I flew solo today!
So yesterday I went with snaxxx
up to the field for demo day. It looked like it was going to be a good day, but her flight with Gonzo was fairly short because they couldn't find any lift. It was a beautiful day though, and I hoped it would be similar on Sunday.
On the way back we drove Lime Creek Road southward, and I saw Ojas, who I'd driven the same road with the weekend before, driving his silver NSX the other way. Even though I wasn't driving my NSX we recognized each other.
This morning the weather looked socked in and overcast, but the weather radar showed that it was fairly isolated. The glider field wasn't getting rain but there were scattered showers all around. So I optimistically headed out.
I stopped by the bank on my way there, and drove through Georgetown to get to the field. Just north of Georgetown it started raining hard
. I turned onto 195 north and the rain tapered off a bit.
I was doing about 70 and came up behind a group of cars in front of me, and noticed that the last one was a state trooper. Oops, slow down a bit so it doesn't look like I'm coming up too fast. They were doing maybe 55-60 when the speed limit was 65. Eventally the police car pulls off to the right and gets behind me. That's exactly what happened I got my very first ticket. I'm just expecting the cop to turn his lights on for some reason or other. A few miles go by, me watching in my rear view mirror, but an SUV going the other way was going too fast. The cop turned around and turned his lights on. Whew.
Anyway, I arrived at the field and Bill (the instructor for the day) reviewed the rope break procedures again with Barry and I. (Barry started flying gliders about a week before I did.) Barry took the first rope break practice flight, then I did mine. Barry wanted to do one more instructor flight before solo, so I went solo first.
I got all strapped in and realized I was a bit nervous. The routine is just a pattern tow for first solo, which means you get towed up 1000 feet, release, turn around, and do a normal landing (into the wind, the same direction you take off). During the takeoff roll the glider got airborne sooner than normal, because I didn't have any dead weight in the back seat weighing me down. About 100 feet into the air it started raining! Rain isn't really a problem when you're flying, but it was the first time I'd ever flown in rain. So I released at 1000 feet, flew the pattern, and executed a nice short landing (which is easier with a nice 15 knot headwind). What a great feeling!
Barry then did his instruction flight, then his solo flight. He too did a nice short landing, also in the rain.
The tow plane was low on gas, and the main fuel tank on the ground turned out to be empty, so nobody else flew today. There were a couple of other people out who were planning to, but they got their entertainment by watching us newbies fly solo flights.
Now that I'm a solo student, I can fly without an instructor, but I still have to get an instructor to endorse my logbook each day I want to fly (club rules). But I won't have to wait in line for instructor time, so I should be able to get more flying in.
Today was a great day. They say you remember your first solo flight forever. :)