look at the AI, and if the nose is up, add full power, and lower it- and if down, bring the throttle back and pull up gently. Anyway, that was a random segue since we didn't do any today :) Instead, after the preflight he hopped in the plane and then said "Well, we can head over to Chester and practice some landings, but I forgot my charts so I'll have to go back in and get them. Or we can do a few touch and gos and get you soloed. Um, choice B please :) So, from that second on, my heartbeat was about 140. We did 4 or 5 landings, and then we parked over to the side of the parking area instead of at the tie downs. He said we needed to do some paperwork first, which really meant signing off my logbook and checking all the appropriate I's were dotted and T's crossed. I made my best effort to act very nonchalant and cool- which I'm good at faking, but inside I was thinking "oh my god- what if I forget to turn the fuel pump on and... and..." "What if I...." blah blah blah. I kind of wanted to run away. But I didn't. I knew I could do it- I had made 30 something landings with this instructor, and he said every one of them would pass the checkride. Come on- suck it up, and be a man. You can do this. So he handed me the logbook, shook my hand, and said "see you in a little while. Do 3 take-offs and landings." A few other people in the FBO said "good luck, and have fun". I don't remember what I said. I was really nervous, and my lips were all dry. So I did my best Travolta strut back to the plane, and hopped in. At that moment I realized I had never locked the door before. There had always been someone there to do it. I sat there for a few moments, and then strapped myself in, and grabbed the checklist, and just started from the top. I made one mistake, but I'm not sure who's fault it is. You see, most of the instructors say not to turn on the anti-collision lights until the engine is started, even though it says to on the checklist. So I didn't. I got everything going, and got taxi clearance. After finishing the run-up, I did the 'before takeoff' checklist too since that would leave me just getting my takeoff clearance and going. I realized then that my anti-collision lights were not on. Crap- It was the middle of the day, and there was no safety concern, but I hate missing things. So next time, screw the battery- I'm turing it on BEFORE startup, where it says to in the checklist. So I get takeoff clearance, do a quick glance and out onto runway 20 I go. Right then it was like "HOLY CRAPNESS- WHAT AM I DOING?!!!!". But I was actually confident at that point. I could do this in my sleep, and there was NO WIND. I did notice that with the lack of wind, my climbout was taking me out farther, just over Long Island sound. The pattern would be a little different due to the lack of wind. That didn't bother me. So I just did everything by the book, and turn final, and notice the flap handle isn't 'clicking' into place. Hmmm. So over the threshold, I reduce power, and start the flap, when POP! The flap handle drops! It drops down to flaps 2, and I sink a few feet. It totally took me off guard, but I just pitched up a little, and floated a little farther. I touched down before the stall horn went off, which is pretty much always how I land. At first I was obsessed with the stall horn, but now I am more concerned about keeping the nose straight, and right on the centerline, so I have been touching down a little sooner. Sweet! My first landing, but I am a little shaken wondering what is going on with the flaps. So I drop the handle, punch the throttle, and I am off again. Maybe it is brash, but instead of bringing the plane in I figured "I can just do a no flaps landing if I need to anyway". After all, things don't always go perfectly and I'd like to get practice handling these situations when I am at my home airport. So it shook me a little, but as I turned crosswind I was fine. Things looked good as I turned downwind, and I was right at pattern alt. I decided this time I would come in a little faster just in case the flaps handle disengaged again. Again, I thought this was valuable decision making practice, and that I was doing OK at it. So I can around, and this time the handle clicked when I put in full flaps on final. I was high and fast, but I didn't care- I had plenty of runway and I was more concerned about being safe than spot on. So I floated for a little while, and did the bonehead thing and let the nose drop a little too soon. I just felt the nose gear touch first, and I floated a few more feet and then the mains came down, and the nose followed. I don't believe it- that is the first I've ever let the nose touch first! Well, it was safe anyway- I didn't bottom out the nose or anything. But I was not happy- next one will be pretty I promise myself. So off I go again, and this was to be my last, so I called the tower midfield downwind and asked for a full stop. They cleared me, and I setup for a normal landing. I had a great approach this time- the flaps clicked, and everything worked well. I was right on the glideslope as I turned final, but I did give a little power to maintain 75 knots. On final I was a little fast so I pitched back and cut the throttle early. I came in great, held the nose, and the mains touched just nicely. I did have a little rudder in, and as the nose touched down, I skirted about 10 feet left of the centerline- but I didn't care- I just soloed! And then all of a sudden the tower calls me and asks me to do a 180 and back taxi to charlie! Um... I haven't done tha.... Aww, screw it.... "New Haven Tower 48L, I'll back taxi to charlie". So I slam the brakes, and spin around, and here I am taxiing down this big runway. It was a little surreal, but I was proud of myself for soloing, and handling a couple of unexpected situations- even if my landings weren't quite textbook. I pull up to the tie downs, spin the plane around, shut it down, pack up my stuff, pull out the towbar, and then my instructor comes out asking how it was. I said good, but I told him the whole story, and he laughed saying "usually people screw up with the instructor and do fine on there own". I was the opposite. He then said out of all his students so far, he had the most confidence in me to solo. I said thanks, I think he was more confident that I was :) So he helped me push it back, and tie it down, and then we went in to do the logbook, and I made my first logbook entry :) So now I can go down and solo whenever I want as long as the weather is OK, and there needs to be an instructor to give me the OK. I think next time I will do much better on the actual landings as I've now got the initial solo out of the way- I won't be quite as nervous. He also wrote up the flap handle problem for the mechanics to look at. Luckily when he was in the plane with me he saw the problem where it wasn't clicking, so he knew it just wasn't me making excuses :) I had a lesson scheduled for tomorrow, but I am going to cancel it, and let things sink in until this weekend. I have been moving pretty fast, and I think I want to slow it down a little and absorb all I've learned. I've looked forward to this day since I was like 10, and like your wedding day it is over in the blink of an eye. .5 hours actually :)

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Good goin Christian; It's quite a feeling, eh? I can still remember how nervous I was my first time....it was Nov1971....cold and windy. You'll never forget it.

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Congrats! I soloed on July 2, 2005, which was 11 days after my 18th birthday so it was kind of like a belated present;) I remember that it was very windy and I had all crosswind landings that day, but I was spoiled with a class C airport with very large runways (6000x150, 7500x150, and 10,002x150), so it wasn't too much of a hastle.:) But anyway, this is something you'll remember for the rest of you're life. Congrats again!

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Good to hear you soloed! Just keep up with it now and see yourself through to the end!

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Congats man the rest will be easier just trust yourself and relax up there your so lucky:-) Richard

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Right on Chris. Best of luck.Wondering one thing. Do you fly with the headlight on in thedaytime VFR?JimCYWG

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Most flight schools now advise flying with the landing light operating because it is an added saftey measure to be seen in the skies.It was an unusual practice around 10-15 years ago because of the reliability of the bulbs and the extra cost of running them from takeoff till landing.

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Your right. When I took my lessons 20 years ago before daytime running lights in cars, we were told not to use the headlight. It was for the same reason you mentioned. Even back then I did use it as I now realize that with daytime runing lights you are seen better by others. Especialy with the sun at you back, the other guy has a hard enough time seeing you. Just like in a car at dawn or dusk.ThanksJimCYWG

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That would make sense in a Cessna or a King Air, but ... ermm ... you really can't NOT see a 747 in the day time. :)Strange how they even have their lights on in broad daylight.Good to hear of your solo :)

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