First Solo

Wow!  I haven’t had a first solo of any kind for a while, and I have to tell you my heartrate did exactly what you’d think it would do.  After buttoning the plane back together, and completing the sale, the seller handed me the keys, and told me to take her up under his supervision for a couple of circuits (he had a handheld on the ground if needed).

I fired it up, taxiied out to the active, and did my run-up.  I gotta tell you lining up on the active had my heart going, but the tailwheel training I had completed a couple of weeks prior came back, and I just did what I had been taught.  Throttle forward, raise the tail, aileron into the wind, rotate and I was off!

There was a bit of a wind blowing, and a few others in the circuit so I was pretty busy flying an unfamiliar plane, at an unfamiliar airport etc.  First circuit I had already planned on a low and over, just getting used to the plane in the circuit (I haven’t done any slow flight or stalls yet).  I was happy with the performance, and it slips great (I stayed away from the low speed end of things, flying more by feel than numbers).  The second time around, I had planned on a touch and go, but I was fast on the approach, so it ballooned in the flare, so around I went.  I have to admit, that I was getting a bit nervous that I’d never get it on the ground, but I set myself out another half mile for this attempt and rode final at the speed I had been told.  It still felt fast, but with a long grass runway ahead of me, I knew that all I needed to do was get the wheels on the ground and I’d be able to stop.  I ballooned in the flare again, but I committed to holding the three-point attitude and applied a bit of power to smooth things out and it settled in (a little harder than I liked).  I just held the stick back, brought the throttle to idle and I rolled to a stop.

I took a bit too long on the backtrack, another plane had to go around, but with shaking hands (and a big grin) I taxiied back to the hanger and shut it down.

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