Where am I?

Another couple of sessions with John today. Weather looked great, so was expecting to be able to fly. Lynne phoned as I was on the way to Brize to let me know that the guy whose slot was between my two was likely to be late, so I should just run my two slots together.

Arrived at Brize to find the club being painted! Little chaotic in there to say the least. Went to get the weather, and chatted to John when I got back. I had to do a ‘progress check’, and John suggested we do this and then I head off away from Brize solo for the first time.


The only time I’d previously navigated back to Brize was using the ADF. This seemed to me to be a pretty simple method of simply tuning a radio and following the needle in. John suggested I not do this, and rely on a more visual method.

So I headed out to check the aircraft. JP was in the front of the hangar, so I had to drag it out and put it on the tie downs, so that I could get Alpha Fox out and check it over. All checked out Ok, so I gave John a bell to let him know I was ready.

We headed out from Brize, up to Burford with a view to doing a couple of PFLs before heading back. John’s idea of PFLs seems to be a little different to Charlie’s. I was trying to be smooth as I headed down, but when I was a little high for the field I chose I was on the verge of choosing another. John’s opinion was that I should perform steep ‘S’ turns to lose height.

He then demonstrated a couple himself, showing me what he meant, and he certainly showed how much you could increase the rate of descent doing this. He also said I needed to be more focussed during the intial stages of the PFL taking the time to maintain height as much as possible and choose the field as early as possible.

We then headed back to Brize, with John basically saying to me ‘Where is it then?’. I was completely lost. I knew we were over Stow on the Wold (John had just mentioned it a few minutes earlier) and that Stow on the Wold was basically North of Brize. However, we were also within view of Little Rissington (surprisingly difficult to spot due to the angle, but obvious once it was pointed out to me) which has a nice obvious road next to it that leads all the way to Burford.

We followed this, and made a standard join to downwind, and landed without incident (although I did let the speed drop to about 65 knots on short final which John was a little concerned about). John then co-ordinated with ATC that he would jump out at the hold and I would repeat the exercise myself.

This we did, and I headed out. The whole thing went without too much incident, but I noticed that John had tuned the ADF for me which meant that it was obvious which way Brize was. I also didn’t go any further North than Little Rissington so that I always had a pretty good idea where I was. I also took the chance to have a play with the GPS, putting in a ‘Direct To’ EGVN.

The zone was a bit chaotic today. One controller was running two frequencies (presumably Zone and Radar) which meant I often was only hearing his side of the conversation. This was complicated by the fact that there was another aircraft with the callsign ‘Hotel Foxtrot’ (my callsign was Alpha Foxtrot) and I kept mishearing traffic information for this aircraft as me and responding to it, effectively doubling his workload. Sorry, whoever you were!

The rejoin all went without too much of a hitch, joining downwind again and making a fairly routine landing. On the way back to the club hangar the ATCO (I think it was the same one Charlie was chatting up the other day!) asked me if it was my first solo, to which I was proud to answer ‘negative’ 🙂 . She commented that she was glad it went well, and that made a nice end to the flight!

So, next will be advanced turning, and then I’ll be starting on navigation. However, before I get much further I have three ground exams to pass. Better get moving!

Total flight time today: Dual 0:45 – Solo – 0:25
Take-offs: 1 – Landings: 1

Total flight time to date: Dual 18:30 – Solo 2:50
Take-offs to date: 70 – Landings to date: 65

One Response to “Where am I?”

  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 our parking […]

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