Round and round and round and round…

Spin avoidance today, and my first session with John. He’s an examiner, and it turns out is also CFI of another flying club!

Spin avoidance was the order of the day today. John told me what he wanted me to do, and I went out to the aircraft and did the transit check. No problems found as expected.

Things started to go ‘wrong’ as we did the pre-start checks. When it came to the ‘ailerons, elevators and trimmers’ check, I did my usual, checking the elevator trim was in the neutral position, and gave it a bit of a wiggle to make sure it moved. He then asked ‘How do you know that’s working’. That stumped me, as I’d never been shown anything else with that.

So, he showed me that if you pull the control column back, and then fiddle with the elevator trim control, then you can see the trim tab moving on the elevator. Well, I never knew that!

Then when I came to start the engine, the check is ‘Mixture fully rich’. I did this, and he then explained how the mixture control works on a ‘push pull’ arrangement, not just a ‘pull’ (like the brakes on a push bike for example) and that I should really check that it appears to be doing something when I move it in both directions. Same goes for the throttle too apparently. Well, I never knew that either!

We then moved on to the lesson proper. We had to wait before taxying as a Hercules taxyed in front of us (and John took control to move us back into the flying club bay as we’d already been given our taxy clearance by this point, and I’d moved us out a little).

Then we had to wait longer than normal at the hold as another Heavy took off and we had to give it plenty of time for the wake turbulence to settle. I was doing the radio work for most of this, which is all good practice I guess.

I then made my second take-off. Went Ok, but John kept pointing out that I was allowing my speed to drift slightly, and also I had reached to trim the aircraft almost immediately after take-off, when really I should wait until we’re at least 200 feet up before I allow my attention to be diverted on less important tasks.

Yet again I had slight problems levelling off at the required 1000 feet as we headed out over Burford. This is something I’m going to have to pay more attention to in the future, as it’s now something that’s been highlighted on a couple of lessons.

We had to keep a good lookout today, as Little Rissington was very busy, and the ideal flying weather had brought pretty much everyone out so the skies were very busy!

We headed out to the training area and the lesson proper began. It appeared that I couldn’t do anything right today, but this was just John applying higher standards than previous instructors appeared to have. My lookout before turns didn’t pass muster with him (fair comment, I tend to begin rolling in to the turn as I do the lookout into the turn, which isn’t a good idea) and also my initial stall recoveries weren’t as ‘smooth’ as he’d have liked.

John is definitely more of an ‘immediate’ instructor than I had been used to. As I made mistakes he pointed them out to me, rather than letting me make them and correct them myself before bringing them up later. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because I seem to have got into some ‘bad’ habits that will hinder me later in the training.

We headed back over Burford, and got our clearance to rejoin. I thought we were told that 26 left-hand was in use, but we entered a right hand circuit for 26. It’s something I’ve always wondered, if we approach the field from the North over Burford, then we’d be on completely the wrong side of the airfield for a left hand circuit for runway 26. What are we supposed to do in that instance?

We had to orbit a couple of times as an Antonov had just landed. He was given clearance to backtrack the runway, but John asked if we could nip in and land while he was waiting to backtrack, and we were allowed to do this.

I kept control all the way through the approach and landing phase. My speed was a little wayward on short finals, which again John picked me up on. Didn’t take much to bring it back in to line though, and my tracking of the runway centre line wasn’t too bad.

I had control all the way to the landing this time. Everything was going well as I flared when I was supposed to. However, the initial landing happened with a bit of a bump was we landed on three points rather than just the mains as we’re supposed to. As a result we bounced back into the air a few feet. I got control back without too much trouble (resisting the urge to push the yoke forward) and the second touchdown was much better. I wonder if I get to log 2 landings for this flight!

The debrief was better than I was expecting given the number of ‘mistakes’ I appeared to have made. John explained that he was deliberately being more ‘picky’ as all the things he picked me up on are the sort of things an examiner would be looking at in a skills test, so it’s best I get them right now, rather than having to unlearn bad habits later in my training.

I was initially a little down-hearted after we landed, but he said that overall he was happy with how the lesson had gone, but there were just a few little things that I needed to work on to make myself a better pilot. I guess that’s why I’m here after all!

So, next lesson (possibly tomorrow) will be my first in the circuit! I really need to get cracking on these exams otherwise I’m going to be ready for solo long before I’d completed the exam requirements. Fingers crossed for the weather tomorrow I guess!

Total flight time today: Dual 1:00 – Solo – 0:00
Take-offs: 1 – Landings: 1

Total flight time to date: Dual 7:45 – Solo 0:00
Take-offs to date: 2 – Landings to date: 2

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One Response to “Round and round and round and round…”

  1. A new destination in North Wales | Andy's Blog Says:

    […] we arrived, John (an Examiner who had carried out some of my early PPL training back at Brize) was putting one of the other aircraft to bed. I positioned us to be pushed back into […]

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