Sunday October 13th 2002, 12pm, N4754D, 0.9H

My third solo today and more pattern work at RHV. I started a little later today, so the wind was 310 8 knots, it was warm at 22C. Had a completely normal re-flight, taxi and run-up. Then Tower gave me a clearance for 31L and a frequency change to 126.1. They use the second frequency when there’s two controllers on duty usually on the weekends. Had a good takeoff and entered left traffic for 31L. I really had no significant problems today. The pattern work was good, from the GPS ground track I can see I’m flying a pretty good rectangle around the airport, the turns are fairly consistent with no overshoots on final. The five approaches to 31L were fine, although I’d like to get more consistent on my altitude during the turns to base and final. I rarely hit the glide slope right on and so I’m adjusting on final with power. I think I’m not controlling the airspeed well during the turns either letting the nose drop too much or not enough. Still, it’s easy to correct on final as long as you do it early and don’t leave it until your on short final. The flares today went much better, none were great and a couple ballooned a bit. But in general, I kept the nose high and didn’t have any flat or 3 wheel landings. A couple of times I came down on the main wheels a little hard.
I got to “back taxi” for the first time today, after landing the first time on 31L I was told to make a 180 turn and taxi back on the runway. I hadn’t done this before, but it went fine. I think I did this after 3 of the landings on 31L. After the fifth landing on 31L I was told to cross 31R and taxi back on taxiway Y and to change back to the usual tower frequency of 119.8. It was really hot in the plane as I taxied back and the sweat was just dripping of me. I made the last takeoff on 31R for right traffic. Had a good trip around right traffic and extended my downwind for another plane coming straight in for 31R. The landing was poor, I flared a little hard, ballooned up, added a little power, but still bumped down a little hard. I figured that it was too hot and I was getting tired so I called it a day and terminated.

So today was about building more confidence in flying solo. The landings were better than yesterday, though still not up to what I was doing flying dual last week. The pattern and radio work is also good. I’m starting to get sick of flying circles around RHV, so it will be nice to get signed off to go down to South County and Hollister tomorrow.