Thursday, March 1, 2012

Knowing my Limits

March 1, 2012
Paine Field
Cessna 152
1.3 hours, 5 landings

The first thing I thought of when I woke up and saw the sky was that I would never get to fly today (though it was only 5am). The winds were bad, it was cold and raining like no other. I hated missing flight lessons, I live for them. Seriously, all I can think about is flying. I wake up Monday, and hurry through my day so it can be Tuesday, another day closer to my flight. Then the night before my lesson, I have a flutter of butterflies in my stomach all day. When the day comes my eyes are glued to the app on my phone and I update the METAR every hour to make sure the weather is staying good. When I know for sure my lesson wont get cancelled, my nerves are on edge the whole drive there to the point where I feel like I'm going to puke, my heart races and its just an overwhelming amount of feelings to handle in a short amount of time. Does anyone ever feel like this? Or am I the only one...? Usually my butterflies calm down about the time I walk into the flight school, somedays those persist. But, always right when I preflight they go away. Why? I have no idea.

So, today I assumed I wouldn't be going up, yet I continually checked the METAR's and I noticed that the ceiling was rapidly getting better and the winds were calming. It went from MVFR to VFR the hour before my flight lesson. The weather wouldn't be canceling my lesson after all. Then came the rush of those butterflies. I'd get to fly after all. This lesson was interesting, the weather was definitively questionable to fly in (well not questionable per say, I just wouldn't fly in it on my own). Not because it wasn't safe- it was. Winds weren't bad and the visibility was just fine, the sun was coming out. The ceiling just wasn't great. I got in some stalls, steep turns, and slow flight and then we headed back to Pain for some touch and goes. For the first time ever, when I called up Tower letting them know I was coming in for landing, I was able to repeat back to them what was being said fully. So exciting! I didn't pause, or spit something out, or just sit there with my mouth half open not knowing where to start in reading his directions back (where usually my CFI would step in). For the first time ever, it just came to me. One of my happiest moments ever!

We started our touch and goes at the smaller runway, but the clouds coming in were throwing me off. I had to do an odd pattern so as not to get in their way. ATC eventually called us to switch runways because the clouds were getting too bad on our side. So, little ol' me buzzed on by to the big boys runway where jet after jet was coming in and I had to extend my downwind a bunch or circle over the water till I could go in. Then there was the damn crosswinds. I did get to do some forward slips though. Is it weird that I loved them? It's just so convenient to throw in some aileron, opposite rudder and watch your plane glide itself on down. After a little while I noticed I started to get a headache, it kind of just snuck up on me. Knowing my limits, I asked my CFI if we could end our lesson for the day. I wanted to be a safe alert pilot. And lets face it, how safe can you really be with a throbbing headache? I really didn't want to end the flight, but its important to know your limits when it comes to flying.

Total cost invested thus far: $4214

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