Today I embarked on my first solo practice. It was pattern practice but it was special because this was the first time that my instructor had other plans. Well, she was instructing other students and since I am signed off for solo practice… it was all good. So up and up and round and round i go.
I figured for my first solo practice start to finish that I would keep it simple and just practice my take offs and landings. I scheduled the plane for 2 hours which should be plenty of time.
I nervously watch the winds as my solo limits are 15 kt total w/ gusts and 6 kt crosswind component. Winds seem to be swinging around 9kts in the area so I watched the crosswind component like a hawk.
All seemed to be good when approaching my flight time and the winds were tracking nearly right down runway 21 at 6 kts. So I went ahead an preflighted this beauty.
It was a weird feeling seeing my instructor busy with someone else and just a quick exchange of hello’s. I went about my business and got my chariot pre-flighted and ready to go.
As I went through the start up procedure I was sure that I would have trouble getting it started. It really hit me that this was the first time that I have been all alone at this stage. It was cool but a little eerie. I was taken aback when it started right up.
After a brief puzzlement of seeing two airplanes landing in the wrong direction, I make the call that I am taxiing down to runway 21 and was prepared to defend my choice to any other aircraft trying to land with a 6 kt tailwind. All seemed to be right with the world and I was on my way.
I made the radio call that I was departing runway 21 left close traffic and made my way onto the runway.
Lined up with six thousand five hundred feet of pavement, I put the pedal to the …err knob to the firewall and away we went. As we picked up speed, my steed yearned to fly. As the air slowly cradled the wings we began to ascend into the blue. This is where an airplane wants to be. Gracefully we ascend to pattern altitude.
Even the rough air of thermal turbulence wouldn’t ruin our time together. It may have only been 7 trips around the pattern, 7 Take offs and 7 Landings, but it was much more to me and my journey. The only thing out of the ordinary was a navaho on a gps approach that made some odd distance calls but I handled it well. My instructor was also in the pattern with one of her other students. I made sure to stay sharp with my radio calls and precision flying.
I talked briefly with my instructor before I left and she said that I did well with the radio and overall seemed please. Before I left she said, “Make sure next solo practice that I see you in person. I am sending you to Siler City and I need to endorse your logbook”. Well, I guess I know what I’ll do next solo.
All in all it was a success. I got to fly today…. All By Myself!