Thursday, August 31, 2006


Hard to believe it has been more than a month, but after an unintentional hiatus, Squawking VFR is back online, loyal readers.

First, some house-keeping: In the last month, the fact I am now working two full-time jobs has really cut into my time here. And when I have had time, I have been working on the top 100 bands of all-time list. Right now, it's about halfway done, and I hope to post it as soon as possible.

Onto today's entry:

All that flying in the last month may have kept me away from here, but it has paid off in other ways. I had my first student solo a few weeks ago, which was very exciting, and have subsequently send two more students into the air alone.

This is very exciting.

It is also slightly unnerving, if you consider the fact they are up there flying around with nothing more than the knowledge I've transmitted to their brains helping them out.

The day I soloed my first student I was far more nervous than he was. All the necessary paperwork was done, and he was more than ready for the sojourn into the sky. But none of that helped my serious case of Mother Hen Syndrome.

I think I gave him my instructions at least three times. We headed up to Longmont's airport and I had him do five touch-and-goes in the traffic pattern. They all looked perfect. So on the last one, I had him taxi off the runway. I opened the door, said "It's time for the baby bird to leave the nest" and got out.

Now, if I thought I was nervous before, there was nothing more excruciating than watching, knowing that I had absolutely no control over what was about to happen.

I did my best to not bark out instructions on the radio, even though I wanted to be talking him through everything, just like I normally would. I think I restricted my comments to "check your airspeed" when he was on final approach each time around.

The picture above is of his first-ever solo landing. Proud parent that I am, I brought the camera along. Watching the final approach was tortuous, though; I could hear my heart going thump-thump-thump.

But he squeaked the wheels on like a pro -- at least the first time, and the second two takeoffs and landings all went smoothly.

When it was all over, my nerves calmed and I was immediately exhausted. Everything went just fine. He did his three full-stop takeoffs and landings without a hitch. Sweet success! We headed back to JeffCo.

It was a pretty big accomplishment. The only bigger day than the first solo is the day you actually get your license, so I know it was a huge confidence-boost for my student. For me too, knowing that I could teach them well enough to successfully do that.

It's nice to have three students now that are past the halfway hump.
Hopefully, they will be finishing up by the time the wedding rolls around.



At 4:30 PM, Blogger Local Shill said...

Nice work with the student, cat. Good to have you back.

At 4:56 PM, Blogger Todd Cohen said...

Mazel tov. I still need to find the courage to get in a plane with you. After hearing of Local Shill's experience, I need to make sure I go without food.

For a month.

Cheer up.....I drafted Jerome Harrison late in my 2nd of two fantasy football drafts. I also took Tatum Bell. I don't think I'll ever learn.


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