Today was perfect weather for a solo but since 811JD’s NAV panel is out of service Bob didn’t want to send me out of the pattern yet. He did say we might be able to get in a solo in the pattern, however, so we headed out to preflight with soloing as the goal. We got up in the air and the weather was good but as time progressed more and more planes started to enter the pattern. It got to the point where we were pushed to a four and a half mile final behind multiple other planes so Bob decided to ditch the solo plan and just practice landings. My landings were ok, however I tended to sink much more than usual. Over all it was a pretty standard lesson. I might be switching over to a glass cockpit (G1000 Avionics) in the future so there’s plenty of action left in store before I take my flight test.
I soloed for the second time today and I felt even better about it than the first. My radio calls were on point, my landings were smooth, safe, and short with no screeching on the tires, and I generally felt more confident as pilot in command. It was pretty similar to my first solo however (hence the title) as I did the exact same thing (3 takeoffs and landings) and in the same amount of time (0.7 hours). We began the lesson similar to how we had on my first solo, flying northbound. We practiced holding headings, picking out landmarks, and theorizing about emergency landings spots. We then turned to the southwest and reentered Caldwell’s airspace from the west instead of the north as we usually do. After doing a few touch and goes on runway 4 Bob asked for a short approach on runway 10 (I had never landed on runway 10 before) and we taxiied back to the ramp. Bob got out of the plane and wished me luck again. My first landing was pretty normal but as time progressed the pattern started to get more and more busy until it got to the point where on my second downwind I was pushed all the way to a 4 mile base leg behind 4 other planes (one of which was flying the opposite pattern). I landed fine however and by the time I took off for my final go around the traffic pattern it had quieted down a bit. My Mom was there watching and she took a bunch of photos so I’ll upload those once I get my hands on them. I also am going to bring a shirt to my next lesson because Tom told me he would cut the shirt tail off and draw 1JD on it to commemorate my first solo.
On this lesson I was hoping to complete my second solo flight however the weather was disinclined to grant my wish. The clouds were barely VFR, the visibility was very low, and, although the winds weren’t too bad, the temperature dewpoint spread was only a few degrees indicating the looming possibility of rain. So instead of soloing I went with Bob to Lincoln Park airport (close enough to Caldwell to be able to get back in a hurry if the weather were to close in on us) and we practiced short fields. It was pretty eerie to see how fast visibility dropped once we got close to the clouds (which we did on a few occassions). We stayed at Lincoln Park for 2 landings and 1 go around (I felt I was too high so I went around on my second approach). We then returned to Caldwell and landed full stop. Besides the weather it was a pretty unremarkeable flight when compared to my previous flight (My first solo) but I gained some invaluable experience with weather observation and avoidance.