I finally got my medical and things finally aligned so that I was not on a business trip, my flight instructor was not working, the weather was good, and the pie and turkey were stable in the oven.
We flew over to Nashua to get gas for the plane. It appeared that everyone else there was out flying too. I do not know if they were flying home, try to escape from helping cook a turkey, or what. My first landing was very rusty. The next two were ok. I did semi-ok talking to the air traffic control tower. But I really did not do well on keeping a steady altitude.
I new there were some odds I would solo, but after the one poor landing and inability to maintain altitude, I was thinking I needed more practice. So we fueled up, grabbed a free donut, and headed back out. Then my instructor announced that I was actually going to get to fly the airplane on my own. I suppose that while nothing was as precise and efficient as I wanted it to be, I had not been in any danger of crashing.
So, I rehearsed the radio calls a bit*, took some deep breaths and went through my checklist. The guy in the tower had obviously been forewarned that I was brand new headed out on my own because I did not even get to practice all the calls I had memorized. In any event, taxi, runup, and takeoff all went fine. I concentrated really hard on leveling off at the right altitude and nailed it. Woohoo! I did not quite get my first radio call correct, but close enough. Then the landing. There was something about it I did not quite like, but I have forgotten what. However, with a bit of braking, I managed to stop by the taxiway I wanted. That would be the show-off, “look at how short I can stop” taxiway.
Then I went around and did it again. This time I was trying not to get distracted by how well I had done the first time, and trying to pay attention to leveling off. I leveled off and held altitude correctly again. Woohoo! I did my radio call better. For the landing, there was not any one thing I did wrong, but it just did not come out quite as nicely, so I missed the show-off taxiway. However, both this landing and the first one, I very gently touched down, maybe with a little bit of suspension bounce, but no trademark smack. And then I kept the nose up so it stayed on the ground quite nicely.
Round three, I did not manage to keep on altitude. I wobbled by 100 ft. And then I did not power back quite on time. Next I overcompensated and ended up too low on final. From there I did better. I landed even shorter than the first one, used less brakes, nice and soft. Unfortunately, tower told me to go use the next taxiway, so I did not get to use the show-off taxiway again.
Then I taxied back to the ramp, shut down, and discovered that my instructor had been a sneaky little git and invited all my family to watch. Not just Tyson, but my parents too. That kind of sucked. I had been hoping to have some time to review and be happy with myself before having to face the rest of the world.