Stranded In The Southland

Friday, February 08, 2008

Soloed! Woo Hoo!

Well, after something like 19.1 hours of dual instruction, something finally clicked, my landings started working, and I soloed! Last time out, J. had talked to me about looking out just a little to the side of straight ahead, and memorizing the sight picture as we taxied. That seemed to do it, this time.

We started out the day with a few touch and goes, but this time I was maintaining directional control, and managing to smoothly and consistently land (or at least, successfully recover from my mistakes). After three solid landings in a row, J. told me that if I nailed the next one, perhaps he'd get out. This seemed like a great technique, since if I was gonna freak out under pressure, at least I'd do it while he was still in the plane.

The landing went great, though, so I taxied over, dumped J. out, and made a fine take-off (although I drifted a bit high turning downwind while listening to reports of traffic and getting cleared to land) and made two touch and goes and a landing. None of them was particularly beautiful, but they were all solid and safe.

Then I picked up J., we did one more lap around the pattern, and a weak landing, and headed in to get a Polaroid for the wall! Phwew! I have to admit, I wasn't very nervous while soloing, but once I got back on the ground, I was a total mess! It took a long time, and I was even started to get a bit frustrated, but I'm just riding the wave now. What a thrill!