Another training flight, and my first landings!

We flew again today. When we got to the plane we had scheduled, N5533F I got the checklist and started the preflight. #1… Master switch ON. Oops. The last person to fly it had left the master on, and the plane was stone dead. Not wanting to hand prop it (no way I’m doing it) we grabbed another Cherokee 140, N698FL that the chief pilot was about to fly to North Omaha (3NO) for some maintenance on the front gear. All good on preflight and runup, I made tha radio calls to Clearance, Ground & Tower (poorly). I made a good takeoff and we turned North.

John told me he would make the landing at 3NO, because the runway is short, narrow and has trees pretty close in. After getting air added to the front strut I taxied back down and did a short field takeoff. The hop to Blair (BTA) only took a few minutes. We crossed midfield and I made my FIRST EVER landing — woohoo! It was actually pretty good, and I remembered to raise the flaps before using the brakes (no toe brakes in this bird). We did three more normal takeoffs and landings. There was a light crosswind, so I was slipping in with right aileron and left rudder.

By the time we did our last takeoff the sun was going down, we couldn’t get the panel lights on and John’s headset was not working, so we headed back to OMA. I made a halfway decent landing on 14L and we taxied back. So, I went from zero to four unassisted landings, did some radio work, a short field takeoff, pattern flying and gained a ton of confidence.

At one point on my last flight I was wondering if I had made a mistake, and if I’d be able to do this thing I’ve dreamed of since I can remember. After today there is no doubt in my mind. I can, I will, and it’s just going to get better. Now I need to practice comms and memorize checklists. John wants me to do the flows from memory and just use the checklist to verify.