Two posts in one day! Goodness me, how dedicated I am this week!
I didn't hear back from My Instructor this morning, so I sucked it up and drove into the city, figuring I'd find something to do with myself if I couldn't have a lesson. South of the city there was nothing but beautiful clear skies (although unreasonably hot). However towards the north and east I could see a line of sketchy looking clouds - just around where I reasoned the Practice Area to be. I didn't feel hopeful.
My Instructor was still in the air when I arrived, so I waited to do a walk-around before getting his go-ahead. Why waste the time, I figured, convinced he was going to say it was yet another no-go. But to my delight he walked in and said we were on! I immediately bounced out the door and began to check out my plane (Tango Mike Mike - the first one I ever flew in). All went well, until it was time to check the oil. The plane had just been out, and that in combination with how hot the weather was made the oil-cap unbearable to touch! It was screwed on pretty tight, and I simply could not get a good enough grip to turn it without burning my hand. I found a glove, but it was a right hand, and that made it too awkward to turn, so eventually I begged a paper towel from the mechanic and wrapped that around my hand. By the time I got it uncapped I was practically sweating with the effort required, not to mention feeling like a bit of a tool.
I did a quick briefing with My Instructor to refresh my memory of a few exercises, like stalls and slow flight, and to learn about the new subject of the day - steep turns. We had a bit of confusion with the radio and my squawk code - the flight planning service had assigned me the code 4211, but the Clearance Delivery and the Ground stations switched me to 4222 - I'm still not entirely sure what that was about. Still, in a short time it was sorted out, and I was lining up to take off. I felt slightly nervous. It had been ten days since my last flight, and I was worried that I would forget how to do things.
I was very pleased with my take-off. It felt just perfect - so much easier with no wind than with the crosswinds I usually end up having to deal with. The trip out to the practice area was nice and smooth, and I could see that most of the clouds were hovering over the Gatineau hills, leaving most of the PA clear.
I made a couple of mistakes during the lesson, having not practiced some of the manouevers in quite some time, but practice makes perfect, and after a few tries I got them right again. I suppose the next step will be just practicing until everything is truly stuck in my memory.
Steep turns were fun - one of my favourite exercises so far. It's quite something to see when you're on such a steep angle, and of course you really feel the Gs when you have to pull back to keep your altitude. I felt pretty confident that I did a reasonable job of the exercise, and before long we were headed back to Ottawa. My approach to landing wasn't the greatest, but the landing itself could have been worse. I caught some kind of draft or something just as I was flaring, which pushed my plane up a few feet, but I managed to correct it for a relatively smooth landing.
After the lesson My Instructor and I sat down to discuss the lesson, and he finally signed off on the recommend for a solo! We booked the Assistant Chief Flying Instructor (the same man who previously tricked me into a good landing) for Thursday at 11am for the pre-solo check, and hopefully if that goes well enough he will hop out onto the tarmac after a couple of circuits and I will finally fly a plane by myself!