Sunday, 21 August 2011

Lesson 30 : My Second Cross Country Nav Exercise

Mission: Rochester to Hastings Pier to Ashford and back to Rochester - 70 nm in 43 minutes ...

Today saw me attempt my second cross country navigation exercise. I got up early and checked all NOTAMs and Weather sources. I noticed SkyDemon for some reason couldn't include the weather for all my course legs. There appeared to be a problem in the software. No problem anyway, I simply took the low level (2,000ft) wind forecasts from the met form 214 and plugged them in manually to the route which I had drawn.

Btw these forms can be found on line at the met office briefing service here...

 I printed out my plog (Pilots Log) Weather and Route Plan and I was done.

Click the image below to see the route in better detail.

I was in G-CEFM today, which is one of the 152 Cessna's. It seems to be pretty responsive, good on its climb performance and the Radio has no "behavioural issues" at all. A nice plane.

I noticed driving up to the airport that Runway 34 was active. Hmmm I was surprised because all my wind figures were saying it was from 250 degrees at 15 knots. OK, I wondered what that would do to my heading forecasts!

So then first leg was from Rochester to Hastings Pier. Second Leg was from Hastings pier to Ashford. The last leg was from Ashford to Rochester.

I made it around this circuit + or - a minute on each leg which was OK I thought. Half way down each leg my ETA for completing that leg was correct.

However.. there is always a but... right...

Take off was OK, climb to overhead departure was OK (basically I went out off of runway 34 to 2,100 ft - orbited right to come back across the airfield heading 184) and set the timer overhead. RT was OK throughout but my instructor deliberately made that easy for me. The next one will be a baptism of fire I'm sure.

First leg was 30 miles ETA 19 minutes, I took 20. The second was 21 miles ETA 12, I took 13 and the third was a 19 mile leg ETA 13 minutes to which I was there or there abouts!

Circuit rejoin was OK, landing was not as I was a too fast especially for Runway 34. I'll just put that down to not thinking properly. My mind was probably still on completing the Nav Ex. Lesson learnt though, you're not home until you are home!

So then, Round the circuit I drifted right on the first leg. This went wrong because of an initial overload leaving the Rochester area. In other words I let some drift happen when I was preoccupied on the radio. Apparently a common beginners error. I noticed the error upon the approach to Hastings (which I could clearly see) and made a course correction coming round left to about 120 degrees for the last couple of minutes. From there on in (leg 2 and 3) was fine. My instructor said we ran parallel to the track on the second leg which was because we may have been a little late turning. Track 3 was pretty much on the mark.

I have a couple of weeks off now as my Instructor is away and then it will be some more circuits or another nav ex. Apparently the next nav ex will be using VOR tracking and I can see the Radio work is going to be like I said above, a baptism of fire. The route should be
  1. Rochester to Southend
  2. Southend to Whitstable Pier
  3. Whitstable Pier to Manston
  4. Manston to Dover (VOR Tracking)
  5. Dover to Rochester (VOR Tracking)
Anyway, it's all about learning and experience. I was hot and sweaty when I finished but I had learnt some good lessons thanks to my instructor.

Next time I need to perform, in other words ... more Map checking, nail that Heading, keep the Altitude, learn some new RT and concentrate right up to the end (that's when powered down, not before landing).

So then. in rapping up I have to say it was great today - this flying thing is amazing. It's a good personal test and it certainly beats the hell out of lazing on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon!

30.21-08-11 C152 G-CEFM EGTO EGTO 12:35 13:40 1:05 1-1 EX18

03:00 SELF

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