So there were many good reasons I did not do any more solo flying yesterday. However, I am not really fooling anyone – not even myself. All the good reasons were mainly excuses and I was trying to get in behind my own psychology. Let me try to explain: You fly patterns and landings with your instructor next to you for hours. At some point, all of your landings are pretty safe and you are reasonably in control all the time. You do your first solo and walk away from it. Then the doubts begin… Was it luck? Do I really know what I’m doing? What if I really drop too fast or smash the nose wheel or something? What if I miss the runway? Intellectually you have it inside you that you know you can fly and land. Nevertheless, in your gut feeling you have a primal fear that you will crash trying. After flying 42 minutes dual with Gerry on Sunday, it was time to get back in the solos. I have to do 5 hours before we start on the real cross-country and instrument flying. We were in 990 and I was all out of excuses. Gerry was again standing next to the crash point… erh… I mean runway threshold. All he needed was those big numbers to hold up after each landing. The first was not fantastic. The second I was happy with, on the middle line and pretty smooth. “Nice landing” came over the radio. Just short of one hour of patterns and stop and go landings and I was really tired. It was a good morning, though I was still thinking each successful landing was to some degree down to luck. I went back to my apartment to pack a little bag as we were going on a trip. I had fun planning a cross-country trip to St. Pete’s Beach (Albert Whitted Airfield) where Jackie and the family was staying. We had booked rooms for 1 night. So I took of from Winter Haven, flew our planned track right between two controlled airspaces, waited for the interception of two VORs (Radio Navigational aids) and headed straight for the beach. Contacted Tampa Approach to enter their controlled airspace, and touched down at the airfield about 50 minutes after we took off. A taxi to the hotel and soon we had joined Jackie & Co. on the beach. The rest of the day had no flying just relaxing and a dinner with Jackie and Gerry at the rotating restaurant at the top of the Holiday Inn. Great view, but pretty poor food considering you get really good food almost everywhere here.
Summary after 10 days:
Flown: 2 hours and 44 minutes.
Total flying time: 28 hours and 39 minutes.
Solo: 1 hour.