He had gotten in a tail dragger and I ran down to the Diamond. I hit the ladies room and reminded myself – you will be ready to take off faster if you slow down.
I got into the plane by myself for the first time in probably 3 months or more. No safety net. I had flown with a non-current pilot – our neighbor in January but with all his hours in aircraft from little general aviation to big jets to military and airline, he was till a safety net.
I wondered – was apprehensive. But as soon as I went thru the checklist, started the plane, I was fine. I noticed on run-up that the oil pressure was high but still not on or over the red line. The oil temperature was not yet in the green but above 75 so okay for run-up and flying.
I remembered this was the right correlation but decided to watch it as I took off.
And I had briefed myself on emergency procedures. I was confident I didn’t have to abort just yet and I should be okay.
When I took off, Gen Yeager jumped me.
He had told me to put back on rpm, as my plane was a little faster. I watched that oil pressure, still on the high side. I wouldn’t go too far toward Tahoe – the mountains – until it came down. I also knew it might not be a bad idea to not pull back too far on the power.
Then General Yeager said: You’re number 2.
I got in Number 2 position….and checked in.
Me: Number 2 (as he had briefed me to do)
Pull back on power, a little power, less power, oops his wings are not level, so I dip my right wing too. I wonder if I could get even closer.
I checked my oil pressure. It was coming down to the good arc and the temperature was coming up. Phew.
Just then, Gen Yeager flips me to the left.
I swing down and over to the left. Woooo hoooo! I love being able to do that! I remember the first time in Gen Yeager’s back seat. WOW!
We fly a bit – being on the left is my weaker side so I’m not quite as close, but I do fairly well. It’s a beautiful day! He then flips me to the right. After a couple of minutes, he says: That’s enough. You know what you’re doing. Go do some touch and go’s.
I headed back. I thought about flying around a little – going by our house – it was such a glorious day. Not at all the winds that had been briefed to me just an hour before.
I practiced Initial 360 overhead and then got in the pattern again and did two touch and go’s.
My first one was fine. My second one, I decided I was going to do a short field landing. I touched down right at the end. I wanted to touch at the numbers so technically I was early.
So I decided to try again. I was marveling at the things I was doing with less effort – such as checking my gauges, fuel pump on, mixture….
I also thought about how I have to make sure I don’t concentrate on “what am I supposed to be thinking about/doing” as opposed to doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
Another fellow had come into the pattern and was doing touch and go’s. It didn’t faze me at all. Of course he and I were in sync – nowhere near each other in the pattern so I can’t claim too much credit for not being phased.
I touched down just before the numbers this time. I did consider adding some power to get right on the numbers – wouldn’t want to land short on a short field landing….but decided I was fine – I really was just trying to put it down on the end of the runway and I did.
Next time, I try to be more precise as to exactly where on the numbers.
When he got home with our guest for lunch, he quizzed me on my landings. I told him they were great – on the end of the runway.
He was quite pleased.
After our guest had left, he said: Don’t you come any closer.
Me: You usually tell me to get closer. I was thinking about it – think I could do it.
Gen Yeager: A gust of wind could hurt you.
Me: I noticed your wings and followed immediately.
Gen Yeager, noticed too: Heh. Heh.
I guess that all was a compliment – and an instruction, too.