Saturday, 25 June 2011


Argh. Grounded owing to the really poor weather this morning. Never mind - thats flying I suppose. This week I had spent time getting ready for Ex 16 which is the forced landing drill and mentally preparing myself to complete my solo circuit work.

I had also spent a lot of time practicing my navigational skills in the simulator. I have to say, I've found it really useful just to use my simulator (x-plane) to fly a route that I've calculated using the wizz-wheel and general chart calculations. In doing so, I've spent a few nights this week flying to our well known aerodromes over kent which I know I will have to visit as part of my cross country at some point. 

It's good when a plan comes together and you arrive (OK I know it is just a simulator) right over the runway bang on time. As part of this experiment, it is really useful because you get a 'feel' for your bearings (tracks between aerodromes) and the orientation of the runways. This has to hold you in some good stead when it comes to the actual time you drag your chart out and plan your flight for real.

Anyway, all that mucking about aside, in preparing for Ex 16 I found it educational to read about the 5 S'. These are 1) Size 2) Shape 3) Slope 4) Surface and 5) Surround. That is to say, en-route things turn bad (engine goes 'bang') and you have to find somewhere to land; consider your equivalent "10 degree down cone" in working out what is reachable. In picking that field, consider the size of the field and its shape. While a narrow strip of 2000 metres may look good, consider the approach and the limitations getting to it. Avoid slopes, but.... if thats what you have to contend with - try to land up slope for obvious reasons! The surface itself should ideally be as flat as possible and of course what actually surrounds your "field of choice" is very important. 300 ft conifers and a canal snaking its way round your ideal choice may not be such a good idea.

Anyway - all good stuff. A good week on the simulator learning about navigation. I am impressed how 'real' it can get to be honest. Also, I have to say, I'm really pleased I purchased the VFR scenary software for x-plane (and upgraded the RAM on my computer btw). It has made the experience more 'real' and really really good fun.... oh and educational of course.

Next week.... I hope to fly and complete my circuits. I really want to progress to the navigation section of the course!!

Logbook :

02:25 SELF

Lesson 23: A Bumpy Circuit and Spin Awareness

18 June 2011 - Saturday's lesson was good in that it was away from the circuit doing some high bank turns and spin awareness.

The lesson had originally been for doing some circuit work but upon taking off it was gusting quite a crosswind and none too comfortable. The first touch and go meant being subjected to some minor wind sheer and so my instrcutor decided that we should head off east for some general handling.

It was great to be away from the circuit. The Spin was interesting. We climbed to about 5,000 ft and my instructor put the aircraft into a stall position and hit the rudder. One to the left and one to the right. It was quite surprising how much altitude you lose in such a small amount of time. In our case 700ft in a few seconds.

He corrected the spin with "opposite rudder" and recovered from the stall. You can feel the positive G as the aircraft recovers from the dive and starts to climb.

Although no circuit training as such it was still nice to be up flying.

23.18-06-11 C152 G-BNIV EGTO EGTO 08:50 09:55 1:05 EX15, 10B, 11
02:25 SELF

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Lesson 22: Cut the grass

No flying last week as I fell foul of early morning mist impacting visibility. This week though though it was ok, and it was very quiet as I turned up for the first slot of the day. I was in G-BNIV again. The wind was from the west which meant facing my nemesis .... runway 34. Cloud base was found to be aroud 1300ft in scattered cumulus. Wind a gentle 10 knots.

The lesson was in two parts, one with my instructor Mike and the other part solo. We covered a practice engine failure and also performed a real go around to avoid wake turbulence (when a helicopter took of while we were half way down finals). The lesson was fairly uneventful really until the last landing when I had difficulty controlling the aircraft on landing, drifted off the main runway into the longer grass. All landings were ok although a bit flat so room for improvement there. I wasn't going fast on landing although the grass was wet, I have a feeling I must have been crabbing slightly when I touched down, possibly also touching one of the brakes too early. This may have caused the aircraft to swing/veer round. I'm not sure so I'll need to read up as to what could have caused this. Everything apart from that was, as I say uneventful.

Logbook Entry

22.11-06-11 C152 G-BNIV EGTO EGTO 08:45 09:25 0:40 5-5 EX12/13
22.11-06-11 C152 G-BNIV EGTO EGTO 09:25 10:00 0:35 3-3 EX12/13 SELF
02:25 SELF

I created this blog entry via email (sharing a track in Motion-x GPSLite) so what follows is what comes with an email.

11 June 2011

Name:Cut the grass
Date:11 Jun 2011 8:34 am
(valid until Dec 8, 2011)
View on Map
Distance:84.3 nautical miles
Elapsed Time:1:50:46
Avg Speed:45.7 kts
Max Speed:106.9 kts
Avg Pace:01' 19" per nm
Min Altitude:0 ft
Max Altitude:2,845 ft
Start Time:2011-06-11T07:34:07Z
Start Location:
Latitude:51.348253º N
Longitude:0.504096º E
End Location:
Latitude:51.347702º N
Longitude:0.503760º E
MotionX-GPS Commonly Asked Questions
  1. What is MotionX-GPS?
    MotionX-GPS is the essential GPS application for outdoor enthusiasts. It puts an easy-to-use, state-of-the-art handheld GPS on your iPhone.
  2. Can I use MotionX-GPS?
    Sure! MotionX-GPS can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store. Or try the free version, MotionX-GPS Lite .
  3. How can I display tracks in Google Earth?
    Follow the directions on the Google Earth web site to download and install the Google Earth program. Save the attached "Cut the grass.kmz" file to your computer. Launch Google Earth, select File, Open, and open the saved "Cut the grass.kmz" file.
  4. This email was forwarded to me. Where are the attachments?
    Some e-mail programs do not include the original attachments by default when forwarding an e-mail. In this case, the sender must reattach the original files for them to be included.
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