Night flying…Check.

I finished my night flying requirement after only 5 cancels so it took no time at all. (read sarcasm) The requirement is 3 hours but I am the proud owner of 4.5 hours night hours. Why so many hours for something I will actively try to avoid? Keep reading for the answer.

Night Flight

Sortie 1. The weather is supposed to be fine. We get in the airplane and head to the East Practice Area. I learn where the lights are on the airplane. If you can called the really weak overhead light, an actual light. It is an embarrassment to all lights. These planes are so old the dials aren’t back lit. I take that back the oil pressure is lit so all the vital information is available.  Luckily, Chris had warned me of lack of illumination and I had remembered to bring my headlamp. We fly around practicing maneuvers and I make my signature steep turns when I shouldn’t be doing them. The wind starts to pick up but nothing to worry about. After some more maneuvers, we head back to the KCOS. The wind is really kickin’ now and the runway that would be the best to land on is closed for maintenance. There will be no stop and go’s tonight.  I need to put this plane down and hopefully on all 3 wheels. I come in for the landing and its rough but safe.  1.2 hours.

Sortie 2. After 4 cancels, I finally get to fly a sortie. This was supposed to be a stop and go to La Junta and back for the cross country requirement with 9 landings. 9 is not a random number. The requirement is 10 landings and since I only had one the first time, I had to make up the rest. But it was not to be. LHX was socked in with ½ mile visibility. I even called the airport to confirm the forecast but the people there didn’t have a clue.  So we changed plans and stayed in the pattern to get some of those landing done. 7 landings. 8 night landings total. 1.0 hour. Sortie 3. The trouble started with sortie 3 when the plane that I had reserved for the night sortie (because it has flash tape on the tail so the strobe doesn’t shine in the cockpit) is 4 deep in the hanger. I am impressed with the origami they did to get as many planes as possible in the hanger but mine should have been in front. So took the plane in front and was blinded every time the strobe flashed.  I was also so desperate to get this night flying done; I took the cross country flight with another instructor. This was not the brightest idea I ever had but I was flying at night so I proceeded. We flew to LHX. The instructor didn’t let me figure anything out. He kept intervening when there was no reason. I wasn’t doing anything unsafe and I was trying to learn, hence, the part about paying and instructor to teach me. He didn’t even let me click the radio button to turn the lights on. How rude. I get to push the button.

Luckily, I had done that before in San Antonio on a flight with a nice person.  Next comes a repeat of sortie 1, the winds kick up on the way back. This time low-level wind shear is in effect. So I start to pray as I start a straight in to land on 31. That was a sporty landing.

Not quite like the one in this video but it was scary. After shutting down at the fuel pit, I almost decide not to fuel the plane because the plane wouldn’t stay still. I managed to get the plane fueled and back in the hanger, swearing at myself for the horrible experience. 10 night landings complete. 2.3 hours.

In conclusion, I have accomplished my night requirement and will not be rushing to do more night flying anytime soon. Now if I can get my solo cross country complete with less than 10 cancels, I will call it a success.

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