Sunday, 27 November 2011

Lesson 35: Cross Country Navigation and Low Flying

It was a great day today as I went flying. I loved it. When I arrived at the airfield I didn't think I would be lucky really owing to the problem of the high gusts blowing across the runway. This made for dangerous crosswinds. The windsock was up and down like a fliddlers elbow! 
After some ground school, the wind had abated slightly and it was decided the wind was OK for us to proceed. As I did my external aircraft checks the aeroplane rocked with the wind and it was two very cold hands I had by the time I jumped in to the aircraft!

Today's lesson was to be a cross country navigation trip taking us East to Maypole Farm airstrip and then turning onto a South Easterly heading over Canterbury, Ashford on towards our next turning point Battle (Scene of the Battle of Hastings). From here we were to turn North up through Maidstone and home to Rochester.

En-route we were to fly low though two hills while approaching Ashford. This involved slowing the aircraft down and putting one stage of flap down. This technique allows you more time for getting your bearings and deciding on your next move. With one stage of flap, your visibility is improved. 

During the ground school my instructor taught me how to calculate "on the fly" a detour to another location. He had a detour calculator (like a ruler really) which was rather simple but like all things in this sense quite clever. I need to get one of these and practice. He explained that the examiner at the end of the course would be asking me to demonstrate this skill. Note taken!

We were on Runway 20 Relief for take off which was new for me and the take off run required full ailerons into wind and then after rotation a head into wind. As we climed out over the motorway and hit the turbulance from the trees the aircraft did quite a dance up and down actually and I commented that map reading in these conditions was going to be quite a challenge. In fact, I thought that if I was to be thrown around like this for an hour then I would be feeling quite queesy by the end of it never mind map reading!

I climbed out and turned west climbing up to 2,000ft and then looped back upon myself for an overhead departure on a heading of 94 degrees magnetic.

The first leg went fine although the wind appeared to be from my left (which would have been from the North). Sky Demon and also the Met Office Spot Wind Chart I took in the morning had forecast a tailwind and a groundspeed of 140 knots! Still, I made a correction once I got to Whitstable and found the Maypole airstrip fine. Turning around and heading down SW over Canturbury and Ashford everything went fine. During the low level flight it wasnt too easy to get the plane in trim but then climbing to 2000 ft again things were calmer.

I found Battle easy enough, although I had studied the area during the week similar to Maypole. Maypole was always going to be easy given it's proximity to the coast and other distinctive land markings but I wasn't too confident I would keep on track from Ashford down the Battle. In the end it went well as the first thing I recognised coming in was the Darwell Reservoir close to Battle.
Coming back North from Battle was OK, passing Bewl Reservoir on the left, crossing the railway line that runs East/West with Paddock Wood on the left hand side and Headcorn on the right. Overhead Maidstone I made a call into Rochester Information. From here I joined the circuit for a straight in approach to Runway 34.
My instructor pretty much landed the aircraft at the end as we were faced with a 25 Knot 50 Degree crosswind, and on 34! Not nice.
All in all, I had a great day with 1:25 Dual in the logbook and despite the wind reasonable navigation. I learnt about low flight and how slowing it down and putting a stage of flap in can help things considerably!

35.27-11-11 C152 G-CEPX EGTO EGTO 11:05 12:30 1:25 1-1 EX18A/B

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Lesson 34: Solo Circuit Time Completed

I woke up to a clear bright sky and was excited that I might actually fly this weekend. However while eating breakfast mist had formed so I was actually nervous when I arrived at the airport. While I was parking I saw my instructor who was going out with another student and it looked like we were in business! While the visilibility was not great it was certainly good enough for circuits. I was assuming it would be dual circuits (with the instructor) and after the week I had experienced at work I thought this would be for the best. I hadn't flown for a while so I had the butterflys going anyway.

Anyway, my instructor said "lets get your solo circuits done today" which meant obviously going solo. OK more butterflies arrived, lets see how we go.
First three landings (two stage, flapless and two stage) were very good indeed and my instructor remarked "That was perfect.. you haven't forgot to land thats for sure!". He jumped out and I carried around for 6 circuits. Visibility was not good into the sun and on the last two approaches, I was getting so warm and sweaty in the sun that my glasses started to mist up.

Landings were good except for the last but one (which was meant to be the last one - typical!!) where I bounced abit. As I bounced I thought about throttling in gently to ease back onto the runway as I had done before in a previous lesson. The ground was very soft and slippery. However, it didnt feel right so on the second bounce I decided I was going round so throttled right in. The last landing was not as good as the early ones but it was straight! I have noticed that when my instructor is not in the right hand seat the directional control on landing feels different. It feels like it goes to the left easier, even with right rudder.

Anyway, it was a hard long lesson but it was an achievement because my 4 hours of solo circuit work has now been completed. Of course there is a lot to look forward to in terms of work ahead but none-the-less it is still a milestone so I'm very pleased.

Looking back at today, the general circuit work was fine, and I didnt feel overwhelmed like in the early days of learning with the instructor. It just goes to show how training and practice really makes a difference.

MotionX-GPS track enclosed.

Name:End Of Solo Circuits
Date:19 Nov 2011 10:36 am
(valid until May 17, 2012)
View on Map
Distance:84.4 nautical miles
Elapsed Time:1:37:33
Avg Speed:51.9 kts
Max Speed:120.9 kts
Avg Pace:01' 09" per nm
Min Altitude:399 ft
Max Altitude:1,414 ft
Start Time:2011-11-19T10:36:04Z
Start Location:
Latitude:51.347679º N
Longitude:0.503782º E
End Location:
Latitude:51.348083º N
Longitude:0.504095º E

logbook entry
34.19-11-11 C152 G-CEPX EGTO EGTO 10:50 11:20 0:30 3-3 EX12/13
34.19-11-11 C152 G-CEPX EGTO EGTO 11:20 12:15 0:55 2-2 EX12/13 SELF

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Grounded - FOG & Grounded - FOG


Last nights lesson was cancelled and also today's :-(

We are caught in a prolonged period of fog. We need a new weather front to come through and clear it all out.

I have rebooked for next Sat AND Sun!! Surely one of those lessons will be ok!!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Grounded Again!

Grounded again. Its been so long since my last lesson. This morning it was murky and the cloud was cover was too low. The circuit was not navigable. This was the same as last week. I rebooked my lesson for next Saturday morning (crack of dawn slot) and for the Sunday after that (again , crack of dawn).

Enclosed some photos including the memorial at Rochester Airport.

Can't wait to be flying again...