I was very fortunate today as the airfield only opened up about 1pm. Phew! My lesson was booked for 2PM! Despite the warm temperatures and gloriously clear skies all morning the runways were very wet from the last couple of days rain. In parts they were very messy. I went up to the airport yesterday to sign up for my yearly membership and the runways had been closed all day, so I was already worried about my prospects of flying today. I relaxed this morning with my PC fixed on the Webcam and it was showing no activity. After a couple of phone calls, I was pleased to hear that the inspection had passed and we were in business. Hoorah!
Because of all the mornings shenanigans, lessons had been delayed so I sat with a coffee and watched out from the Skytrek office at all the activity. The strange maneuvering requirements brought on by the airstrip condition certainly seemed to be causing a lot of confusion with people taxing in the wrong areas. As I waited for my lesson I was listening to the Air Traffic Information Service issue repeated instructions and also the odd reprimand to those that had got it wrong. It seemed very chaotic to me. I was glad my Instructor Mike was going to be there to guide me.
Easing the weight off the nose (but not too much), we bumped along on a straight line until it was soon time to ease back and rotate. Up we went. Hand keeping on throttle, three reminders to "keep the nose down" jolted a memory from the last lesson. This is is something I should now have in mind for next time.
Up to 1000ft and a right climbing turn due East to Sheppey.
The lesson went from Sheppey and down south past Canterbury. Stayed around 2,300 ft. Very few aircraft around today which I was surprised at but was good for us though. Spent around 30 minutes doing some slow flight with and without flaps and some gentle turning. Got the Airspeed down to about 45 and 50 Knots (keep the nose up, keep the nose up!). Emphasis was on gentle movements of the aircrafts controls. It felt a lot better with flaps down than it did up but generally flying at such a slow airspeed is not something you really wanted to be doing (I did ask!).
Following this we headed back for home in the fast approaching dusk. On the way back we performed a few stalls and went through stall recovery with and without power. The C152 (I was in India Victor today) seemed gentle and placid in the stall. I guess both wings had stalled and the recovery was an attitude adjustment with power and no rudder was required.
So coming to and end, the lesson ended in a twilight landing which was a new one for me down the right hand side of runway 20. The landing was ok although turning to final I was too high. I was surprised to see this runway had approach path indicators, so keeping one red and one white was an easy way to get in the correct angle of decent. Simple idea, simple piece of technology but rather clever.
Key takeaways and reminders for me personally today:
I made more of a conscious effort to check the Turn Level Indicator today and using the rudder to stay in balance when turning. This probably came about after reading this morning the acronym BBBL which means Bank, Balance, Back (pressure), Lookout. I hadn't really been focusing too much on the Balance before and so I think I addressed that today.
Take a torch or a source of light! Reading the instruments and for example setting the subscale on the ASI in fading light is not easy.
Watch the attitude on take off, keep nose down and watch airspeed.
Pitot Heat - If waiting for a long time prior to taxi switch off (remember to switch on later)