Lesson 60 – Barely Legal

It has been another long dry spell but, I managed to get in the air today – for the first time in 2007. In fact, this is the first time I have flown since before Christmas. I had scheduled the airplane from 7am to noon, hoping to beat the winds that seem to hit us every weekend lately. Everything looked good for my long solo cross country when I went to bed last night. When I got up this morning though, there was freezing fog over the whole area. I talked to Sandy about 6 o’clock and we decided that the cross country wouldn’t be possible but, I would try to get a local solo in after the fog lifted. The TAFs were indicating VFR after 9AM so; I headed for the airport shortly after 8.

When I pulled into the parking lot, the airport beacon was still on; meaning that the conditions at the field were below minimum VFR requirements. It went off just as I was walking into the building. Sandy was waiting to go out with a student so we listened to the ATIS together. The visibility was reported as 3 miles. That is the lower limit for VFR. Sandy didn’t want me going to the practice area but did clear me for a solo flight in the pattern.

The freezing fog was leaving a layer of frost on the airplanes so the instructors were rotating them in and out of the hanger to clear them off. N35092 had just come out but it already had moisture collecting on the wings. The ramp was slippery too but, the sun was starting to shine through the fog and it melted the ice before I was even done with my preflight. I taxied down to runway 23 and joined the line of airplanes waiting to take off now that the airport was no longer IFR. The tower controller moved us out quickly and I was soon in the pattern with a couple other students and their instructors. Sandy was one of them and I knew she would be watching what I did.

The first couple landings were a little hard but, they got better as I went along. The other traffic in the pattern meant that each time around was a little different. I would have to extend my downwind or keep it tight to accommodate the other airplanes. Good practice for all of us. The fog never did clear out completely so I was in marginal VFR for the whole flight. I did 6 landings before I called it quits. I was an excellent workout after another long layoff and it felt good to be trusted to go out solo in conditions that were barely legal VFR. I will try the long cross country again next Sunday.

  • Jess Sightler says:

    Glad to hear you things are still coming along. Good luck with your cross-country! Those are fun. 🙂

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