Hours – 27.6
I was sick last weekend, so I had to cancel my lesson. Yigal was sick today, so he only stayed in the airplane for a short while. Interesting lesson, I should say.
The plan was to get me up there to get my head going again. I felt so guilty about missing last week. It was the first time I actually called in to cancel (as opposed to weather, etc…). To make a long story short, we were going to do a few laps around the pattern for a few takeoffs/landings and then I would practice solo.
We flew the pattern once at MGJ, landed and then headed towards SWF. I botched the call when entering their airspace. No big deal…just fix it and move on. We wanted to practice a few touch-and-goes over there. The first landing was ok…the second was ok…the third was behind JetBlue. There were no delays today. I know all about wingtip vorteces and turbulence. I was told by ATC to expect turbulence and I knew to land beyond the touchdown point of the jet. Well, I didn’t get a chance to see the touchdown point of the jet because I had to extend my downwind leg almost over the Hudson River. I was over Newburgh when I stared turning base and then final. It was good experience for learning how to creatively use your flaps and airspeed. I came in pretty nice (I am finally getting used to how long their runway is) and started to flare for my touchdown. I figured I was in good shape because it had been a few minutes since the jet had landed. They were already off the runway. Just as I started to flare, I guess the turbulence from the jet drifted across the runway from the right and totally gusted me up. I couldn’t get the plane down. I was sideways and slanted. Yigal grabbed the controls and gave it some throttle. He handed it back to me to re-land. Man, what a chore…it was a mess. A good word of advice is to really wait a few minutes more than you think you should when landing behind a jet.
Now, that was enough for me. No practice in two weeks and then that, I was ready to head back to MGJ. We flew towards the field and Yigal pulled the throttle for some engine out landing practice. I did quite well. Came in nice and smooth for a nice landing. We did one more lap for a nice touchdown and he hopped out. Since I now have my endorsement to practice solo, I went up for a few touch-and-goes.
I really wasn’t nervous because I was pretty warmed up. The sweat was almost dry from all the fun at SWF. Well, I came in for my first solo landing and touched the nose wheel down first. Boing, boing, boing…I was like a little porpoise. I guess I have more experience than I thought because I immediately punched it for a go-around. Honestly, a student pilot really never thinks he has to use these techniques. Anyway, I successfully climbed and removed my flaps one by one for another try around the pattern. I was a little freaked out because I think I needed a breather, but you can’t do that while you are in the sky. I took a breath and came in for another landing. I corrected my mistake and made a good, smooth landing. I told myself that it was important to do it once more, just to shake any hesitation on my part. I did so and everything went great.
Well, since daylight savings is almost here, I am planning to practice twice a week, especially since an airplane is available much more than both an airplane and an instructor. Practice makes perfect.
PS – I found a great resource on all sorts of flying stuff here. It’s from Australia, but still relevant.