Saturday, 2 April 2011

Practice Forced Landings

Lovely sunny day today with just a few clouds and reasonably light winds.  Had my first flying lesson on a Saturday booked as I’ve now started working so weekdays are out for flying lessons.  Also a new instructor to get used to.

I hadn’t planned a flight as it had been a while since my last lesson so Instructor decided we would head out over Kent and asked me to plot a quick route from Redhill to Bough Beech and on to Bewl Water – easily done, and only took a few mins.  After a pre-flight briefing about emergency landings it was off to the Aircraft.

Runway 18 was in use so a short taxy, line up and take off.  Runway 18 points directly at Gatwick so a fairly quick left turn required and also need to avoid a local farmhouse.  So climb to 1300ft and depart Redhill ATZ  via Godstone South.  Carry on to Bough Beech, turn onto a heading of 140 to Bewl Water, contact Farnborough East Air Traffic and climb to 2300ft.  Fantastic view across Kent and a bit of easy flying.

Instructor was happy with my navigation to Bewl Water so we turned east along the valley and looked for a suitable field to practice forced landings with power.  So soon found a suitable field and started on the manoeuvre.  Basically, it’s flying around the chosen field at ever decreasing heights while checking there are no obstructions such as horses, cows, power cables, fences etc.    Looked all clear so set up for final approach.  As this was an exercise I did a go-around at 800ft but Instructor was happy I’d chosen a suitable field and would have landed in it.

He then asked me to take him to Maidstone.  Even though I was using the VOR and knew where I was, I dithered a bit while trying to work out the route and so drifted further east.  Soon sorted my self out and turned north towards Maidstone.  Only problem was that Headcorn airfield was now in the way.  So a quick diversion over Staplehurst to avoid Headcorn ATZ then back on track to Maidstone.

Partway there, Instructor asked me to divert back to Redhill – easy as I could see the main east / west railway line which runs straight into Redhill.  So follow the railway line to Godstone South, contact Redhill ATC and was instructed to do an overhead join at 1500ft.  By now the runway had changed and 26L was in use.

Then after an early right turn, into the downwind leg and line up for final approach.  Made a bit of a mess of the approach, started off too high, then got too low and was a bit flat on touchdown – then I managed to bounce the aircraft on landing – so not one of my best efforts.  Still Instructor said it was OK so can’t have been that bad.

Flying time 1 hour 15 mins and exercise 17

Hope to get flying again on about two weeks – weather permitting.

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