10/13/2015 This was a pretty laid-back, no-pressure flight for the most part. I met my CFI at the airport around 19:30 local. An hour later than I normally start, I was feeling tired from a hard day at work & couldn't wait to get in the air and engage my flying brain, letting the stress of the day fade into the distance.
I had 2 goals for this flight - fulfill the night cross-country requirement (100nm total distance), and complete the remaining number of night landings required. CUL was our destination, with plans to get in a few landings there before heading back to HNB.
The flight was fairly calm & straightforward. I picked up flight following from EVV & transitioned the Charlie airspace en route to our destination. About 15 miles out of CUL I spotted the beacon & called it out to my CFI, just to let him know I had the field. About 10 miles out EVV approach released me to the CTAF and VFR squawk. I thanked them for their services, then tuned to 122.8 and called my position.
I entered the pattern and began working to convince my brain that even though it was night, and I had no visible peripheral references, this was still the same plane, so I needed to fly it exactly the same. My brain unfortunately didn't agree. Over the course of the next 20 minutes or so, I struggled through 5 landings with something that hasn't been a problem until now - airspeed. I struggled to have enough of it on final. On the last landing he suggested I only use 20 degrees of flaps. This helped a bit, and the last approach and landing at CUL was much better.
We started back home, and I called EVV approach again, picked up flight following & proceeded back through the Class C. Back in the pattern at HNB, I again started having this internal conversation with my brain, and determined to make this last landing the best one. It wasn't bad by any means, but it could have been better, so we did another one. The last approach and landing was the best one I've done at night, and the perfect landing to end the night.
After this flight, only .7 simulated instrument time and 2.8 solo time stand between me and scheduling my checkride (and a flight or two to polish up maneuvers). If all goes to plan I'll have my PPL in my hand by the end of the year.
Two Victor Uniform, clear of Two-Seven.