I will continue to wait until I'm ready and stop expecting anything to go the way I want it to go. After all, a pilot can't exactly control the weather or engine problems in flight.

I flew again this afternoon hoping (expecting) to earn my second endorsement to solo. Alas, no. Here's why...

I flew my instructor to McKinney Regional. Things were great. I did one landing textbook perfect. The second landing I was a bit high in the pattern and had to drop a lot of altitude on final. My landing was good but the pattern was less than perfect. We intended to mulligan and stay in the pattern but we had to wait forever for the tower to clear us for take-off. (It was a great day to fly so air traffic was busy.) While we were idle for 5+ minutes, my instructor noticed the carburetor head temperature was very hot. It went into the red zone meaning we were overheating. But we weren't moving. That was the weird thing. So we requested to taxi to the mechanic area called "Cutter" to look at things. When we started to taxi, the temp went down.

We called the owner/manager to troubleshoot. Turns out there was a plate installed when temperatures were freezing that helps keep the engine warm when idle. Problem was, it was well above 50 degrees today so it was causing the engine to overheat.

So we popped the cowling off, my instructor removed the plate, and we attempted to put the cowling back on. Another problem: one grommet wouldn't go in. My instructor tried tirelessly, I gave it a good turn, a mechanic tried, I think even a passing pilot who was oogling the airplane might have tried.

My solution: tape!

I found some foil masking tape from another pilot hanging out in the rental office and placed it over the loose grommet. Yes, we fixed our airplane problem with tape. (My friend Lee would be so proud!)

Our flight home to Addison was quiet. I landed us perfectly (again) at Addison. My instructor told the owner he wanted to endorse me but because of the high pattern on my second landing and that we ran out of time to do it over, he couldn't endorse me. But he wanted to.

So I go back tomorrow. This time I'll fly with Patrick, the owner/manager. He's been told verbally by 2 instructors that I'm ready to solo if only I had [insert whatever their reasoning].

Tomorrow I will wear two shirts. And I expect one will get cut on the back.

I got my first endorsement to solo. yay!! I need one more endorsement and to do some paperwork to really begin solo flights.

The last few flights were all pattern work. Today was my first day up with (yet another) instructor I hadn't flown with before. He was very pleasant to ride with and did a good job quizzing me. I told him I wasn't sure how to use the GPS yet so he handed me a sectional.

"Can you get us to Mesquite with this?"
I smiled, "Why yes I can!"
I found Mesquite just fine, got the AWOS, made my radio calls to the traffic and did 3 touch-and-goes there.
This instructor said I'm real good at short field landings. Go figure- I practiced at a tiny runway called Airpark!

We also practiced emergency landing procedures.

I'll fly again probably after Christmas, hopefully I'll earn my endorsement to fly in and out of Addison, and then I'll really be ready to solo.

And boy do I have some work to do! I know my weaknesses and I'm itching to smooth them out.

I was supposed to fly at 2pm but the instructor was unavailable so I rescheduled for 4:30pm. Not such a big deal. Except that I worked from 6am to 2pm just to fly in the afternoon. That sucks a little but whatever.

Fast forward- I'm pulling into the street for my flight when what do I see but Mark's van parked in front of his former office space. I caught him as he was pulling out. Rather than being pushy about the $1300 he owes us for classes he had to cancel, I asked him how things were going. I already knew the answer. I already knew what he would say. But I wanted to hear it from him instead of just speculating.

He acknowledged I called and emailed but didn't say why he didn't respond other than that he's "under tremendous stress" and "trying to sort things out". He's no saint. He should have called his students and have been upfront. He should never have used our money to fund his legal battle.

He's personally bankrupt from the legal battle that ultimately bans him from using Airpark as the location for his flight school and plane rental location. Another student of his sued to get his money and another guy went to Mark's house to collect. I was about to do the same but then I wanted to know if Mark was going to be honest. And he was.

I gave him an out. I asked "so what should we do next?" He came up with a solution: he has planes parked out of Airpark that he will let us fly. We have $1300 of rental time to use when we're ready. I won't fly his planes until I'm licensed but I think it's a fair trade. He can't rent flight time but he can allow us to use his planes as a gift. That's legal.

Regarding my flight, we took off at dusk. I did several landings at McKinney Regional, all fine landings, and a very nice landing at Addison. The first half had enough light in the sky to see the ground but the latter half was all dark. I love night landings! I got complimented on my pattern technique (Thanks David!) and was reminded to keep my hand on the throttle more often.

I fly again Saturday morning, and hopefully will get endorsed for solo flights going forward.



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