Flight Lessons: Change of Plans

Today I was told that we’d be flying to Santa Paula, so I did a little research on the airport. I was really looking forward to checking it out. On the way there, my instructor said “One of your passengers is feeling ill. You need to land at the closest airport.”

This was the first surprise scenario and I was caught a little off guard (my flight to Santa Paula was going really well too!). We were pretty close to Van Nuys, so that’s where we went. First I had to figure out exactly where I was, find their frequency, and slow down. It was a bit much for me, so he helped fly the plane while I talked on the radio. We were cleared for 16R, but that changed to 16L once they found out that we were going to do multiple landings.

My first landing was pretty bad. I think I was still a little stressed from the change of plans, I ended up coming in a little slow and my flair was not up to par. All of that ended up making me pretty nervous and my post touch down breaking really suffered. My instructor had to take over so that we didn’t roll off the side of the runway.

We did a few more take offs and landings there and flew back to Santa Monica. Once we were there we did one more loop around the pattern and called it a day. It was definitely a learning experience.