The embedded links in the text below will open a separate browser window with a chart depicting the airport.
As I waited at the hold line again, Karen was with another student at midfield downwind and broke in and asked if I needed her to extend. Now I really knew I had made a mistake since my instructor was obviously subtling pointing it out to me. (It turned out later that she wasnt doing anything of the sort, but I sure felt that way). I rogered her and taxied out for another takeoff. I kept in the pattern even though I wanted to go out and just do some flight maneuvers to get away, but it seemed that my landings needed work today so I stayed. After an hour, I slammed my last landing onto the runway and gave up for the day.
what seemed a very long wait, they came back to me and asked for my
request. I mashed the button once again, opened my mouth and out came
a bunch of gurgling and stammering. Karen saved it by cutting in and
asking for Flight Following like it was no problem at all. I think they
must have felt sorry for us because they agreed to take us under their
wing and look after us. Later they tried to contact us to warn about
traffic and since I was concentrating on finding my landmarks, I didnt
hear it. Again, Karen made the reply and called the traffic in sight.
My chances of making a solo cross-country anytime soon have become very
slim now. The skies above North Georgia and Alabama will be safe for
many more days.
At my last
checkpoint, 11 miles from Gadsden Airport, I should have begun a 500 FPM descent that would have put me
at pattern altitude upon arrival and under better control than when
I did. But I waited for her to tell me when to start and consequently
was much too high and I had to do a bit of maneuvering to stay near
the airport, avoid overflying a large factory with its man-made
thermals, lose altitude and get set up for the 45 degree pattern entry,
all at the same time. Not to mention slogging through a radio call to
request a runway and traffic advisory, which was not forthcoming since
the airport was virtually empty.
Since Gadsden has a 150 wide runway, twice the size of Cherokee, it created
the illusion of being closer to the ground than I really was and I flared
and landed the plane about 3 above the ground. Whump!
Groan. This was Karens plane and I felt particularly bad about
abusing her plane this way while she watched helplessly. Soon, it became
apparent that it also would have made sense to fly a little farther
down the runway before touching down and avoid having to taxi nearly
the full length of the runway to get to the FBO. Not a very pretty or
elegant end to this leg of the trip. We taxied to the front of FBO and
shut down. I closed our flight plan while the plane was being refueled
and filed our plan for the flight back.
My first takeoff was from runway 22 even though the wind dictated runway 4. But a big twin was insisting on using 22 because he wanted the slight downhill assist. So my first landing was pretty fast with the wind behind me. I taxied off and took off behind another Cessna, but when he left the pattern, I was all alone. So I departed the pattern and after a quick sightseeing excursion, reentered after 10 minutes, calling runway 4 as my destination. A much better touchdown and I left the pattern again to sightsee and practice on the radio. I left and came back a couple more times for good measure and since my mouth cooperated, I did fairly well. In fact, well enough that back on the ground, Randall asked if I was ready to go to Toccoa on my solo cross-country. But I had left my premade flight plan at home and since I have a lot of notes to myself on them and didnt feel like recreating them from scratch, I opted to go home to get them and fly after lunch. Unfortunately, soon after I got home, Randall called and said Karen was concerned that it was getting more hazy by the hour and I shouldnt go. So Ill have to wait at least until my next lesson on Saturday.
The radios were set by that time and the VORs tuned to the correct radials, so I taxied out to runway 4 and took off. Leaving the pattern and climbing to 3,500, I got lined up with the Foothills VOR. With such a gorgeous day, it was a piece of cake. The VOR needle stayed centered pretty easily and I was able to hold altitude with no effort, even though there were quite a few thermals bouncing me around. I tried to open my flight plan, but could never raise Macon Radio. That was about the only thing that went wrong on the whole flight. Atlanta Center declined to follow me on radar outbound since I was too low, but I was able use them on the return trip at 4,500.
At the Foothills VOR, I turned toward Toccoa airport and because they were landing on runway 20 right in front of me, I needed to lose a bit of altitude quick to get to pattern altitude. So I did a 360 off to the South Carolina side of the airport and set up for downwind. I landed and taxied over to the gas pump, walked inside the FBO, filed the return flight plan, ordered some more gas and took off again for home.
Even less eventful was the trip back. Again, not able to open my flight plan with Macon Radio, but at least all of my landmarks were right where they were supposed to be and right on time. 10 miles from home with the runway in sight, I terminated Flight Following and set up to enter downwind for runway 4. Landed with no problems and a big smile. Tired but real happy with how easy it actually turned out to be. Tomorrow: Gadsden, Alabama.
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