I had finally realized, I was not ready to solo. There was something I just wasn't understanding. I had the right amount of hours to solo and I had made almost one hundred landings with my instructor. I was frustrated but not to the point that I was going to give up.
My Mother had wanted to visit her niece and nephew in Colorado for a long time, so I took her on vacation and I was going to try to get some additional training if their was an instructor in the area. I found one within an hours drive. Steve Moore, a Certified Flight Instructor for Weight Shift Control aircraft was available to train me at Watkins, Colorado. I have Steve's website, Mooreairtime.com listed on my "Websites of Interest", check him out.
Over a two day timeframe I received an hour each morning before the wind grounded us. After two hours of training the Steve said, if I could demonstrate about six more good landings that he would endorse me to solo. That was good news however, a late Winter storm was coming into the area. The third day of training was canceled so Mom and I packed up and had to return home to South Dakota, staying just ahead of a snow storm.
The training I had received from Steve revolved mainly around Power-On landings, something I had not learned yet. After making several landings with power, the proverbial light came on. I think in every learning process, especially something as complex as learning to fly, many times we plateau and stop learning. Then all of a sudden, something new is learned and the process is jump started, and we begin to learn again. That is what happened with Steve.
Steve reminded me before I departed, that I was not endorsed to fly the two seater under the current rules. I understood and I was going to stay within the rules. That being said, I was legal to fly my Jetwing Ultralight, but only if in my mind, without rationalizing that I was truly capable of landing the aircraft safely.
From the onset of learning to fly trikes, I have not wanted to injure myself or my equipment. I was now better prepared to land my aircraft safely, I was having no doubts.
When the weather finally improved and Winter moved again to the East, I pre-flighted the Jetwing. Everything went very well and my landings were very much improved. Each day I went to fly, I would make about ten landings. I don't know how many landings I had made but pretty soon I could land the aircraft so smoothly I wasn't sure I was on the runway.
I had finally learned how to land my aircraft safely and correctly. I generally land at idle which is the most common way to land and is the landing that must be mastered. If you fly a weight shift control aircraft, especially with a two-stroke engine, at some time you probably will have to land an aircraft with zero power so you had better know how to do it!
I didn't realize when I started to write about this subject that it would turn into a short eBook, but I hope it gave you something to think about.
If I can leave you with these final thoughts, don't try to learn to fly and ultimately land safely on your own. This part of flying is not a Do-It-Yourself operation. SEEK TRAINING! Have patience with your instructor, wait until they tell you directly, you are ready to solo. Seek additional instructors to get different teaching methods and approaches, that was helpful for me too. A side note, (I returned to my original instructor to finish my training and earned my Sport Pilot License.) Don't cheap out! Learning to fly is not cheap but it is cheaper than repairing aircraft, doctor bills or funerals. Flying is fun, repairing and healing is not. Think Safe, Seek Training, Have Patience and Learn to Fly Safely, then enjoy it for a long time!