At Redhill, Cubair had a new instructor so after a quick introduction I went off to check out the aircraft. G-BXPC this time. All was OK but it had just under half a tank of fuel so first stage was going to be a trip to the fuel stop this time. On getting into the aircraft it seemed familiar and I had no issues going through the startup checks and taxiing over to the fuel area. Once refuelled it was ready for the flight.We had decided to go out to the east and Runway 08R was in use. After startup and getting clearance to taxy to holding point G1 I then did the rather long a slow and bumpy taxi from the fuel area to G1 After power checks I was given clearance to depart via Godstone South and on to the east. I was a bit nervous on the take-off but everything was fine and I soon felt comfortable flying and making the radio calls. I levelled off at 1400ft and headed just south to Bough Beech reservoir. There I transferred from Redhill ATC to Farnborough East radar turned to a south easterly heading roughly in the direction of Tunbridge Wells and climbed to 2300ft. So far all was going well until Farnborough East Radar queried my transponder setting and then I realised I hadn’t switched it on. The Instructor hadn’t noticed either – still easily sorted. When I was close to Bewl Water reservoir the Instructor asked me to practice steep turns, one in each direction at a 45 degree angle of bank. Turns were OK although my altitude control wasn’t perfect, it was within limits. Next was a practice stall which was fine and Instructor seemed fairly happy with my performance. Then it was a practice engine failure and I managed the drill OK, selected a suitable field and made a sort of reasonable approach. I reckon I would have made it and Instructor (just about) agreed so another tick in the box.
Turning back to Redhill, I took a few minutes to enjoy the view. The city of London was clearly visible, especially the Shard. To the south the coast was just about visible and the Kent countryside was laid out like a panorama – stunning.Then it was back towards Bough Beech reservoir, descend to 1400ft to keep below the Gatwick zone (which is above 1500ft), transfer from Farnborough East Radar back to Redhill and receive re-join instructions. These were fairly simple, report over Godstone and join downwind. I had no problems finding Godstone, reporting my position and was soon in the downwind leg at 1200ft. Then it was turn on to base leg, start descent for landing and turn again for final approach. I was cleared by Redhill ATC to land on Runway 08R. Approach was fine, maybe a bit low but generally OK. As has happened before a gust of wind caught the aircraft close to the ground so I had to rapidly correct and adjust my landing. “Good recovery” commented my Instructor so It obviously wasn’t too bad an attempt. Then it was vacate the runway and taxi back to Hanger 8 for shutdown.
All in all I was pleased with my flying. A bit rusty in a few places but I felt in control and was happy most of it came back easily. Today was a refresher and almost a pleasure flight. Now it will be back to training which is much harder work.