Flying after a long break

Due to an enforced break, I was no longer within Lyneham’s 45 day currency rule, so needed a quick currency check flight before I could fly solo again. I had the week booked off work, so planned to get a currency check in early in the week, and then go for a flight myself somewhere just to get back into the swing of things.

Luckily Matt could fit me in for a quick flight during the day, so we arranged to meet up at the club. As it turned out, the club was out of fuel, so a plan was quickly hatched to fly to Oaksey Park for fuel, and then return to Lyneham. Matt was confident that this would be sufficient for him to be able to check I could still remember how to fly, and for him then to clear me for further flights.

I felt particularly rusty having not flown for about 2 months, so I’d spent the night before preparing myself by reading through checklists, and checking NOTAMs and weather reports for the flight. However, all the preparation was to nought for some extent, as we found ourselves sitting in the aircraft with the engine running after getting our start clearance, only for air traffic to ask ‘Have you booked out?’. Whoops. I sheepishly apologised, while Matt dealt with ATC, informing them that he had assumed his student had booked out. Whoops again, I think that’s the first time in all my flying that I’ve forgotten to do it. Not a good start to the flight.

Once we got going, things rapidly started to come back to me, and by the time we were carrying out the power checks I felt back into the swing of things again (despite omitting to allow Matt to test his brakes during the taxy out). Power checks were all normal, and we were quickly given our take off clearance.

This was possibly the shortest land-away in history, with Oaksey being a mere 7.5nm from Lyneham. No sooner had we climbed to 1500 feet and cleared the zone were we trying to acquire Oaksey and plan our arrival. We’d looked over the AFE flight guide before leaving so knew the noise sensitive areas in advance, and planned a downwind join for runway 22.

There was no response on the initial call to Oaksey Radio, so all further calls were made ‘blind’ to Oaksey Traffic. Once we’d acquired the field, the join and approach all went well. We planned to land just beyond the white barrels marking the bump in the runway, and stuck with two stages of flap due to the gusty wind.

I failed to take this account, and we arrived at our planned landing point still slightly high, and with a slight balloon. Concerned at the possibility of overshooting, Matt briefly took control, pulled full flap and got us down to avoid the possibility, and handed back control to me for the rollout. My local knowledge of Oaksey (Ok, I’ve been there once!) meant I had a better idea than Matt did as to where the fuel was, so we headed over there and refuelled (after a bit of investigation to find out where the key to the pump was kept!).

Hitch number two happened now, when I remembered that I had left my cheque book in the club, so we were unable to pay. I decided to drop in with a cheque, but later found out that I could have put the fuel on account! Oh well.

The return flight saw us using the entire runway length at Oaksey. The trouble with this was that we were briefly airborne as we passed the bump, only to come back down to earth to continue our takeoff run. Once past the airfield boundary we made the noise abatement turn to the right, and then I concentrated on acquiring Lyneham (aided by the ADF) while Matt handled the R/T for the rejoin.

The approach to Lyneham was again relatively normal, with a base leg join for runway 26. Again we left just two stages of flap on due to the gusts, and again I made a bit of a mess of the landing. Initially I ballooned, so I added a bit of power and got us set back up for another landing attempt (Lyneham’s runway is a couple of miles long, so there’s plenty of room for a second attempt). However, on this second attempt I neglected to fully close the throttle and we ended up floating quite a way before Matt reminded me. The landing wasn’t too bad (eventually!) but it just showed how things need to be relearned after even a relatively short break from flying.

We taxyed back to the club, and put the aircraft away. I’d had a few reminders in the flight, which I hoped would stand me in good stead for the flight I had planned for tomorrow.

Total flight time today: 0:35
Total flight time to date: 83:35

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One Response to “Flying after a long break”

  1. Heading back to Wellesbourne « Andy’s Blog Says:

    […] Andy’s Blog Poker, flight and anything else that comes to mind. « Flying after a long break […]

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