Thursday October 31st 2002, 3pm, N5766J, 1.5H

The weather this week had just been so perfect, it feels like the last gasp of summer. The wind was 290 at 10 knots and the temp was 21C with 20 miles of visibility, there were just a few scattered cirrus at 20,000’. After last nights flight all my problems of last Monday were forgotten, 5766J is just a friendly plane to fly and she’s never been bad to me unlike that treacherous 8276E. No problems whatsoever with the pre-flight, taxi or run-up. Took off on 31R and entered right traffic and once again was flying solo. I have to remind myself that its only three short weeks since I soloed for the very first time. It’s like night and day – no fear only the enjoyment of getting into the air.
I stayed in the air for 1.5 hours. Previously I’d have been exhausted doing pattern work for this long. Now I’m easily ahead of the plane, the focus is just on refining technique, its not tiring, its just fun. I feel like I’ve been climbing a mountain and suddenly the hill got a lot less steep. After the problems getting too my first solo and then finally getting it over with, the progression has just been so fast. Back then I thought it was a stretch goal of getting my license by Christmas. Now its looks easily attainable if I’m lucky with weather in November. Granted, I’ve been flying a lot this month almost 19 hours since my solo, so I’m probably just on track with the average, its just I’ve compressed it into 3 weeks.

I did 10 landings and one go-around. I focused on short field landings because they’re most of the soft field technique anyway. The first three floated a bit and I touched down farther along than I wanted. Then I tried just slowing up just a little bit on final, a touch under 60 KIAS and bang, right on the numbers they started working. On most of the landings I was able to get off on taxi way Bravo which is the very first available taxiway, I never went beyond taxiway Charlie. Not a single landing was out of control. It was just landing nirvana today. I mixed in some short field takeoffs and these went well. The go-around was caused by another pilot, one of the Japanese students from Nice Air. The tower thought he asked for a downwind departure, he obliviously thought he was doing closed pattern work. Either way he ended up on final when the tower asked him what the hell he was doing because he had no clearance to land. He then got into a debate with the tower whether he asked for closed pattern work or a downwind departure. All this time there was another plane holding for takeoff on 31R. By the time the tower had stopped talking the Japanese guy was on short final and the plane holding on 31R had never got a clearance to takeoff. So the Japanese guy got told to go-around because of the plane sitting on the runway. I had just turned onto final following the Japanese guy so I got told to go-around as well.

All in all today was a great flight even if it was just circles around the airport. I never made a mistake, the radio work was good and the landings were great.