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Piper Warrior Flight  (Total: 1.0 Dual, 4 Landings)

Well, Monday didn't happen.  I ended up having a meeting scheduled during the time I wanted to fly so I had to re-schedule until Friday.  

Friday took a month to arrive, and the weather wasn't playing nice.  I awoke that morning to Thunderstorms and hard rain.  The weatherman said it was going to clear up some and then Thunderstorm some more that night.  I decided to go to the airport and see what was happening there.  I arrived early, so I parked at the park-and-ride at the end of the runway and watched 3 Cessna's and a Piper doing pattern work.  That at least made me feel a bit better about my chances to go up.  

I drove to the School office and looked around some.  I met my instructor, Travis, and we decided to go ahead and go up early.  We walked to the back room and he opened a syllabus for the training.  He explained that we would be learning about safety and airplane systems, and that the flight will consist of low flight levels (<2000 ft) due to the weather.  I informed him that I had been studying ground school for about 3 months, and had just picked up the Jepessen Pilots Flight Manual.  

We went out to the plane, A Piper Warrior. (I'm not sure the year) and climbed in.  It wasn't the most graceful entry maneuver, but more so than the Cessna I flew  earlier.   He asked if I wanted to go through the entire startup procedure, or have him do the pre-flight and get the engine started.  I chose the latter, because we were needing to get into the air soon so as to avoid the incoming weather.  He started the engine, and we started taxiing down the runway. He had me take over from there, and I must say, I performed a lot better taxiing than my first flight.  We stopped before the runway and continued the checklists.  

The plane checked out fine, and we started out to the runway.  We lined up, and I put the throttle in all the way, and we started rolling.  At 65 knots or so, I pulled back on the stick and we started taking off.  We flew out to about 1500 ft and turned south.  He showed me several basic maneuvers, and handled most of the rudder for me.  I worked the flight yolk, and the throttle.  It was unusual driving single handed, but I got used to it quickly enough.  I was able to keep altitude fairly well, and my turns were OK.  Climbing turns and descending turns were next, and somewhat challenging.  We did various maneuvers for about 40 minutes or so, and we flew back to the airport and started touch-and-go's.  That was a pleasant surprise.  I didn't expect to do any of those for a couple of more lessons.  

The first time, he talked me though the landing (with help of course).  I was trying to flare the airplane A LOT more than was necessary.  I had been reading all this time, and assumed that the angle was greater.  The instructor had me release my back pressure on the wheel and stated that he would show me the proper flare the next time around.  On the second attempt, it was better.  We flared to a little higher than level and touched down smoothly.  That was pretty cool.  We were pretty lucky that the wind was straight down the runway today as my nerves were pretty raw from the first attempt, and the first landing on my discovery flight.  

The third landing was pretty good, but I was too low on the approach and had to hold off my descent some.  I got my first taste of the approach light system (VASI?) and that was pretty cool.  We landed fairy smoothly even though I had been overcorrecting pretty badly on the approaches.  The last approach was uneventful, and we performed a full stop this time and went back to the FBO.  I did the shutdown checklist this time, and we got out and went inside the office. 

Travis stated that I did pretty good for my first flight, and was able to control the plane fairly well.  He signed off a full hour in my virgin logbook, and we talked for a couple of minutes more.  I bought an E6B Flight computer and that Jepessen Flight Manual from the store and went home.  As I was pulling out of the airport, the thunderstorm hit, and I was driving home with a distinct sense of relief that I was able to make my first flying lesson without hitting that storm.  Driving after flying was also strange.  I'm not sure if it was from coming off of the high of flying, or the difference in the two techniques that made it strange.

My next lesson is on Thursday and the weather forecast looks promising so far.  I'll try to take some pictures next time and put them up.