It’s been a while since my last flying lesson, lots of snow fell in December, Redhill was closed due to bad weather and Xmas was in the way. January, again snow and bad weather so no flying that month. So today was different – sun was shining, little bit of early fog (which soon lifted) and no wind.
Off to Redhill and as I hadn’t flown for a while, Instructor suggested a simple refresher lesson. The runways at Redhill were open but with reduced length, so after usual checks and start-up, taxi over to the holding point for Runway 26L. Got clearance from ATC for a flight to the east, departing via Godstone, so line up on the Runway and take off.
Climb up to 700ft, turn right 90 degrees, climb to 1200ft and turn right again flying downwind parallel to the runway, then turn slightly left for Godstone and climb to 1400ft. Instructor then asked me to set a course for Bough Beech reservoir. I estimated approximate direction from the map and set course. Bough Beech was easy to find ( I could soon see it) and was soon overhead. Then I was asked to set a course for Bewl Water reservoir and climb to 2200ft. Initially estimated the course approx 20 degrees to far to the right so Instructor asked me to check my course and I soon corrected it.
The view over Kent was stunning. we could see as far as the coast and the landscape looked fantastic in the afternoon sun. Flying was easy as I could see my waypoint so could sit back and enjoy. Overhead Bewl Water, turn north to “Old Hay” (a disused airfield), then turn west towards Redhill. Descend to 1400ft over Bough Beech to clear Gatwick zone and request joining instructions for Redhill. Cleared by ATC to do an overhead join at 1500ft, then do an early right turn over Runway 36, turn downwind, descend, turn again and line up for final approach. There was no wind to speak of so approach was smooth and reasonably simple. As the runway was reduced length, needed to get the aircraft on the ground fairly quickly and after one small bounce did a reasonable landing. Then onto the taxiway and back to the hanger.
Well considering I hadn’t flown for two months, my general aircraft handling was reasonably OK. Had a bit of a problem remembering the RT procedure so need to do a bit of revision on that bit. Now I just have to wait for another day of good weather so I can get back to proper training.
Flying time today 55mins.
Later that day, I drove back to the Red Lion pub in Bletchingly (near Redhill) as one of my instructors (Lottie) was leaving Cubair to go to Australia. Only stayed for one pint but it was good to wish her well and thank her for her patience, especially at some of my less successful moments in the air.