Since my onwing had duty somewhere else today, I pulled an interesting job: Berryhill Elementary School. I was scheduled to spend two hours there this morning, and not really told what I’d be doing. I ended up in the fourth-grade class of a very brave substitute who seemed glad for some extra adult supervision. A few minutes after I got there, another guy from my squadron showed up. The sub wasn’t sure what to do with us, but the kids seemed to know. I guess it’s a standing arrangement with teh squadron to have “VT-2 volunteers” at the school. It was a good, deal, though, and the kids loved having us there. We even got a school lunch on the house. Brought back a lot of memories. School lunch has sure come a long way in the last 15 years, too.
Yesterday’s flight went wonderfully. Of course there’s still plenty for me to work on, but my airwork is, in the estimation of my instructor and myself, coming along nicely. I think they’ll make a pilot out of me yet.
The best part about the flight was I got to do five touch-and-go landings at an outlying field. Pattern work is probably my favorite part of flying, because it’s challenging and bears so heavily in the evaluation of any pilot’s skill. Good, solid airmanship in the landing pattern covers a multitude of other sins in the cockpit. The first few passes were kind of rough, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. Naval landing patterns are much tighter and faster than civilian traffic patterns. Instead of two 90-degree turns and a base leg before the final approach, the naval pattern uses a single, descending 180-degree turn which should spit you out on a short (1,000-ft.) final approach with 10-12 seconds before your wheels hit the pavement. It feels like even less time than that. By the third lap around, I was setting the plane down on centerline, on the right spot, and even with a nice little bit of flare for a reasonably soft landing.
Hopefully they’ll have me on the schedule for my fourth flight tomorrow. The weather here is amazing this week- clear, not humid, and not even hot. It’s a shame I’ll be back in the simulators for a week or two after tomorrow’s flight. But after that, it’s only about 10 more flights until I get to solo!