Stranded In The Southland

Monday, January 21, 2008

Round and Round

The most fun I've had so far in an airplane is doing touch-n-goes in the pattern -- making a big rectangle by taking off, turning 90 degrees left to crosswind, then left again downwind, then left again to final, proceeding to a landing, and then taking off again without stopping. Landing is so amazing -- you're descending at a steep angle (well, 3 degrees *seems* mighty steep), then leveling off when you just 20 or 30 feet off the ground, riding the ground effect for just long enough to slow you down and let you gently touch down! Woo hoo!

While you're up in the air, it's always possible to fudge things, but when you're coming in to land, you're either making it or not. You're either banging into the ground hard and loud (perhaps bouncing back up, too) or your greasing it in.

Now, I still haven't soloed, and I'm not really greasing it in, but I'm having a great time. We did an hour or so of landings, and I'm slowly getting it. I don't know that I'll solo next time, or the time after that, but I'm definitely seeing progress, and I'm pretty happy with that.

We did slips and S-turns and just generally covered the whole landing thing. Plus, we kept a special eye out for other aircraft, given the fatal mid-air collision yesterday down in Corona, just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road from Chino. On nearly every lesson, I've flown within a mile or so of the accident site (but considerably higher than those folks were probably flying).

There's all the difference in the world, though, between an uncontrolled airport like Corona, and an airport like Chino, where the tower is looking out for you, and making sure that you're safe. Plus, like I said, we're keeping a sharp eye out. (I promise, mom!)