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 5 - I Suck Again!
Tuesday, 6/06/06 - "I think I'm finally getting the hang of it" - scratch that, today sucked. Maybe I should blame it on the demonic date.

Rushed out of a work crisis at 5:45pm to show up late for my lesson, Stan and I quickly did the preflight and skipped the run-up. Turns out there's a lot of afternoon traffic at Republic, just like rush hour, and we had to wait for a plane to land and another piper to take off before being brought to the hold short line (first time for that) of runway 14. Takeoff was good, flying toward Bridgeport was nice, and I did some 360's while out over the sound. But things went downhill from there.

After gaining clearance for touch n go's from the Bridgeport tower, I attempted my first landing on runway 11. Very shaky. With a crosswind coming in off the water I attempted to slip but couldn't remember which way to turn the nose of the plane. I also couldn't keep my wings from dipping left and right during the approach. No matter what I did, I was overcorrecting. Stan helped me with the landing and guided me into my first left crosswind. Went downwind and encountered some traffic which Stan acknowledged on the radio and added full flaps to fall short of. It wasn't exactly dangerous but it was the closest we'd come to another plane. I see the importance of visually identifying traffic... if we'd continued at our current speed things would've gotten uncomfortable.

I turned my base leg too early and came in too low. Didn't line up correctly with the runway and couldn't level the wings. Basically, I did everything wrong. Stan took control and landed, and then I released the flaps and slammed the throttle forward for another takeoff. I was admonished that I'm too hard on the throttle and that I'm too rough with releasing the flaps.

As we landed again, I think I got progressively tense, which in retrospect was the worst thing I could've done. Instead of being relaxed I was overanalyzing everything. I came in too high or too low, I came in too fast or too slow. Everything I did was the opposite of what I should've done. Had two more crappy landings and started really sweating, Stan seemed to be barking at me for everything I did and it only made me unsure of what to do. After my final shitty landing we broke pattern and headed back to Farmingdale. Came in too low on my final and buzzed Home Depot, but the approach was more or less straight on. Flared up too early on the landing once again, but it was still better than the crap I'd left in Bridgeport. After the flight Stan tried to talk me down a bit, telling me that learning landings is "not going to come all at once" and that eventually "it will come". I chalked it up to a bad day, then went home and played a good game of hockey.

Flying hours today: 1.4       Total: 5.5

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