American Journal

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See the Pictures I took in the US so far.

Thursday February 1st 2001

Again no flying because of the front. The temperature actually is quite nice, but the cloudbase is at 1500 ft or something like that, which means we can't do solo cross country flights. I was on the board for a cross country flight at 8, but when I woke up, I looked out of the window and immediately saw that there was no way I was gonna fly a cross country, so I got back into bed. At 13:00 we had groundschool for multi engine till 17:00.
Played Risk again after dinner with Carlo, Martin and Dennis. Carlo did pretty good by destroying Martin and occupying half of the territories on the board. Hopefully the weather will improve again.

Friday February 2nd 2001

I was supposed to do a simflight and a C-172 flight today, but I only did the simflight, because the weather was still crap. The sim session went okay, not too good. Although Dougie said I did fine, I'm not satisfied with it. He failed my attitude indicator (artificial horizon) so I couldn't really accurately set an attitude to maintain airspeed and altitude. I did the ILS approach without the attitude indicator and the fact that the sim is very sensitive doesn't help it either. I was bouncing all over the glide slope. Vertical speed varied from -200 fpm to -1100 fpm! Pretty tough to do an ILS without the attitude indicator. Then at about 600 ft I popped out of the clouds and I could see the runway and touched it down nice and easy even after Dougie screwed me by accidentally suddenly positioning me over the taxiway. Nice things you can do with the sims. I've heard stories of dogfight-like turns and barrel rolls and even inverted landings. :)

I had to stay in school to follow multi engine groundschool. But since the new class got groundschool till 4 o'clock because of the bad weather we had groundschool with Andre, which is a good thing since he really hammers through everything and gets it done quick.

That night we had a party again at Carlo's place. We played risk again and I won and after the game around 23:00 more and more people came over. Cool party with lots of cool guys and a few women as well. Around 3:30 the party was over and we left. A few of us, me as well, had to fly the next morning, but as the saying goes : at night a man and in the morning a man.

Saturday February 3rd 2001

I got up at 7:30 this morning after getting to bed around 4:00 after the party last night, but I could see immediately that I didn't have to go solo flying. We did however make a C-172 flight to get me ready for my stagecheck, which is planned on monday.

That night there was a party at Amir and Diego's place, but I didn't go there, because I was fiddling with my computer (I'd just bought a burner and a discman, which can play mp3-cd's as well). Great stuff! After I got it working I burnt my first cd and it worked. Around 00:30 Carlo, Roland, Peter and Pieter came back from the party and stormed into our kitchen heading for the beer. Apparently they were out of beer at the other party :) Jurriaan just went to bed a few minutes before that, but he got up again and partied with us. Later on Zack, Bert, Oscar, Dougie and his wife came over as well and we stayed up till 4:30 again. So much for going to bed early :) But I had a good time, so I didn't care.

Monday February 5th 2001

I had my stagecheck for Stage I Instrument today, which went absolutely bollocks, but I still passed. I had to do steepturns, timed turns and compass turns. It was my first stage check with Don Palas, which is an experience on itself. He never wears headsets for whatever reason, so as soon as you start the engine you can hardly hear him talk. It got worse as we accelerated down the runway with full power and the engine roaring at 2400 rpm. Infernal racket! And after takeoff as he screams to me what altitude he wants me to he points his finger upwards and gives a "2" with his fingers, which means climb to 2000ft. Then he was screaming he wanted me to do steepturns, timed turns, compass turns and an NDB approach and I was going like "Sorry?", "Huh?", "Say again?" the whole time. On top of that it was quite turbulent, so it was virtually impossible to maintain standard rate turns and I was screwing up majorly on my steepturns and my compass turns, but I passed. That's the main thing. The rest of the day we were in groundschool with multi engine class till 17:00.

Tuesday February 6th 2001

Had to be in school at 7:30 this morning, but it was so cold I had to scrape the ice of the windows of my car. I thought I was late, but Dougie thought we weren't on until 8:00, so he was even later than I was. We did another sim session in which I had to do holdings for the first time. At first I had a little trouble on the entries of the holdings, but after a while I got the hang of it and it went fine until we moved along to NDB holdings. NDB's again. I really have to think when I do them, but again after one or two screw ups I'm back on it. Except from mainatining my altitude it went fine, but maintaining altitude is a bitch in all the sims. Especially Sim 1, which is as old and ancient as Sim 2, but the trim is totally screwed up and they're all so damn sensitive.

That night we had a party over at Dennis' house, because it was his birthday, he turned 18 just in time for his commercial checkride (you have to be 18 in order to get your Commercial License). The party was nice and Carlo was trying to get him drunk in which he pretty much succeeded, but sadly I had to miss that because I had to go to bed early, because of the long cross country I had to do the next day.

Wednesday February 7th 2001

This morning I had to get up early because I had to do a long cross country flight, which is required for the commercial program. You have to do a cross country flight of 300 nautical miles in which one leg must be at least 150 miles. So we left Lakeland around 8:00 and headed on to Cross City. From Cross City we went to Albany (Georgia) and from Albany we went to Cordell (also GA) and from Cordell back to Ocala and Lakeland.
Dougie was flying with me and Wout (a Dutch instructor and our mentor) flew with one of the 4 EAT guys (Roland, IJle, Alain and Stefan). We were messing about and making jokes, basically it was the Dutch against Dougie, but he's pretty good at sneering jokes, so he handled himself pretty well. But then again, he's been around Wout for quite some time now :) I'd brought my mp3 cd player with me and I had one earplug in my ear and my headset over it so I could both listen to the communications radio and listen to my music. Roland knew I had the machine with me and asked me to play some music so I told Dougie to take over the controls of the plane and pressed the earplug to the microphone of my headset and while I was doing that I pressed the "push to talk button" and transmitted my music on the frequency. It wasn't a bad quality to my surprise. Stefan had done it before with his discman and that quality wasn't as good as it was today. Then again it depends of the airplane you're flying and the quality of the radio's it has. On the way to Cross City we were flying in a group after we'd caught up on the others (we departed last) and we were following Roland and Stefan, who was flying with Wout. Dougie said to me "Let's have some fun" and he took the controls making a steep diving turn to the left gaining airspeed while constantly watching the others. Then he made a turn with almost a 90 degree angle of bank to the right and because we'd built up airspeed while we were descending we were ahead of the other two. I looked up and saw the other two screaming over our heads. There was like 400 ft spacing between us, but still it looked pretty damn cool! We had breakfast in Cross City, while oure planes were refuelled. From Cross City to Albany more of the same, flying in groups, messing about and listening to music. Refuelling again in Albany and on to Cordell. From Cordell to Ocala, where we stopped and refuelled again and had some lunch as well. From Ocala back to Lakeland and it was CROWDED! I had to do 2 360's to keep clear of the airspace and waited there for 5 minutes, after which I reported again over the interstate and had to do 3 more 360's together with IJle. Roland who was flying behind us had reported slightly before us, because we simply couldn't get through was given priority to enter the airspace. But I think the tower had done a pretty good job, taking in account that they have no radar and the many many aircraft arriving and departing at that time. Back on the ground, after more than 9 hours, around 17:00 of which 6.2 were flying hours. I'd had a great flight, but I was pretty tired as well.

Thursday February 8th 2001

Another day in the sim. I had to do more VOR and NDB holdings and my first Localizer holding. Localizer is very easy and that went okay, except I was screwing around with the entries again. Got to get that into my head. Apart from that and maintaining altitude again it went fine. It was Sim 2 and we can't take Sim 3, because the plotter doesn't work on that one and you have to see the holding patterns you fly, otherwise you can't learn from it. We had our last groundschool lesson on multi engine today, so until monday, when the CFI groundschool starts, there's no groundschool. Sadly that only gives us one day off, since there's only flying on saturday and no groundschool.

Friday February 9th 2001

This morning I had another sim session. I had to do more VOR and NDB holdings, but this time he added some crosswind, which makes it a little more difficult, because in the inbound and outbound turns you have to maintain standard rate, so you can't correct for the wind, which means you have to triple the wind correction in the outbound leg. And because you're not sure what correction to use at first (trial and error) it's pretty hard to compensate. Besides that I was screwing around MAJORLY with the non-standard holdings. In standard holdings you fly right turns and in non-standard you fly left turns, but since you do more standard holdings than non-standard you create a habit of turning right all the time. Which is exactly what I did 3 times!! I don't think I was concentrating enough, because of whatever reason, I dunno... But basically I screwed 3 out of 5 laps in that holding, because I turned right the whole time. After that I didn't have anything to fly, so I went home early and spent the rest of the afternoon tanning and swimming at the pool for the first time since last November. It was great weather since ages!

Saturday February 10th 2001

Today I planned a long cross country flight again with Stefan. We planned to go south. We arrived at school at 7:45, because we planned to be airborne at 8:00, but that wasn't going to work, since there was a fog over Lakeland and the visibility was less than 5 miles. After half an hour the fog started to lift and we were cleared to go. We went downstairs and started the pre-flight. I'd planned for N93588 the previous week, but 10 minutes after I'd done the preflight the plane went down, because they had to do a 50 hours check on it. So they gave me N89650. I quickly did the preflight on that piece of shit only to find out that the radios were inoperative. I could transmit, but I couldn't receive. Meanwhile Stefan had already started his engine and was ready to go, so I walked overthere and asked him to wait. I ran up back to dispatch and said the radios didn't work. He asked me to try again, so I walked back down and asked Stefan to try on the funny channel. I could hear him VERY softly and I didn't hear dispatch at all. Meanwhile Stefan had already taxied out and I can't blame him, because he still has to do like 50 more hours. I kicked the shit out of the tires of 650 and cursed the damn thing and asked for another plane. This time they gave me N4886B and before I even started the pre-flight I immediately asked for a radio check at dispatch. This time it was loud and clear so I started the preflight and departed as soon as I could. I switched over to the funny channel and Stefan was something like 10 minutes ahead of me so he circled above Punta Gorda for a little while to let me catch up, which wasn't easy since 86B cruises really slow (about 90-95 knots, whereas almost all other aircraft cruise at 100-105 knots). After we reunited we headed south towards Naples and when we flew over the Class C airspace of Southwest Florida Itl we saw a 737 take off and he had to divert off his departure route because of us. Pretty funny to see a big jet divert his path for 2 little puddle jumpers :) We made a full stop at Naples and asked at the FBO where the nearest restaurant was, where we could have some breakfast. So they send for a little shuttle to drive us to the other side of the field, where we had breakfast and on the way back the guy showed us an alligator that was living there in a big sewer pipe, which was pretty cool. Too bad I didn't bring my camera with me in that little shuttle. After that we went to Venice and Stefan left before me and I had to wait for 2 turboprops in the pattern. After that I could go too and I asked Stefan where he was and he said he was flying over the beach looking for women at 500 ft, which is the minimum altitude over the coast. I'd like to do that too some time. After we refuelled in Venice we went to Wauchula, where I landed for the first time. It's a typical American airfield. It's basically in the middle of f***ing nowhere. There's nothing within 10 miles of the field, except for 2 or 3 farms, but considering what little town it's built for the airfield isn't really small. We wanted to make a few patterns, but as we arrived there we heard they were going to release parachute jumpers within 2 minutes so we decided to make a full stop and we saw the parachute jumpers coming down after we landed. Pretty cool sight. We decided to do a few more patterns and call it a day, even though it was pretty early, because the weather was so nice we wanted to go home and sit by the pool. We were about ready to leave when we heard IJle and Roland report themselves on the radio they were inbound at Wauchula. We agreed to meet them there around 14:00 before, so we did a few more laps in the pattern and then Stefan went back to Lakeland, which I later found out, because his radio was acting weird. IJle reported to make a full stop so I did a full stop as well. We bought a coke at the snack stand overthere and wound up in a conversation with the owner of the snack stand and his wife. He looked like a farmer in the clothes that he wore, but it turned out he was an ex-airline captain from Eastern Airlines and he flew big jets like L-1011 and 727 and even Convairs in the early days. He owned a Gyrocopter, which looked like a moped with a rotor, but it had more avionics in it than our little puddle jumpers. He also owned a Beech Baron and a Beech Bonanza, both twin piston engine planes and to top it off he was the certified captain to fly a DC-3 which was given to the museum overthere. He gave instructions for a type rating on the DC-3, which cost around $600 an hour and you could have your type rating in 12-14 hours. We asked how much it would cost to get a tour in it and he said it would cost like $400 an hour, but there was room for 10 people, which makes it $40 a person and then we could all sit in the right seat for a brief moment, so we're definitely thinking about that. After we arrived back in Lakeland we headed straight for the pool and spent the rest of the afternoon there.

Sunday February 11th 2001

Today we went to the beach in Clearwater. It was an hour and a half drive overthere. We left at 10:30 and got there around 12:00 We parked the car at some motel where we only had to pay $5 for the whole day instead of running to the parking meter every 20 minutes. The water was pretty cold, but if you ran into it really fast and ran back to the beach again it wasn't too bad. There was a little plane over the beach there and flying circles at 500 ft over the beach. Later when we got home we found out it was Martijn, who's an instructor in Winter Haven, was the one in the plane flying over the beach. At first he couldn't come with us because he had to work, but when he got there he found out his student cancelled the lesson and he and Peter took a plane and flew to Clearwater. He said he could see us from upthere. Must have been pretty cool. He did slowflight and S-turns and also a dive from 1200 ft to 500 ft. When we drove back to Lakeland there was a big traffic jam from Clearwater to Tampa, so we arrived back in Lakeland at 20:00.

Monday February 12th 2001

I planned to do a cross country this morning from 9:00 to 12:00, but when I woke up there was a thick layer of fog hanging over Lakeland. I waited for the fog to lift, but there weren't going to be any solo flights until 11:00. Since you can't do any cross country in one hour there was no point in going to school before groundschool started, which was at 13:00. I couldn't do any simflights either, because Dougie was gone for the entire day because some of his students had to take a CFI checkride, which is always in West Palm Beach and takes all day.

When I got to school I heard that Carlo had been in an accident last night. I was glad to find out he was allright, but his car was pretty badly damaged. He was going through a turn at Carlton Arms too fast and he skidded out of control, plowing through somebody's front yard and coming to a halt onto a brick wall of one of the houses there. He got an $80 dollar fine from the cops for reckless driving and had like $2000 to $3000 worth of damage to his Ford Explorer.

Tuesday February 13th 2001

Did some more sim again today. More holding patterns and Dougie introduced me to VOR approaches and Localizer approaches. I had to do half of the sim session with partial panel, which meant I had to do the holdings and approaches without my attitude indicator. That's really shit if you have to keep altitude by setting an attitude, but after a while it went okay.

That night I went to the fitness club with Jur, Gerrit-Jan and Chantal, because Jur and Chantal persuaded me the previous evening to come with them and I thought I could use the excersise. It wasn't as bad as I imagined it would be. I did some jogging on some sort of conveyor belt and cycling on a hometrainer and some weightlifting... I said some... not much :)

Wednesday February 14th 2001

More sim today this morning. My final sim session. At last! Done with that stupid dark shithole. I like the real thing much better. Today I did more VOR approaches and also NDB approaches and ILS approaches down to the minimums and then doing a missed approach. That means you descend until the minimum altitude published in the approach plates (published for each instrument approach at each airport) and if you can't see the runway at the minimums (or simulate you can't see it) you go missed. Dougie failed my directional gyro and my attitude indicator once more.

Directly after that sim session we went on a dual cross country flight, which we had to do according to the syllabus. I had to plan to Leesburg, but after my third checkpoint he diverted me to Gore (a private airstrip near Haines City). I found it without a problem, but I was having a little trouble keeping my course in a straight line , but that didn't matter that much since I was flying VFR anyway. He pulled the throttle when I was at 2000 ft. over Gore as to simulate an engine failure. I started a downwind leg and a base leg and was a little high on final, but when I threw in the flaps and used a forward slip I was right on it and then 100 ft above the ground he said the engine worked again so I went around. It's a shame we can't land on grass fields by the school rules. We did a few touch and go's in Bartow before we headed back to Lakeland where I had a fairly good landing.

Thursday February 15th 2001

Solo cross country on the schedule today. I still had to do 4.4 hours. I had to wait an hour for the fog to clear and the ceiling to rise before I could go. While I was waiting I was reading the maintenance squawks (little slips of paper on which you fill out the malfunctions during the flight for maintenance) and I read the squawk for the nightflight I did on January 26th in N757XQ with Dougie. Dougie and the guy from maintenance are always kidding around and here's what the squawk looked like : "Landing light Inop. Port (That's left for you Bill!) Navlight Inop." Maintenance replied with : "Determined above mentioned pilot not qualified to fly aircraft. Turned the switch and everything works." It was very funny to read it, although we did almost anything to try to get the lights to work that night. I've had that before with 7XQ. During the preflight the Navlight wasn't working, but as I taxied out it was working again. Just one of the weird things that can happen sometimes. After that hour of waiting flew a bit to the east and circling over Disney World, which was nice. I'd expected it to be bigger though, but from the air it seems a bit small, but then again, wait till you walk through it! :) After circling for about an hour I flew to Leesburg, where I planned to make a stop and go. But it would be a full stop and a taxi back to the RIGHT runway, as I was on final for the wrong runway, since I had the wrong frequency for the UNICOM on my radio. That was so UTTERLY STUPID, because I'd been there for like 50 times before burning away my hours. But luckily no accidents happened and I went on my way to Ocala. By that time the wind started to pick up a little, because of the front that was coming through. On my final for runway 18 in Ocala it started to get bumpy as hell. On the way back to Lakeland it was even worse and I got kicked all over the place. To top it all off I had a stinking headwind of at least 20-25 knots I reckon. So I was back after 2.9 hours, while you are only allowed to do 2.5 hours without refuelling. But that is with a margin of 1.0 hours so I was in no real danger. But it wasn't my fault, because the winds aloft forecast 13 knots. My ass it was 13 knots!!

Friday February 16th 2001

Dual cross country again with Dougie to get me ready for my stage check 4 for commercial. I had to plan to Sebring with checkpoints and timing and all that. After take off my directional gyro screwed me over by failing on me. It just went "tits up" as Dougie would say. It took a while before I noticed, so I was correcting and correcting, while I was on the right course and drifting off... Then I saw that it had changed 30 degrees in less than half a minute so I knew it was screwed. By the time I'd realised the DG was gone I was a bit disoriented and missed my second checkpoint, but I was still on the right way, just a mile or two from my intended track. My third checkpoint was the airfield at Avon Park, some 30 miles southwest of Lakeland and that was easy to find. Dougie diverted me from Avon Park to Brewster, a little town 10 miles south of Lakeland. From then on it was going allright. But by the time we got there there were two little towns near each other, so I didn't know which one was Brewster, so Dougie explained to me how to use other landmarks to measure the distance from the landmark (in this case an aerial) to the town on the map and compare it to the outside view. My landing was okay, despite of the crosswinds.

Saturday February 17th 2001

Dougie had planned me for a C-172 flight at 8 this morning, so my alarm went off at 7:15 and I was just about to get dressed when Dougie called. The first thing he said was : "Ey... go back to bed".. We couldn't fly because of the weather and basically neither of us could be bothered (or arsed as Dougie would say :)) to fly at 8:00 on a saturday. So I had the day off and that night we had a dinner at Wout and Jolande's (my mentor and his wife) with Carlo, Dennis, Jur and Martin. We had a nice time and stayed till 0:30 after which we went to Carlo's place, but the rest of the group went to Ybor and we didn't want to go, so it was pretty quiet. Still we had a good time.

Monday February 19th 2001

First thing this morning I had a C-172 flight in which I'd do my first real approaches. It went SOOO BAD! It was the first time I'd ever done approaches outside the sim and I was talking to Tampa Approach on the radio and they were firing all these instructions to me. And I was also suffering from the turbulence of all the updrafts, which was actually not that bad as it can be during summertime (or so I've heard), but I got a little desoriented from all the shocks and the bumpy ride. I know it's no excuse, but I was used to doing approaches in the sim, where you have no turbulence, obviously.

Later that morning I had my stagecheck for Stage IV commercial. I had to plan to Leesburg, but as we took off there was a lot of smoke from a brushfire that had started last saturday, because of some dumbass redneck burning his yardtrash and it got out of hand. So there was about 10,000 acres on fire next to Interstate 4 and part of that was closed. It also meant we had to divert around the smoke to keep clear sight. That meant I couldn't fly over all my checkpoints I carefully worked out before the flight, but I'd been to Leesburg so many times that I could find it with my eyes closed by then (as a matter of speaking). So we found Leesburg and he wanted me to take him to Bartow, which was piss easy, because I could follow a railroad down all the way to Interstate 4. When we got near I-4 we saw a big traffic jam of all the cars that had to be rerouted on parallel roads, because the I-4 was partially closed. Pretty cool to see. When we flew over Winterhaven he simulated an engine failure and I had to land without an engine, so I was maneuvering for the downwind and it was obvious we weren't gonna make it, because we were too far out when he "failed" the engine. (He doesn't really fail the engine, but just pulls back the throttle to idle). He pushed the throttle forward again and said the power was back. I made a fairly good landing and we headed back to Lakeland, where I made an almost perfect landing on runway 9. That was piss easy, because the wind was blowing like crazy directly from 090 at 20 knots. So I had a groundspeed of around 40 knots and I could ease it down very slowly and gentle.

Tuesday February 20th 2001

I was supposed to do my stagecheck for Stage II Instrument, but because my approaches went so bad yesterday we decided to do a review flight on the approaches with Richard (my old instructor and one of the two instructor's that can do stagechecks). This time I had to do a VOR approach to runway 27 and a VOR-holdingpattern over Lakeland VOR. I also did an ILS approach to runway 5 after which we reviewed the lesson. And he said it went well enough to count it as a stagecheck so I passed my Stage II. Yeeeh!! :) The only problem I have is that I'm getting behind the aircraft sometimes. Meaning I'm not planning ahead enough, like approach briefings and setting VOR's right. So I have to work on that, but at least I can go through with Stage III now.

Wednesday February 21st 2001

Today I did more approaches and it's getting a bit better now. Dougie did all the radiocalls so I could concentrate on the approaches and briefings. Nonetheless I still managed to screw up my NDB approach. The needle was pointing to the right so I flew right, but I didn't correct enough for the wind and I was still to far to the left of the runway when he made me look out the window. The other approaches were okay, but still not the level I need to be on. I still have to do some work on that.

Thursday February 22nd 2001

I had to be at school at 7:00, because they needed the 172 for a checkride at 9:00, so I had to get up real early. We did more approaches and I'm getting there allright now. Dougie made the initial calls and I did the rest of the calls on the radio and I was doing okay on the ILS approaches. Actually Dougie wanted to do a few full approaches (which include the procedure turns), but they gave us a straight in all the time, because they either weren't listening well enough, or it was too busy to do full ILS approaches, but I doubt it was too busy, because we were virtually the only aircraft shooting approaches at Lakeland. Dougie said he wasn't going to argue with them, because it was too busy on the radio and he didn't want to piss them off. Approach briefings went fine and we did 3 ILS'es and 3 VOR approaches to runway 9, which are really piss easy, because you only have to follow the 276 radial inbound and descend to 1400 ft. and after passing AIMIE (a fix on the ground which is 5 nautical miles from the VOR) which is called by Tampa Approach. After passing AIMIE you start your time (depending on your groundspeed) and you further descend to 700 ft. (500 ft. if you have Distance Measuring Equipment) and wait till the time runs out and you go missed. That went pretty well, except that I busted my altitude during one of them, which would mean an immediate fail on the checkride, but this was only a lesson so there was no real problem.

Friday February 23rd 2001

Dougie asked me to make and file an IFR flightplan for today to Sarasota, Ocala and Orlando Executive. First time ever I got an IFR clearance from groundcontrol (you have to file your IFR flightplan and get a clearance in order for the radar controllers to fit you into their system). We took off and headed to the south toward Sarasota. We received radar vectors from Tampa approach to Sarasota and after we could pick up the VOR from Sarasota we just followed the VOR to get there. When we got close to Sarasota we received radar vectors to set us up on the ILS for the runway at Sarasota and I was doing the ILS pretty nice. Both needles in the center. From Sarasota we went to Ocala and we were vectored over St. Petersburg (Tampa International Airport), but because we were above an overcast layer of clouds we couldn't see it. Being above the overcast layer also meant I could take off those damn "foggles" (glasses which are partially blurred so you can only see the instruments and not outside the plane). They're a big pain in the ass to wear because they are too tight around your head, which hurts. But this time I didn't have to wear them, because I was flying in actual IFR conditions. When we approached St. Petersburg we were cruising at 5000 ft. and below us I could see an Airbus A320 in the approach for St. Petersburg. He just zoomed past us below us, which was a pretty cool sight. When we reached Ocala we were told to descend and to intercept the Localizer of the ILS at Ocala. As we descended through 3500 ft. we were flying in the clouds and we couldn't see anything but white! That is an amazing experience. We were following the instruments and the radar directions, while there was water pooring through the airvents, because obviously clouds are built out of water. Never experienced that before, but it was pretty funny. Then we were on the ILS and I was keeping both needles pretty much centered. Then at 800 ft. we popped out of the clouds and right in front of us was the runway. That is really cool, because you fly in the clouds you follow the instruments and there's no way to check anything because you can't see a bloody thing but white and as you pop out of the clouds, right in front of you is the runway and you're exactly at the right altitude. That's really cool to experience! We did a missed approach and headed to Orlando Executive. After a while we had to contact Orlando Approach after being on Jacksonville Approach while we were in the vicinity of Ocala. Orlando Approach is so very very busy, you wouldn't believe! Because it's so busy they're a bit moody as well, which doesn't make it pleasant. The ILS to runway 7 at Orlando Executive was absolutely packed with all kinds of small aircraft (business jets and planes from two flightschools that are stationed at Orlando Executive) so we had an 18 mile final to runway 7, which is extremely long. When we were on short final and cleared to land Dougie asked for a missed approach and the controller responded kind of pissed off for not asking that sooner, but we did a stop and he gave us the clearance, after which we could take off again back to Lakeland. At Lakeland we did a VOR approach to runway 9 which went pretty well, except for the landing. Dougie wouldn't let me use any flaps, so I flared WAY too high and we were falling down from 10 ft, which made it a pretty rough landing, but luckily we didn't bounce. At the debrief Dougie said it went pretty good and it felt like that for me as well. I did almost all the radiocalls myself, except when the approach controller was firing things at me so fast that I couldn't keep up with his pace. But my approach briefings were fine and the approaches itself were fine as well.

That afternoon we had our final hours of groundschool. After today no more groundschool at last! Flying is much more fun than sitting in a room being bored and learning all the dry theory stuff. But that's also a part of the training, so I have to (or rather had to) put up with that.

That night we went to Bennigan's to have dinner and after that we went to the movies where Hannibal was playing. I thought it was a pretty good movie, but other people who'd seen Silence of the lambs, weren't impressed by it, but then again I never saw Silence of he lambs. We got home at 1:30 and I went straight to bed, because I had to do a solo flight, which Dougie planned at 7:00, the Scottish bastard! :) When I woke up at 6:20 I looked out of the window and there was groundfog and haze of the brush fire. So I called weather brief and they told me it was gonna be IFR conditions at Lakeland until 9:00, after which I couldn't get a plane anymore because of the busy schedule on the board. So I went back to bed and that was it.

Monday February 26th

Today I had nothing planned so I wanted to sleep in, but at 9:30 Dougie called and said I had to be at school at 11:00, because he planned a solo cross country flight for me at 11:00. I only had to do 1.5 before I was done with the solo cross country hours. I logged to Leesburg, but since I'd already been there like 50 times I wanted to do something different today. I took my telelens and flew over Carlton Arm's once again and made a few pictures of our appartment, classmate's appartments and the pool with the telelens. After that I followed South Florida Avenue to the North and took a few pictures of Lakeland Downtown and then I headed to the Northeast again to shoot some photo's of Disney World again, but this time with the telelens. Hope they worked out well. When I got back I'd done exactly 1.5 hours and was officially done with the solo hours. I was done at around 13:00 and I headed home and took a few pictures of my car with my personalized license plate, after I finally washed it yesterday. I took the rest of the day off, so I had time to relax and finally update my journal.

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