Like this page? Then share it!

First Flight To Solo

6 years ago
1 posts

I’m not sure how to set up the student flair on the Apollo app, but I’m a student who just soloed for the first time this last Saturday. Having had the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I’m able to tell the story in a way that makes my mistakes obvious - but they were anything but obvious at the time. I train out of PTK, and the two runways are 27R/9L and 27L/9R. The active runways that day were 27R and 27L. 27R is a smaller runway, used for training and VFR ops,and 27L is for the jets. I get takeoff clearance, do the pattern (right traffic) and land on 27R - a little more bumpy that usual, and kind of dissapointing. Tower says “6288J turn left at Juliet taxi via Delta to 27R.” Get clearance, take off again and as I get to pattern altitude I start really thinking about all the things I can do to set myself up for a smoother landing: Don’t flatten out too high, wait to bleed off speed before flairing, don’t flair too high, etc. Before i knew it I was turning final and lined up with the runway with a clearance for 27R. I make the landing and it was pretty good - I was feeling pretty great about it. Then, things start to take a turn. “6288J, Pontiac Tower. State your intentions.” This confused me, because of all of the pattern work I’d done previously with my instructor this had never been asked. I replied “Tower, my intentions are to continue pattern work, 6288J.” “6288J, Tower. Turn right at Whiskey, hold short 27R.” Now, hindsight being 20/20 I know exactly what went wrong here. I heard that instruction and interpreted it as “Turn right at Whiskey, taxi to 27R and hold short,” which isnt normal comms (They would state which taxiway to use and wouldnt issue hold short instructions that far in advance) but I wasn’t sure what else to make of that. So I do my callback, turn right at Whiskey, do a quick glance left and right and turn right onto the Delta taxiway. I’m tooting along when I look up and see a plane lined up to land on top of me on short final. At the same time, i realized that somehow I was taxiing down the middle of a runway. Also at the same time, I heard the tower on the radio urgently telling the landing plane to go around, followed by them instructing me to exit 27R and call the tower when i got back to the hangar. After speaking with the tower and giving my information, I received a pilot deviation (and rightfully so). I realize that all of this happened because I literally and figuratively had my head in the clouds. I never verified the numbers for the runway I was lined up with. I never clarified instructions with ATC when I didnt understand completetly. I didn’t even realize I had landed on 27L instead of 27R, so I didn’t realize there was a runway to my right. I didnt pay attention to the fact that the solid bars of the hold short lines were on my side, and I crossed them without so much as a pause. In fact, it seems like there are more things I didn’t pay attention to than things that I did . This could have been much worse - luckily the other plane was able to go around. The bright side: I’m definitely never landing without double checking the numbers ever again.

updated by @harrykane140693: 08/06/18 08:14:15AM
pete golden
pete golden
6 years ago
17 posts

lucky it wasn't a glider that couldn't go around!

my 1 scary 2nd solo mistake was in a glider (all I fly.) my head was in the clouds as well.. literally I had been playing with  4 golden eagles (rare to  see 4 together) flying fast, well above best l/d and having fun.. and ofcourse losing altitude.

so coming home to vansant i was a little  low, opted for a straight in final, crossing the farmers field (should have landed short there) and the road i made the mistake of slowing down to conserve altitude (which i had very little left) ofcourse just then a strong cross wind gust catches me  and i'm no longer over the runway, but the parking lot!

thank god i stayed calm and relaxed and reacted just right...

nose down hard bank and stare att the wingtip.. which was about 4 feet off the ground. everyone watching was certain it would ht and I  would cartwheel into the ground. but I did not take my eyes off that wingtip I knew exactly how much space i had.. (3-5 feet) wrestled it back over the field.. for an otherwise great landing.

lessons learned:

never fly below pattern speed in the pattern, especially on a straight in short and low pattern when the tendency is to want to extend the glide.

If you aren't 100% certain of your glide slope and coming in with spoilers closed... best to land short in a field across the street then try to coax an extra few feet out of the glide slope.

I was never scared.. although I should have been.. terrified! but now looking back I know it is a mistake I will never make again.

head dreadhead at dreadlocks site
glider pilot student with freedoms wings international soaring for people with disabilities
Dislike 0