I had a short flight scheduled, and figured I’d go somewhere for lunch and come back. Maybe half an hour there, and half an hour back. However, I show up and the plane I have reserved is sitting there on the ramp with its cowling off. Apparently, there was something during the previous flight that required a bunch of attention — the scheduling software showed it as resolved, but the cowling suggested something else entirely. Since the problem was loss of electrical power, I didn’t want to presume it had been fixed.

So, I was bummed. I checked the schedule and the other plane was taken by someone else, and only the 182s were available. I am not checked out in them, so no-go. Just as I’m about to leave though, I see the other person going for the 172. He sees me all sad, and offers to switch: he can take one of the 182s while I take the remaining 172. He’s only planning to do an hour of pattern work, anyways.

Of course while we do all that switching and deciding, my time is ticking down. So by the time I take off, I only have enough time to spend doing an hour of landings. It had actually been a long time since I’ve done nothing but landing practice! I did some soft field takeoffs, attempted a short field landing, did a go-around. Also, for the first time since my PPL, I did a no-flap landing — partly inspired by the very real situation the person who flew that other cowling-off 172 had experienced the other day. There are times that the pipers with their Johnson bar have it right.

All in all, an hour of pattern work got me 6 landings and a go-around, which was great practice. Not every landing was as good as I wanted them to be, but none of it left me feeling unsafe or upset at myself. All in all, a good day.


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