No complaints about the weather today!

Well, if there’s such a thing as perfect flying weather, then today came pretty close to it!

Arrived at Brize early, and read through my checklists while waiting for Chris to complete his previous flight. None of it is really sticking yet, but I guess I’ve only actually been through each checklist 3 times, so there’s not been much chance for them to actually become embedded just yet.

Covered straight and level today. Brize Zone was busier then I’ve ever seen it today, with a mixture of airfield traffic and people transiting the zone. There seemed to be a lot of people contacting Brize Zone just to reassure them that they weren’t going to be entering. RIAT is this coming weekend (at Fairford) so there are plenty of RA(T)s to worry about, which I guess gets people more cautious.

Concentrated on straight and level today. Generally went OK, but it’s taking me time to get everything set up for the ‘level’ bit, which means I seem to end up miles away from any ‘target’ altitude I might have. Apparently I shouldn’t really be worried about that just yet, as the main thing is being able to get the aircraft into a stable trim at this stage. Ended up doing a number of turns to remain in the zone, as well as recovering to stable straight and level from some unusual attitudes that Chris put us in by playing with the elevator and rudder trim.

We then moved on to straight and level at various airspeeds, including the ‘bad weather’ state with two stages of flap and 80 knots. This gives a much more ‘nose down’ attitude, improving forward visibility as well as reducing things down to a more manageable speed when visibility isn’t great. Again, this seemed to go Ok.

Chris had initially said that he would take control to re-enter the zone due to the airspace restrictions, but he had me keep control for this phase too. At one point we spotted a large transport craft approaching Brize for landing. For some reason, when we were cleared into the circuit and told there was ‘one in’ I then completely forgot about the huge aircraft that was easily visible, and was a little disheartened that I couldn’t spot the traffic I was looking for. I was looking for another light aircraft, forgetting the rather obvious aircraft that we’d already seen!

Because of the large jet landing, we had to orbit several times on the base leg. Again, I had control for these orbits, which went OK despite the altitude wavering a bit. I think I need to get into more of a habit of checking the horizon as well as scanning around for traffic, as it was when I was looking around for traffic and the airfield position that I was letting the ‘picture’ go wrong and we’d end up climbing or descending slightly.

Once Chris had timed the aircraft’s touchdown and allowed for wake turbulence, we then made the turn to final, and lined up for the runway, before Chris took control. At this point we were miles high, I’m not sure if this was me missing an instruction or just generally not getting the descent rate right in the circuit. However, again I’m not too concerned about this because circuits are quite a long way off yet! It did give Chris chance to demonstrate a side-slip in order to lose altitude so that we could at least land in the first half of the runway! The turn off to the taxiway half way down the runway was a bit like driving through School at Ty Croes in the Westfield though! 🙂

While fumbling through the after landing checklist items at the hold point once we’d vacated the runway, we were given a hurry up from the Tower as the jet that had landed before us was now waiting behind us on the taxiway. Chris again took over to get us out of the way while I fumbled through the checklist. I think I should try to spend a bit more time trying to commit these checks to memory a bit better so that they come a bit more naturally.

All in all the lesson went quite well, and Chris’ comments afterwards were encouraging. He particularly mentioned that I was remaining quite calm, but I have to admit getting slightly flustered at the fact that the checklists are taking a while to get through. On the whole though, generally pleased with the lesson, and ready to move on to climbing and descending next time. This will hopefully be tomorrow, or I’ve got two more sessions booked on Saturday too.

Total flight time today: Dual 0:50 – Solo – 0:00
Take-offs: 0 – Landings: 0

Total flight time to date: Dual 2:00 – Solo 0:00
Take-offs to date: 0 – Landings to date: 0

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