29R - Nothing but blue skies...

Weather: KDEN 141153Z 22003KT 10SM FEW090 BKN140 BKN200 22/11 A3016

Nothing of great interest after today’s lesson. More practice and I’m definitely seeing improvement in my flying. Wait, there is one thing. Definitely the greatest flying day I’ve yet had.

Today, I landed. All by myself. Let me tell you about it.

After practicing go-arounds and pattern work up at LMO (Longmont’s Airport), I was getting very comfortable with flying the pattern and basically flying it all the way in until the flare. So on our way back to BJC I was making all the radio calls (which I was pretty proud of, especially since there was a lot of traffic), and getting into the pattern. Nothing was perfectly flown after I completed my downwind. The base leg wasn’t great, but not terrible. The final wasn’t too bad. I was able to keep us lined up with the runway (mostly), I kept the airspeed at 65. When she said we were a bit high, I dropped some power. When we got a bit low, I added some. About 100 yards or so from the end of the runway, I heard her call that we were “landing assured”. That means that you are going to be landing on the runway as long as you don’t make any drastic moves. So I cut the throttle to idle after that and watched us approach the runway. That’s when I dropped that plane like a rock. I flared a bit high, so we glided beautifully across the runway about 3 feet too high. My instructor called to add a bit of power, but I was too focused. Too many things going on at once. Once the plane finished flaring, the last 3 feet of runway came really fast. The plane slammed down, bounced and then settled on the runway.

Now you might be thinking, “Pete, don’t be so hard on yourself for the first landing. It probably wasn’t that bad.” First of all, I’m very proud of that landing. But second, it was pretty bad. It was hard enough that once we were taxiing my instructor checked to see that our ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) was going off. See if you land hard enough, it thinks you’ve crashed, and it will automatically send an emergency signal to rescue crews. So it was hard enough that she wanted to make sure it wasn’t going off. But knowing that now, I can takeoff, fly, and land, it feels like quite an accomplishment.


  1. Rob said...

    Sweet! Sounds like you have the flare dialed, now you just need to do it a couple feet lower. Soon you'll be kissing the runway, not punching it in the face. Woohoo!  


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