Haven’t dropped a note in a while on this topic. Been busy. But I just had a particularly great morning of flying. Rain is coming, and we’ve got a low ceiling, but winds are almost dead calm. So, I was to the airport at 8:45 so that I was pre-flighted and ready to go when my instructor arrived at nine.
Since about 5 hrs. of instruction, I’ve generally been taking off and landing with little to no assistance. Every now and then, Jim will shake the stick one way or the other, or assist with the rudders. If I’ve flared it a bit much a bit high, he might introduce some power.
Every now and then, he’d say, "wow, good; that was all you," meaning, he hadn’t given any assistance (though he always gives vocal guidance throughout the lesson, particularly in approach and landing).
Last Monday, while loggin’ my eighth hour, we did seven takeoffs and landings. It was windy, cross, and difficult. I was proud of most of the takeoffs and one or two of the landings. In the end, I was in sensory overload and on the last landing, Jim took it in on a 20 mph. cross wind at about 80 deg. to the runway.
But today, no wind. Eight takeoffs, pattern go-rounds, and landings; and Jim didn’t touch the stick or rudders a single time. On one landing, I did balloon it a bit and he introduced a burst of power. On the 7th landing, he surprised me. As soon as I touch down, he says, "give it full power and takeoff." Without even thinking, I shoved the throttle to the stops, brought the stick forward to get the tail up, and off we went. An unannounced touch & go.
Jim was all smiles when we got back. Says I’m "breaking all the rules," that I’m not even supposed to be thinking about my own takeoffs and landings until at least 10 hours, and most students aren’t doing it until 20-25 hours. He believes that my turn coordination "feel" with respect to hang gliders and my dead-on, no-power glide control for approach have really given me a jump. On approach to landing, I nail the 75 mph threshold-crossing airspeed each and every time +/- 1 mph. He thinks I’ll solo in another 5-6 hours, which would mean soloing at about 15 hours of time logged.
I’m not going to force that. Truth is, even though I likely could solo now, safely, I don’t think I have all the knowledge I should have, in case something goes wrong. It was no different with hang gliding. A time had long since past when I could have just gone and done a high-altitude mountain flight without completing all the recommended training. No one to stop me. There’s no law, and no license is required. But there is a license nonetheless, and that’s the one granted a prudent man by his reason (and I’ll trust it any day over any law on any set of books).