Monday 21st Feb 2011.

This was the start of my second week in the USA. The guys had bought washing liquid, so I was determined to get to grips with the Washing Machine today and the Drying Machine later. I followed the instructions on the machine, put 4 quarters in the slots, and off it went. About an hour later, I went back to the washroom, to find the cycle had finished. Taking my wet clothes from the machine, I put them in the Dryer, put another 4 quarters in this machine, and left it to it. About an hour later I went back, opened the doors, and found that my clothes were still wet. I had set the machine on the lowest setting, so put another 4 quarters in, move the setting up one, and left it again. Tracey mentioned that there didn’t seem to be much noise coming from the washroom, so we went to investigate. No wonder my clothes were still wet, I had forgotten to press the ‘start’ button!

By this time it was almost noon, and we needed to get to the Airport for our lessons. I was due for more T&G’s and Tracey was due for a final spin with an Instructor, before going solo again. My first session was before lunch today, and we took off just after noon. Apart from the standard Take-Off and Landings today, I was taught how to land without flaps, and also how to glide-land, without power (something that would be necessary in case of an engine failure). It was pretty windy again, with winds of 17 knots, gusting to 20.

After a quick lunch at the Golf Club, I returned to the Airport to start going through my pre-solo written exam with Mike. We only got half way through when he had to leave to take another lesson, so we will need to finish it tomorrow.

Just at the entrance to the Airport, there is a Company in the first hanger that does paint jobs on aircraft, and they have some interesting specimens. I usually have a peek into the hanger as I go past each day, but today I didn’t need to, their latest handiwork was parked outside for all to see. It was a magnificent US Navy SNJ-6 (better known in the UK as the Harvard, when operated by the RAF). What a magnificent looking flying machine.

My second lesson of the day was scheduled for 5pm. Again, the wind had not abated, it had actually increased, so now it was 15 knots, gusting to 20. Fortunately, it was almost a headwind, coming from 220 degrees, and we were using runway 26 (260 degrees), so the wind factor was still in the acceptable range. If it had been a crosswind, we could not have flown, as the PA-28 Warrior has a crosswind limit of 17 knots.  To add to the difficulty, the evening sun was setting in the West, almost directly down the runway we were using for take-off and landings, so it was very difficult to look almost directly into the sun, to judge the horizon. Of the five landings I did, two were good, one was fair, and two were not so good. I have another T&G session tomorrow, and if my performance is OK during that, I will be taking my pre-solo flight evaluation with one of the senior instructors, possibly Wednesday or Thursday. I also go for my American Medical on Wednesday Afternoon, a legal pre-requisite to flying solo in the USA.

After we had parked the plane, and completed the paperwork, I had a look on the schedule board to see how Tracey’s flight had gone, only to find that it had been cancelled. She later told me that her Instructor had suggested conditions were not really suitable for her to fly solo today, so her flight has been postponed until early tomorrow morning, when it should be a bit calmer.

I bumped into Mehmet at the Airport, who was just about to go back to the Houses, and he kindly offered me a lift. I gratefully accepted; it had been a long day.However, when I got back to the house, I had to begin ironing the washing that I had left in the Dryer that morning. Thankfully, this passed without further mishap, and I now have underpants with beautifully pressed, knife edge seams