Sunday, 3 April 2011

Lesson 13: Circuits - Nothing like a relaxing Sunday afternoon...

Silly me, I forgot to switch on my iPhones Motion-X app GPS Tracker so you will have to take my word for it... I did lap after lap today. Every time my instructor called in on ATC "India Victor on Finals for .......touch and go" I thought to myself - "No way, not again!! You are having a giraffe!" Its got to be "India Victor on Finals for ... landing!" surely then NEXT time.

I couldn't believe it was just an hour today. In the words of Mike, my super instructor - "you starting off c_r_@_p ..... but finished quite well..". We did several right hand circuits in India Victor in quite a warm cockpit - it was a tiring experience to be honest. Mike said I worked quite hard today. In addition to circuits, we did some mock engine failure drills thrown in. "What field would you go for right now?" ... "C'mon glide descent - 65 knots, glide attitude"... One of these little tasks meant doing a glide descent from half way round the circuit. This means cutting the engine back to idle and swooping in (on glide) to land.

Right then - things OK and things to learn or take note of today:

1) Keep to 90 Knots on the downwind leg of the circuit and 1000ft and KEEP it at that... right till the end. Don't lose ALTITUDE. Don't encroach inwards on the circuit!!! If you can do that then.... you are ON the mark.

2) Level turn (30 Degrees Bank) from downwind to base and THEN wash away the airspeed ASAP. I need to improve on this point. I was encroaching on the circuit and therefore not leaving myself enough time. Get on with it Lyrick, be positive. Close the throttle on the turn.

3) I wasn't so nervous about the takeoffs today even though it was on Runway 20 where I think I got hit by a crosswind and a clumsy rudder foot a few weeks back. This runway results in your climb getting hit by gusts from the motorway but you just have to fly through it. My instructors words.

4) Taxying felt OK, oh and apparently my turns were OK. I specifically asked about this afterwards. I still think that I'm too soft on these but Mike said they are OK. The only one to watch out for is the turn from the downwind leg onto the base leg. Take too long and you run out of time to get everything else sorted out. Make it 30 degree bank and reduce speed straight away. Enough to bring in two levels of flap.

5) Landings were OK again. I wasnt too nervous about them. It's all about the path on to the centre line and keeping the attitude correct. Too high, reduce throttle, too low, increase throttle and change attitude. I am a bit "change this and change that" and not properly on this yet which I guess is how it goes. Practice, Practice, Practice.

6) Rudder wasn't too bad on take-off but I must keep the weight off the nose wheel".

A lot to take in. Mike my instructor seemed very happy with things today.... "You are making progress" he said. I felt tired, a bit sweaty and somewhat exhilarated at the end of it. Taking off my headset, I just said... "Nothing like a relaxing Sunday Afternoon!"

He got the joke.

Flying ... love it!

A picture from Rochester Airport Website Gallery. A beautiful Spitfire. For me nothing more than this machine captures my imagination about aviations historic past so much. Seeing her each time teleports me back from today over some 70 years to a completely different time altogether. Oh to dream, to be able one day to fly over Kent in one of these. I saw one recently at Rochester Airport which was from one of the Polish squadrans (I think 303) and as I run my hand over it I couldnt believe how immaculate she felt. I walked around her and then I stood in front of the prop, looked up and her magnificence and was awestruck ... so much history ... so much emotion and so many stories to tell...

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