Getting checked out again.

I’ve recently joined the Flying Club at RAF Lyneham, but couldn’t fly their aircraft until I had a check flight with one of their Instructors or Club Check pilots. I’d tried to do this on Saturday but was foiled by the weather, so had a second attempt planned for this evening.

Had been in contact with Matt Lane a number of times during the day as the weather didn’t look great, and even as I drove from Newbury over to Lyneham I passed through a number of very heavy showers on the way. However by the time I arrived at Lyneham the clouds had broken and it was actually quite a nice day! Who said the British weather was unpredictable?

Matt met me in the car park outside the entrance as I don’t yet have my pass for Lyneham, and then we headed into the Flying Club. Matt gave be a quick brief on the ground layout at Lyneham and the typical taxy routes we would be given for the various runways. I then checked the aircraft out while he booked us out and got the bowser ready to refuel us (as the last person to fly had left one tank almost dry!). As I settled myself into the cockpit and got myself familiarised with the slightly different radio fit, Matt dragged the aircraft over to the bowser and topped off the tanks.

Once ready, I called for start clearance (something we don’t do at Brize) and then taxy clearance after that. All we were getting back from the ground frequency was carrier wave at this point, but eventually the Ground controller managed to switch radios (presumably) and tell us to taxy and go straight to the Tower frequency. Matt explained the route to take, and gave me a few tips regarding the taxy checks so as not to use as much real estate on the ground. Handy.

We headed out to the ‘180 loop’ for the power checks, then did the pre-takeoff checks and headed up to the hold. We were quickly given clearance to line up, and as we lines up were given our takeoff clearance. Departure procedures at Lyneham aren’t as fixed as at Brize, we just had to turn North as we reached 500 feet and the only other restriction was to stay out of the IFR approaches (if we were heading to the East or West for example).

We climbed up to about 3500 feet so that we could do some stalls, and at this point I was glad to have Matt alongside, because I’d forgotten my sunglasses (doh!) and the visibility was pretty poor into sun. Once we reached Malmesbury we turned to the South and things were much better! Did a full clean stall (no dramas, Matt commented on how he was glad to see I wasn’t diving towards the ground as the stall came!) and then a PFL (conveniently overhead Charlton Park!) before heading back to Lyneham.

I hadn’t realised that Lyneham is on top of a very obvious plateau, which actually means you can’t see the runways (or couldn’t today) from about 1500 ft QNH. However, the ‘field’ is fairly obvious once you know what to look for (and the NDB helps!).

We switched back to the Tower frequency, and joined right base for runway 24. A fairly normal approach and landing for a touch and go (only slight hitch was me applying power before getting the flaps away) and we took off for a circuit. The engine ‘failed’ again, and Matt showed me the good options for a landing should it happen for real (must remember to turn left!). I continued on the circuit, ending up a little wide (I was heading for 1000 feet before turning downwind) and carried out another normal approach and landing. Good to know I can still land at least!

Taxyed back as Matt did the after landing checks, and we put the aircraft to bed and headed back into the club.

I clarified a few other things with Matt before I left, paid the bill (a mere £37.50!) and came home. I might get checked out in the Firefly too, as that’s only £70 an hour, although it is just a two seater.

So, now we just need to see what availability is like at weekends. I’ve been keeping an eye on it, and it appears that weekends tend to get booked up perhaps 2 weeks in advance, so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Total flight time today: 0:35
Total flight time to date: 72:15

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