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Old 03-17-2003, 02:53 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: IAH/HOU
Posts: 2,354
My first solo on 17-Mar-2003

I have 28.9 hours with 98 landings. I've been training at Austin Academy of Aviation at KAUS and KHYI in Cessna 172SPs.

I aced the pre-solo written (I got a 100) and have been ready for a solo for about a week but it's been a matter of timing, weather, etc. I've had a few lessons where I flew to San Marcos with the intention of soloing but it didn't happen for one reason or another. I had no intention of soloing today because our lesson was largely on navigation and I didn't expect much else.

We flew to San Marcos, as usual, to fly over the practice area and do some touch and gos. I turned off the GPS today to practice non-GPS navitation, so we intercepted the VOR on the way over and also worked on my situational awareness.

We did a few touch & gos with some light crosswind. After the 5th landing, we were rolling to a stop while I reconfigured the aircraft for takeoff. Daniel looked over and said, "so can you do three of those by yourself?"

"Yes," I responded immediately.

He verified that I had my logbook, endorsed me for solo flight today, and opened the door. He wanted to stand on the side of the runway and watch. He gave me the final talk reminding me to do a go-around if anything went wrong and asked that I announce that I'm a solo student to the traffic so that they take it easy on me. It's usually suggested that you say that, but my radio skills have been pretty good and I waived that when Daniel's in the plane with me. He hopped out and then leaned back in and stuck out his hand. We shook hands and he wished me good luck. before he shut the door and I locked it.

I double-checked that the aircraft was configured for takeoff while Daniel walked back and to the side. I looked back and he gave me the thumbs up. I returned the signal and then triple checked the configuration.

"san marcos traffic; skyhawk eight victor kilo departing runway one seven; student solo; san marcos traffic"

Full throttle and I'm gone. I flew upwind, crosswind, and turned downwind making my radio calls all the way. On the numebrs and smooth. Halfway down my downwind, I hear,

"[radio static] eight victor kilo [radio static]"

>>"aircraft calling eight victor kilo, you're unreadable," I said.

It's pretty unusual to be called by name in the traffic pattern at San Marcos since it's an uncontrolled airport. Additionally, there had been no traffic in the pattern or area before.

"[radio static] eight victor kilo [radio static] one two [static] hold for me"

>>"aircraft calling eight victor kilo, you're unreadable and I'm left downwind one seven about to turn base stop and go," I said.

"eight victor kilo, ah, i'm departing runway eight here in a minute and need to get going, can you hold for me once you're on the ground"

Oh, phew, he's just departing from an intersecting runway and wants me to wait for him on the ground while he takes off. That's no problem.

>>"eight victor kilo, affirmative i will hold short one two on one seven"

I turned final.

>>"eight victor kilo, final approach one seven full stop"

I brought it in right on the numbers. I came in at about 65, turned final right at 1000, leveled off, flared, kissed the rear wheels, held the nose up, brought it down, and did a full stop while I waited for the other aircraft to depart.

I held on the runway for about 90 seconds and worried that Daniel would think something was wrong. He later said he saw the aircraft and trusted that I was in contact with him.

"san marcos traffic; skyhawk eight victor kilo departing runway one seven; student solo; san marcos traffic"

Flew the pattern on the numbers but turned final and came out sort of wrong because of the crosswind. I corrected and felt like I had a 70% chance of making a good landing. Came in, numbers seemed within reason, tried to level off and ballooned a bit off the runway. Eigth of a second judgement said that it was recoverable, so I continued to flare and bring it in for a landing. I controlled the sink and flared down and almost had it, but bounced the main tires and immediately did a go-around. Full throttle, flaps 20, fight the elevator trim from throwing the nose up.

"san marcos; eight victor kilo going around one seven"

During the upwind, I got back into departure configuration and flew the rest of the pattern beautifully, even with the crosswind. On final approach, I was pretty nervous since I had to do a go-around last time. Came in on the numbers, leveled off, flared, brought the main down smoothly, flared, slowly brought the nose down. Perfect.

Full stop. Reconfigured the aircraft.

"san marcos traffic; skyhawk eight victor kilo departing runway one seven; student solo; san marcos traffic"

Good takeoff, flew the pattern, came in on the numbers. Leveled off and flared. Brought the mains down and then the nose. Good deal. Full stop.

Daniel came back up to the plane a minute later and asked why I didn't come taxi back on the runway to pick him up. Oops. I explained that I wasn't sure if he wanted me to backtaxi on the active runway and that I had made a call that I'd be holding in position for two minutes. He ran about half a mile to catch up with the plane parked in the middle of one seven. Hmm, seems shorter when you're flying.
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