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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

First Solo!

D2 just had his first solo!  Last Saturday morning, we flew to Mesquite, because it's uncontrolled (no control tower).  After two or three touch and goes, I told D2 to take me to the fuel pumps, where I got out and told him to do two solo touch and goes and then land and pick me up.

I had my handheld radio with me, and a new headset adapter I'd just bought from Sporty's, so I was able to put on my headset and listen to his radio calls.  Apart from messing up his call sign a couple of times, he made all the calls, and made good circuits in the pattern and good landings.  I did have to get on the radio one time, when just as D2 was turning onto the downwind another pilot announced that he was entering the downwind.  I could see that they were close, so I advised the other pilot that he was very close to an aircraft being piloted on his first solo, at which point the second pilot said that he was only on his second solo!

After picking me up, we flew North to McKinney where I again got out and had D2 do another set of touch and goes, this time at a controlled (towered) field.  I called the tower, and advised them that D2 was doing his first solo, and asked him to watch out for my student and keep it simple.  Instead, the tower first gave him right traffic instead of left, then cancelled and had him do left traffic.  At one point they had him delay his crosswind for traffic, on another he had D2 turn crosswind early for sequencing.  and on yet another he had D2 extend his downwind for sequencing.  It seemed like he went OUT OF HIS WAY to make it harder!

Fortunately, D2 coped with all off this.  One time he wasn't sure what the tower wanted him to do, so he asked.  D2 is a tri-lingual Brazilian, and English isn't his first or second language,it's his third.  Combined with the normal radio-phobia of many students and unfamiliarity with ATC requests and terminology, he did very, very well.

Finally we flew back to AeroCountry where D2 keeps his Cessna.  By that time to winds were picking up, and I had to help on the landing, but I think it won't be long before D2 is signed off to solo from AeroCountry as well.

It's nice to know I really can instruct.  :)

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