The third time was indeed the charm, and I put 1.2 hours on N1959H today. Was scheduled for 04H but the FBO apparently damaged its rudder when trying to get a sabreliner out of the hanger past it this morning. Ouch.
I like the new flight instructor. As an ex-Navy pilot, he is cool, precise, and a stickler for procedure and accuracy, but at the same time is gentle and calm. Example: instead of "get your head out of the cockpit" like I've been told by most instructors (I have a tendency to focus on the instruments instead of the horizon), he said "it's a nice day today, look out and enjoy it." On the other hand, he made me run through the landing checklist on EVERY trip around the pattern, something no one else has ever made me do before (typically it's assumed that one leaves the plane in landing configuration the whole time while doing touch and goes).
He led me on a more complete preflight than I've ever seen before, and explained things that I never knew. Why are the fasteners on the Emergency Locator Transmitter inspection plate made of plastic? Because the ELT is removable and self-contained, complete with its own rubber duck antenna. In case you make an emergency landing and are forced to leave the vicinity of the plane, you can bash the plastic fasteners off with a rock, and take the ELT with you so the rescuers aren't led to an abandoned plane.
Cool huh? Never knew that before.
I was sort of pleased with my performance today... parts of the basics of flying are just like riding a bike; after an 18-month hiatus I found steep turns, stalls, slow-flight, and other basic maneuvers just as easy as when I was flying every week. Other things, like cross-wind landings, precise altitude control, and instrument scan, I seem to have completely forgotten how to do.
In the end, the instructor told me that one more hour of pattern work and some ground school, and he'll sign off on my BFR and I'll be a free pilot once again! We'll do that next week. I'm so excited! I'm already planning a trip to the east coast to our friend's wedding on June 1.
Gina called tonight and left a message. I'm to call back when she is done grading papers, for a long talk. I do miss my best chick and really am looking forward to catching up with her.
My mood has been up and down today, but what's most in my mind is the almost uncontrollable giddiness I had immediately after the flight today. Walking to lunch after I got to campus, I kept looking up at the blue sky I'd just been in, laughing and smiling, and I just couldn't help it. Seems like I need to remember that feeling, both as incentive to fly more, and as a reminder that things can be good, when they seem bad.
Interesting, because my mood did take a turn for the worse late this afternoon, due to things and conversations unrelated to flying.