Today I completed my 3rd observed solo (1st one reported here). These solos are observed by the instructor on the tarmac and consist of three takeoffs, climb out in the pattern, and landings. It's not an FAA requirement to do three solos, just a requirement of the school. In aviation, it's not uncommon for training organizations or FBOs to have more stringent requirements for their students and customers than government regulations call for. This is sometimes due to their own sense of safety and sometimes due to business (insurance) constraints. At any rate, I'm used to it. Hang-gliding is virtually unregulated, but our safety procedures and record have great depth in near complete absence of government intervention.
That topic is worthy of its own post if ever I get around to it.
So, now I can go take the keys any time I want (provided acceptable weather conditions hold, which is way most of the time) and go fly the pattern, to practice pattern work. Tomorrow morning, I get to go out with Len von Clemm. He's the first instructor in this list (Chief Pilot). More than 20,000 hours. They tell me he's picky. I guess he has every right to be. I'd be a fool not to try and learn as much as I can. Jim Grant, also on the list, has been my instructor so far. He's leaving for Hawaii in a couple of weeks for a month, so I'll be finishing up my training with Len from then on.
We're going to go out and go some air work: emergency procedures, stalls and such. If I pass his judgment, then I'll get to venture out away from the airport on my own.