Stranded In The Southland

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Almost Soloed...

I'm pretty close to soloing -- it's kind of a big milestone in learning to fly, when the instructor hops out of the plane to let you make a few landings by yourself, in the pattern. The idea is that you need to be able to have the self confidence to get in the plane and fly it without constantly looking over at the instructor for help with whatever little things might come up.

I was close, but I didn't solo Friday. My instructor seemed confident (and I was relatively confident), but it seemed like a million things came up. The left wheel strut was compressed, so it wouldn't cushion my possibly hard landings, and J. had to pull up on the wing until it uncompressed, at least temporarily. We had a varying crosswind which seemed to be messing with my landings. And I kept asking a million questions, not groking that I should be demonstrating independence and confidence. And I felt a little off my game.

Still, it was a good lesson, even if I didn't seem to be improving over the course of it. I got to learn about cross-wind landings, and I actually proved that I'm doing a good job of watching out for possible collisions -- the controller in training managed to set up a police helicopter on pretty much a head-on course to us. They probably passed 100 feet to the left and 50 feet above us, so we weren't really in danger, and I felt good that I had actually spotted them soon enough that I could've moved if it was necessary.

Oh, well, hopefully the weather will cooperate, and I'll solo soon!