I went to court this morning and really knocked it out of the park for my client at a hearing, but more on that later. So was rather happy.
I then headed to DCT for a noon lesson, watching the flags whip around on the streets on my way there. Winds were about 8-11 and crosswind from 030-050. I figure it will be another solo-less day and between the winds and with runway 27L/9R is still closed so everyone is using the shorter 9L its not exactly perfect conditions. In other words, I expect yet more unending frustration.
I start pre-flighting N1689H and Hunter comes by and says "Ready for a guaranteed solo today"?
I'm rather nonplussed and say, just as a good gust whips up, "In these winds? Not likely."
He says we will after we go around the pattern a couple times and if he's happy with how I do it then I'm soloing. I am skeptical.
Ok then, good start, long taxi to 9L moving a safe distance behind a Falcon Jet, good run-up and off we go.
First pattern I do is ok by me, but he said I was diving too much on base and to do it again. I'm handling the crosswind just fine but there's some fun gusting at ground level that really lifts the plane on landing but I handle that as well. So we do a couple more patterns then he said he's got the radio.
I then take him to the D3 Run-up area and he does some notations in my logbook, trying to find space for them as it's pretty full endorsements-wise. The he says he's going to get out and will talk to me via a handheld on the practice frequency which we have dialed in on Com 2 and I can always switch to that if there/s an issue. He also said not to accept any close in requests and he'll be listening to tower and to the practice freq. Certainly a much more supervised approach to solo than the former flight school.
So I then lock the door, dial in ground and call them to taxi, then dial up tower and do the "N1689H Student pilot holding short 9L for pattern work" call.
I get takeoff clearance, do a nice crosswind takeoff, and do a beautiful pattern with Hunter chatting to me on the radio saying I'm looking good and I do a picture perfect crosswind landing.
Then off and taxi to do it again. This time I get a request to do a short base and I tell them unable (Hunter chimes in on the practice frequency with "good call"), so I get one heckuva extended downwind and end up with a 4 mile final behind a Hawker jet. The landing is a bit of a bouncer from some gusting but not terrible. The Citation Jet behind me also bounces it in and Hunter tells me don't worry about it, after all if a Citation is bouncing in these conditions then the Archer bounce on landing is not a problem.
Third pattern I do it all just fine, then terminate and request taxi back to the D3 run-up area to pickup Hunter. The tower gives me a nice congrats on the solo.
Then I taxi back and park the plane at DCT.
1.5 with .5 solo, and 6 landings.
After shutting down the plane I head in and am presented with a nice solo certificate.
First solo since June 30.
I must say it was nice being all alone in a plane again.
Now with that finally out of the way, it's time to do checkride flying prep both with and without an instructor on board, with a checkride hopefully to follow soon.
This is what happens when you finally go and order a hachimaki online....