29R - Nothing but blue skies...


Weather: KBJC 102245Z 21008KT 12SM SCT030 16/08 A3037

So I’ve been slacking lately. I haven’t been writing much (obviously), I haven’t been flying as much (a few busy weekends), and I have been a bit discouraged. So I’ll step back for a minute and take it from the top. This is going to be a long one so you may want to refill that coffee cup now. I’ll wait for you… Ok?

Landings, landings, landings

Lately, it seems like all I’ve been doing is landings. Really, that’s all I have been doing. Not that it’s bad. I really enjoy the landings. I’m ready for something new though, which is tough, because I’ve got to get my landings down before I can move on. So finally, 2 weeks ago, I got the signoff from my instructor to go on my pre-solo check. I’ll fly with a lead flight instructor after about an hour of testing on the ground. Then we’ll just go up, do some touch and goes, a go around or two and then a full stop. As long as I don’t screw it up too badly, I’ll be flying my solo next time.

Fast forward a few days. It took a while to get my pre-solo flight scheduled. Once the day came to fly, someone had flown my plane to New Mexico the night before, got stuck there due to weather, and I didn’t have a plane. Unfortunately, the lead flight instructor found a plane for me to fly. It’s unfortunate because it was a slightly different model plane than I am used to. I fly a Cessna 172 N or P model. This was a R model. One later than P, shouldn’t be a big deal right? Probably not. There are a few bigger differences. The R is fuel injected, doesn’t matter much once you are flying. Otherwise not so different. But every plane is a bit different regardless, and I probably shouldn’t have gotten into a completely new plane when I’m a bit nervous already and I have to show that I’m completely proficient. First mistake. Now any pilot out there with some experience is going to say that they are really the same plane. Anyone with a decent bit of experience really isn’t going to notice a difference in that plane. When you are only flying with about 12 hours of experience, it does end up making enough difference to throw you off your game a bit.

So then I just didn’t fly well. I was thrown off a bit from the beginning, but also the first thing I do when I start to fly my pattern is pull the carb heat on. Ok, looking for the carb heat, looking, can’t find it. Oh yeah. Fuel injected, no carb heat. Ok. Now I’m a few seconds behind on flying my pattern. Have to make a call to ATC. Wait a few seconds for other traffic to clear the radio. Wait for it. Wait. 20 seconds later. Ok finally my turn, “Metro tower, Cessna 2ES midfield… wait, no, abeam the numbers for 29L touch and goes.” Now I’m about 15 seconds behind. Anyhow, I’ll spare you the details. Really I just don’t want to rehash it all. But it was a bad day. Don’t get me started on my feelings about the lead flight instructor. I just don’t like that guy. Anyhow. Busted the pre-solo.

The pre-solo experience on the whole was pretty discouraging. I had a flight that night that I was supposed to be soloing on and I just didn’t want to go fly. It was the first time that I had no interest in flying. It was pretty depressing. It was a mixture of disappointment, being mad at myself for flying the new plane in the first place, then just flying poorly, and anger at the lead flight instructor. All that rolled into one was just a bad mix. It got me down for a few days.

So now I’m back doing more landings. Just have to get the landings right. So I’ll go up for a lesson, do about 7-12 touch and goes and then a full stop landing. And that’s a day. 3 lessons like that and now I’m really getting ready to try something new.

Yesterday evening I went up to brush up on my maneuvers because it’s been so long. So I did some power on turning stalls, some slow flight, a power off stall, a simulated engine failure, 1 stop and go, 1 touch and go, a power off 180 touch and go, and then called it a night. I started flying at about 6.15 or so. The sun was starting to set, and by the time we were flying back from the practice area the sun had set completely. It was an absolutely beautiful Colorado evening at the base of the Rockies and the view from 7,500 ft (2,000 ft MSL) was amazing. Since traffic was light at the airport we requested a few touch and goes. By the time I was flying my last 2 landings, it was getting dark and the runway lights were on. With the silhouette of the mountains in the background, the runway lights and the sunset, it was one of the best times to fly. I wish I could describe it to you in more detail, but I can’t. Instead, drop me note and I’ll take anyone interested up to see it first hand.

Alright. I’m going to end this post right here. Thanks for staying with me. Probably time to refill that coffee again.



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