After the utter joy of going solo, I remember going back to work and once word had got around, people kept coming up to me and asking, so if you've gone up by yourself that means you've got your licence right?
Some looked a bit surprised when I replied far from it, with 80 odd hours to go, it wasn't happening anytime soon.
So since 1st solo last week, I've had a couple of sessions more on solo circuits and it's funny how "comfortable" I felt being sent up by myself. I suppose I did it last week, I should be able to do it again (it's more about the apprehension wasn't there). My focus was on trying to get better at it, I knew the drill, it was about making that attitude stick, climbing out at the right speed (remembering I didn't need as much power). Making my downwind call (correctly), pre-landing checks, the right height, speed and power setting rolling out on final. Don't cross over into the fixed wing circuit, picking a landing target and making it happen. I think I was fortunate during my second session of solo circuits as I was pretty much the only one airborne (I think there was a Jabiru up - woohoo something smaller than me for once) at the aerodrome so I didn't have traffic as such to deal with as well.
My third session of solo circuits yesterday had cloud and showers around and a couple of fellow helos in the circuit pattern. After dropping the instructor off, I was up and had done a few laps without too much drama. I was up to my fourth circuit when I looked east and saw the weather deteriorating a bit and since it was close to my allocated time for the leash to be off, I thought I would make it the last. On almost all of my previous approaches I'd come in within the first quarter of the runway length (ie landing short) and it was only on the last to pick up the instructor (probably more than half way down the strip) that I "relaxed" a bit too much on the landing. Maybe it was because I was being watched...let's just say it was a bit bouncy . This was met with a "if I had to give that landing a rating, it would have been a 1 or 2". Point taken...yeah but you should have seen the other one's.
On the way back, visability had reduced a bit in showers and I was appreciative having someone back in the left hand seat again to give a bit of guidance on the way back in. At least on my landing on the pad back at the school, I think I made a better effort landing and redeemed myself (somewhat) than the effort back at Hoxton Park.
I'm glad there's more sessions of these coming to practice, practice, practice .
Until next time...
Follow choppernut on his journey to CPL(H).
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