Solo Practice

After my solo cross country, I was ready to work on the remainder of my training with Gene, but I noticed he was grounded due to surgery. I hadn’t heard anything about it. It turns out he had some precancerous something or other removed from his neck. He’s fine, but he had to stay on the ground while it heals.

Not wanting to go too long, I scheduled a solo practice flight to work on my maneuvers. Today was hot and hazy; not particularly pretty out, but visibility was still greater than 10 miles.

I took off in 40B and did a few laps in the pattern to work on short and soft field takeoffs and landings. Those went surprisingly well. The fairly calm air certainly helped.

Then I headed for the practice area. Steep turns went pretty well, as did stalls. I tried another turn about a point, and while I got much closer to what it should be, it still seems to need a lot of work.

I decided to do a little power out emergency practice, which I had ignored completely while flying solo. I picked a field, pulled the power, flew around in circles at 60 knots and then realized the field was a lot smaller than I thought. I went around early and found something better. Couldn’t do that in real life, though. I came out a little high, but better than short. If you’re going to hit the trees, it’d be much better to hit them while you’re rolling on the ground than while still in the air.

It was time to head back. Runway 21 was active, so I called about 7 miles west that I would enter a midfield crosswind. Then I heard another plane that was 8 miles east coming in for landing as well. I knew there was potential for conflict, so I scanned and paid close attention as I approached (I always do that, but this time with particular attention to that airplane’s location). When I was 1 mile west, the other plane called turning downwind. “Uh oh”, I thought. I was about to cross midfield and another plane was downwind. Downwind, however, could be anywhere along a 2 mile stretch; to my left ahead of me in the pattern, or to my right about to converge with me. Since I couldn’t see the other plane, I started to turn a little to the right in preparation for getting out of the way and I called and asked for his location on downwind. He reported that he was abeam the hangers. While there are a lot of hangers along the mid/southern stretch of the airport, that was enough for me to know that he was to my left. I spotted him shortly after his call and announced that I had him in sight. That was fun. 😐

1.4 hours later and I’m at 58.4 total; 15.6 solo.