This has been an intense weekend for me. I flew on Friday, learning how to deal with an engine failure and landing the airplane with no power as well as studying for my pre-solo written test. I have also started learning about the airspace class designations.
I recently purchased the Rod Machado study manual, the accompanying workbook, as well as the mp3 audio of the study manual. This has been an incredible help in my studies. Many people think that the Machado book is kind of corny- but the thing is- you tend to remember the points he makes. I have about a 30 -45 minute commute to work, so using the audio of the handbook is helping me use what was once idle time into productive study time. I’m also using it when I am doing chores around the house, when working out, and other times I can plug in and learn. Overall I have increased my study time about 16 hours a week in addition to the few hours I was getting from the other study materials.
On Saturday my instructor and I worked on both landings as well as introducing me to the forward slip. The forward slip is designed to bleed of excessive speed. It is useful when a pilot has set up for a landing approach with excessive height or must descend steeply beyond a rock outcrop or tree line to land near the start of a short runway. If the runway is properly lined up, the forward slip will allow the aircraft track to be maintained while steepening the descent without adding excessive airspeed.
After we had a chance to practice several forward slips, I then worked on my landing techniques. I was really feeling like these were coming together. At the end of the session, Jeff administered my pre-solo exam. This had quite a bit of information from the aircraft POH or Pilot’s Operating Handbook. I knew about the POH, but admit I have not spent anytime in it. I went back to the hangar and took my test while sitting in the hangar.
On Sunday I tool my test back to Jeff and we went through the test. There were a few areas he wanted to clarify or make sure I had a good concept for. We then went out to fly.
Sunday morning was incredibly busy and after my run-up, I had to wait about 10 minutes to get into the pattern due to the high number of aircraft doing touch and go’s already in the pattern. I pay for the amount of time the engine was running so 10 minutes on the ground can get expensive. We finally found a gap and merged into the pattern and took off.
With all the traffic I had a tough time getting my head into the game. I bounced a few landings and really struggled with my set-ups. We flew for about an hour, and fortunately I got my head back into the game and started making good take-offs and landings.
My last two landings went very well, Jeff had me go back to the pilot shack and had me shut down the aircraft. He then asked me to bring in my pilot log and gear. I thought sure that I had let him down. To my surprise he signed me off to solo- instructed me to do one take off and landing and then come back. I went back to the aircraft, performed my start up and run-up checklist- taxied to the runway and launched for my fist solo. Fortunately, with my wife and daughter out there I made a great take-off and landing. My wife videotaped my solo and if you go to my website at http://www.adventureiq.com and go to the video page not only will you see my solo but you will also get to hear my daughter cheering for me.
I will meet my instructor Thursday and Friday to learn a few more techniques and then fly by myself on Saturday and Sunday. After that I will take a break for about a week due to projects and finances associated with flying- it is getting expensive and my secondary income opportunities are evaporating soon.