It was now time to accomplish my three takeoffs and landings at a towered airport. In my case, my instructor and I had to make some accommodations due to my Deafness. The tower will need to use a light gun to signal the commands for me as I taxi, takeoff and land.
My instructor, Wayne, called the tower in Salem (SLE) to inform them that a Deaf student pilot needed to complete his three takeoffs and landings at a towered airport. The tower hesitated and told my instructor that they need time to figure out and see if it was possible. They were concerned about how I would receive runway assignments, hold shorts, and ATIS information. I already know Deaf pilots have done this procedure before, but it seemed to be a problem with SLE tower. Wayne contacted the managerial authorities about the situation to see how it would be possible for me to complete this training. Fortunately, they were able to approve our request to train at SLE and they informed the tower to work with us.
On May 13th, Wayne and I flew from 7S5 to SLE. I landed and then we did two takeoffs and landings to get a feel for the traffic pattern and ground procedures. I also was able to see what the light gun looked like from the air and ground. As I felt comfortable with the procedures, I dropped Wayne off and waited for the green flashing light to taxi. I taxied to the runup area and faced toward the tower and blinked the landing lights notifying them that I was ready. The tower gave me a green light to takeoff. I took off and went around in the traffic pattern. The tower did not give me a signal until the base leg. I was cleared to land. I did this procedure two more times. One time, the tower gave me a red light to hold short as I exited the runway. Then I proceeded back to the runway again. After the last landing, the tower gave me a white light to return back to the starting location. It all went very well and quite smoothly.
I picked up Wayne and as we were taxing to the runway to fly back to 7S5, the tower authorities told Wayne that I did a great job. I appreciated their effort in communicating with me using the light signals and making sure I was safe in the traffic pattern. It was quite an experience and every pilot should memorize the light gun signals and its colors in case they lose their radio communications. You never know.