29R - Nothing but blue skies...

Weather: KBJC 171654Z VRB05KT 15SM FEW030 BKN070 BKN100 15/12 A3000

Have I mentioned that I’ve been doing a lot of landings lately? Yeah. I like landings. I actually like just flying the pattern. I’m flying, practicing, having fun. It’s good. I still want to progress though. So that brings me to last Friday. I’ve got a pre-solo scheduled for 5pm. I’ve also got a practice flight scheduled from 3-5. We do some touch and goes to get the feeling. The biggest thing the chief flight instructor is looking for is keeping the plane at 65 KTS and on the glide path on final. I can nail the 65 when I’m flying well. No problem. I can fly a great final approach too. The only thing I hate is the landing lights. On runway 29L/11R there are only two landing lights. Let me quickly explain.

There are two lights side by side. When your plane is on the glide path, the left light is white and the right one is red. When your plane is too high, you get two whites. Too low, two reds. The thing about these lights, is getting one white and one red is nearly impossible. You basically have to be within about plus or minus 5 feet of the exact glide path. So back to the pre-solo.

The chief instructor doesn’t care too much about your actual approach if the lights look good. I say it’s harder to land without the lights because you have to judge the right flight path on your own. If you can land it well, who cares what the lights say. But he wants you to fight for that glide path until you land it. So for me that means instead of landing just slightly low or high of the glide path, but landing really well, I have to fight hard to stay on the glide path. He wants immediate corrective action to get back on the path. So if I get too far off the glide path from the beginning, it’s a constant struggle to land it within his standards.

My landings can be great, and can still kind of suck. My only problem is constancy. I’m hoping that will come soon. I’m kind of getting tired of being so erratic. Not that I’m not having fun, I just don’t want to screw up another pre-solo. So it’s Friday afternoon at 3. We’ve got variable winds at about 3 knots. This is actually good. I’ll get some practice in some crosswinds finally. Touch and goes. Things look good. Not landing anything great, but due to the winds I still feel pretty good. So we get down at about 4.30. Tie down the plane, get back inside and it’s 4.45. The winds are picking up a bit and I’m getting a bit uncomfortable. I’m only allowed to fly in a 5 knot direct crosswind as a student at my stage. Since my only major crosswind experience was about 1 hour ago and we only got about a 5 knot gust, I’m hoping things don’t get worse.

I check the weather. Things are getting worse. Now I’m really worried. I’m hoping things get really worse. Fast please. So it’s time to go. Check the weather. Things are worse. The winds are right on the threshold of what I can fly. 9 knot winds out of 330. 5 knot direct crosswind. Things are expect to only get worse after that. I get to make the call whether or not we go. I pretend to be more disappointed than I really am, but I cancel. Inside I’m a bit relieved. I’m disappointed too though. Still one flight away from my solo.

So I’m still a bit nervous, which brings me to today. My pre-solo is now scheduled for this afternoon. 5 hours and 16 minutes to be exact. I really want to pass this thing and get it over with. It’s time to move on. I’m even apprehensive writing this now as I don’t want to follow up this post with another one saying I busted again. I know I can do it. It’s just getting it right for this guy. As long as I fly like I have been recently, I’ll be fine. I hope I can do that today. On the down side, it’s raining right now and the weather conditions by the time I fly are supposed to be below standard, so it still may not happen.

Regardless, I’ll keep trying. Weather or my own performance, I’ll keep trying.



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