Still working on the Citabria checkout – flying a little less this last month, now that I have my license. I’m taking a bit of a break, and I’m trying to pick up a few more shifts at work while I’m doing that now that I have a more definite time that commercial ground school is going to start. That’s going to be in September.
The Citabria has very small air vents though, and it’s been a very hot July. So rather than pass out from heat stroke, they took the door off for us. It was kind of cool. Like the open cockpit plane I got to fly in. Kind of like riding around in a jeep that the doors have been removed. The funnest part though, is watching the look on people’s faces when I tell them we were out flying the plane with no door.
My instructor was on vacation for a week though, and I did a couple flights with another one. He said I was getting some good progress, and when my instructor came back she said he’d figured I was pretty close to being able to take the Citabria solo. Of course then I had an off day – more flights than I was used to, and I was working late the night before. My landings were kind of pathetic, to the point that when the winds picked up two days later for my next lesson on Friday, she said maybe we should wait for a day with calmer winds. Normally I go with whatever she says, but I knew I could do better than what I’d shown her Wednesday, so we went out anyway. It was wavering between 15 gusting 21 and 18 gusting 26 knots, and compared to Wednesday, I rocked it.
That’s what they’re talking about though, when they say “pilot fatigue.” It can make a huge difference in performance. I like to think it’ll make less difference when I’m more of an old hat at it, but still, even then, there’s good reasons to be careful, and good reasons for the regulations there are about commercial pilots and how much rest they’re required to be given between flights.