I finished the last of my requirements last night... well, actually this morning!
To get your private, you must have done:
40 Hours Total Time
20 Hours Dual
3 hrs Dual Cross Country Training
10 Required Night Landings
A Night Cross Country of 100 NM
10 hours SOLO Time, including
150 nm SOLO Cross Country
5 hours total solo cross country
3 SOLO Landings at Controlled Airports
3 hours Simulated Instrument (Hood Time)
3 Dual hours Received 60 Days Prior to Checkride
M and I took advantage of no thunderstorms and knocked out all of the night stuff last night! We went to 3 airports- From JYO to THV to DMW to FDK and back to JYO. I got 3.8 hours of night flying-- and 10 take offs and landings! We also got in a little simulated instrument time, so I cleared that last hurdle too.
It was great! I love flying at night-- but it was a little strange landing at night at airports I had never been to. I did fairly well, I think. It was my first flight with M since before his vacation-- so it's been almost 3 weeks since we last flew together. In that time, though, I had done 6 solo flights, including my long solo x-c. I think it was probably time for me to fly with him again-- I had gotten a little off on my landings, and though I tried to muddle through it on my own, I had not completely figured out what I was doing wrong. Apparently, I somehow got the wrong "picture" in my head for how it should look-- and was no longer lining up correctly with the runway. Crazy... after almost landings, suddenly I found myself screwing up something that had always been pretty easy for me. Not the situation you want to encounter right before taking your checkride!
The flying was pretty good, though M said it was hazy for night. It didn't seem too hazy to me-- you can see so much further at night than in the day. But I don't have a lot to compare it to! At THV, there's a big hill off to the side of one end of the runway. It's pretty crazy. I'm sort of glad that we didn't have to use that end of the runway... though M was disappointed I didn't get the experience. There are also some powerlines right at that end that go up pretty high on either side. He had us taxi over and look at them in the dark so that I would know what they look like. I was glad I wasn't coming in and out of this strange airport on my own at night. Makes me understand why a lot of pilots won't fly to new airports at night... maybe it's easier when you have instruments... but still is a bit scary. The end of the runway that we were using has a big wall at the end that you drop over before getting to the runway. The fun part is that you can't really see the wall in the dark until you get right over it.
We almost snuck in a landing at Dulles (!), but our fuel was getting pretty low, so we decided we needed to head back to JYO and call it a night. I was excited about going to Dulles-- we've been talking about going over to do a landing there, but the timing has never been quite right. He promised we'd do it soon, though.
All in all, it was really good to get a lesson in-- flying by myself is fun, but it's nice to have someone else in the plane. I had been really looking forward to it-- it's so cool to be up at night. But alas, now there's no more night flying for me until I get my instrument ticket as our flight school doesn't let private pilots fly at night without a instrument rating. I'm really excited to have completed all of my requirements, though! Now I just have to do my stage 3 review with M (which includes all the maneuvers we've done, and is basically a simulated check ride), work on anything we find I'm having trouble with, do my real stage check with the head of the flight school, and then it's FAA checkride time! Husband and I are upping the studying (we've been using flashcards and we're working on completing the King Schools stuff that we have)... but I'm starting to get nervous!