On Thursday, December 30, I logged 1.5 hours in the N9883G with my instructor Dale. Stalls and touch and gos. Yes, an exciting lesson.
We didn’t spend much time in the classroom – just a few minutes to go over everything that I had crammed into my brain. Me spitting it out and Dale listening. Then, he let me know what we were going to do for this lesson. Power off stalls. Explained what they were, and as he was explaining, my heart fell into the pit of my stomach, did a few flips and then went back to where it was supposed to be.
I think , “I’ve done zero-G with the flyboys, so this should be a piece of cake”. Then, I think, “oh, I’m the one that’s going to be flying”. I think I can, I think I can. And I know that Dale can, so my fear subsides a bit.
Went out and did the preflight and chatted with Dale while we fueled up. Checked everything with my new, handy, checklist (that’s now residing in the pocket of the N9883G!). Feel confident about checking the plane, the oil (when I can get the cap off) and the gas. OK. Ready to go.
Confident on the radio, and the best part was that Captain Glickman was in the air and heard me on the radio. That was just too cool. Apparently we had a stuck button and we continued to transmit, and thank heavens it wasn’t one of those times when I was yelling expletives the entire time I was taxiing!
Felt a little better on the rudders while taxiing, and did much better getting out to the runway. It’s slow going for me when there’s a bit of snow out there, and I still don’t feel perfect on the ground. Go through the runup with precision this time (finally) and then get us out on runway 23. Takeoff a bit uneven, but all mine. Up into the sky and I was right on the mark with adjusting speed, direction, and very happy to be back in the sky.
Great to hear Captain Glickman on the radio while he was flying over Mt. Graylock. So cool to know we were in the sky at the same time in separate planes!
Turned beautifully and headed out to the practice area. Practiced flying at slow speeds, practiced slow turns. OK, time to stall. Eek. Dale took the plane and demonstrated the first stall. Thought I was going to freak, but I LOVED it. Yep. Can do. My turn. Had a bit of trouble holding the yoke all the way back, but got the baby to stall and recovered nicely. Over and over and over again. Dale wanted me to feel it slam, and be sure that I could react. Couldn’t get it to slam like he did, but was able to recover each time without hesitation. Made me feel really good about how much I’ve learned – especially about the principles of aerodynamics.
Done with our power off stalls, we headed back to practice approaches and landings. Into the pattern and adjusting power, altitude, with Dale correcting me with rudder when I’m just not perfectly parallel on downwind. Get in the pattern, pilot! Yes, sir!
Two landings and I ask Dale if we can go around again. “Hey, it’s your time” and he laughs. Yes, we’re right back up in the air again for one more go-around.
Last landing was not the best of the three, but I brought her in, and Dale took the plane and brought us back to the FBO.
What I learned that day: I’m really flying. It’s wonderful up there, and some things are just coming to me and a part of me already. Sensing what to do, instead of just remembering. And understanding what the plane is and is not capable of. I feel like a pilot (yes, a student pilot, but still a pilot), and that make me very happy. And I love the N9883G like she’s my very own.