Sunday, 27 March 2011

Lesson 12: Circuits ...

Almost no flying this weekend because of the lingering poor visibility (sunshine + haze) but I was very lucky to sneak up for 35 minutes. Just long enough for a few circuits in fact. The visibility was very bad in the northerly direction. We used runway 02 today, QFE 998 and I was back in papa-xray. Not the best climber of the fleet but more than adequate for a beginner like me.

In the time we were up, I had time to complete 3 circuits and generally speaking it felt slower (more manageable) than last week. Take off felt ok and the climb-out, although a little bumpy was fine. Turning through 90 onto the crosswind section and it was basically on the instruments because of the poor vis. Turning downwind I made more of a conscious effort to draw back the throttle and go downwind at a more manageable speed of 85-90 knots as opposed to last week when I think I managed Mach 2 at one point.

Landings were OK, I forgot the carb heat on the last circuit and the final approach speed was lets just say "variable" although coming over the threshold I had managed to nail it in time.

All in all, despite the bad weather a little circuit practice like this all adds to the experience of learning to fly and so is time well spent.

Today I used for the first time Motion X on the iPhone to record my track. This little app claims to record your track and then ... lets you see it in a number of different ways.

Here is how it recorded my three circuits (displayed in google earth)...

Double Click the Image for a larger view

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Lesson 11: Circuits...

"Not a good day today Paul"... that was my after flight debrief from my instructor Mike. More circuits this afternoon on a warm hazy day. Conditions were OK to be honest. Wind from 190 Degrees at 8 knots. Different plane and a right hand circuit so technically, although the third lesson on circuits could (I'm not going to) argue each one has been different. Three different planes, two left hand circuits, one right hand and three different runways. Two flapless landings as well. All abit mixed up.

Apparently the main problem today was occuring with a drift inwards (to the rectangle) half way down the downwind leg which was causing the turn onto base a problem. That is to say not leaving much room to wash away the airspeed and prepare for the turn onto final.

The approach to land I felt much better about although even that came under a bit of criticism today as did the flare before landing. I felt ok with the landings (confident that means to be honest) so it's a bit confusing. I think the centre line needs to be nailed.

Re drift - In doing the circuits the turns I had in my head the numbers, which I was going to stick to, but before reaching these in a couple of instances took my lead to turn when told to do so.

I certainly didnt check the runway as much as I should do although I'm pretty sure I did a lot more than yesterday. As my aerodrome is an X airfield (four runways technically) if the runway changes mid-circuit that does add to the challenge.

OK right - all that aside, things to improve then

1. Take off run - ease pressure off on the front nose!
2. E_A_S_Y on the rudder!
3. Read up on these circuits and find out exactly how it should be done
4. This will include the model circuit, airpspeed and height.

I have a lesson booked for next weekend and I can't wait to give it another go. Flying (or in my case trying) is a wonderful buzz.

11.10-03-11 C152 G-CEFM EGTO EGTO 15:50 16:50 1:00 1-1 EX12/13

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Lesson 10: Too High? Too Low? Circuits...

It was a beautiful morning, clear skies, quite cold [outside of the sun]. Ice and frost was widespread but there was hardly any wind. QFE was 1018 and QNH was 1033. It was a great morning to continue doing some circuits. The good weather brought people out and there was a noticeable change in activity from previous weekends. I got to the aerodrome quite early (about 8:20) so I could complete checks for a 09:00 start.   
The 152s were all turned round to face the sun to help with the de-icing and removal of condensation. Today I was in Papa X-Ray which I had been in only once before. During the course of the lesson there was quite a few touch-and-goes and she performed very well. I also noticed the radio was very clear. Below: a prop parked vertically. This is done on the basis that any water from precipitation is free to pass through the spinner and not collect and possibly freeze within the unit. 

Circuits again today and a little more to learn. Climb out to 300ft flaps tidied and up to 500ft was ok. Climbing turn to the left up to 1000 ft. This was fine, the level turn to downwind leg was ok. That said I remember Mike my instructor pointing out to keep a check on the altitude a couple of times. The bearing on the downwind side I wasnt on the ball and I must learn to pre-empt the bearings as opposed to working this out on-the-fly turning into downwind. [On this note, we used both runway 02 relief and also 34 main]. The turn onto base is key and the slowdown and descent important for setting up your turn onto final. My takeaways then were. 1) Don't forget a light touch ("smidging") of rudder on the rotate , accelerate and climb-out. 2) Get a feel for the rough turn bearings you are going to need before starting the circuits 3) Keep a check on altitude turning level onto downwind 4) Regularly check the position of the runway 5) Keep to neat turns and not a looped  trajectory. I did this noticeably on one approach. 6) Hold off on the landing for longer ("Dont land... Dont land").

10.19-03-11 C152 G-CEPX EGTO EGTO 09:20 10:20 1:00 1-1 EX12/13

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Meterology Exam and Lesson 9 : Circuit Flying!

No flying for a while due in part to the depressing wet weather we've had so far this year but also [for the last two weekends] a trip away from home.

Needless to say it was so good this weekend to be back on the flying front once again.

First of all, yesterday was a step forward when I got a
nother test out of the way being the Mereorology Exam. It was a really interesting subject and I think they should maybe make the test a bit more extensive. It is only 20 questions and I think should be at least 40 or 50. Anyway, a couple of stupid mistakes plus (I think one test answer which was wrong) got me 80%. I had sat three sample tests earlier in the morning and got 100% on each one so I was a bit anoyed with myself but hey ho - a solid result nonetheless. I'll start on the Aircraft General and Principles of Flight next. I think that one is 50 Questions.

 Today I was so pleased to get the opportunity to fly again as it was the first part of circuit flying. It lived up to expectations and I really enjoyed the experience. Reading about it elsewhere on the web I can see this will be a challenging and probably lengthy part of the course. It was quite difficult today by all accounts as the wind was fairly strong and gusting considerably. We were on runway 02 with a slight crosswind at 40 degrees. The final approach meant descending over a small valley of trees and busy motorway before hitting (not literally) the elevated airfield. Descending at the correct height puts you right in the choppy air and we got buffetted around quite a bit. We did 4 approaches in a "touch and go" situation which went fairly well before flying off to the Isle of Grain for some general maneuvering excercises. The final landing back went well although the tolerances between a great approach and a wrong approach [especially in such conditions] are obviously quite slim.

During the debrief, my instructor Mike, gave me pointers on how it all went. This included the good bits (the approach, landings apparently) and not so good bits (turn into downwind and turn into final).

What else can I say, this is going to be a really good challenge! I have another lesson booked for next Sunday and I will certainly book that next exam!

9. 06-03-11 C152 G-BNIV EGTO EGTO 12:50 13:50 1:00 1-1 EX12/13