Lots of rain and some holiday travel had me grounded for nearly two weeks. It doesn’t take long for a student pilot to get some rust and it was quite evident today. It was nice to get back in the air for new years day.
We started out with a plan and a backup plan. Plan A, I was going to solo for my second time. I need 3 supervised solos before they will allow me to fly solo to the practice area. Plan B was to do some hood work.
After two laps around the pattern we talked over how I felt and I felt pretty good for soloing but the winds had picked up and the crosswind was now at the upper limit that solo students are allowed to fly so we opted for plan B. Except, my instructor left the foggles in her office so we came up with plan C… Round Robin KTTA – KSCR – KTTA. This will be one of the first trips that I go on during my solo adventures so it would be a useful trip. I would also get fuel for the first time since that will definitely be useful during my solo trips.
We took off and headed toward Siler City. My first duh moment came when I needed to transition to cruise, I started to pull the throttle before pitching and accelerating. I caught myself but not before my instructor busted me. Then I carefully flew over the powerline track that I would follow and made my turn west late and started tracking the wrong road. Ugh. I know better than this. After that, it was pretty smooth the rest of the way. I made all of the right radio calls at the correct distances. Entered the pattern and landed on Runway 4 at KSCR.
We taxied up to the 100LL fuel pumps and had an airport employee walk me through the details on filling up. No real tricks here but since I have never done this before, it was a good lesson.
Back in the Cessna, I back taxi to runway 4, perform a run up and away we go.
The rest of the trip back was pretty uneventful. I followed the correct road and made my calls before entering the pattern. A little excitement when I was on the 45 degree entry, there was a radio call over the airport from another plane entering the pattern at our altitude. I quickly performed a left 360 until the other plane obtained visual, said I was no factor. Still good for spacing and good practice.
I entered the downwind as second for landing. The landing was one of the crappiest that I have ever completed. Landed a little sideways and on the wrong wheel for the wind condition. This could have been a disaster if a wind gust picked up. I wasn’t really that bad but I felt like crap.
We went around the pattern for one more. This time I fought the wind and didn’t really slip correctly and I felt my instructor put us into a slip. My confidence was in the toilet so we went ahead and called it a day. It was 1.7 hours and I could really tell the rust was there. I flew safely today but definitely not very elegant.
I’ll be back in the sky tomorrow, so we will see how I do. Plan A, try for my second supervised solo. If not, Plan B, hood work.