Up, down and round and round

Another fantastic day. Two lessons booked for today, so an early start. Left home at around 8:45, taking a slightly different route to avoid the likely traffic for the RIAT at Fairford.

Arrived in good time and Richard met me at the gate. Dragged the aircraft out after a briefing on climbing and descending, and did the ‘A’ check, then headed out to the hold point and prepared for takeoff after we got our clearance.

Made more of an effort to do my checks from memory this time, but failed completely. Completely forgot to do the taxi checks (full rudder deflection and instrument checks) and then fluffed a lot of the power checks too. I think I’ll stick with the checklist for the next few flights until I get into more of a ‘rhythm’ and hopefully things will start to stick.

Then spent most of the lesson picking holes through clouds to do our climbs and descents. All went pretty well, but apparently I had a tendency to fly the aircraft on the trim, rather than setting attitude using the yoke and then trimming out the control pressures. Must make more of an effort to try to do this properly in future.

Also did a simulated ‘circuit’. Starting level at 2000 feet, pulling up into a simulated departure climb (75 knots) for 500 feet, before making the gentle crosswind turn and continuing the climb. Then at 3000 feet, level off and make the turn onto ‘downwind’. Do the reverse at the end of downwind, a descending turn onto base with flap, then a further turn to final before dropping full flap. Finally ended with a ‘go around’ when we got down near 2200 feet, applying full power and gradually raising the flaps as we reached correct climb speed.

Finally headed back to the airfield, with me flying most of the circuit down to about 200 feet, when Richard took over for the landing.

Had some lunch and a bit of a natter back at the club, then briefed for the second session. This was to be turns, something I’d pretty much done during the lessons so far, but this time we were covering them in a much more formal manner.

Carried out the transit checks, then got our taxi clearance from Brize Ground. Remembered to do the taxi check this time, and did the power checks from the checklist making sure nothing was missed.

Then was the one of the more fun parts of the day. When we called for take-off clearance from the tower, we were told we would have to hold to allow traffic heading for Fairford to clear the area. At the hold point we got a fantastic view of a slow fly-past by the Red Arrows (complete with some other unidentified craft in formation with them) while we waited to be cleared to take off!

The rest of the lesson went pretty well. Managed most of the turning exercises at 30° of bank without too much trouble, but it took a little while to get used to the correct attitude required to prevent losing or gaining height during the turn.

We then did some practice of slow flight, getting the aircraft down to 55 knots straight and level, with some gentle (15° bank this time) turns. Again, this wasn’t too much of a problem, and demonstrated the ‘mushy’ nature of the controls at such a slow speed.

Richard finally demonstrated a ‘clean’ stall. Despite knowing what to expect from the reading I’ve been doing, it’s a little alarming watching the ASI unwinding to next to nothing, before the nose drops all on its own. The stall recovery looked relatively straightforward, but then most things do when demonstrated by someone who knows what they’re doing!

Brize Zone was very busy today, and Little Rissington and a local glider field were also operating, so we got so see plenty of other traffic as we were carrying out the exercises. Interesting snippet heard on the radio was someone on their way back from Le Touquet to a private airstrip that sounded surprised that they would have to alter their route because of Fairford! Can anyone say ‘NOTAM’?

One thing Richard picked me up on during the debrief was the fact that I tend to fly with just my left hand on the yoke, and my right hand in my lap unless I need to make any throttle adjustments. When carrying out manoeuvres I need to consciously keep my right hand on the throttle.

I think this is as a result of me reading that a lot of low hours students tend to have a ‘death grip’ on the yoke, holding it tight in both hands rather than using a light touch with one hand. I’ve been purposely keeping just one hand on the yoke, I just need to make more of an effort to put the other on the throttle rather than just resting it in my lap.

Next we’re moving on to stalling, so I need to read up on that and get myself prepared. If only all days could be like this one!

Total flight time today: Dual 2:55 – Solo – 0:00
Take-offs: 0 – Landings: 0

Total flight time to date: Dual 4:55 – Solo 0:00
Take-offs to date: 0 – Landings to date: 0

5 Responses to “Up, down and round and round”

  1. royg567 Says:

    Reminds me so much of my flying training so long ago. Back in the 70’s. I’m looking forward to a report about a stall from a climbing turn. Don’t know about a low wing aircraft but the result for a Cessna 150 or 172 was always surprizing.

  2. sinnerman49 Says:

    Great report! Look forward to hearing more.

    One thing that concerns me however – why is your goal to do the checklists from memory? Your goal (IMO) should be to ALWAYS use the checklists from writing, EVERY time. I’ve flown with corporate guys often, and even at 100’s of hours in type, they still use the checklists. It’s just a smart practice.

  3. Andy Hawkins Says:

    I’m not aiming to do all the checklists from memory. However, the club recommends that some *are* done from memory (particular the power checks for example) as at some stages of the flight you don’t really have time to go fishing through a checklist).

    I would agree that the majority of checklists can be ‘read’ through, but there’s some (for example, the pre-landing checks) that the club recommends are done without reference to the checklist itself.

    Thanks for the comments though.

  4. Landing away on my own licence « Andy’s Blog Says:

    […] other reason for flying this weekend was that it was also the weekend of Fairford. During my training I had flown during Fairford weekend also, and had the pleasure of sitting at the hold waiting for […]

  5. Meat-bombers, carveries and the Red Arrows (nearly) « Andy’s Blog Says:

    […] This was a really enjoyable flight on the whole. I’d forced myself to use ‘traditional’ navigation methods again by not using a route loaded into the GPS, and this had gone pretty well. I’d added a new airfield to my log book, and (almost) shared the skies with the Red Arrows again! […]

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