Flight School Day 17

I wasn’t planning on flying today, but the weather was nice and I had an hour or so before I had to go pick up my companion to go home teaching, so I decided to do my 3 solo landings at a class C airport at Huntsville International.

It was pretty hazy once I got to about 2000 feet and the sun was just right to really light up the haze.  I decided to fly straight west rather than southwest which would have taken me directly to the airfield so I would have time to listen to the radio and talk to approach control.  Approach told me to expect a straight in approach on runway 18L, but didn’t give me a vector to fly like they did the day before.  So I turned in towards the airfield, but it was still out of my sight.  I probably should have asked him for a vector, but I didn’t.  After a few minutes I realized I had passed 18L when he told me to expect 18R instead and turn left heading 170 (I had flown a bit west of the whole airport).  Anyway, once I could see the airport I got lined up really nice and realized the wind was stronger than I was hoping for, so I performed a wheel landing and ended up putting both wheels down earlier than I should have and the wind blew the plane like a weather vane so I was pointed slightly into the wind, but I was able to compensate with the rudders and came to a nice stop.

Then I took off and my next two landings were great.  Before my last landing, I told tower that it would be my last one and they asked if I was going to do a full-stop landing.  I know what that means, but in the embarrassment of landing on their nice huge runway meant for jumbo jets and coming to a complete stop right in the middle of it (in my mind possibly annoying everyone in the tower) I answered that yes, it would be a full-stop landing.  So they were trying to figure out what terminal I wanted to use or if I wanted to go to the FBO when I realized what they meant and said that no, I would be stopping on the runway before taking off and flying back to madison county :-)  That’s probably when they realized I needed all the help I could get :-)

After the final takeoff, they cleared me to turn left back to Madison county as soon as it was safe and so I ended up flying over the air traffic control tower.  Departure asked me my altitude and I mistakenly read ~1500 feet as 2500 feet and he double checked and then told me what he was reading and I apologized and said his reading was correct :-)  About that time Departure probably cleared the whole airspace around the airfield so I could make it back without any further incidents.

That’s about the time I looked at my watch and realized I had 25 minutes to pick up my home teaching companion.  So I flew straight back to madison county, crossed midfield with my engines already idling so I could lose 1000 feet to get down to pattern altitude and then turned and landed the plane.  This was my only full-stall landing of the flight as the winds were pretty calm.  I also decided to find a better technique than that as it involved a lot of crazy maneuvering and didn’t give me as much time on downwind as I would like to contemplate and prepare for the landing.

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