Sunday, 19 February 2012

First Flight of 2012

Finally a weekend when I have a free day and the weather is good. Nice sunny day, cold, with a few clouds around and a northerly breeze. It’s been quite a while since my last flight so this one will be revision.

Off to Redhill and Instructor recommended a flight to the east and wanted me to practice radio, take-off, general handling and a landing. So off to the aircraft, work through the checklist and on to start up. So far no problems – it looked like I hadn’t forgotten much. On to taxi and as Runway 36 was in use – it’s a long taxi to the runway holding area. After power checks and line-up it was time for take-off. Wind was varying around a bit so a bit of crosswind for take-off and I was pleased that I did a reasonable departure and climb out. Departure point was overhead Godstone then bear right for Bough Beech reservoir. Flying was reasonable and with a bit of concentration I was doing a reasonable job holding direction and altitude.

Flew past Bough Beech, turned towards Bewl Water reservoir, transferred from Redhill ATC to Farnborough East and climbed to 2700ft - so far so good. Then it was on to stalling and recovering the aircraft. First attempt was average but second attempt was good. Couple more practice stalls and the Instructor was happy. Then it was on to steep turns. Again, first turn was average and second one was better – after a few more the Instructor was happy. Then descend to 1800 ft and a practice forced landing. I was a bit concerned about this as I had struggled a bit with this last time. I had a few problems remembering the drill and was a bit slow in choosing a field to land in. Eventually chose a field and started descent. I then changed my mind as I reckoned I wasn’t going to make it (thankfully there were plenty to choose from) and lined up for another field. Instructor told me to keep descending and to apply second stage of flaps and prepare for landing. By now I was down to 500ft and close to the ground and the Instructor told me to keep going – I was seriously wondering if he was going to actually get me to land in the field. At 300ft he told me to climb out as he was satisfied I would have actually landed it. Reviewing the exercise, he said it was just about OK but I needed more practice and needed to learn the emergency procedure properly.

Then it was back to Bough Beech and a left turn for Redhill with a base join from Godstone South for Runway 36. This is the most difficult runway to land on as careful tracking over the ground and a very short final approach is required to avoid infringing Gatwick airspace. I made a reasonable approach, managed to avoid Gatwick airspace and even managed a half reasonable landing. My approach was a bit slow so landing was a bit flat but as it was my first one for a few months it was OK. I then remembered I’d forgotten my pre-landing checks but as the Instructor hadn’t commented I didn’t say anything. Then it was taxi back to the hanger and shut down.

All things considered I didn’t think my flying was too bad considering it’s been a while since my last flight. A few things to practice but it shouldn’t take too long to get back to solo flying and onward for my General Flight Test.

Flying time – 1 hour

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