I didn't intend to fly in the rain, but that's what happened.

The weather forecasts were all wrong this weekend. It turned out nothing like what I expected. I drove down to the airport today, expecting the rain to finish around 9:30 or so. That'd give me an hour to get my remaining ground stuff done and then fly with Jim for an hour.

I arrived to find low clouds and no rain. So I began to preflight 64E only to be told that the front tire was flat (I hadn't gotten that far on the preflight checklist). So we took 87R instead.

The goal for our flight was to finish the few things that I didn't get done on yesterday's test checkride because of all the cloud dodging I had to do. The rain was off to the west and heading our way, but it looked like we had an hour or so before it arrived.

I wanted to tow to 3,500 feet, but as we got to 3,000 I noticed the clouds getting a bit too close for comfort, so I released about 20 seconds later. Jim had me practice a few stalls, slow flight turns, and then a 360 degree precision turn (45 degree bank). He wanted a 720, but we didn't have the altitude for that.

About 5 minutes after release, we hit the rain. There's a first time for everything, so today was my first glider flight in the rain.

I got us into the pattern for runway 24 and hit the landing zone just fine. The landing was a little rough due to a last second adjustment to avoid landing too soon, but it worked.

Back on the ground, Jim said "that was good... we're done." Meaning that my checkride was fine. Meaning that he doesn't need to fly with me anymore. Meaning that once we get a bit more ground work done, I can take the FAA practical test.

Wow. It's still a little hard to believe, but it's sinking in.

We then finished up some cross country planning and weather information. Then we spent some time doing paperwork. I filled out my flight test form while Jim signed off my log book. I had a problem with my flight time number and spent an hour or so with a calculator trying to find the mistake in my log book. Eventually, I did. (It's like balancing a checkbook. I hate that. I need to automate it.)

I hung out for a bit to get Jim's final signature. While there, I helped him launch with Patrick in the rain a few times and talked with Mike about his checkride experience from last June.

Posted by jzawodn at March 16, 2003 07:52 PM

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