Unusual attitudes and an SRA

One of the items to be tested on the flight test is recovery from unusual attitudes on both full and partial panel. We decided to cover this today, as well as doing a couple of bad weather circuits at nearby Colerne to try to sort out the problem I’d been having with them.

We departed Lyneham and I was soon under the hood. We initially tracked direct to the KMB NDB, before tracking the VOR to Brecon for a while.

Once in clearer airspace, Mike put me into some unusual attitudes (nose high, close to the stall and turning, and nose low, speed increasing and turning) on both full and partial panel. I’d done some work on this previously with Matt, and in general my recoveries from these were pretty good. Useful to cover it again though to ensure that I hadn’t forgotten anything.

We then headed over to Colerne to practice some bad weather circuits. Mike initially demonstrated, flying a close in circuit with a constant descending turn from base to final, culminating in a landing very close to the threshold of the runway. I took over at 500 feet on the climbout, and had a go myself. Sadly, it didn’t go very well, and I ended up the wrong side of the runway with insufficient time  to recover the centre line. So, around we went and we headed away from Colerne again. Need some more practice with these.

Once clear of Colerne, Mike had me fix our position using the navigation instruments. Initially we did this using a cross cut between the Brecon and Daventry VORs. This basically involves using the cockpit CDI to work out what radial you’re on, then drawing this on the chart. Repeating the process for the other VOR given a sufficient cutting angle will give you a good estimate of the current position. My position had us a mile or two east of Hullavington, whereas we were actually a mile or two West. Not too bad on the whole.

We repeated the process again, and then tried the same thing using a VOR cut and a QDM from Lyneham (a radio derived bearing to the airfield from our position). In hindsight, a QDR would be more appropriate (the bearing from the airfield to us) to enable us to plot our position on the chart.

We tracked the CPT VOR for a while, before heading towards Kemble to practice some more holds. Sadly one of Ultimate High’s Extras was about to take off to do some aeros, but he kindly held on the ground for us to allow us to carry out one trip around the hold before we headed out to the West.

Back with Lyneham, we were given position for an SRA. This is similar to a PAR, with the difference that the Controller doesn’t have any height information. Every half mile on the approach the Controller will read out what height we should be at, and we use that information to adjust our descent rate.

That’s the theory anyway! After a couple of miles we ended up a little low. We hadn’t really briefed this approach properly, and all I did was level off for a while, then lower the nose again to continue the descent. As a result, we ended up perhaps 100 feet low at 500 feet. Conditions were a little blustery down low, and the landing wasn’t my best.

What I should have done on the approach was to enter level flight once we were told we were low, and hold this until the Controller issued the next height indication. We could then use this information to decide whether to recommence the descent or not.

Flight Track

Flight Track

On the whole a good flight, but I need some more practice at bad weather circuits and SRAs.

Total flight time today: 1:55
Total flight time to date: 121:05

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