Pattern Work

This week I flew two days back to back.

On Sunday I was challenged by a constant crosswind, other pilots making inaccurate or simply wrong radio calls, lots of traffic in the pattern, and a maverick pilot doing whatever he wanted to.

I almost missed my flight time because the club mechanic told me the aircraft was grounded due to no oil pressure in the airplane. I was out visiting a friend on his ranch in eastern Idaho and decided to check phone messages. The club mechanic left me a message stating that the plane was grounded so I thought I would just take the extra time and stay at the ranch. I called my instructor later that day to tell him we were going to have to cancel, only to find out that the aircraft was no longer grounded.

We made a bee line trip home from the opposite side of the state so I could get there on time. Getting to the plane I did a thorough preflight and checked the gas. We were going to stay in the pattern so I made sure we had enough to support all our touch and go’s.

I made it to the flight on time but wonder if maybe I was over-fatigued from the drive. I had a 1030 am flight and it just didn’t feel like Jeff and I were connecting. After our sixth landing, I asked that we pull away from the pattern and just practice the fundamentals. This gave me a chance to work on various turns. We went back to the pattern after abut 15 minutes and I did a few more landings.

On Monday we met again at 6 am. I got to the hangar at 5:30 to do a pre-flight. I knew from the fuel level the day before I would need to put some 100 “Low Lead” in. After pre-flight I pulled the airplane out of the hangar, secured the hangar doors and took the aircraft to the fuel pumps.

A few weeks ago, Jeff approved me to taxi the aircraft by myself but I never took advantage of this until today, mostly because when the engine is running, I have to pay for it. But today I wanted to be able to do this on my own. I successfully taxied to the pumps, filled the tanks, and taxied to Jeff’s shop to pick him up.

I have to admit, doing my solo taxi gave me a lot of confidence. It also solidified my checklist procedures. I didn’t want to screw anything up.

We went on to fly for a little under an hour. Doing eight touch and go’s and I’m finally nailing some landings since for most of the morning I only had a slight crosswind.

I find that I get very frustrated with pilots who fly against the established pattern or who sneak into the middle of the pattern without a radio call. We are not far from the Caldwell airport and when pilots there fly strait off the 11 end of the runway- they came very close to our space.

Jeff is working with me on a few things prior to turning me to solo. We still have to learn about airspace and reading sectionals as well as practicing landing with an engine failure, ground reference maneuvers, and slips.

Total Flight Time to Date: 15.6 hours
Total Landing to Date: 63

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