PPL(A) SEP (Land)

Finally got a break with weather and aircraft availability, so arranged to sit my Skills Test with Mark in two parts.

The first part was Navigation. Planned a flight to Conington and Luton, with a view to carrying out a diversion somewhere on the leg to Luton. The flight in general went pretty well, with my Nav being good and the various other bits like VOR tracking and the like going without too much trouble.

The next afternoon was the General Handling part of the test. This was probably the bit I was least looking forward to, as I always seem to have problems with steep turns and PFLs.

Mark threw me straight in at the deep end with an EFATO (Engine Failure After Take Off) as we departed, and then we headed out into the training area. Mark put me through my paces by first checking my flight under instrument conditions. The weather for the day had turned out to have quite a low cloud base, so the only way we could get sufficient height for the stalling etc. was to climb up through the cloud. So, up we went, and a few turns etc. in the cloud was enough to please Mark.

Once above the cloud we move straight into the stalls, which all went well. Indi’s aircraft never gets into a ‘real’ stall with the nose dropping and the like, and we were bobbing up and down while losing height for a while before Mark had me recover from the first clean stall. The rest went well, and we moved into steep turns.

The first one was to the left, and went well for a change. Mark had me roll out and try another to the right, which was much less well executed. After recovering from the minor spiral dive I’d put us into, I had another go, this time making more of an effort to maintain the nose attitude, and this one went much better.

Then Mark pulled the power, announcing a simulated engine failure. We were up at something like 3500 feet at this point, over a relatively solid bank of cloud. I trimmed for the glide, and carried out the initial checks to see if the engine could be restarted (as touch drills) before simulating a Mayday call. From then it was a matter of waiting (for what seemed like hours!) for us to descend through the cloud base so that I could pick a landing point.

Got slightly confused approaching the field in terms of which way the wind was, but got it all sorted out and made a passable approach to my chosen field. If anything I was a little high (as usual!) but not too terrible. Once Mark was happy we would make the field, he told me to climb away. I remembered to get the drag flap away once we were back to straight and level (this was something I’d been tardy with on recent attempts) and then climbed away, gradually bringing the flaps up as we were established in the climb.

From then it was back to the field for the circuits. The first was flapless, and I failed to correctly take into account the (now stronger) wind, and ended up blasting through the correct final approach after turning from base to final. Got it back on track though, and made a passable touch and go.

The next was supposed to be a standard landing, but I ended up high on this one, so it was actually pretty much a glide approach! For some reason my approaches weren’t very good on this flight, but they were never dangerous or bad enough to cause Mark any concern. Finally we made a ‘bad weather’ circuit, keeping in tight to the runway to simulate poor weather conditions, before making the final full stop landing and taxying back.

Mark announced he was happy that I was safe (‘I’d happily hire you an aircraft’) and I had done it!

Spent the following minutes completing all the paperwork and being congratulated by Luned, Indi and Barry as it all sunk in. Finally Mark shook my hand, and I broke out into a grin. It had finally sunk in.

After 11 months, 65 flights and nearly 58 hours in the air (over 12 of that solo), I was a pilot!

So, now the paperwork is off to the CAA, and I just have to wait for my licence to return before Luned and I can head off somewhere. We’ll probably fly with Indi in the meantime (flying is flying, right?) but it’ll be nice to be able to make my first real flight on my own licence sometime in the next few weeks.

Total flight time today: Dual 2:20 – Solo – 0:00
Take-offs: 4 – Landings: 4

Total flight time to date: Dual 45:15 – Solo 12:40
Take-offs to date: 118 – Landings to date: 113

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4 Responses to “PPL(A) SEP (Land)”

  1. michaelthewannabe Says:

    CONGRATULATIONS! Excellent news. And you make it sound like it’s not even scary 🙂

  2. Andy Hawkins Says:

    Thanks Michael, be your turn soon hopefully?

    To be honest it wasn’t all that scary. By the time I actually got to do the test I think I’d got all my nerves out of my system. I guess it depends to some extent on the Examiner you get, but Mark made me feel relatively relaxed.

    Best of luck.

    Andy

  3. bsda Says:

    I saw your post on the flyer forum and came to check out your blog.
    Very well written.

    I apassed my skills test on 06/05 and with pretty much the same amount of hours as you and also pretty much the same time. It took me 11 months.

    Congratulations!!

  4. Andy Hawkins Says:

    Thanks for the comments! Hopefully now the real fun begins.

    Andy

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