Out on my own again

Plan for today was to do some solo general handling work. The weather was as good as I’ve ever seen it, with light winds, 25k visibility and little or no cloud. The only ‘issue’ was the low sun, which made heading into it a little tricky due to the reduced visibility.

Went out for the first session, and headed out to Burford as normal. Little Rissington was active so I planned to keep well to the East of it, but keeping it within sight as much as possible so as not to lose track of my position.

Didn’t want to get too fancy in these sessions, but we’d identified that my height keeping was an issue, so I wanted to concentrate on that. I also wanted to try out a few steep turns as they were something I hadn’t had much practice at.

At one point on the first session I managed to get a little distracted, and didn’t realise how far South I had drifted. It was only when I realised just how close I was to Brize that I twigged and turned round. At almost precisely the same time Zone came on asking me if I was planning to rejoin! I replied that I wasn’t and apologised, and was told not to worry about it. Inspection of the GPS track later showed that I had actually (just) busted the zone as I realised my error.

As it happened it wasn’t too much of an issue as I was on their frequency anyway, and they knew exactly where I was. However it was a good example of how a small distraction can easily lead to a potential violation of controlled airspace. Something I must be a bit more vigilant for in the future.

On rejoining after the first session, there was a heavy on a longish final for the runway, so I announced that I was going to orbit to allow some spacing for wake turbulence. While orbiting I was craning my neck to spot when he touched down so that I could leave the required 4 minutes of spacing. In effect I probably overdid it, and orbited for a full 4 minutes before continuing, but I guess it was better safe than sorry.

The rejoin and landing again were uneventful, again I got the feeling that I was actually stalling onto the runway and dropping the last few feet. Must get Indi’s opinion on that next time we fly.

Track for general handling flight 1

Indi had been listening in to my R/T in the club, and complimented me on my return! Luckily they weren’t listening to the ‘Zone’ frequency and heard me busting the zone!

The second session was very similar to the first, but this time I headed much further North to try to avoid risking busting the zone as I was circling. Again tried some steep turns and worked some more on my height keeping.

I think I have a natural tendency to always have some back pressure on the yoke when turning or doing something else like looking at a map. I guess this is something I just need to be aware of and work on more as I do some longer flights.

Rejoin for the second session was again uneventful, but again I felt my landing was a little hard as I dropped the last few feet onto the runway. Perhaps I’m flaring a little high? Other than that, I think I’m keeping the centreline a lot better than I was, and my crosswind technique is improving as I get more and more practice with it.

Total flight time today: Dual 0:00 – Solo – 1:55
Take-offs: 2 – Landings: 2

Total flight time to date: Dual 25:25 – Solo 5:30
Take-offs to date: 84 – Landings to date: 79

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