Instructor had set me a fairly simple Navigation exercise today : Redhill to Bough Beech Reservoir, on to Bewl Water Reservoir, on to Old Hay (a disused airfield) then back to Bough Beech and Redhill. A round trip of 52nm and a flying time of approx 40 mins. I was wondering why so simple and was expecting to be given something else to do en route.
Weather was good, reasonably clear and light winds. So take off from Redhill on Runway 26L and turn back towards the east. Air Traffic control had told me to depart via Godstone, but I drifted to the right and was out of position just after takeoff. So corrected that and headed to Bough Beech. Arrived overhead Bough Beech, made radio calls to Farnborough East Radar and turned towards Bewl Water. This is easy to see but again I was off track to the right of it so needed to make a course correction again.
Then it was turn to Old Hay on heading 008. I turned onto 080 instead and took a few mins to work out that I was going the wrong way. Turned onto the correct heading while the Instructor just looked at me shaking her head. Got that sorted out and set off on the correct heading. At the time I was due overhead Old Hay I couldn’t find it so started an orbit (going around in circles). Still couldn’t find it so Instructor suggested I use the VOR (Radio Navigation system) to work out where I was. That worked and I pinpointed my position exactly on the map approx 5nm to the NE of Old Hay. I was still having trouble with landmarks and continued to circle trying to work out where I was using visual references. Eventually the Instructor got bored and gave me a course for Old Hay – and we arrived there about 5 mins later.
Then it was back to Redhill (found the Airfield OK), landing and back to the hanger. The instructor then told me all the things I’d done wrong – quite a list this time. Still as long as I learn from the experience, then it’s good. Disappointed in myself today, I know I can do better, but I did learn even a simple flight can go wrong if you don’t pay attention.
So for next time, Instructor has set me a tricky visual navigation route towards Guildford and Hazelmere. Hope that goes better.