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 29 - Steep Turns and Turbulance
Tuesday, 8/15/06 7:00am - Grey and gusty. From the moment the plane left the runway, I knew it would be a bad day. Weather that looked clear in the early hours turned sour very quickly, and as I launched out of Republic and into the sky I was immediately buffeted by rough updrafts and jostled throughout my climbout.

Stan led us southward today, out over the ocean. This was unfamiliar territory, with poor visibility making me feel no less at home. At 1,000 feet he killed the throttle and instructed me to do an emergency landing. I picked a long stretch of deserted beach parking lot but I did my left to right check way too early (immediately after establishing best glide speed). It was only the first of many times I'd get reprimanded today. Stan took the wheel and showed me how to approach the lot, introducing flaps, buzzing down to 500 feet before we climbed back to a safe altitude. No second chance on that, it was on to 45-degree turns, something I felt very comfortable with... up until today. I totally blew those turns this time, banking too hard or not hard enough, losing or gaining altitude. Nothing I did seemed to help the plane achieve the attitude I wanted, and Stan ripped me for not trimming it. Not that trim would've helped much today - the winds were slapping the plane from all directions as low clouds rolled in.

After doing about six or seven steep turns, the last few of which I finally did correctly, it was onto Islip. Stan working the radio I made left base for runway 24, came in on a decent enough approach yet floated a crappy landing. I forgot backpressure on the wheel, forgot to break for the stop and go, basically I forgot everything. Back into the sky for a right circuit I came in on another decent approach and floated yet another crappy landing. By this time the clouds were lower and more menacing. The sky to the west was darkening. It was time to head back to Farmingdale.

The way back was bumpy and rough. For the first time ever, I felt airsick. Not sick enough to reach for the sick sack, but queasy nonetheless. Halfway back to Farmingdale, it began to rain, too. Stan showed me how to follow the railroad tracks into a left base for runway 19, where a nice strong crosswind greeted me. And although I crabbed well and did a nice slip into the center of the runway, I still managed to float the landing. I was just off today - off on my whole game. It was a shitty day to fly, and a shitty time to learn. At least my crap day was cut short (just 1.1 hours) by bad weather, giving me an opportunity to do better tomorrow.

Flying hours today: 1.1       Total: 39.6

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