Sunday, 25 December 2011

Lesson 38: Solo Cross Country - Hastings, Canterbury

Yesterday (Christmas Eve) saw me do a solo cross country following the same route as the week before. This is the one I did in the snow coming back with my instructor. This was South down to the coast (Hastings) and then NE up to Canterbury before heading home.

It was cold with a freezing point at 3,000 ft. Visibility was ok but nothing special. I flew at 2,100. I was in G-BNIV. Evertything was OK, the radio work was fine (Farnborough Radar spoke to me which was a change). I used Mode Alpha on the transponder as I noticed on the tech log there was a reference to it over reading the altitude by 2,400ft! I did not fancy an RAF Tornado escort by my popping up in restricted airspace.

I did had a rough landing coming back and elected to do a go around. They joked in the flying school they ducked as I went over the building which was funny afterwards. It wasnt that bad but I found the wind really quite blusting. I over compensated for this wind on my approach and was too fast. I was on runway 20 with a wind coming from (240 reported) but it felt much more of a cross wind and when I touched down I got pushed off to the left and gained height again. I didn't want to come off the runway and throttled in and did a go around. On the second landing, I was again a bit fast but I kept the ailerons into wind when I landed and this seemed to help in the directional stability.

When I did the first circuit with my instructor I noticed how badly choppy it was on climb out where it can get quite aweful however it seemed to be strong going right round the circuit although it was calmer at 1,000 ft. The drift was very noticeable and I noticed this right round my course actually.

I learnt a couple of good lessons today. 

Firstly, I learnt that since wind estimates can vary wildly (I used three different sources yesterday morning) it's important to have an accurate view of your track through proper frequent map reading. I could see how I was drifting away from my track and so this was easily corrected. I had plotted drift lines on my course and I used them in my heading corrections. Good tip from my instructor.

Secondly, I learnt that when in the circuit and getting knocked about in blusting wind it's important to not over compensate too much on the approach speed. When touching down and entering the ground run, keeping the ailerons slightly into wind can help!

I was dissapointed that my iPhone and motion-x tracker failed as I wanted to see the course over ground. Ho hum - At the end of all this I would love to treat myself to an Airbox or Sky Demon Mobile unit.

Next lesson will be much the same, a circuit with my instructor followed by some more solo. This will most likely be down to overhead Manston (if they allow me to route overhead) and then to Dover with some VOR tracking to Detling on the return leg.

After this I should have a dual down to Goodwood with my instructor as it will be part of the qualifying cross country.

My instructor told me the end is in sight now and I guess it is. It doesn't feel like it though because there is so much more I want to learn already.  I would like to learn to be a very safe and competent pilot, I would like to study instrument flying and a night rating, and maybe an aerobatic or glider trial flight. There is so much to learn, or continue to learn.

!!!!!!!! It's very addictive this flying thing !!!!!


38.24-12-11 C152 G-BNIV EGTO EGTO 09:55 10:05 0:10 1-1 EX12/13
*38.24-12-11 C152 G-BNIV EGTO EGTO 10:05 11:25 1:20 1-1 EX18A

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