Date: 2003-11-02 17:37:00
Tags: flying
Yay solo!
I flew solo today!

So yesterday I went with [info]snaxxx up to the field for demo day. It looked like it was going to be a good day, but her flight with Gonzo was fairly short because they couldn't find any lift. It was a beautiful day though, and I hoped it would be similar on Sunday.

On the way back we drove Lime Creek Road southward, and I saw Ojas, who I'd driven the same road with the weekend before, driving his silver NSX the other way. Even though I wasn't driving my NSX we recognized each other.

This morning the weather looked socked in and overcast, but the weather radar showed that it was fairly isolated. The glider field wasn't getting rain but there were scattered showers all around. So I optimistically headed out.

I stopped by the bank on my way there, and drove through Georgetown to get to the field. Just north of Georgetown it started raining hard. I turned onto 195 north and the rain tapered off a bit.

I was doing about 70 and came up behind a group of cars in front of me, and noticed that the last one was a state trooper. Oops, slow down a bit so it doesn't look like I'm coming up too fast. They were doing maybe 55-60 when the speed limit was 65. Eventally the police car pulls off to the right and gets behind me. That's exactly what happened I got my very first ticket. I'm just expecting the cop to turn his lights on for some reason or other. A few miles go by, me watching in my rear view mirror, but an SUV going the other way was going too fast. The cop turned around and turned his lights on. Whew.

Anyway, I arrived at the field and Bill (the instructor for the day) reviewed the rope break procedures again with Barry and I. (Barry started flying gliders about a week before I did.) Barry took the first rope break practice flight, then I did mine. Barry wanted to do one more instructor flight before solo, so I went solo first.

I got all strapped in and realized I was a bit nervous. The routine is just a pattern tow for first solo, which means you get towed up 1000 feet, release, turn around, and do a normal landing (into the wind, the same direction you take off). During the takeoff roll the glider got airborne sooner than normal, because I didn't have any dead weight in the back seat weighing me down. About 100 feet into the air it started raining! Rain isn't really a problem when you're flying, but it was the first time I'd ever flown in rain. So I released at 1000 feet, flew the pattern, and executed a nice short landing (which is easier with a nice 15 knot headwind). What a great feeling!

Barry then did his instruction flight, then his solo flight. He too did a nice short landing, also in the rain.

The tow plane was low on gas, and the main fuel tank on the ground turned out to be empty, so nobody else flew today. There were a couple of other people out who were planning to, but they got their entertainment by watching us newbies fly solo flights.

Now that I'm a solo student, I can fly without an instructor, but I still have to get an instructor to endorse my logbook each day I want to fly (club rules). But I won't have to wait in line for instructor time, so I should be able to get more flying in.

Today was a great day. They say you remember your first solo flight forever. :)
Congratulations again. I'm glad that you got the chance this weekend.

And although it's been only 7 months since my first solo, it seems like yesterday and I believe you're right about remembering it forever. For what it's worth, my solo was also during marginal vfr.
Awesome! I'd sign up for that, but I'm about 10 grand in therapy away from such an act.
[info]decibel45 went skydiving recently. Would that work? :)
Hell no, that would only be an option if the plane goes into a flat spin. Or maybe a barrel roll. I used to jump off the cliffs at Lake Buchanan, 40 feet was plenty for me, Jack. But you knock yourselves out... :-)
Hell, anyone jumping from 40 feet is nuts! I'll take 10,000 feet to play with any day!
yeah, but from 10k feet you'd almost have to wear a parachute...
Heh, I'm reminded of an sf novel I read long long ago (maybe Laumer's The Great Time Machine Hoax, but I'm not sure) wherein someone trained themself to jump from successively higher heights. After all, if you can jump safely from n feet, you should be able to jump from n+1 feet, right? Because, hey, it's just one more foot, is all... And so by induction, you can jump from as high as you like... :)
That's the corrollary to:

A physicist, a philosopher, and an engineer are all in a room with a nude woman at the other end. The philosopher says, "It will take me a certain amount of time to halve the distance to her. Then it will take a while longer to halve the distance again, and so on. Therefore it will take an inifinite time to reach the woman," and he leaves the room. The physicist, who is only here so there can be three people in the joke, says, "First, I'll assume the woman is a sphere," and goes off to ponder the problem. The engineer looks at the problem and says, "Well, I may never actually
reach the woman, but I'll get close enough." ;-)
Gratulon pro via unua solo flugo! Mi feliĉas ke vi faris bone kaj ĝuis ĝin.
Greg Hewgill <>