Bad Weather, Tire Damage and a Practice Oral Exam

A low pressure center has been camped out near the Chicago area for several days now. The bands of rain and thunderstorms rotating around it forced me to cancel my Thursday lesson. Sunday wasn’t looking much better but, Sandy and I talked it over and decided to try going ahead with the lesson. If we could get out to the practice area that would be great. If we couldn’t, we would just go out in the pattern where we could get back on the ground quickly if a storm moved in.

As I was driving to the airport, I saw dark clouds right over it. Then a bolt of lightning struck right where I estimated the field to be. I called Sandy’s cell phone to get an update but didn’t get an answer. A few minutes later, she called me back. She had been out in the pattern with another student. They had done two landings and were taxiing back for another one when the tower told them there was lightning just to the west. They, and another instructor and student who had also been in the pattern, decided to taxi back to the ramp. They were just pulling into the parking area when the storm hit. Unable to get out of the airplanes because of the wind, they had to wait until the rest of the staff came out to help them tie down. Everyone got thoroughly soaked. The storm was passed now though so I would go on in and we should still be able to do our flight.

When I pulled into the parking lot, the sky right overhead was blue but there where dark clouds all around. Inside, we checked the radar and decided to fly out to the west and have a look. If we couldn’t get to the practice area, we would come back and stay in the pattern. It seemed like a good plan but, when Sandy went to dispatch the airplane, the other CFI who had been in the pattern with her when the storm hit told her he had just grounded it. His student had landed with the brake on and flat spotted the left main tire. Sandy and I walked outside to have a look. The rubber was worn off across the whole width of the tire and there was a half dollar size spot where the cord was sticking out. This being Sunday, there was no mechanic around to fix it. The other Skyhawk was reserved so, we had to give up on the flight. Instead, we ended up doing an hour and a half of oral exam review.

The exam review was good but, it was frustrating to be grounded yet again.