Saturday October 12th 2002, 10am, N4754D, 1.2H

Today was my second solo flight. I booked it as early as I could to get calm morning winds. This worked well, it was a beautiful flying day, no wind, 17C. I was a bit nervous, today would be completely unsupervised so I wouldn’t even have a CFI on the ground worrying about me. I picked up the key book and went out to pre-flight 4754D, again I borrowed a head-set for 54D, I am now convinced that my headset has a problem with the radio’s in the older planes.

I had a completely routine start, taxi and run-up except the right seat was empty. I was cleared for takeoff on 31R and entered right traffic. The takeoff went fine and I flew the pattern without problems. I was a little low on final so I didn’t put in the usual 30 degrees of flaps. It seemed to me that I was much faster than normal as I rounded out over the numbers. I started to flare and bounced on my main wheels. It just felt wrong and much too fast, I did the go around. I think the problem was too much airspeed, but I’m not sure.

The next time around I was again low after my turn onto final, I watched my airspeed more carefully and was at 65 KIAS over the numbers. The flare was a bit flat and I landed a little heavily on all three wheels. I then bounced just a little two or three times, it seemed that as soon as I tried to continue the flare I would pop back up into the air and then bump down. I suspect that I was a little fast and that I didn’t flare enough, it was an ugly landing. The next takeoff was fine and my altitude on final was better. However, the landing was almost a carbon copy of the first one. On the third landing I had determined that I just wasn’t continuing the flare enough so I had resolved to really bring the nose high on this landing. I guess I was too fast and possibly flared too fast, I ballooned up and started to drift to the left, I did a go around again.

So I was starting to get a bit concerned. Two bad landings and two go arounds. The next time around my altitude was good on final and the landing was fine, as good as I did previously on the stage check. I hoped for another good landing but it was not to be. It resulted in another go around when the flare went wrong and I started heading for the grass. The landing following that was also poor, I bounded a couple of times, I used a little power to help recover from the bounce and I may have either mistimed the power or put in just a little too much. Last time around went like a dream, another good landing. I decided to end on a high note and terminated for the day.

I’m not at all happy with the landings on the solo flights. I’ll practice again tomorrow, but my landing problems are definitely not behind me.I had the GPS in the front seat for the first time and whatever it did the track it recorded was terrible, it clearly kept losing enough satellites to have an accurate fix.