Today was another good flight. I did take off again, practiced turns and did the landing. That's right. I survived my first landing - yay! It wasn't graceful nor smooth, but nothing broke, nobody got hurt, and I did as expected for a first landing, says the instructor.

As my grandfather said, "Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing."

It was windy today when I flew. Winds were gusting up to 23 knots so things were a little bumpy. I was very happy to be flying. Yesterday it was too windy (gusts ~ 30 knots) so we did ground time, which is nice and all, but I'd rather be flying. Yesterday I learned a bit more about the instruments.

Unfortunately I don't get to fly again until next weekend.

In other news on the home front, our counselor sessions are going well. This week we're supposed to argue in front of the kids, give them lots of affirmation and I'm supposed to stop repeating directions. We stink at real arguments so Rusty picked a fight with me over a sock that landed on the floor during laundry time. After our first argument, Joshua told us to knock it off. Meanwhile I was laughing.

We had our own experiment this evening. Joshua was being his usual bossy self towards his brother so we told him if he was going to be bossy he would have to be Daddy Josh and take care of Elliot the whole evening. He took us up on the deal. He served Elliot his dinner, helped him through the dinner, cleaned up afterwards, put his brother in time out*, washed his hair in the bath and got him out of the tub. Shortly after that Daddy Josh lost focus and interest. He just wanted to be a brother again.

Lesson: Don't act like a parent unless you're up for the job.

*Time out was issued for spitting at Josh. We all agreed that was bad behavior.

Yesterday was Josh's 6th birthday!

We quietly celebrated at home with a few balloons, sushi for dinner (his choice), root beer and cupcakes at the end. His first gift from us was an acoustic guitar. He was thrilled and thanked us several times.

Saturday is the birthday party but I'm worried there will be a lower turn out than we were hoping for. As usual, it's on a 3 day weekend when people plan to leave town and some of Josh's friends since babies are also doing birthday stuff.

Regardless of turn out, I'm sure Josh will have a good time. Mentos & Diet Coke anyone? :-)

Yesterday's flight was totally awesome!

I did take-off, flew us up to ~3500 feet, we did stall recovery and I helped get us close to landing. There were storms nearby yesterday to the west of us. I could see cloud lightning ahead. I wasn't nervous about lightning strikes, I was more concerned about the turbulence after take-off and on landing approach. It was a very bumpy ride. Which made it FUN!

On approach for landing we had a downdraft push us down a bit. We weren't in danger but it was a bit nerve wracking for the instructor. He scrambled to regain control of the plane. We landed just fine without needing flaps because the wind was so high.

I saw small improvements in everything I was unsure of from the last few lessons. Pre-flight checks, I'm good at that. Take-off, give me some practice. Turns, I'm better. Ascending/descending, I'm good. Stalls, give me some practice. Landing, not there yet. And taxi-ing was not too shabby this time. :-)

Something to add to my pilot's bag: rubber bands and hair clamps for windy days.

My turns are getting better. My taxi-ing was better last time. Talking to the tower was less amusing than last time. My last flight felt like a slight improvement. There's still tons I'm not sure about, but that will all come in time.

My last flight was about slow flight. We pulled the throttle way out to 1700 RPMs, angled the nose up, and brought out the flaps. It was weird flying slow. I prefer fast to be honest.

In home news, Joshua's birthday is this week. We've got a few plans including cookies for his classroom, special dinner throughout the week and plans for his birthday party this weekend.

Also we are talking to a counselor to get ideas for Joshua's focus issues at school. It will be a family effort, not just for Mr. Joshua. This week's homework assignment: Rusty & I are to play a game among ourselves in front of the kids but not be engaged in the kids, and we are to sing to one another at random intervals in front of the kids. This evening I made up a diddly about reading bedtime books and got my Liza on. The boys were stopped in their tracks. The idea is to show the kids we can spend time together and they aren't always the center of our attention, and to disrupt the daily routine.

I got a letter from the FAA. They want more information about the fainting and dizziness. So I typed up a nice one-page letter with details.

Hopefully they'll agree that I'm fine to fly. I'll keep ya posted.

I went up yesterday and practiced turns. We did gentle turns and steep turns. I'm much better at steep turns. I practically manhandle the craft by the way the instructor kept saying to ease up and "do half of what you think you need to do."

We also practiced taxi-ing. I still suck at that but I'm getting slightly better. I was also encouraged to talk to the control tower at Addison. It went about like this:

Instructor: Tell them WXYZ
Me: OK
Instructor: Good ahead
Me: What was X?
Instructor repeats it
Me: Oh yeah ok
Instructor: Go ahead
Me: I forgot Y
Instructor repeats WXYZ
Me: WXY... what was Z again?
Instructor repeats WXYZ
Me: Ok
Instructor: Good ahead
Me: "Airpark, I mean Addison, this is 8684Gulf, uh... Airpark, uh..."
Tower: 8684Gulf repeat your call
Instructor tells the tower WXYZ
Tower: Thank you

I should read this:

I ordered my own aviation headset. Of course it's blue!

Yesterday was my first flight! I logged 1.2 hours in my pilot log book. The instructor did take-off and landing. I got to practice basic controls like turning, ascending/descending, and changing direction. My weaknesses include trimming, taxi-ing and motion sickness towards the end. I'm told the latter problem will go away in time.

My instructor said I was too controlling of the plane. I was constantly trying to adjust the wings, and rudders to get the plane "just right" where the horizon lined up on a marker drawn on the windshield. We flew near our home in Carrollton & over the NW Frisco area along the tollway and farm area to the west of the tollway.

Take-off seemed much easier than I thought it would be. Landing however seems more complicated. All in all, it was good flight despite I was woozy afterwards.

There is a lot to learn still regarding coordinating basic controls. Only 38.8 hours to go!

I read my old diary this week which spanned from 1994 to 1997. For three years of dates, the book was only half filled. It was very amusing and interesting to re-read my history. There were a few details I had forgotten. I started out writing nearly daily in 1994, or at least once every few days, then interest waned over time and then I checked in every few months or so.

Kind of like this blog!

wow some things never change

anywho... Tomorrow is a double-date for flying. Rusty is scheduled to go up 11-2 and I'm scheduled 3-5. If I don't get to fly, I may cry. (I didn't mean to be poetic) I don't foresee any stalls (a pun!) this time since weather should be clear. According to wunderground, it' s supposed to be clear, 72 and PERFECT! :-)

On Thursday, when I did 2.7 hours of ground time instead of flying, I was presented with tons of engine terminology and aerodynamic concepts. I bookmarked the Pilot's Handbook from the FAA website. Speaking of, I should study now.

We did a "discovery" flight yesterday in the C172 and got the first hour of ground time. There are several flight terms I need to learn more about, and a few concepts I had already read up on. Since it was Rusty & I together we shared the ground lessons but only one of us could pilot the first leg.

I nominated Rusty to be the first one to go. I'm already ramped up and eager to get this going.

The instructor did take-off and landing. Rusty was in control for the most part though. We did some turns, some figure 8's, went down, went up, we did a tight nearly 2G turn, and even experimented with a stall. I was in the backseat the whole time but without a headset, I missed the lesson because I couldn't hear anything.

I took lots of pictures not only to share on my blog but also to serve as a visual aid for learning. According to Rusty, it's busy work making the airplane do stuff. There are foot pedals, knobs to pull out, and of course the yoke.
Lessons I learned aside from pre-flight checks and some basic ground lesson concepts: don't wear a skirt because you can't check the fuel without flashing someone and wear your hair back if you have gobs of it like me. Taking a water bottle isn't a bad idea either. My first flight will be Thursday in the plane pictured below.

Paid and scheduled. We start tomorrow meeting our instructor, going up in a "discovery flight" in the C172 and do our first hour of ground time!



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