Daily Pilot's Journal

Read the complete day-by-day flight log of an actual student pilot, from the first takeoff to the signing of his private pilot's license. Written promptly at the end of every flight, each entry is completely unedited - detailing the successes, failures, and mistakes we all encounter along this long road.
Day 14 - Second Solo
Monday, 7/03/06 7:00am - Very high clouds but no wind. Stan suggested we go to Bridgeport so I could make some more solo landings and I immediately agreed. Haze over the sound, radioed for some TnG's, came in base for runway 24 and nailed a smooth, effortless landing. "Radio for a full stop", Stan said. I guess one landing was all he needed to see. Dropped him off at gate 3 and once again I was airborne in the plane by myself.

This time flying solo was completely stress-free. In fact, without Stan in the plane it's even more relaxing. I came in VERY high on my first approach, and for one minute I doubted I could reach the runway in time... but after engaging full flaps and cutting back the power, the plane practically dive-bombed the runway. I pulled the yoke into a smooth, controlled landing. At that moment I knew that I would never again worry about being "too high". There's no such thing as too high.

After taking off again the tower cleared a repair truck to shoot down my runway. It was still there during my downwind, and I was told by the tower to "extend downwind and report turning base". This confused me because I didn't know how far downwind to extend my leg. I asked permission to turn base at one point but they made me continue, and by the time they radioed back that I could turn I had a long, long final approach. No big deal, I came in with extra power and delayed flaps. Brought the plane in for another good landing. I made myself more aware of lining up on the left side of the runway (Stan warned me I had a habit of doing this) and began to see the mistake I was making. I concentrated on keeping more to the center during my next pass.

They switched me to runway 24 and I verified the runway because the radio cut out at the end of the tower's transmission. Vectored a little outward to accommodate the new approach, came in nicely, made another good landing. At about this time I heard a Baron radioing for clearance and reporting a position of 4 miles south. By the time I took off the tower was advising the Baron to look for me. Glancing left I saw it immediately and it was fairly close but traveling in a perpendicular direction. As I turned crosswind the tower asked me to follow it, then cleared me to land #2 behind it. Nice looking plane. I watched it take an extended downwind (either that, or Stan's trained us to do short downwinds) and I followed it in on a nice approach. Requested a full stop and taxied over to Stan where we fueled up and headed back out to Long Island.

Once at Republic our downwind was once again extended, this time almost all the way to the south shore. It was an extended-downwind type of day I guess. Came in on a long final and touched down perfectly. Every single one of my landings was smooth, and this was never more evident than when I opened the rear hatch to get the tow bar and, for the first time ever, it was still mounted on the wall. An excellent day of flying.

Flying hours today: 1.7       Total: 18.2

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