Lesson 37 – Flight Planning and Second Solo

My Thursday afternoon lesson was another ground school session. We went over flight planning using our up coming dual cross country as an example. I drew a course line from Waukegan to Janesville, Wisconsin and chose checkpoints about every ten miles along the way. Using the current weather and the C172R Pilot’s Operating Handbook, I calculated heading, ground speed, time enroute and fuel burn between each checkpoint. Sunday, we will update the calculations using that days winds and actually fly the trip. We’ll see how good my calculations really are.

I had scheduled an airplane for this morning (Friday) so that I could get my second solo done before I leave for Alaska on Tuesday. There was a little delay because of a minor problem with the way my logbook solo endorsement was worded. I had to wait until Sandy got in so that she could fix it. I don’t know why, but I was more nervous before this flight than I was before my first solo. I think I was worried that I would forget something important and really mess up. The extra wait didn’t help any. I took my time and made sure I followed the checklists so, I’m happy to report, my second solo went just fine.

I got in the air about 9 o’clock and did 6 full stop landings. The first five were pretty good. I was making my turns to final with no overshoot and had good altitude and speed control during the approach. The stabilized approaches lead to smooth touchdowns even though the air was a little bumpy close to the ground. On the last landing, I got bounced upward a couple feet just as I was about to touch down. I added a little power to hold it off but probably took it back out a little bit too soon. The touchdown was firmer than the first five but still not bad.

I’ll get the first dual cross country done Sunday, weather permitting, then I’ll have a two week layoff for the Alaska cruise.