Whoever cut the tall tree down which overlooked the south park (the one that used to visibly kiss the threshold for runway 34) - THANK YOU! I used to hate that dam tree. Sometimes it felt like it had a hypnotic hold over me, drawing me in like some silent assassin but then saying at the last minute ... "GOTCHA FOOL ! just kidding - you are too close - now climb, throttle in... go way over me so I can turn and watch you struggle trying to wash off the airspeed in time and land before the bump in the runway!". Maybe the lift off chute (apparently it's a buried gas pipe) and the tree were in league together. Not now though... thanks to that tree being gone!
Prior to going out on my own I did a quick circuit with my instructor and he jumped out after that. Comically, we nearly had a bird strike just at the time of touch down from one of the crazy seagulls who was strictly out of order. He had clearly not done his Air Law exam! He was using the same "runway strip" but going in the opposite direction [to the unitiated thats runway 16 , i.e. 340 - 180 degrees! As for the trip round Kent, all went well, I thought I tracked to the needle well enough. Manston Radar was busy with lots of RT chatter and so typically just as I was waiting for a gap in the RT calls in order to call (as requested) ten miles from Detling... she asked me to confirm position! Apart from that the RT was fine.
Good day really, cockpit was comfortable, flight was smooth and you could see the coast from Rochester when turned Downwind for runway 34.
Have booked another slot for next weekend. My instructor told me to go via Hailsham & Lydd turning points.
Have posted a couple of pictures here after I parked up. iPhone + Motion X GPS Tracker failed again with its GPS signal so can't post a track. I would like to buy myself a Sky Demon Mobile or Air Box device later in the year if all goes well. I'm leaning towards the former as I like thieir flight planning software.
I renewed my flying club membership for 2012.
I finished an absolutely wonderful book the other day about Cecil Lewis's early flying experiences (WWI). It's called Sagittarius Rising. I'll post a review here in the next couple of days. Oh my... how well it is written and oh my ... what a life he had!
39. 08/01/12 C152 G-CEPX EGTO EGTO 09:55 10:10 0:15 1-1 EX12/13
*39. 08/01/12 C152 G-CEPX EGTO EGTO 10:10 11:15 1:05 1-1 EX18A/C
HOURS = 34:00 INSTRUCTOR + 07:40 SELF