After my previous attempt to do a land- away at Lydd was scuppered due to bad visibility and low cloud I was having another go. Today was much better with a clear sky and good visibility. I had planned the route in advance and Instructor gave it a quick check and was happy with it. Instructor said he was hoping to just come along for the ride and that I would do all the flying, radio calls and navigation leaving him to enjoy the view.
After a quick call to Lydd control tower to book in and to check all was well (it was) it was off to the aircraft for usual checks and taxi to the hold for runway 08R. After take-off the visibility was so good I could make out the headland where Lydd airport is situated in the far distance. I could have got there by simply pointing the aircraft at it but this was a navigation exercise so I few my planned route which was Redhill to Bough Beech, then to Tenterden and on to Lydd. Navigation was easy and I could see Tenterden and Lydd in the distance. I arrived over Tenterdan bang on time and transferred to Lydd approach for a join and landing. They asked me to report with 4nm to run – which was easy as there is a great big wind farm four miles from Lydd Airport. After reporting at the 4 mile point I was cleared to join over the 21 Numbers for Runway 03. There is a danger area just west of Lydd Airport so after turning downwind I flew a rounded approach to avoid the danger area and line up for Runway 03. My approach wasn’t very good, I was weaving around a bit and then did a bit of a rubbish landing and missed the centreline of the runway. Lydd has a wide tarmac runway which I think put me off balance a bit. Still Instructor said nothing and we soon parked up and headed for a cup of tea in the Biggles bar at Lydd. We had also forgotten to bring high viz vests which are mandatory at Lydd and hope no-one would notice or say anything – they didn’t.
After a cup of tea it was back out to the aircraft and take off for return to Redhill. Tarmac runways are very different to grass and I took care with the steering on the take off run. All went well and I set a course for Tenterden. Not quite sure what happened but I ended up a mile or so to the west of Tenterden and turned to re-join my planned route. Instructor took that moment to close the throttle and make me practice an engine failure and emergency landing. I selected a suitable field but couldn’t remember the emergency drill but at least I was making a reasonable approach so Instructor told me to go- around and climb to 1200ft. At low level, visibility is reduced and I had the sun directly in my eyes which made things worse. Instructors view was I had it easy on the way out (I could almost see Lydd after take-off) and now it was time to work a bit harder. One of the rules of the air is that it is forbidden to fly at less than 1000ft over a built up area. As I was flying at 1200ft and Tunbridge Wells was on my flight path Instructor asked me to check the height of the ground at work out if I could overfly Tunbridge Wells. I couldn’t so had to make a diversion around it which was the Instructors plan all along. Still my flying was fine and my Navigation was OK and I ended up at Bough Beech and was cleared for a re-join over Godstone. Instructor then announced my ailerons and elevator were iced up and were unusable and I had to fly using only the rudder and throttle. He jammed the control column between his knees to ensure I couldn’t move it. Surprisingly I was able to control the aircraft quite well with only the rudder and power and soon arrived over Godstone. Instructor announced my controls had thawed out and I now had full control of the aircraft. Soon joined downwind for Runway 08R and made a reasonable approach and landing. I was happy with my flying and navigation despite my rubbish approach and landing at Lydd. Instructor was happy as well.