Flying is AWESOME. There is really no other way to put it. The freedom of wind and sky, the country spreading out beneath, the lazy hum of the engine as you soar higher and higher into the pure blue above...........I could go on and on.
Off the ground!
A student's first solo flight is supposed to be relatively uneventful, except, that is, for the stress of having to land a few thousand pounds of metal on a narrow strip without messing up. You only have one chance at this, after all...
Thankfully, my solo turned out very well, but little did I know just how wild it could have become! The airport was unusually busy that day, so after waiting my turn, I took off behind an Aztec twin-engine, climbed to 1,200 feet, and began my rectangular flight pattern to go around and land.
Turning downwind - paralleling the runway opposite to the direction in which I would land - I kept an eye on a plane down in the run-up area. Finally, just as I was at the north end of the runway, the other pilot decided to take off, and taxied out onto the runway in a very leisurely manner.
This meant I had to extend my downwind northward. Since I was flying at over 100mph, the miles whizzed by, and soon I was over 4 miles north of the airport. What I didn't realize at the time was that the Canadian border is just 4.9 miles north of the airport!
At last the other plane cleared the runway, and I was able to turn base, under half a mile from the border, and likely under the scrutiny of border guards from the ground. We heard later of a friend who had accidentally flown over the border and was chased down by Canadian fighter jets -- what a thought! :/
Anyway, after a nice unintended flight over Lake Champlain, I spotted the runway again and made a successful landing!
Phew! On the ground safely!
Going around for another takeoff and landing - I completed three loops on my first time out.
Down again, and time to gas up...
More news coming soon!