Snow was predicted at around 2.00 pm or so by the weather forecasters and so I was a little concerned as to if I was going to be able to fly today on December 3, 2011. My lesson was from 1.00pm to 3.00pm and the weather showed no sign of any snow to come. Although visibility was satisfactory for flying, it was quite gray and overcast, there was no breeze and it wasn’t cold at all. So under such conditions I practiced more takeoffs and landings today. As I walked in to the school reception area I saw Mike at the front desk and Willey the manager standing next to him, and some other instructors and a mechanic were seated on a sofa chatting. I presented them with a Christmas gift of a box of cookies and a greeting card and said, “Merry Christmas to Thunderbird!” 😀 Mike took the box and card and said, “We’ll let the boss (meaning Willey) open it”. Willey read the card and opened the gift immediately and said, “Thank you very much”. I also had a gift of a wine bottle for my instructor Tim, but I couldn’t see him in the reception area. So I went to his office and he wasn’t there either but I did see a couple of other instructors sitting and chatting who told me that he was on a “Discovery Flight”. So I left his gift on his desk and then returned to the reception area to admire the decorations. There was a large decorated Christmas tree at one side of the room and other decorations adorning the walls, windows and diplay cases. It all looked and felt very festive. I waited for Tim’s arrival when Mike said, “Why don’t you check-in and do your preflight check, as Tim might be another 10-15 minutes or so?” I agreed. As I was almost complete with my pre-flight check, Tim arrived in a Cessna 172 and I could see Tim and a couple seated inside. Tim stepped out and as he went to the school we greeted one another and Tim said, “I’ll only be a few moments and we can go”, “No problem Tim”, I replied. As I continued finishing off my pre-flight I could see the couple taking pictures with the plane, the man was seated in the pilot’s seat and the lady took his pictures. When I was finished, I returned to the school where everyone was having fun and chatting and I could smell some freshly brewed coffee and Becky (who was to take over from Mike’s shift) had brought in a cheese cake, several slices of which were being rapidly consumed by a number of the instructors.
After my lesson was over, Tim said that my landings were reasonably satisfactory now. He called them “safe landings” and that is what the Stage 1 examiner would be looking for before I would be allowed to go on my first solo flight which was getting very close. Although these comments and opinions from my instructor were encouraging, I still felt that I wasn’t up to the mark on my landings, but Tim said, “You’re making what are considered to be “safe landings” and that’s what the examiner will be looking for. The rest will come with practice as you fly, and no one makes perfect landings 100% of the time”. He continued, “Anyway, we’ll do a few more and you’ll be fine”.
We did about 9 or 10 landings today and most were good according to my standards, but still could have been better. After my one hour class was over, Tim gave me a very quick but brief breakdown of what to expect when I meet Sara. Sara is an instructor at the school and also a Stage 1 examiner and apparently she’s very thorough, and according to Tim, perhaps too through considering she’s examining students. “She should allow for the fact that they’re students and they’re not going to be perfect”, said Tim. Tim presented me with a list of the kinds of things she’s likely to ask and that we would be going through it all before I would meet her, “In fact we will have a 2 hour ground school class before you meet her”, he said. Tim then went to his office to put his headphone back and returned with a smile and said “Thank you! I just saw you left a bottle on my desk. I shall enjoy that this evening!” He said laughingly.”We have an 8 O’clock lesson tomorrow, right?” Tim asked. I said yes but isn’t it supposed to be snowing tonight? Tim then said he would give me a call if conditions were not conducive for flying, and with that I left thanking Tim. As I stepped out side, I could see some snow flakes gently wafting down from the heavens and I was thankful that it didn’t snow before I could fly and then wondered if there would be enough snow to prevent me flying tomorrow.