Flying Lesson # 21 – Third Solo Check

June 17, 2012

Sunday 10th June 2012 – Another day ruined by weather! This is getting very annoying!

Approaches were restricted to IFR only which means a no go for a VFR student pilot like me. The trip in to Gil Layt’s wasn’t a waste however, Robert took me through some theory on Emergency procedures that we will be learning in a few lessons’ time. It was really interesting stuff, basically he explained that should I need to land somewhere other than an airport for a multitude of reasons, there is a process to follow to ensure the ‘landing strip’ is suitable. I’ll go through this in more detail once I have had the lesson. After the theory lesson, we decided to call it a day and try again on the Monday.

Monday 11th June 2012 – I woke up and looked out the window to be greeted by a day no different to Sunday – rainy and overcast. Another no go! That was my last chance to fly for the week gone. I will have to try again the following Sunday!

Sunday the 17th June – CAVOK (Cloud and Visibility OK) Yay! I’m flying!

Heading into Gil Layt’s, I was excited by the beautiful blue skies and calm conditions. Today was to be my third solo check; the last check before I’m allowed to head out in the circuit by myself without anything more than a thumbs up from Robert. This is an exciting lesson as it also signals the end of circuit work! I will soon be breaking free of the circuit chains and heading out in to the Archerfield training area. Can’t wait!

Robert and I headed up in JOO to commence the lesson. Shortly after taking off, Robert asked me how comfortable I felt flying by myself, I responded enthusiastically and Robert instructed me to call a full stop. I dropped Robert back to the office, refueled and headed out on my own. With a full tank of juice and beautiful blue skies, time was my own! I flew circuit after circuit, loving each and every one. Every landing wasn’t perfect, though I’d give myself a quick slap across the back of the head and continue on. The empty seat next to me doesn’t provide a lot of input.

After about 8 circuits (an hour of flying), the wind had picked up to a generous 12 knots. Enough to start to feel uncomfortable, so I called it a day and headed in. After parking and securing the plane, I walked back to Gil Layt’s with my head held high. I’m back and the plane is in one piece.. Success!

Next lesson, provided a cyclone doesn’t decide to grace our shores, I will be heading out by myself without any instruction.

Can’t wait.

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