Aircraft: C172 N13205
Flight Time: .3 hours
Total Hours: 6.1
Short and sweet was the name of the game for today. An hour before my lesson, it was overcast at 500 feet. An hour later, the overcast layer had lifted, but a low scattered layer still hung over Merrill Field. We figured that we had enough ceiling to at least fly the pattern and practice takeoffs and landings, so we went for it. I had to scrape some thin ice off of the plane’s surfaces during my preflight, not enough to cause a problem, but nonetheless, good to see what can happen to an aircraft in the cold. The wings and engine had been covered, so all the control surfaces were good to go.
Very good takeoff for me, and I’m really getting the hang of the radio now and talking with Merrill Tower. Unfortunately, as we were climbing off of runway 7, we hit the bottom of the clouds at around 600 feet and were forced to fly the pattern lower than the normal 900 feet.
The first landing went exceptionally well. I had been previsualizing all week about how much to pull up on the flare, and this time I really nailed it. We skimmed over the runway, bleeding off the airspeed, and then with Mark’s coaching, I gradually pulled back on the yoke and waited for plane to touch down. The wheels practically kissed the asphalt as we landed, it was so smooth. I was very excited, as this was by far my best and most in control landing yet. Mark commended me, and then coached me through the next takeoff. Flaps up, carb heat in, throttle back to full, pull back on the yoke, and within seconds, we were in the air again.
This time, the tower advised us to try a left hand pattern, in hopes that the clouds were higher over that side of the airport. It was not to be, and as we made our first turn, we realized that this would be it. We came around for one more landing, which was not quite as smooth as the first, but still very good. After taxing off the runway, we parked the airplane and called it a day. Short but very sweet indeed.