Well it’s been a while since I’ve been flying, summer holiday in between plus the second stage of my cycling trip from London to the Mediterranean (Details here for those interested ( http://big-wheel-2011.blogspot.com/ ) and working for a living as well.
Still it was off to Redhill to meet my new instructor and then off to the west for a few practice forced landings and back to Redhill for Circuits.
Everything started OK, aircraft walk around, pre-flight checks, start up and taxi to Runway 08 for a departure to the West. Carried out the usual checks, line up for take-off and depart the circuit via Motorway Junction VRP. So far so good, I was telling the Instructor my intentions and plans so he knew what I was doing so no surprises.
All was going well as we turned west over the “ridge” and climbed out to 2500ft. Instructor asked me to point out a few fields which would be suitable for a forced landing. I pointed out what I would do if my engine failed - all so far so good.
Instructor then pointed out a field which was on top of the ridge and 90 degrees to the wind direction, it was also surrounded by trees – so not a good choice at all. Even so, he told me to to make an approach and to make a practice forced landing. Well, I circled the field, made an approach and got it hopelessly wrong. Basically I would have ended up in the trees at the start or the end but either way I would have missed the field completely.
After climbing out it was back for another attempt. Instructor positioned the aircraft over the field and asked me to have another attempt at an emergency landing. Despite trying harder, my positioning and approach were way out and again l would have missed the field – things not working out too well. As time was moving on, Instructor asked me to return to Redhill and to practice a few circuits. No problems in finding the Airfield and was cleared for circuits and a direct approach for a touch and go on to Runway 08.
Maybe I was just having a bad day, but my approach was poor which led to a rushed landing – which wasn’t very good, then on to take off which was late so struggled a bit to keep the aircraft stable an in a reasonable climb. In the circuit itself, I drifted off position and had to correct a bit. Again my approach was poor which just makes the landing more difficult and increases my workload in the cockpit. Cleared for another touch and go and after another poor landing managed to get the flaps in the wrong setting for take-off so yet more corrections which made things very busy. Another not so wonderful take off and a just about OK circuit. Instructor asked me to do a glide approach – which is a landing without power. I selected the point to close the throttle and lined up on approach. Again I drifted off a bit needing corrections and it soon became obvious I had misjudged my position and would not have made the runway. Instructor suggested I warm the engine (opening the throttle for 30 seconds) and this give me just enough boost to make the runway. Landing was average and a bit flat and it was taxi back to Hanger 8. Instructors briefing was simple – more practice required.
All in all I was disappointed by my performance – I can do a lot better. Instructor was of a similar view, I was just having a bad day
I won’t be flying now until 2012 so another long gap. So I’m expecting more practice at emergency landings and circuits and hopefully it shouldn’t take me too long to get back into the swing of it.