Sunday, 17 July 2011

More Circuits on a Washout Weekend

This weekend was supposed to be a step forward to my Pilot’s Licence.  Yesterday I had planned a solo land-away to Lydd and today was meant to be my Qualifying Cross Country, Redhill –> Goodwood –> Southend –> Redhill.  Unfortunately the weather put paid to all that.  Yesterday was very heavy rain so no flying at all.  Today was showers and wind but flying in the circuit was possible, so it was off to Redhill for 11:30am.

It was raining when I got there and there were some very large black clouds around.  We watched the weather reports and the rainfall radar and it looked like the weather would improve slightly later on.  At about 1pm it was improving enough to allow me to fly circuits.

So on to the aircraft, start up and taxi for take-off on runway 26L.  The wind was gusting a bit but the take off was reasonable and conditions weren't too bad.  We could see some heavy rain showers passing a mile or so to the south of Redhill, between us and Gatwick.  First circuit was standard and my landing was not great – managed to bounce the aircraft a bit but it was OK.  Back into the circuit and Instructor asked me to do a flapless landing.  Again this was OK but the wind blew me a bit further east of the airfield than I should have been.  After that was a glide approach without power. Again the wind blew me east and I had to apply power to make the runway.  Without power I’d have been in the trees, so failed on that one.  So tried again and being aware of the wind, flew a tighter circuit and managed to glide straight on the runway and even did a good landing. Then it was a few standard circuits with “touch and go’s” just to keep in practice.

Despite the weather conditions the Instructor said I was flying well and I could fly solo if I wanted to.  Having thought about it, I declined.  Although I had proved I could cope with the weather conditions, I felt that solo flight was possibly just a step too far and no point in taking any chances.

So instead of a solo cross country and then a qualifying cross country, I ended up flying circuits with an instructor.  Never mind, but here’s hoping the weather improves soon.

Vital statistics.  Flying time 50 mins, exercises 12 and 13.

2 flapless “touch and go’s”  (one being a failed glide), 1 glide “touch and go”, 2 standard “touch and go’s” and 1 landing.

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