When I awoke this morning I noticed that the weather was overcast, but it was warm and the static nature of the tree outside my window indicated there was hardly any breeze. I was wondering if the weather was conducive for flying and also thought about calling the school to ask if my flight lesson might be cancelled today. Then I thought even if I didn’t fly today I could at least meet Logan, my new instructor. So I had my breakfast and prepared to go to school. As I was backing out of the garage I saw the first few drops of rain on my wind shield. I still thought that I would at least get to meet my new instructor and ignored the rain and continued.
I arrived at 8:55 am and greeted Angie at the front desk and immediately checked in as usual. I noticed that I did not see my instructor in the reception area. Actually I’ve never seen Logan before or so I thought. I went to preflight the plane and it had started to drizzle now. I returned 10 minutes later and still did not see Logan. I took some coffee and waited for his arrival. Around 9:10 am or so Logan walked in and said to Angie, “I’m hear to see Tiger”. “Oh he’s over there” she replied. “Here I am” I said with a smile as Logan approached me smilingly. “Ah! You’re Tiger? Sorry I didn’t know”. “That’s alright, I didn’t know who you were either” I replied, but then I thought I’ve seen this gentleman before but I didn’t know that this was Logan. We shook hands and Logan said, “Well I’m your new instructor. Pleased to meet you”.”Pleased to meet you too” I replied.
I walked with my new instructor to his office and we both sat down and he asked me where I was in my training. “I’ve done all the maneuvers and I’m stuck on landings” I said and continued, “So I haven’t yet done my first stage / solo flight. I’ve also done the FAA knowledge test”. “Oh you’ve completed the test. That’s good but I would like to see it and make a photocopy of it and put it in your file”. “Are you flying the Cessna?” asked Logan. “No I’m flying the Piper Warrior. I started off with the Cessna or I enrolled as a Cessna student but somehow ended up with flying the Piper Warrior”. “Well it doesn’t matter which plane you’re flying the training is pretty much the same” replied Logan. “Are you using the Jeppesen’s book?” “No I’m not. I think Thunderbird recently added that. When I enrolled in to the program I was given the King’s School DVD’s and books in my pilot’s kit”. “I’m asking you these questions because I’m trying to get a sense of where you are in the training and how much you know” said Logan and “Let’s check the weather, it seems alright for pattern work. Are you comfortable flying in this weather?” “I’ve never flown in rain before” I replied. “This is will be good practice for you then. Do you know if it would take us longer or shorter part of the runway to take off when it’s wet?” “Longer” I replied. “That’s correct but do you know why?” “Err….because the surface is slippery?” “Yes that’s part of it keep going” “Err…..ummmm…..” “Do you know what Hydroplaning is?” “No. Oh wait… yes. It’s that thin film of water between the runway surface and the airplane’s tires”. “Yes, that’s what causes the plane to take a longer part of the runway to take off as there’s less grip or friction between the two”. “Have you called a Flight Service Station before to get the weather report?” “No I haven’t”. Logan seemed surprised at the things I didn’t know or did not do and was getting a good idea as to where I was. “You’ve come to the right instructor and I will teach you everything you need to know. I have a 100% success rate. I’ve graduated two students and I’ve only been working here for 8 months. We’ll start with a clean slate and consider this as the first day of your flight training. I want you to buy a notebook and bring that with you as you’ll be learning and taking down lots of notes during our ground school lessons” said Logan and continued, “There are three stages in becoming a private pilot. I’m going to teach your first stage as if you were preparing for the second stage, and your second stage study will be such that you’re preparing for the third stage”.
I liked Logan from the first time I met him. He’s a very cheerful and pleasant person always smiling and laughing. It seems we’re going to have fun working together. We then went out to the reception area where all the student’s files are kept behind the counter in a filing cabinet. Logan took my file out to get even a better idea as to where I was in my training. He had gotten some idea from the student’s perspective, now he wanted to see my file to get an idea from the instructor’s perspective. We then went back and checked the weather and it was VFR conditions but Logan said “If you haven’t flown in the rain before and you feel uncomfortable we can always come back or you don’t have to fly at all today and we can do some ground work. However it will be good experience for you especially during taxiing and actually landing the plane on a wet surface. So it’s up to you”. “Okay I’ll give it a shot” I replied. “Great, I’ll just get my things and meet you in the plane” said Logan. The rain had become a little more than a drizzle as I stepped out on to the ramp and walked toward the plane. I adjusted my seat put my seat belt on when Logan arrived. I began going through the check list, and then when it came to reading the Suction Gauge, Logan asked me, “Do you know what that is used for?” Again I did not know. “No” I replied. “Okay I’ll tell you in ground school after we get back”. Once I had gone through the checklist Logan called Crystal Ground and requested to taxi to the active runway and that we were going to stay in the pattern. Crystal Ground replied immediately and gave us runway One Four Right i.e. 14R. It was still pretty overcast and raining as I taxied the plane up to 14R and held short. Logan said he could see the cloud ceiling lowering and called tower to get the weather report as I continued with the pre takeoff checklist. Tower replied saying that the visibility was now 3 SM and the cloud ceiling was 6000 ft. By this time I had finished with the check list and I taxied the plane on to the runway and began to takeoff. No sooner we had reached 1,200 ft we were in some wispy clouds and Logan said, “My plane”. He took the controls and called Tower saying that we were at 1,200 ft and were encountering some wispy clouds and requested returning to the airport for a full stop. He then said to Crystal tower to take his information as a PIREP i.e. a Pilot’s Weather Report.
Once Logan had landed the plane we returned to Thunderbird and went to his office. There he explained the use of the Suction gauge and then we decided on my weekly schedule. For this week at least, I will be returning at 9:00 am on Sunday for a 2 hour ground school class and then on Tuesday for a flight lesson. “Let’s schedule classes as we go” said Logan. I agreed but made it clear that I would like to mainly fly on the weekends and one other day during the week. With that Logan summarized today’s flight experience. “Today was a good example of what not to do. If the weather looks bad, then it probably is as we noted. However since we were going to be staying in the pattern I thought it might be okay but it changed so quickly”. With that, we said our goodbyes and I left shaking Logan’s hand.
On my way home I wondered what Logan’s teaching style was both the practical and the written. I already liked him as a person which I believe is a good start.