Flight 30: Changing Traffic Patterns

Ground school ended Monday night. Since I had to study for the final exam anyway, I figured I was as ready as I was going to be to take the FAA written test, so I took it today. I needed 70% to pass. My goal was 90 or better, and I got a 92. Three of us from ground school showed up at the testing center within minutes of each other, not knowing the others were going to be there.

The test consists of 60 multiple-choice questions, drawn from a pool of several hundred, and is given on a PC. We were allowed two and a half hours, but we all finished in less than an hour. It was nice to get the score immediately.

We did another after dark flight tonight. I did some more hood work, which I’m not too good at, but at least I don’t get airsick. Then we went to Lakeland (LAL) to get some night experience at a controlled airport.

The pattern was interesting, because the tower had me use a right-hand pattern for the first touch & go, then left after taking off for a couple more landings, then right again, and finally left. One time they told us to continue straight out for a mile after takeoff before turning.

My flight instructor had me do a variety of landings: a few with the landing light off and a couple with no flaps either. My light-off landings were actually better than the others. (It works best at night to look at the far end of the runway rather than the touchdown point. When the landing light, similar to a headlight, is on it draws the eye toward where the light is pointed.) Taking off without the light was interesting, like trying to drive down a dark road with no headlights.

Today: 1.3 hours
Total: 39.9 hours
Total Solo: 6.3 hours

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