My First Time Out Alone
Once I had done my solos and could fly alone, it took a few days (several, actually) for me to go rent a plane and go. Partially due to weather, partially to cold feet. I wasn't worried about being able to fly the plane, I was more concerned with getting lost. I could only fly from Rancho Murieta to Franklin and back, but I was still nervous. I had only flown 17 hours, which isn't that much.
Finally the weather cleared and I didn't have any excuses, so I went out and rented a plane. I took off for Franklin, and was doing ok. I did know how to get there, and partway in between is the area we did all our practicing. So things were going ok.
Then I got to a point where the clouds changed. I'd been flying about 1500 feet, and suddenly the clouds were at 1500 feet. I didn't want to go under them, because 1000 feet over a populated area is the minimum, and I wanted a buffer so I didn't get in trouble. I doubt anyone would have noticed, but at that point I figured air traffic control was watching me, waiting for me to screw up. BWAHAHAHA!!! That's not why they're there, they are there to help you, they're not the sky police. But like I said, I was still new at it.
I also didn't want to go over the clouds, cuz I'd never be able to find Franklin, my way back, or civilization ever again. So I did what any sensible pilot would do - I turned around and went back.
No pilot should ever do something they don't think they should do. A student pilot shouldn't do anything (alone) that he maybe thinks might be a problem. This looked like a problem, so I didn't do it. Yay for me.
So I didn't waste the trip, I practiced some stuff on the way back - stalls, slow flight, that kind of thing. And it wasn't a waste anyway, I did get up there alone, tooled around a bit, and got back safely. It was a confidence builder if nothing else. The next time I went up, I went to Franklin like a pro, no worries. So the basic mission of this flight was accomplished.
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