Solo Program Journal Entries
Belle Hembree - Sullivan South High School - March 28, 2015
11 Jan 2015 Flight 1:
First flight down only 9 more to go! All I can say is WOW flying is much more complex than I thought! There are checklists and safety precautions that I never thought existed! I got to watch Lt.Col. Powley do a preflight inspection and it was overwhelming. Then I climbed into the airplane and went through the before takeoff checklist and it was like reading Chinese. I had no idea what any of the instruments were. After that we started to taxi to the runway and it took me awhile to get used to using my feet and not my hands for controlling the airplane! Before I knew it I was up in the air learning how to climb, level off, make 30 degree turns, descending and landing! I eventually learned what to do for a power-off stall! Its scary knowing that you have to force the plane to stall, but it's an even better feeling knowing that you can fix and recover from it. Finally we landed. I was somewhat happy that I was back on the ground but at the same time I could not wait to get back in the sky! I guess I love being up in the sky more than being on the ground. I can't wait to see what the next flight brings!
1 Feb 2015 Flight 2:
After two weeks of weather, I finally got to fly again. This time I had a little more sense of what I was doing and how the plane works. Today I learned the minimum airspeed of which the Cessna can fly, what to do in a power-on stall, and how to make 45/60 degree turns. My favorite part was learning how to make the turns, it made me feel like I was Superman! Another reason is that Lt. Col. Powley said I kicked his butt at turning and he has been flying for years and this is only my second flight. It was a great confidence booster. With that I felt like I could do anything I wanted! After this we worked on the pattern. By the end of the flight Lt. Col. Powley said I can start making the radio calls next week! I can't wait. I'm so excited!
8 Feb 2015 Flight 3:
All I can say is that I despise wind, but at the same time you can't control it and if you can't handle a little wind you don't deserve to be in that plane! Today we worked on turns about a point, and S turns across a road. With the wind turning was a bit off but I eventually got the hang of it. After this we worked on the pattern. Getting to call for the first time was nerve-racking because you have to remember what to say, when to say it and how to say it. The first time I called in, I pressed the red button and called in. Afterwards I was happy that I didn't get tongue-tied and mess up the call! My landings are a work in progress, but they are getting better so thats a positive! At the end of the day we did two touch-and-go's and one full stop.
28 Feb 2015 Flight 4:
Weather strikes again! Finally after a two week break I'm back at it! I'll admit being off for two weeks made me feel rusty, and boy was I! It took me a little while to get used to the plane again. Today I learned how to do a go-around, how to do forward and side slips. My favorite thing I learned was simulated engine failure. There we were flying along when all of a sudden Lt. Col. Powley messes with the throttle and carb heat. He says "You lost an engine, what do you do?" In my mind I froze and the thought of landing came to mind. I told him that landing would be the best option. He told me what to do in case this was ever to happen to me while flying alone. I guess I liked it because I got the feeling of "Ha you can't fool me airplane!" My landings were okay at best. All I can say is that I have missed flying, and I wish the weather would let me!
1 Mar 2015 Flight 5:
Today I worked on the pattern so much I think I can fly it blindfolded! With each pattern came something else to fix. I guess I'm still a little rusty. My main problem was getting off a little opposite the point of touchdown, but with each pattern it got a little better. Lt. Col. Powley and I reviewed simulated engine failure and by doing that I got to use runway 05 for the first time! I had to learn that even though you may be over pavement you're not on the runway until you pass the thick white line before the runway number. My landings are come and go and it's making me mad. I know that I can do a good landing but sometimes I don't know what happens and it turns into an awful landing. Practice is progress! I hope to eventually make three nearly perfect landings by next flight.
8 Mar 2015 Flight 6:
Oh, the repetition! Today I worked on the pattern even more! This time I took off and while we were climbing Lt. Col. Powley takes a cushion and covers my flight instruments. My first thoughts were "What are you doing!? I need those!" I finally learned that the picture of flight is more important that just continually looking in the cockpit at your instruments. He ended up leaving the cushion over my instruments until we were opposite point of touchdown. It was nerve-racking and I did not like it one bit. When he finally removed the cushion I felt relieved and at the same time accomplished. I knew that I could fly the plane without my main focus being inside the cockpit, but on the horizon and areas outside the plane. At one point while landing I was in the flare and the wind caught the plane and pushed me off to the side. I freaked out, but recovered. By the end of the day we did a total of 13 patterns which included one emergency landing to each runway and a go-around on runway 05. On to the next flight!
15 Mar 2015 Flight 7:
Today was a little different. I usually take off on runway 23, but today we took off on runway 05. After our before takeoff checks Lt. Col. Powley said call in to taxi runway 05 and I looked at him and gave this look and said "I've never used runway 05 for takeoff before what do I say?" It was funny because he acted like it was no big deal but I was freaking out on the inside because this is something I haven't learned yet. After we got to runway 05 I called in and we took off. Lt. Col. Powley once again took that dreadful cushion and placed it over my flight instruments, but this time I told myself "Nice try, you can't fool me!" He kept it there until we were left base of runway 05 and he took the cushion away and I was almost spot on! At the end of the lesson we had done 10 total patterns. I had a problem staying parallel on downwind. My landings were mostly high and my flare still needs work.
15 Mar 2015 Flight 8:
Twice in one day is pretty great! After the first flight we landed and got the plane refueled. While that was going on we went inside and we talked about how to improve my landings. After this we got in, strapped in, and went back up into the air for another go. This time we worked on the patterns and my favorite - emergency landings! Near the end of the flight I had made progress and I was very happy with myself. At one point while flying I looked over to Lt. Col. Powley and he looked as if he were asleep. He indicated that this is his favorite time while flying a student because he doesn't have to worry about anything unless the student messes up completely and I was not about to do that! At the end of this flight Lt. Col. Powley said that I could possibly Solo next Sunday! He said it was up to me, but I still had this feeling that I needed to fly just one more time before I Solo. We will have to see what the next flight brings!
22 Mar 2015 Flight 9:
Today we worked and worked and worked on the pattern. I got to use runway 05 once again, but this time I knew what I was doing. We did 11 patterns to runway 05. Each time we landed it got better and my confidence in landing was increasing. Near the end I had the best landing yet! After that I told myself that if you can do it once you can do it again. So, when the time came to land again I reminded myself of what I did last time. The ground got closer and I started to get nervous. I told myself you can do it, you can do it, and before I knew it we landed and it was not what I wanted. So we did one last pattern and this time when it came to landing I was determined to get it right. The runway got closer, the ground got closer, my view of the runway got wider, and I landed. This landing wasn't perfect but it was better than the last one so I felt a little better about it.
22 Mar 2015 Flight 10:
I could get used to going twice in one day! The second time we went up in the air we did a practice "solo" to runway 05. We took off and I was getting nervous. I knew Lt. Col. Powley wasn't going to tell me to correct myself, I had to do it all by myself. After the first touch-and-go the nervousness went away. By the second touch-and-go I knew I had this in the bag! The last pattern we did I had complete and total control! I knew what to do and what to call! By the end of the flight I didn't want to stop flying because I knew that next Sunday would be my last chance to fly! My landings were all mine! Each landing got better and better and by the end of the practice "solo" I felt invincible in my landings! I can not wait to Solo next Sunday!
28 Mar 2015 Solo:
I finally did it! I flew all by myself! Today I got to Greeneville airport and Lt. Col. Powley and I went up and did another practice "solo" before my real solo! With each pattern I got more confident and at the same time nervous. After my practice "solo" we taxied back to the hanger and before I knew it Lt. Col. Powley stepped out of the plane and said "Be sure to add Solo after all your calls! See you when you get down!" I sat there for almost 2 minutes trying to process that I was about to fly this plane ALONE! Lt. Col. Powley wasn't going to be in there to tell me to fix it or watch your distance parallel to the runway. I called in to taxi to runway 23. Finally I reached runway 23 and called in to depart. I turned the corner onto the runway and pushed the throttle all the way in. At that moment I knew that there was no turning back. As I lifted the nose up and the plane took flight I got this feeling of excitement and nervousness. I had to remind myself to calm down and focus on what I was about to do. I got on final for the first time and I started to think about my landing. The runway got closer and closer, I go into my flare and touchdown smoothly. After this I got the feeling of accomplishment and that I could do this all by myself. I take off, go through the pattern and I get back to final once again. This time I knew that this landing was going to be just like the last! I go into my flare and the wind catches the plane and pushes it sideways and I go to fix it. I ended up landing on the left rear tire then the right rear tire and finally the front tire. I freaked out but reminded myself that I did my best for what happened. I go up for the last time. On this pattern I took in the view one last time. I realized what an amazing feeling flying gives you. I turn onto final, called in, looked at the runway and made my best landing yet! I get off the runway make my call "Greeneville traffic Cessna 690 Solo, clear of the active, Greeneville." I went through my after landing checklist, taxied back to the hanger, went through the securing airplane checklist. I turned the master switch off, then I turned the key to off one last time. I opened the door, stepped out, and flung my arms into the air and said "I did it, I flew Solo!" I walked over to Lt. Col. Powley and gave him a hug. We went into the building for my final debrief and some celebratory doughnuts! We went outside and took pictures and it was awesome! I think it is great that I get to say I flew a plane solo! Now that it is over I'm going to miss it and the feeling of being able to fly. I am glad I got this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It will be something that I will never forget.
Katherine Scheiman - Milligan College - May 22, 2015
Flight 1 (Lessons 1-2):
Flying is incredible. It's just good. My first flight was really special because it was the first day the weather was clear enough to fly after 2 weeks of snow. So from the air everything was white and snowy. It was awesome. I really can hardly believe I was actually flying today. It doesn't seem like this could be real life. Also, I was somewhat surprised that Col. Powley actually let me do a good bit of actually controlling the airplane. I guess I kinda expected him to do most of that himself today and just let me watch. It was incredible though! Taxiing was pretty horrible. I'm not used to steering with my feet at all! For some reason I want to use left rudder to make the plane go right and visa versa. I was all over the runway and I think Col. Powley was afraid I was gonna put us in the snow a few times. Flying was great though! It is actually pretty hard to maintain straight and level flight. I tend to want to pull the nose up too high.
Flight 2 (Lesson 3-4):
28 February 2015: During the pre-flight checks for some reason I couldn't remember the name of the position lights. I even forgot from wing to wing! I've got to remember those. Flying today was amazing. A lot of stuff felt a whole lot more natural and familiar which really helped calm my brain down so I could actually think about what I was doing and how I could do it better. Taxiing went much better, but I'm still having a little trouble with it. It just feels weird to steer with your feet. We did stalls, 45 and 60 degree steep bank turns, and a little bit of "weightless flight" just for the fun of it. I had so much fun. Stalls felt pretty interesting, but I think the 60 degree banked turns were my favorite. It sort of reminded me of an extreme version of leaning around a corner on my bike. He said I did really well with them. I am struggling with my landings. I feel like there is so much to think about and remember as you go through the traffic pattern in preparation to land, and by the time I get there I'm a little stressed out and not thinking quite straight. I am having some trouble keeping the correct airplane attitude and especially lining up with the runway. Also, I have a tendency to push the throttle in when I'm trying to slow down, and pull it out when I want to speed up. I wonder if it could have something to do with muscle memory since that's also my throttle hand on my bike, and I basically "pull" to go faster. I've got to break that habit.
Flight 3 (Lesson 5):
1 March 2015: Today's flight was great. I got to ride my bike to the airport which was great after not having really ridden since I wrecked it in January. When I got there, I went ahead and did the preflight inspection by myself. In the air, we did some S turns across the road, some turns about a point (a grain silo) another set of 60 degree banked turns "to see if I was just lucky last time" and several touch and go landings. I feel like I'm finally starting to get used to the traffic pattern and what I'm supposed to do when and why and it doesn't all feel quite so difficult anymore, but I'm still struggling with lining up with the runway. I tend to lean on the left side of the yoke and over shoot to the left of the runway. I'm actually also still having a little trouble with taxiing but it's getting better. I am also having some victory with regard to pushing the throttle in the correct direction! I still made a few mistakes but not as severe. I want to break his "time-to-solo" record. I want to solo in under 5 hours. But I also really just want to fly as much as possible.
Flight 4 (Lesson 6-7):
6 March 2015: Flying is fun. We did slips, go arounds, and practiced crabbing into and out of the wind. We also got to practice "crash landing" which was really fun. Basically, while flying around, Col. Powley would randomly say "uh oh you lost your engine! you better land!" and I had to pick an appropriate field and set up to land in it. It was difficult and actually pretty stressful trying to find a good field to set up to land in, especially without being able to add any power. Part of the problem was that it had just rained and most of the fields were flooded, but it was a really good exercise to think about what I would do if I did need to land, especially on my solo. One really helpful thing that I learned was that you can actually land in a very close field without gaining speed by side slipping down to it. I would definitely not feel exactly confident doing it, but I think I could do it if necessary. Not sure if the plane would survive, but I think I would at least have a chance. After all that fun, we went and did a ton of touch and goes. They went well, but I need to work on my radio calls. Right now, they take so much thought I tend to forget to actually keep controlling the airplane, which isn't really ok.
Flight 5 (Lesson 8): 13 March 2015:
Well today was bizarre and rather embarrassing. Hm. I'm really not sure what happened today exactly, but I don't know if you could actually call it flying. All we did was fly a bunch of patterns/did touch and goes (like 10). I think I did every single pattern different. I could not get my radio calls right and my "landings" were all over the place. I passed 5 hours today and I really don't think I'm close to soloing right now. haha, oh well. I will just have to work on my patterns and calls at home and solo when I'm ready..
Flight 6 (Lesson 8): 15 March 2015:
Flying today went much better than it went on Friday. I practiced going over everything in my head on Saturday quite a bit and I think that helped. We stayed in the pattern again today. My calls and pattern procedures went pretty smoothly for the most part, but my landing is still a little rough. It was a little bit windy today, so I could blame it on that, but I don't know if that's actually fair. I get the feeling that I would have crashed the plane a lot of times if Col. Powley didn't save our lives last minute over and over again. I can't really tell when and how much I need to pull back on the yoke in order to catch the plane in the landing flare. Like I said, my approach is pretty good for the most part, it's just the last, most important part that needs work.
Flight 7 (Lesson 8): 22 March 2015:
I still need work. Mostly on landing. Whenever I do a part of it right, for whatever reason I can't seem to replicate it the next time around. I think I have a pretty good idea of what I'm aiming for, I just can't make it happen like I want it to. I guess it's just gonna take time getting used to learning exactly how the plane responds to my controls. There's just a lot going on, and so much to think about each time. I have to not forget any of it!
Flight 8 (Lesson 8): 27 March 2015:
Got to do two flights today. Stayed in the pattern the while time. First pattern was almost perfect, but it deteriorated after that. I guess I got stressed. I'm having a little trouble staying lined up with the runway again, and a lot of trouble with my flair still.
Flight 9 (Lesson 8): 29 March 2015:
Today was bad. Still staying in the pattern, but it was like I'd forgotten everything and nothing went well. I'm a little frustrated because I like flying, but right now lessons are mostly just stressful because I'm trying so hard to figure out how to land well. Haha, I'm glad Col. Powley is patient and a good sport.
Flight 10 (Lesson8): 17 April 2015:
Finally got to fly again after having what feels like a really long break. It actually went really well for the most part - I think I needed some time to step back and de-stress from it. Once again, my first pattern/landing was the best so after flying for a while we decided to take a break and come back to see if my first one would be awesome again. It was ok, but not perfect. He had me do a go-around to break things up a bit, which was really fun and helped get me thinking a little more actively, but I did the go-around wrong (carb heat before throttle). Oh well. I'm trying hard and still having fun so I'm ok with it. I did say I wanted to get as much flight time as possible. Looks like I'm doing that!
Flight 11 (Lesson 8): 24 April 2015:
The plan was to solo today. Unfortunately it didn't happen. It still felt really good to fly again - it has been over a month since my last lesson! For the most part, I'm not really having much trouble. I feel really comfortable in the plane, and I feel really confident in my controls, but that landing flare is just very, very elusive. I get it sometimes, and not others. I guess it doesn't really count if I can fly a plane but not land it consistently. I'm still messing up my radio calls too; like I'll say "right base" instead of "left base." In some ways it's almost just kind of funny at this point. I really do know the calls, they just come out wrong all the time. Poor guy at the radio. Anyway, I guess I'm making progress on my landing. It's just really, really slow progress. I'm just frustrated that Dad and James came to watch me solo and they ended up driving all that way and waiting around for nothing. I guess I'll just solo when I'm ready.
Flight 12 (Lesson 9): 22 May 2015:
Flying honestly went really well today. It really did. I had a couple of really good landings that were totally mine that I felt really good about. It's just frustrating because even though now and then I can do a great one, it's not consistent, and so Col. Powley doesn't feel comfortable letting me solo. Honestly, I think I could do it. My landings might not be pretty, but I feel very confident that I could get the plane on the ground safely without Col. Powley in the plane. That's probably because every time I start to do something wrong, I have learned to anticipate him correcting me even before he does. He is frustrated though, because I seem to be stuck and my good landings are still really sporadic, and he frequently steps in just above the ground to help me land the plane. I'm frustrated because he is frustrated.
I just soloed!!! It felt so good. Oh man it was amazing. After landing after our last flight, Col. Powley asked if I would like to go up with another instructor to see if he could explain things in a slightly different way that I could understand better, so I did. We did I think 3 patterns and they were a little crazy. My first landing was perfect and it was all mine! I think to some extent it was a result of me not stressing about trying to make Col. Powley happy. The other two were a little crazy. The other instructor had me do things quite differently (perfect pattern procedures weren't as important as simply flying the airplane) and it got me thinking a little more which was great. Those landings weren't perfect, but they were safe, and after we had taxied back to the airport, Col. Powley asked me if I wanted to go up by myself. I said "Yes!!!" I wasn't ever really scared about it. I knew I would be fine. Taking off totally alone with no one else in the plane with me felt amazing. There was one moment just after I took off that I felt a twinge of "there's no one here to save me if I mess up" but I honestly knew I really didn't need any saving. I had done this quite literally hundreds of times before and this would be no different. It wasn't. My landings weren't great or beautiful, but they happened just fine.
Austin Stone - Cocke County - June 5, 2015
Flight 1 (lesson 1 & 2): 28 February 2015:
The first flight was amazing. Flying over the snow-covered city of Greeneville, Tennessee was just amazing. I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to fly an aircraft. In this lesson I took off and executed turns in the air and landed the aircraft and secured it. All in all it was a good first flight, although I was a bit nervous. Also in the first flight I was instructed on how to properly trim the aircraft at the correct altitude, and maintain straight and level flight. I am looking forward to more flying experience.
Flight 2 (lesson 3 & 4): 1 March 2015:
Today I worked on steep bank turns and it was absolutely amazing. I did the 60-degree bank turn very well. The only issue was when I first attempted it I would allow the bank to go too far. This was quickly corrected, as I got more comfortable in the cockpit. I also completed 3 patterns on today's flight. I need to learn to not attempt to correct altitude with trim. Also work on holding correct picture.
Flight 3 (lesson 5): 8 March 2015:
This flight was an interesting one. I worked on doing S-turns as well as turns around a point. I was complimented for good air work and good S-turns, however when I first attempted the turns around a point I had difficulties maintaining the correct distance from the point. I cannot wait until I can perfect my air work!
Flight 4 (lesson 6): 29 March 2015:
Today I began to work more with the radio calls and worked more in the pattern. Also today was extremely exciting as we worked on emergency landings and slips, which required a go around. I need to loosen my grip and relax so I can better remember the correct procedures. I am getting there.
Flight 5 (lesson 7): 20 April 2015:
It has been a while but I am super exited to begin flying again today. I am now in the pattern and I am ready to master my landings and get in the hours for my solo!
Flight 6 (lesson 8): 3 May 2015:
Well today was not my best day. However it was good. I learned a lot and I feel better now than I have before. I got extra landings in as I had the chance to fly twice this week. I need to work on the flare and get that down and I am so close I can almost taste it.
Flight 7 (lesson 8 continued): 17 May 2015:
I am getting better in the flare. I am still having issues with when to level off above the runway but I am certainly improving. I do need to work on holding the button longer in radio calls.
Flight 8 (lesson 8 continued): 24 May 15:
Many issues today. Very uncharacteristic flight, my landings where improved but I was all over the place in the air. I believe it was due to the inexperience in the wind conditions, now I am more accustomed to flying with a crosswind and I am sure I will do better next time.
Flight 9 (lesson 8 continued): 31 May 2015:
Great day of flying. Finally the time has arrived. I am due to solo Friday 5 June 2015, and I couldn't be any happier. It has been a wonderful experience and I have been blessed to be able to work with such an amazing instructor. Lt. Colonel Powley has taught me so much and it has paid off, I am ready to solo.
Solo Flight (lesson 9):5 June 2015:
The day has finally came. I had some issues during the first half of the lesson but I worked them out and was allowed to take control of the aircraft solo for the first time. It was amazing and it was extremely smooth. The entire experience was a blast.
Devin Holt - Cocke County - June 5, 2015
Flight 1: 28 Feb. 2015:
Today was my first time flying ever. It was easier than expected, but exhilarating nonetheless. We're already finished with our first two lessons!
Flight 2: 1 March 2015:
Today we did steep turns, which was really fun although I tend to go a little too steep. We also did stalls, which I personally like better than the turns, I guess because of the element of danger involved. I am definitely loving flying.
Flight 3: 8 March 2015:
After our third day, I can say I'm starting to feel more comfortable in the air, although I keep having trouble holding the correct picture. It'll come eventually though, I hope. My turns, while not the best, are fairly good. I'm ready for what comes next.
Flight 4: 29 March 2015:
It's been awhile since I've flown, but I don't feel too rusty. We did slips which are my new favorite thing. I also know what to do if my engine goes out now, which is always nice. Today was our last day out in the field.
Flight 5: 20 April 2015:
Again, it's been awhile since I've gotten to fly. I definitely need help with my landings, but all the touch-and-go's coming up should help with that. At least I have my radio calls down already.
Flight 6: 17 May 2015:
Using the other runway was a little odd today, but it was still a successful flight even though it rained a little. I'm up to almost five hours! I'm figuring out all the pictures, although I now drift to the right on takeoff. There's always something.
Flight 7: 24 May 2015:
There was a little wind today, but everything went smoothly. Other than my flare, I'm confident in everything. A few more weeks and we should be ready!
Flight 8: 31 May 2015:
Another successful day, especially since I'm figuring out the flare. We're expecting to solo this Friday at 0900. I couldn't be more excited! Here's to the start of hopefully a long flying career.
Flight 9: 5 June 2015:
I finally did my solo today. It was amazing! The plane felt a little different, but everything went smoothly. It was definitely one of the best experiences I have ever been through. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.
Olivia Drake - William Blount High School - March 16, 2014
Flight 1: 4 June 2013:
On 4 June 2013, I had my first flight lesson. I enjoyed it. Although, I was confused on how to read the compass and had trouble grasping whether to push the throttle in or pull it out. I need to work on focusing more on the outside and less on the instruments. My goal before my next lesson is to have all of the required memorization memorized. I can't wait to learn more and to solo!
Flight 2: 25 June 2013:
Today, I had my second lesson. I learned about steep bank turns and stalls. I memorized the flight control checks, but I still need to work on memorizing the instrument checks. I did better taxiing and with the throttle. I did two touch and go's. I really enjoyed this lesson. I need to work on keeping the airplane level and maintaining the correct altitude. I cannot wait for my next lesson.
Flight 3: 21 July 2013:
I had my third flight lesson. I didn't do as well as my other flights. We did S turns and turns around a point. The turns around a point were easier than the S turns. I was a little confused at first. I hope to do better my next lesson. This lesson wasn't my best.
Flight 4: 1 December 2013:
Today was my first flight since I received my medical certificate to fly. I was really excited about getting to start flying again even though it almost felt as if it was my first flight all over again. I was confused and couldn't remember a lot of what we had done over the summer. We worked on lesson six, but I was not able to complete it. I have a lot of work to do to solo and I will work as hard as I possibly can.
Flight 5: 20 December 2013:
Today I had more of a review flight. It was nice to have a review after such a long time of not flying. I need to work more on memorizing and being more confident in the airplane before I will be able to solo. I also need to work on my turns, keeping level flight, and many other things. I plan to work as hard as I can to fix what I am doing wrong.
Flight 6: 31 December 2013:
Today's flight was definitely not one of my best. I forget what I have memorized when I get into the airplane but I know it when I'm at home. Almost like forgetting what I have studied for a test. We completed lessons six and seven and spent a lot of time in the pattern. I need to work at getting the right picture and staying in line with the runway during takeoff. I'm going to do my absolute best to show more improvement before my next flight.
Flight 7: 5 January 2014:
Today I got about two hours of flight time. We spent time in the pattern along with doing some teardrops to the runways. I need to focus more on the outside and less on the inside of the airplane. I also need to work A LOT on runway alignment. I also need to continue on working on keeping the right picture at all times. I hope to work on all of this and do better on my next lesson, so I can hopefully solo soon.
Flight 8: 12 January 2014:
Today I made my first landing on my own. I ended up on the far right of the runway instead of the middle though. I still need to work on my alignment with the runway and focus more on the outside of the airplane. I am also still in a constant right bank. I hope to improve on my next lesson and will continue to do my best.
Flight 9: 9 February 2014:
Today's lesson was a lot better than my others. I was able to stay in line with the runway, for the most part, but I still stay in a constant right bank. I hope to fix this my next lesson and continue to show improvement.
Flight 10: 16 February 2014:
Today's lesson went well. We continued flying in the pattern. I need to work more on my landings and stop over correcting but still correct before it is too late. I hope to continue to show improvements and do better next week.
Flight 11: 23 February 2014:
Today's lesson didn't go as well as some of my others. I need to do more cross checking and be faster at correcting errors. I also still need to work on landings. I plan to watch the takeoffs and landings video again before my next lesson, to hopefully do more improving. I hope to do a lot more improving next week.
Flight 12: 2 March 2014:
Today's lesson went really well. My landings are improving but could still use some work. I hope to continue progressing at this rate, so I can hopefully solo soon!
Flight 13: 9 March 2014:
Today's lesson went really well. My landings have improved a lot. I could've actually soloed today, but my family wasn't there and I didn't have my shirt. I'm hopefully going to solo next week. Hopefully, the weather will permit.
Flight 14: 16 March 2014:
Today I finally soloed! I was (and still am) super excited. The weather was rainy but that didn't bother me. It was more exciting than getting my acceptance and scholarship letters to Charleston Southern! It took a long wait from the FAA for my medical certificate and 15.6 hours of flying time but it was beyond worth it. I would go through it again if I had to. I was really lucky to have such a good and patient instructor. This was definitely an experience of a lifetime.
Alex Grunwell - Karns High School - July 28, 2014
Flight 1: 30 June 2014:
First real flight time. I was very excited - that was only the second time I've been in a plane. Had some experience with crosswind flight and did two landings. Today, I started learning proper radio communications, and I think I got it down. I didn't realize how strong of a tailwind we had and we got pushed out further than we expected turning base. I got to practice stalls and stall recovery. Colonel says I have a really bad fixation problem.
Flight 2: 2 July 2014:
I consistently forget to add right rudder on takeoff. I have aggressive tendencies when I am making corrections. I have to keep my hand on the throttle. I didn't eat breakfast and it was taking a toll on me. I was very tense and not paying attention to instrument readings. I need to relax more.
Flight 3: 4 July 2014:
Today we practiced slow flight, and I thought we were going to die. I still seem to fixate too much, and am trying to fix it. Learning to live by the "Aviate, Navigate, Communicate" concept.
Flight 4: 8 July 2014:
Yet again, I fixate on the instruments instead of taking short glances. However my "feel" for the aircraft has improved. I still make aggressive turns. RIGHT RUDDERRRR!!!!! My radio calls seem to be the best thing I'm doing. I understand the pattern fully now.
Flight 5: 14 July 2014:
Only flew 0.4 today, didn't have a headset but, I decided to try flying anyway. Not a good idea. I wasn't comfortable. So, I asked colonel to land because I didn't feel right.
Flight 6: 15 July 2014:
Today was a much better day for me! I realized that if I talk to myself while I fly, I do much better. So, call me crazy, but I'm going to talk to myself more often. My final approaches were always high or low. Still need work on my rudder control. Must set and maintain the flight picture.
Flight 7: 16 July 2014:
Fixation problems getting better. Better control on rudder. My landings still suckkkk.
Flight 8: 18 July 2014:
Chair Fly. Talk to myself before I go up. Think ahead. If I make a change, understand what could happen and what should happen. Right rudder. Stay outside!
Flight 9: 20 July 2014:
I had better control over the plane. I basically flew the pattern by myself. I was consistently low on final and I didn't correct it. I was frustrated and that could have factored into my poor performance. I got to experience several 90/270's to practice my final approach. DON'T FORGET THE RIGHT RUDDER!
Flight 9: 20 July 2014:
GET HEAD IN GAME! Pattern flight is good, base and final sucks. Don't fly the PAPI!
Flight 10: 26 July 2014:
I tend to dive on final. Realizing how important pitch and power are. Finished correcting all testing to 100%.
Flight 11: 28 July 2014:
Had to switch back "608" today. Different "feel" than 91E. Hope I don't have to solo in this aircraft. I am still diving on final! I consistently roll out high and fast on final.
Flight 12, Initial Solo: 28 July 2014:
Back in 91E, wasn't as nervous as I expected. I handled the radios confidently, and controlled the plane appropriately. I was excited, and thrilled to show my instructor that I could do it, that he was a good teacher, to show myself that I could do it. I completed two landings, one of which was far more "pretty" than the other, but both were sufficient.
William Schuettler - Elizabethton High School September 20, 2014
Flight 1: 8 August 2014:
I was skeptical of the weather approaching the airport. The visibility didn't look good to me from the ground, but it was greater than 3 miles. We did a pre-flight inspection. After we finished that, we hopped in the airplane and we did all of the pre-start checks and I started the airplane. Our DI was precessing, so I had to align it with the runway even after setting it before taxi. On my rotation, I had way too much right rudder. It was like I knew that I would need it, so my brain was telling me to apply it, but I could see the plane going way off to the right of the centerline, and my mind lagged before I actually corrected the problem. We did some air work including stalls and turns before returning to the airport. My flare was nonexistent and we bounced pretty hard, I am extremely upset at myself and can't believe I made such an error, when I know I'm capable of so much better.
Flight 2: 16 August 2014:
Today was beautiful. It had to be the smoothest flight I've had yet. Today we mostly worked on stalls and slow flight. It's amazing that a 172 can fly as slow as 39 to 40 knots and maintain altitude. It's a lot of work to get it to do that, but doing it properly leaves me feeling great about my ability. My landing was much better than last time. We did a pattern after landing and after we made our communications and started rolling down runway 24, this guy announces he's taking off on the opposite. I didn't say anything because I was sure in my mind that we were going to make it. I should have. Mr. Mills keyed the mic and told him that he better not, he's got a guy taking off on 24. He later told me that even if I think we're going to make it, to leave no chances. If we had an engine failure or had to abort, things would have been disastrous.
Flight 3: 23 August 2014:
After today's flight I was talking with someone about the first time they did patterns all day. They said they felt like they went 4 rounds with Mike Tyson. I wholeheartedly agree. We flew for 1.8 hours and it was ALL patterns. I'd say we did roughly eleven. We had to change our pattern a few times to avoid clouds, but we got in some good training. Every landing and takeoff was an improvement. I was getting more experience and comfort with the airplane. I learned how to scare geese off of the runway. If you can climb to avoid a bird do that; never try to go under one. They are just like airplanes; if there is no relative movement between myself and the bird I need to take action. I also found that just relaxing and not being so uptight in the airplane really helps when flying. The more I worry and get nervous about my flying, the worse I do. I just have to sit back, relax, and trust myself because I know what to do and how to do it, there's no need to get nervous.
Flight 4: 28 August 2014:
Today was an evening flight and it was absolutely gorgeous, a bit hazy, but gorgeous. The air was smooth and there was no traffic. We briefly reviewed stalls and low airspeed work. I was then introduced to unusual attitude recovery, which is something else. It really teaches you to trust the instruments instead of what you feel. You can pick up on some things though. You will know what the RPM is like based on the sound of the propeller. We also did some instrument training, which I was more comfortable with than actually flying visually. I feel like I'm more accurate when I only use instruments. I need to improve on rudder control when practicing stalls and low airspeed work, and especially let up on the rudder once we are finished with these maneuvers. Furthermore, we did S-turns across a road, which I felt I did pretty well. After that we finished up with some turns about a point, which I did horribly with, and returned to the airport. My takeoffs have improved every time we've flown. My landings are getting better and I'm feeling more comfortable with the airplane. I also noticed when doing some steep turns today that I am becoming more tolerant to the g-forces. I'm progressing every time we fly, which is the main goal, and that's all I can ask for. Every day we get to fly is a great day!
Flight 5: 30 August 2014: Today was the worst flight that I've had on my path to soloing. We did patterns all day again, but this time we used runway 6, which I had never used. I believe this made me uneasy, as I can't think of a single moment during the entire flight that I was completely comfortable and relaxed. Almost every time I turned on to crosswind I would be off to the right and about 100 ft. high before I relaxed my throttle back to 2,000 rpm. I could tell this was making my instructor unhappy because he knows I am capable of much more which I have proven by previous actions. The problem was that I wasn't prioritizing correctly. Altitude is most critical in this situation, so that's the #1 thing I'm going to focus on around that point now. My second main issue arose during the flaring. Today I was having trouble landing the aircraft parallel to the centerline. I would get down and flare and the nose would fall off to one side. To correct this, I need to make sure I'm lined up with the centerline before I'm near the ground.
Then I need to make sure I land parallel to the centerline, whether I'm on it or not. More rudder pressure would also help me in this situation. I can also improve my flares by using a smoother transition rather than stages. At the end of the day I felt awful because I just was not performing up to my instructor's or my own standards. I wanted to get out of the airplane after the second pattern, but I didn't say anything because giving up is not an option for me. Staying in the aircraft continued to grant me experience and comfort, whereas leaving would have had no real benefit. Mr. Mills took the airplane after our final pattern when we got on the ground and taxied back to the ramp so I could relax. We then talked about how I could improve after today's flight and he gave me some words of motivation.
Flight 6: 6 September 2014:
Today we did a cross country to KTRI from 0A9 so that I could experience landing there as a backup plan just in case anything went wrong during my solo and I was forced to land elsewhere. I went there and came back to Elizabethton entering a direct crosswind for landing on runway 24. After that we proceeded to do patterns and I was shown slips. My landings throughout this process have been unacceptable for me. They haven't been unsafe, but they haven't been good. I think my problem is that for some reason I got the idea stuck in my head that I had to land on the runway numbers which was causing me to subconsciously pitch the nose down and aim towards them, giving me too much speed and causing me to balloon on my flare. I am eager to get back in the airplane and confirm that this was my problem so that I can regain my confidence once again.
Flight 7: Solo: 20 September 2014: Today I went to the airport at around 7:20 A.M. expecting to solo. We flew about 5 patterns using runway 6. My first one was absolutely horrendous; I'm going to blame the two week break. Every pattern after that was an improvement, but my downwind heading and flares needed work by the time we finished up, so Mr. Mills decided not to solo me out then. I did fix my main landing problem from all the previous flights, though. It was also time for the next person signed up on the schedule to fly the aircraft, so we couldn't extend the flight. After this I went to tri-city airport to view a P-51 and B-17, which was a great experience. I came back to the airport at 5:30 P.M. to do the preflight. I told myself," I'm going to solo tonight no matter what." I knew I had the ability to do this; I just needed to let myself know I was ready. So, I finish the preflight and I'm ready to go. Mr. Mills pulls up and gets in and we begin. I take off from runway 24. Again, each pattern is an improvement. After about 5 patterns including some final advisements and reminders, Mr. Mills leaves the aircraft and I'm alone. I taxi to the end of 24, complete my checklist, and take off. I took off and noticed, like I had heard and read about, the increased performance. I just did the pattern as normal; there wasn't really a difference. Today was the smoothest I had flown for sure. I took my hands off the controls for a few seconds on downwind and just sat back, relaxed, and took it all in before beginning my landing checklist.
My first landing was the best I had done during this whole process, granting me the confidence that I had this in the bag and the next two would be a cakewalk. They surely were. After my final landing, I taxied to the ramp after cleaning up the aircraft at the hold-short line, and did all of the pictures, shirt cutting, etc. It had been long overdue in my opinion, and I'm glad to have gotten it out of the way. I overcame the milestone. I'm making the transition from a student to a pilot, and can't wait to continue with my training. I'm extremely fortunate to have been given this opportunity by Lt. Col. Bill Powley. I'll never forget this day, all the guidance and everything Mr. Mills has done for me, and the extreme generosity of Mr. Powley that made this all happen. Words can't describe my elation. I did it.