I had my first lesson at a busy class delta the other day (4 runways, regular jet traffic, etc). It was pretty rough and after feeling very confident about uncontrolled airspace x-country work, it felt like my first day in the cockpit again. I wrote up my lessons learned as a debrief for myself, but figured I'd share here as well.
Mistake 1: Assuming wind at pattern altitude is the same as at the ground. This was the windiest I’ve ever flown (17kn surface) and I kept crabbing for surface winds but that had me all over the place.
Lesson 1: pick out visual points to watch ground track and adjust heading as necessary
Mistake 2: I had the airport map up after my first full stop, but was totally unprepared for the “taxi via alpha cross 32L approach and 32R ” - which i guess isn’t all that complex, but it sure was for my first taxi instruction.
Lesson 2: Listen to more ground ATC comms to get a feel for the phraseology. Brief landing airports far more thoroughly and include expected exit points and possible ATC instructions.
Mistake 3: Mid pattern my seat had slipped so I had the cfi take the plane so i could adjust. Ended up adjusting too far forward. It felt weird but I continued. This was a contributing factor in me overapplying rudder on short final and causing the CFI to take control.
Lesson 3: Don’t accept things that feel weird, even a seat position. Also, I should have called for the go around at the same time my CFI did. I remember thinking “Why the fuck is the plane rolling right with left aileron!”, but not having yet made the decision to go around. Thinking “WTF” at any point during a landing needs to be a flashing red “go around” light in my head.
Mistake 4: On one circuit ATC told me that I was #2 following another plane in. I filed that away in my brain but didn’t make a plan for it - sort of assuming ATC was in charge. I almost forgot that I have to wait for them to be abeam me before turning base. Luckily that’s what I did, and my CFI thought it was on purpose and gave me an (undeserved) kudo.
Lesson 4: Even in controlled space keep your head on a swivel and follow standard procedures.
Mistake 5: Tower says “N12345 Hold short 19L, traffic on 1 mile final”. I say “Hold short 19L, and we’ll wait for that traffic”. They say “N12345 confirm hold short 19L”. Me: “Hold short 19L N12345”. I didn’t intend to roll past the hold short without clearance in my first response, I was just trying to let them know i had all the info, but I can see how that could make them concerned that I was going to enter the runway after the landing traffic landed (especially since I’m sure they knew i was a student at this point)
Lesson 5: Don’t get fancy - just read back directions, not “FYI’s”.
Edit: updated the taxi clearance after watching the video. Original was from memory and as written would have been an incorrect instruction from the tower as a few ppl have pointed out.