Friday, June 15, 2007

Charlie's Aviation Milestone!

Yesterday, June 15th, 2007 I did my first solo short cross-country flight from Austin to Lockhart and back. It was truly my first time on my own. (No instructor on the ground watching me with a radio). Photo on the left is Austin's airport and
the photo on the right is Lockhart, Texas

I was full of apprehension driving to the airport. Thinking about the building cumulus clouds 100 miles to the north, etc. But when I got to the airplane and started my pre-flight procedures my tension subsided...everything was routine checklists, etc. Called Clearance Delivery for a transponder code, called Ground Control for taxi instructions, called Tower for takeoff clearance, called Departure and checked in with them as I flew out of controlled airspace towards Lockhart, TX.

It was HOT. I taxied with both windows open and one arm hanging out each window and steering with the rudder pedals. (you can do that in an Aerobat because of it's cozy cockpit).

The flight was bumpy due to thermals. Final approach was also bumpy and the blacktop pavement of the Lockhart runway tends to give you a slight thermal boost as you pass from the grassy area to the asphalt. Otherwise everthing went smoothly.

It was a great confidence builder to do my first little "XC" on my own!
What an experience! I shant forget!

Next time I'll shoot for a early morning flight before the thermals get cooking.
I have 41 hours now.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I finally solo'ed last Tuesday (5-29-2007)! Winds were 140 at 12 knots on runway 18 down in Lockhart, TX. It took me a mere 37 lesson hours to get there. ;-)
(pictured here is the Aerobat in which I solo'ed)

I hadn't flown in two weeks when my CFI said, "Taxi over there and stop, I'm turning you loose". She got out and said, "see ya!". And I said, "Can I go to the bathroom and get a drink of water before I do this?" Mentally I wasn't expecting a solo event that day but I tried to keep cool....yeah sure! It's one of those moments in life that really shakes you up. "Can I do this?", I asked myself. I think this audio clip sums up the 1st time solo flight experience.

I did my taxi-out, turned the plane in a tight circle on the pavement looking for other air traffic, did my run-up checklist, and announced my departure on the radio.

It was a very strange feeling to fly in the left seat with no one else in the aircraft. I did a total of three touch-n-go's in solo. My first landing was good so my anxiety subsided and I knocked out the second and third touch-n-go's with more confidence. My instructor was on the ground with her walkie talkie just in case my final approaches looked wrong. Each time I flew past I looked out the window to see if she was watching me. She wasn't. She was just sitting in the grass writing something in her little book. No radio talk from her either. She trusted me!

After the solo I taxied over and stopped the engine to pick up my instructor.
A little sparrow landed on my windshield and sat for a few moments and then flew away. That had never happend before. I guess the bird was welcoming me to the club!

So now it's on with more and new flight training!
Gotta start studying for the written exam too.