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 23 - Written Test + The Perfect Solo
Monday, 7/31/06 7:00am - On Thursday, I'd taken the FAA written exam and scored a respectable 82%. Stan seemed happy I'd done my studying and we went over a few things while I was there. Still gotta bone up on that weight/balance stuff though.

Back on the ramp I had clear skies, little wind. Uncharacteristically, Stan forgot about today's lesson. After doing the preflight I called him from my cell phone and asked him if he wanted me to fly to Bridgeport. He gave me the go-ahead, and I happily fired up the plane for a nice relaxing solo to Connecticut.

Today was a perfect day. For the first time, everything went off without a hitch. Checks, radio work, landings, refueling, pilotage... all of it occurred naturally and without the slightest difficulty. Took off runway 1 and turned early toward Northport after being asked by the tower to do so (there was a jet taking off behind me). Over the stacks the tower thanked me for my prompt assistance and cleared me for a frequency change. The air over the sound was smooth, visibility was incredible, there was some very slight haze but it was too low to be a factor.

Entered downwind runway 29, speed and altitude perfect, came in and landed so smoothly it felt like I was almost at a complete stop by the time I touched down. Took off again and made right traffic, making another two perfect landings on the same runway. Before I could ask for a full stop on my fourth landing, the tower asked me if I could make runway 24 (there was a falcon waiting to take off on runway 29). He definitely wanted me to do a short approach and I probably could've done it... but I instructed the tower I'd do a teardrop approach and wound out a nice little pattern of my own. Came in high but corrected for it and landed full stop on runway 24. I guess my teardrop made the falcon wait an extra minute at the hold position but I'm not going to lose sleep over it.

Stopped for coffee and fuel at Three Wing Aviation and read all the cool posters on the walls of the pilot's lounge. All the apprehension and nervousness I used to feel while soloing is pretty much gone - not even the jitters this time. Flying alone is relaxing and I feel confident in every situation. It finally feels natural.

Right crosswind departure southwest, flying back over the sound was beautiful. Queued up over the stacks and found runway 1 still active, which was a little bit strange because a crosswind had developed. Transitioned nicely into the pattern for right downwind and was cleared to land before I even spoke to the tower. Landing into the crosswind was a little tricky but I hit the center of the runway and made the first turnoff. A nice, peaceful morning trip to Bridgeport.

Flying hours today: 1.4       Total: 31.6

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