Flight Date: November 19, 2013
Flight School: Spectrum Airways
Flight Instructor: Chase Elliot
Message: It was another late afternoon of circuits in “my” C172 GKOV, temp was around 0, did my walk around while Chase was wrapping up with his previous lesson. I did a weight and balance, worked out take-off and landing distances, signed out and we were good to go. Nice 9kt headwind on rwy32 made for a couple of smooth take-off and landings, then we did a couple of runway changes and as the sun was setting, I was told “it’ll be a full stop on this one and you had better land dead centre of the runway!” I turned final, lined up nicely, landed smoothly and taxied clear of the active runway. As we are taxiing back, I ask where to park, Chase says just stop here. “Sign here and here” Chase tells me, “uh, ok?” I reply. With that, he gathers his kneeboard and jacket, turns to me and says “time for me to get out and you to do a circuit for me. Start with the run-up checklist and be safe”. The time had come, the moment I had been waiting for, counting the hours in my log book, telling him I knew I was ready, it was time to actually do it! My hands were sweating, my voice quavered (I’m 39, it’s not supposed to quaver!!”, he hopped out, I increased power to just above idle and started trundling down the taxiway. I nearly forgot to hold short of the intersecting runway I was so nervous! Nearly.
I finally made it to 32, called that I was lining up and got myself on the runway. Full power, call rolling 32, hit 55kts and apply back pressure. KOV rotates and I am no longer nervous, my training kicks in, climb to 1100ASL, scan the skies, all clear, turn right and keep climbing to 1500. Power back, call turning downwind, make turn, circuit is empty, happy I kept 1500 for entire turn. I’m flying now baby! Can’t wait to call my wife and tell her….oh yeah, do my checks! Reduce power, 100kts put in 10 flaps, slow to 85kts, put flaps to 20. I’m flying awesome, Chase would be proud. Turn base, watch altitude and speed, no problem. Call turning final and I nailed it, lined up almost spot on. Power idle (I’m flying a 172R with tons of power, she likes to go fast), small course corrections, wonder if it’s possible to actually flip a plane on its nose on landing ( random thoughts that enter our minds!), know I’m going to make it. Keep applying back pressure, great flare, hear the stall horn going just about 2 feet off the ground and settle down nicely. Take the second exit, call clear of 32, do post-landing check and taxi to beside a hangar. Doing final checks as Chase walks up, opens the door, shakes my hand and welcomes me to the world of aviation. I hop out, realize I am shaking with a mix of fear, excitement and pride and stand beside KOV for my picture after my first solo! What a rush; I can’t wait till next week!!