Lesson 83 – It’s My Call

I had to cancel Tuesday’s flight because of work. The weather wasn’t very good so, I probably couldn’t have flown solo anyway. I rescheduled for Wednesday but, since Sandy was already booked for the whole day, it was going to be solo or nothing. The day started out with low ceilings, rain and scattered thunderstorms.

By the time I got to the airport, the ceilings around the area were 2900 to 3200 feet with some with scattered rain showers. Sandy asked me if I was going to stay in the pattern. I told her that I was planning to go out to the practice area for some ground reference maneuvers. Since I was planning to stay low, she approved the solo with a caution to keep a close eye on the weather conditions and be ready to duck back in if conditions deteriorated. I did my preflight and took off toward the west. It was hazy but, visibility was still over ten miles. I didn’t climb above 2700 feet because of some scattered clouds below the ceiling. It looked like visibilities were worse further to the west so, I decided to stick close to the eastern edge of the practice area.

I went down to 1800 feet and started some S-turns along a straight north-south section of road. Just as I finished my fourth turn, it started to rain lightly. The sky to the west looked darker than before so, I decided to go back to the airport for some pattern work. I climbed back up to 2500 feet and got out of the rain shortly after turning east. On the way back, I did some turns to work on my rudder coordination.

Once in the pattern, I did three crummy landing (flat and bouncy) before I called it quits for the day. It was a short flight of only 1.4 hours but, it was a good experience in making judgment calls on a marginal weather day.

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