I can now fly the plane in an elementary way and am considered “safe”. I can check it over, start up, talk to ground control, get it off the ground and put it where it is supposed to be in the sky – without falling out of the sky – and I can do the basic emergency drills to a degree considered OK – though the truth is – they all involve looking for a soft spot to get down on after you have blown out the fire with a dive or tried to start the engine and it has not. The local beaches are good emergency runways though we pull out at 500ft and don’t actually perform the (simulated) emergency landing!

Lesson today. Landing is the HARDEST part and it is all we did today. You have to do it again and again and again. I did 10 approaches today. On 2 we deliberately flew the length of the runway just 5 ft above it. This is to practice slow flight control and to “feel” the plane just before it touches down – which you can as it rides in a cushion of air between the wings and the ground. It is actually quite hard to get it to sink through this last bit.

Of the other 8 approaches – on one – the plane ahead of us on the runway did not get off the runway fast enough and so we flew a “go around” where you power up to full power and go back up – which is not quite as simple as it might seem because you have the plane all set up to go down – not up. On another – another aircraft to the north did something wrong and we went around to stay out the way.

When we were “in the pattern” around the airport and not landing the jets taking people to other airports were taking off and landing. Oh and just for fun – the National Guard showed up to practice touch and goes in their C-130 transport aircraft. It was a busy 90 mins and 6 actual touch downs later I finished my lesson.

Double lesson on Saturday to practice……….more landings. Damn they are hard!

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