Today was my third and final "supervised solo" lesson. On a supervised solo lesson, you start off by flying with the instructor in the back seat. He'll have you fly a few takeoffs and landings. And if you don't screw up, you get to drop him off and do a few more on your own.
I had done this twice with Dave, my normal instructor. But he was unavailable today, so I flew with Jim. And I also flew in a plane I'd never flown before. It's a Citabria 7ECA like all the others I fly, but N53893 (the Orange Citabria) and I were not yet acquainted. It doesnít seem to matter how many of the same make and model aircraft one flies, they all their own personalities and my orange friend was no different.
We had a 10-20 knot wind blowing (mostly right down runways 13 left/right) and N53893's brakes and rudder felt a little different than I was used to. And the seat is different. So I had a bit of trouble on the ground. In fact, my first takeoff was embarrassing. I was weaving all over the runway like a drunk driver, but once I got in the air it flew very nicely. For some reason it seemed easier to stay coordinated in this plane (or I'm actually improving).
Into the Air
I took off on runway 13 Left, flew a pattern, and did a full stop landing. We then taxied back to runway 13 Left for another takeoff. The second time was much better. I had the feel of the plane, so I managed to mostly stay on the centerline. Again, I flew a left pattern and back to land. This time, however, Jim asked me to perform a touch-and-go, so we were back up in no time.
Just after takeoff, the tower directed me to switch to a right traffic pattern and use runway 13 Right. That turned out to be perfect, since Jim was going to ask them for that anyway. I guess they knew the routine.
We did a touch and go on 13 Right and back around for another landing. This time Jim asked me to turn early so that I could make the runway without having to add power. I had been coming up a little short due to the headwind. So I turned early and got to show off my slipping skills.
I did a full stop landing and Jim asked me to drop him off by the terminal so I could go do a few landings on my own. I taxied over to the terminal, let him out, and headed back to runway 13 Left.
I again took off on runway 13 Left, staying nearly on the centerline, and was climbing like crazy before I knew it. It's always nice to have a bit of weight out of the plane. ;-)
My full-stop landing was good and I taxied back for another go. However, I ended up following a Cessna that was flying a really wide-ass pattern. I did what I could to follow him while staying out of his way but was coming really close to busting San Jose Class C Airspace. The tower noticed and cleared me to land on 13 Right.
I headed toward my new runway and was a little high. After I crossed onto airport property, I again got to demonstrate my ability to slip the plane and burn off altitude. I rounded out over the numbers and proceeded to bounce the plane down the runway.
Nothing broke and I knew how to handle it, but I still felt like a moron.
The tower cleared me to back taxi and takeoff again. I decided that I was going to make up for that landing.
I took off, flew the right pattern, setup for a slightly high final (strong headwind still) and managed to get the height almost perfect. I need only the slightest slip to get on the glide I wanted.
My landing was... one of the best I've ever done! :-)
After a nearly perfect 3 point landing, I decided to call it a day. No sense going for a forth and having to end the day on a less than high note.
I taxied the plane back, shut it down, parked it, and tied everything down.
Now Iím officially allowed to do pattern work on my own, assuming the weather is reasonable. After getting a few more hours under my belt, I should be able to fly to a couple of nearby airports on my own as well. And after that it'll be getting into cross-country time.
Woohoo! The fun continues.
Posted by jzawodn at December 17, 2005 10:25 PM