Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Eagle Has Landed

Today I completed my first unsupervised solo (on my first solo, my instructor was sitting on a bench watching me fly the plane). Although, actually, it turned out to be semi-supervised, since my instructor was giving a demo flight to a prospective student, and he ended up in the traffic pattern right behind me. So he was watching my first landing.

It was definately a thrill to go out and do everything on my own, with no one watching over my shoulder (or correcting my mistakes). I could have held the plane for longer, but I decided to keep this session short at just over an hour. Sometimes it pays to quit while you're ahead.

It did take a while to get here, though, because of the weather minimums I have as a student pilot. For me to fly solo, the weather doesn't have to be merely good, it has to be darn near perfect. The past few weeks I've tried to go up several times, but when the time came around, the weather was below minimums every time. My biggest enemy recently has been haze (frequently smog), which on otherwise nice, sunny days reduces visibility below the 10 miles I need. Finally a storm system blew in and got rid of all the built-up haze, but then I couldn't fly because of the storm. If it's not one thing, it's another.

But I'm finally past that, and the weather should be getting more predictable as we head in to spring. And if I land the plane a few more times without bending the landing gear, they'll probably drop my minimums a little, too...

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