Archive for the ‘Bi-annual Flight’ Category

Another currency check, after a long break!

September 21, 2019

After my last flight, I’d made a number of attempts to fly to keep within the Club’s 60 day currency rules. I predictably dropped out of currency, and then had to cancel a couple of Currency Check flights due to weather or not feeling fit to fly. I finally managed to find a day when aircraft and Instructor availability, weather and my health all meant that I could actually go flying!

I’d never flown with DJ before, but chatted to him via What’s App in the days leading up to the flight to plan what we needed to do. One helpful part of the timing was that I was now in the second year of my Class Rating, so if this flight could be of an hour or more duration, then it would count as the required training flight for my Class Rating Revalidation by Experience requirements.

The day before the flight some pilots had some issues getting the aircraft started, but when I arrived at Kemble on the morning of our flight I was just in time to see DJ heading off for the flight before mine without any problems. They were running a little late, so I settled myself in the Club to prepare myself for the flight, reading over the Warrior’s checklist again a few times to refresh my memory. Fortunately, DJ and his previous student returned after cutting their flight short, so I wasn’t too late in heading out myself.

We had a quick brief over what we needed to cover, before heading out to the aircraft. I gave AF a quick once over before getting in and getting settled ready for the flight. I completed all the pre-start items from the checklist, then as we had been warned, the starter seemed reluctant to turn the engine over initially. However, keeping the key in the ‘start’ position for a few seconds soon had the starter turning the prop, and the engine started fairly soon after.

Kemble were operating on 08 today, so this meant a taxy along the grass down to the North Apron for checks. Once the checks were completed, I made my first slip of the day, announcing “Checks complete, Hotel site” (Hotel site is where our aircraft are parked!). The FISO picked me up on my error and corrected me, before clearing me initially to the hold, then to line up. I backtracked a little before lining up and commencing the takeoff roll.

Takeoff and climbout were normal, and I set course to the South to head to Lyneham as we’d planned. We climbed up to 3000 feet, but I failed to level out and trim correctly, meaning we ended up are 3200 feet for a while. DJ took control and put the aircraft well out of trim, then gave control back to me to have me re-trim. This time I did a better job, and the altitude stabilised at 3000 feet correctly.

I initially carried out a gentle turn to the left, followed by one to the right, increasing the angle of back towards 30 or 45 degrees at DJ’s prompting. During both of these turns my height keeping was almost spot on, showing how important it is to have the aircraft correctly trimmed for level flight!

As we came out of the turn, DJ pulled the throttle to idle, announcing ‘simulated engine failure’. I was a little slow getting us down to best glide speed, meaning we lost height unnecessarily initially. I was also a little hesitant in choosing a field, including incorrectly verbalising the wind direction (although in my head I knew that we had to turn 180 degrees to face in to wind). DJ gave me some useful advice, that in the absence of an obvious candidate off to the right, I should just pick a field in view to my left, as this would make it easier to maintain sight of the field while positioning to land in it.

The field I had chosen had a line running across it perpendicular to the landing direction, which I initially assumed was just a path. As we got lower it became clear that this was in fact a wall or ditch, so I quickly shifted to a field just to the right of my initial choice. As I lined up for my Final approach, I was (predictably!) high, and when DJ asked what I was going to do I told him I would side-slip, and then carried out this manoeuvre (which allows rapid height loss without much of a gain in airspeed).

DJ allowed be to descend to around 300 feet AGL, before announcing he was happy and telling me to Go Around. I climbed away, correctly remembering to initially retract 1 stage of flap (which generates a lot of drag) before waiting for a positive rate of climb to be indicated and then retracting the remaining flaps in stages. I oriented myself with Kemble, before calling the FISO for airfield information to carry out some circuits.

There were another couple of aircraft joining at around the same time as us, and we spotted one of them off to the right ahead of us. The other had announced on a 5 mile Final, so I made a note to keep an eye out for him as we carried out our Overhead Join and Deadside Descent. We slotted in nicely behind the aircraft ahead of us, and carried on around the circuit, carrying out the before landing checks on the Downwind leg.

I turned Base and Final for the first approach, seeing the aircraft ahead of us clear the runway as we were on Short Final. My speed keeping was generally good, and I brought us in for a slightly firm landing. As I applied power and retracted flaps, I told DJ that it could have been better, and his response was “There was nothing wrong with that, but lets see if you can do better next time!”.

As we climbed away, DJ thought he spotted a drone operating below us to our right, and kept an eye out for it during this circuit. We continued round the circuit, this time extending Downwind slightly to allow the aircraft who had earlier reported a 5 mile Final to land in front of us. He must have been significantly further than 5 miles away for it to have taken him that long to land! Once the runway was clear, the second landing was much better, leading to a slight chirrup from the tyres as I brought us down to a very gentle touchdown. Very satisfying!

As we climbed away, DJ again spotted the drone, and reported this to the FISO. While not really affecting our flight, I’m pretty sure the drone rules prevent the flying of drones this close to an airfield. The final circuit was routine, and my last landing of the day was again a satisfyingly gentle touchdown!

We taxyed back to the parking area, and refuelled the aircraft before putting it back into its space in readiness for the next flight. On the way back to the Club DJ gave me a debrief, and was very complimentary about my flying. He called particular attention to my good situational awareness and radio work, so it was nice to be given a pat on the back!

Track flown

Track flown

Flight profile

Flight profile

So after a 6 month break, I was finally current again. While it’s sometimes frustrating to get be in the position of needing a Currency Check flight, I generally enjoy the opportunity to fly with an Instructor, and often come away with something new from each of these flights. DJ was a pleasure to fly with, and it was nice to be complimented on my flying! Now I need to try to maintain currency for a bit longer this time!

Total flight time today: 1:00
Total flight time to date: 341:10

Class Rating Revalidation

May 8, 2018

Having completed the required number of hours to revalidate my Class Rating by ‘experience’ in my last flight, I now needed to tick off the final box, which was to have flown for an hour with an Instructor. My recent currency check with Kev sadly didn’t fully meet the requirement being only a 45 minute flight, so I needed to either fly another 15 minutes with Kev, or a full hour with another Instructor.

With the announcement of the date for the Lyneham Flying Club AGM, I thought I could kill two birds with one stone by carrying out the Instructor flight during the day, then attending the AGM in the evening. After a bit of discussion with Kev, he agreed to carry out the flight that day, and with work onside too, the weather also played ball allowing the flight to go ahead.

My ideal plan was to fly a decent length trip, perhaps flying an Instrument Approach or two with Kev alongside to try to get some practice in readiness for renewing my IMC rating. Sadly Kev was unable to commit to a full day’s flying due to childcare constraints, so we settled for a trip to Wellesbourne, returning via Gloucester for fuel and to fly my first RNAV approach there.

I’d anticipated being a little late to Kemble due to having to get Catrin ready and off to school, but the planning was relatively straightforward, and I set off for Kemble after informing Kev I was slightly ahead of schedule. On the journey to the airfield it was obvious that conditions were still a little misty, but given the temperature and presence of a light wind I was confident that the mist would clear and allow us to carry out the flight.

Kev was already at the aircraft, checking out the landing gear after having heard some unusual noises on his last flight. All was well, and we headed into the Club to brief the days flying and wait for the poor visibility to improve. This took some time, and it was after 11am before we walked out to the aircraft to get ready for the flight. As usual, pre-flight checks were normal (with the exception of a missing fuel tester, so I borrowed one from one of the other aircraft!).

Another Club aircraft was parked near the pumps getting ready to go, and as we completed the checks he started up and taxyed out. My call for start seemed to catch the FISO unawares, and I had to repeat most of my message. The engine took a couple of goes to start (requiring a bit of extra priming with the fuel pump) and once cleared we began the taxy to A1 via Alpha in order to depart on 26. As we taxyed to the hold the other aircraft passed some weather information via the FISO, confirming that conditions were now much improved in the air.

We talked briefly about the NOTAM regarding parachuting at Little Rissington, including some discussion regarding the large ‘cone’ of airspace that was notified.  This didn’t come into effect until around lunchtime, but I was happy that our route would be OK given that we were planning to talk to Brize on the way. Power checks complete, on reporting ‘Ready’ we were immediately cleared to depart. Take off was normal, and after a dab of the brakes I raised the gear, vocalising the ‘after take off’ checklist as we climbed out (essentially, gear up, flaps up). We turned Crosswind and then Downwind, and I told Kev I planned to climb out on the Downwind leg. He suggested that we actually set course from overhead the airfield, as there was nobody else around. I informed the FISO of this, and set the correct heading once overhead.

We climbed to 3500 feed as planned, heading for the first turning point at Chedworth. Once clear of the ATZ, I signed off with Kemble and switched frequencies to Brize. My height keeping was a little poor, and as I looked out for Chedworth I allowed our height to creep up to 4000 feet. It took a little while to spot Chedworth, but once we did I set course for the next leg to the disused airfield at Moreton-in-Marsh, and made ready to contact Brize. The frequency became a little busy, meaning I couldn’t contact them for a few minutes. I signed on with them, receiving a Basic Service and setting their QNH (on leaving Kemble I’d set the Cotswold pressure after hearing the FISO pass it to another aircraft).

For some reason, we weren’t issued a squawk until we approached Moreton-in-Marsh, and I spotted this a mile or two off to our left and set course for Wellesbourne. Wellesbourne sits under a shelf of the Birmingham CTA, so I began a descent to 2500 feet to keep below this and be ready for the Overhead Join at Wellesbourne. I notified the Brize Controller of this, and then requested a frequency change to Wellesbourne.

Once on their frequency, we were passed the airfield information, finding out that they were using runway 18 with a right hand circuit. Using the DI and Heading Bug I tried to visualise the join, before telling Kev my plans. Wellesbourne were nice and quiet for a change (well, it was a Tuesday after all!) and we had the sky virtually to ourselves as we approached. I carried out a tight Deadside Descent, keeping inside the village of Wellesbourne to minimise any nuisance. The circuit was flown nicely, and I carried out the Before Landing checklist on the Downwind leg as usual.

As I turned us onto Final, it was clear that there was a fairly significant crosswind from the right, evidenced by the amount of crab I had to maintain to keep aligned with the runway. I completed the ‘Final’ checks (Reds, Blues, Greens, Flaps) and approaching the runway, I applied rudder correction to kick off the crab. As I started to roundout to arrest our descent, a gust of wind abruptly picked up the right wing, forcing us off to the left hand side of the runway. At this height and on a relatively short runway, I made the quick decision to Go Around, announcing to Kev that I wasn’t happy.

I applied full power, raising the nose to climb away and raised the landing gear. I then retracted the flaps in stages, checking at each stage that we were still established in the climb. Mindful of Wellesbourne’s noise abatement circuit, I proceed quite a long way Upwind before turning Crosswind and then Downwind (we later found a diagram indicating that we could in fact have made an early Crosswind turn during the Go Around). Again established on Downwind, I worked through the Before Landing checklist, and on reaching the ‘Gear’ item, noticed that the gear lights weren’t illuminated. I assumed that Kev had somehow failed one of the systems, and asked him if he wanted me to clear the circuit to troubleshoot the issue.

Kev said something along the lines of ‘Nothing to do with me!’ and I then quickly realised that the gear lights weren’t illuminated because I had in fact raised the gear during the Go Around! I moved the gear lever downwards (inexplicably just pushing the lever down for some reason, rather than pulling it out from the panel and then down as you should) and the gear lowered and all lights were illuminated as expected. This time I decided to make the approach with two stages of flaps due to the Crosswind, and again established us on Final with a fairly significant crab angle.

As we approached the runway, I again kicked off the crab, and this time there was no turbulence to throw off the landing. I brought us in for a slightly firm landing, with a small amount of crab just as we touched down. We vacated the runway onto the Crosswind runway, then carried out the After Landing checklist on the taxyway. We parked opposite the Tower on the grass, then headed in to pay the landing fee. Once done, we moved into the cafe for my usual sausage sandwich for lunch, eating outside in the pleasant weather.

Parked up at Wellesbourne

Parked up at Wellesbourne

Once we’d finished our lunch, I headed back out to the aircraft while Kev popped in to one of the local Flying Schools where he’d done some training in the past. Time was getting on sadly, which meant we would be unable to land at Gloucester. However, Kev did agree to talking me through an RNAV approach (my first ever!) and we re-briefed the basics of this in the aircraft before starting the engine.

We headed to the threshold of runway 18, carrying out our power checks opposite the Vulcan that is parked on the airfield. As we took to the runway to depart, another aircraft was turning in the overhead. The takeoff run was routine, and as we climbed out we both briefly lost sight of the other aircraft. Knowing that he was heading to the South East, I made a turn to the South West to keep well clear of him.

We signed off with Wellesbourne, then Kev helped me configure the 430 for the planned approach, loading it into our active flight plan. We were expecting to route via LAPKU (the weighpoint that starts the procedure to the North East of Gloucester), so loaded in this variant. We then listened to the ATIS to confirm the runway in use (at present Gloucester were using runway 22 due to the prevailing wind conditions). Mindful that the approach was to runway 27, I made the initial call to Gloucester, requesting a Basic Service and an RNAV approach to runway 27. We were quickly granted clearance to join the approach at LAPKU, and asked to report there.

We activated the approach in the 450, and it gave me an initial track to get to LAPKU. On this leg I began a slow descent to get us down to 2500 feet, the initial height for the approach. At this point I asked Kev if he was happy for me to go ‘eyes in’, and handle the lookout for me, which he agreed. I then concentrated on getting back into a good instrument scan, monitoring our progress on the leg towards LAPKU.

As we approached LAPKU, the 430 warned us in advance of the track for the next leg (175°) and then informed us when to begin the turn in order to intercept the appropriate track. I informed the Controller that we were at LAPKU, and he instructed us to continue, this time reporting at the next fix on the approach, NIRMO.

We continued towards NIRMO, and again the 430 warned us of the turn to the next track (265°). However, this time it didn’t seem to actually instruct me when to turn, which meant that I slightly overshot the correct track. After turning at NIRMO and informing the Controller, he then asked us to report at the Final Approach Fix (catchily named ‘BJ27F’!) and I concentrated on getting us back onto the correct track while descending to 2000 feet for this leg.

On reaching the FAF, I informed the Controller, and lowered the gear to initiate the descent. The Controller handed us over to the Tower frequency, and I concentrated on maintaining an appropriate rate of descent (approximately 750 feet per minute) and tracking the needle on the CDI. The Tower Controller informed us that we were number 2 to another aircraft landing on runway 22, and passed our Missed Approach instructions (climb straight ahead before a left turn back to Kemble) and we continued the approach. In general, I think I did a relatively decent job maintaining the appropriate track and rate of descent (not least because it’s not far of 18 months since I last flew on instruments!) and we levelled off at the Minimum Descent Altitude (600 feet).

On looking out at this point, the runway was ahead and just off to our left, so we would easily have been able to land from this position. I got slightly distracted and allowed our altitude to reduce to more like 500 feet (which would have been a failure on an IMC rating test), and as we crossed the runway threshold (the Missed Approach Point) I applied full power and began to climb away, raising the gear once we were established in the climb.

I entered a ‘direct to’ into the 430 to take us back to Kemble, and then made a climbing left turn to put us on the appropriate track. Once on the correct heading, I realised that this would take us virtually directly over Aston Down, so we doglegged to the left to avoid it. Kev spotted some gliders on the ground, so we turned on the landing light to make ourselves more visible, and both kept a good lookout for any other gliders that may be operating in the area.

Kemble were still operating on runway 26, and I informed the FISO that we would join Overhead. This led to us effectively having to fly past the airfield, before turning back to overfly the threshold of runway 26 at 2000 feet QFE, before descending on the Deadside as normal. There was a Cirrus operating in the circuit (flown by another Club member apparently!) and we slotted into the circuit with good spacing between us and them.

The circuit was routine, with the other aircraft reporting Downwind as I turned Base. I told Kev I planned to land slightly long to avoid the turbulence that’s often generated near the threshold, and given that we had another aircraft behind us I would expect to roll out on the runway before using the taxyways to get back to our parking area. This time I made a much better job of the landing, bringing us to a nice gentle touchdown.

Surprisingly, the FISO cleared us to backtrack, and it seemed he’d misunderstood the position of the other aircraft as it reported it was turning Base as we headed back down the runway. I did my best to keep the speed up to avoid them having to Go Around, and we vacated onto Alpha in good time for them to continue their approach to land. We taxyed back to the parking area, noticing that another aircraft was making ready to start up as we approached.

I positioned the Arrow so that we could be easily pushed back out of the way, and Kev jumped out to push us back onto a taxyway to allow the other aircraft to pass. We then manhandled the Arrow up to the bowser, and refuelled before pushing it back to its parking spot.

Once we’d recovered all our gear, we headed back to the Club and Kev signed my logbook and Class Rating to revalidate my license for a further two years. He picked me up on a couple of minor things regarding my flying, but in general we were both happy with the way things had gone. He headed back home to collect his kids, giving me some homework to do while waiting for the AGM – completing a hypothetical flight plan to fly to Cherbourg!

Tracks flown

Tracks flown

Leg 1 profile

Leg 1 profile

Leg 2 profile

Leg 2 profile

Approach overlaid on Approach Plate

Approach overlaid on Approach Plate

I was pleased to have completed virtually everything we’d planned during the flight, not least getting my first introduction to flying an RNAV approach using the 430. Kev had shown me a few useful features of the unit during the flying, so I think I need to dig out the manual and have a quick read over it to make sure I’m up to speed. The RNAV approach into Gloucester was relatively straightforward to fly, so I think I need to make my next goal getting my IMC rating renewed with Roger so that I can start putting these things into practice for real!

I was also pleased with my decision to Go Around at Wellesbourne. Although I probably could have rescued the situation, in general its often a better idea just to throw the whole thing away and have another go. Low level Go Arounds are always a useful thing to practice anyway!

Total flight time today: 1:30
Total flight time to date: 325:55


Resetting and revalidating

April 22, 2014

I hadn’t flown since my flight to Sywell on 11th January, due to a combination of poor weather and badly-timed ill health (a month long cough that took out several bookings on perfect flying days), so as a result of this I was out of currency and also passenger recency (in the 90 days before any passenger carrying flight you have to make at 3 take offs and landings).

Additionally, my SEP Class Rating was due to expire at the end of May. I had completed all the requirements for having this revalidated with the exception of the required one hour flight with an Instructor.

I’d had a couple of goes at trying to arrange a check flight to get everything reset, before finally taking a day off work at the end of a holiday to try and go flying.

Roger had kindly agreed to accompany me to handle the Instruction, and we’d arranged to make it a ‘proper’ flight, heading somewhere for lunch and making a decent day of it. Sadly, the weather didn’t cooperate with this plan, but the forecast did show a break in the weather for a few hours early afternoon, so I arranged to meet up with Roger around lunchtime.

I arrived early and carried out the ‘A’ check on the aircraft before Roger arrived, and the forecast break in the weather appeared right on schedule. I chatted in the Club with Roger about what I wanted to cover on the flight. My IMC rating is also due for renewal this Summer, so if possible I wanted to try to include some IMC practice in this flight. Roger managed to negotiate a PAR into Brize Norton, meaning that we could also see just how rusty my IMC skills were!

After some initial difficulties in getting the engine on the Arrow started, we were soon taxying out to the hold in readiness for departure. My rustiness was clear as I forgot initially to carry out the taxy checks. I used the Alpha apron to weave and carry out the checks, with Roger later suggesting I use the natural layout of the taxyways to achieve the same thing. Useful tip.

At A1 I turned into wind and waited to allow the engine to warm up before carrying out the power checks, carrying out the emergency brief while waiting (with Roger picking me up on a few minor details I’d neglected to mention). There was a little confusion at the hold when I was unable to hear the FISO, which turned out to be because I’d switched the comms over to box 1 without actually setting it to the correct frequency! This was soon rectified, and we lined up after another aircraft had landed.

Once the other aircraft cleared the runway, we began our takeoff roll and took to the air. After climbing out I dabbed the brakes and raised the undercarriage, before heading out to the South West for some initial General Handling practice.

Once clear of the circuit I began to carry out my usual procedure, leaning the mixture to 13, bringing the power and RPM back. Roger informed me that at this stage of flight it wasn’t actually necessary to back the power off before reducing RPM to 2600, as at those settings it’s not possible to ‘over-boost’ the engine.

We climbed away, signing off with Kemble and making contact with Brize. I caused some confusion with my initial contact, asking for ‘Basic Service followed by a PAR’. The Controller (naturally) assumed we wanted to start the procedure immediately, and I had to clarify that we would be carrying out some handling practice for 30 minutes or so before the procedure.

We headed out towards Lyneham, and there was again some confusion on the radio where I thought I heard our callsign. We listened carefully as the Controller made other transmissions, before we were called for a ‘radio check’. I’m not sure if we’d missed further transmissions from her, but she seemed happy with a ‘Reading you strength 5’, and Roger thought that maybe she had her own volume set too low to hear us perhaps!

We started out with some 45 degree turns, generally getting a feel for being in the air again. We then headed into some stalls, which generally went well aside from me forgetting what the individual elements of ‘HASELL’ were (Height, Airframe, Safety / Security, Engine, Location, Lookout).

The next item was to carry out some emergency drills on the undercarriage. Roger had me pretend to be on downwind (at 4000 feet or so!) and lower the gear, before telling me that the right hand undercarriage light hadn’t illuminated. My first statement was that I would initially leave the circuit and climb to a safe altitude before doing anything else. I then became a little confused when trying to read through the appropriate parts of the checklist, but Roger was pretty patient in walking me through the various parts (including having me switch bulbs on the undercarriage indicator, so that I’d know what’s involved should I ever need to). It’s clear I need to have a thorough read through that element of the checklist on the ground in readiness for flying again.

Roger then had me go ‘under the hood’, carrying out some basic changes in height and heading. Roger offered up the useful tip of calling out ‘500 to go’, ‘200’ and ‘100’ when changing levels in order to not overshoot. Once the initial drills were complete we contacted Brize in readiness for the Approach. We rather cheekily asked for an additional SRA after the PAR, which the Controller granted after checking with a Supervisor. Roger upgraded us to a Traffic Service, as we were now in intermittent IMC at our altitude.

Roger initially handled the radio as I got settled under the hood, but once we started the procedure I began to take over more of the duties. Mindful of my apparent lack of preparation on my initial IMC test with Roger, I had taken the time beforehand to write out the various minima, descent rates etc. on a sheet of paper, that I now brought to the top of my kneeboard for reference.

I’d discussed with Roger the various speeds etc. to fly the approach in the Arrow, and he’d suggested I carry out the majority of the pre-landing checks on the ‘Base’ leg, but not actually extend the gear until later in the Approach (allowing us to carry out the majority of the approach at close to ‘cruise’ speed).

The initial PAR went relatively well (although I did deviate from heading by 20 degrees or so when carrying out the checks at one point, causing the Controller to query my heading!). Later Roger made the valid point that checks like this should be broken up into much smaller steps, returning back to the scan between each item in order to catch any slips like this.

We used the GPS to read off our groundspeed at the descent point, enabling me to get a rough idea of the required descent rate (5 x groundspeed in knots). The descent generally went to plan, with the Controller prompting for a couple of minor adjustments as we continued towards the runway. Roger again suggested I call out ‘500 to go’ etc. when approaching minimums. As we reached our minimum Roger had me remove the hood and continue for a visual landing, which turned out to be a pretty good one given that I hadn’t flown in over three months!

While it was good to be back on the runway at Brize after so many years, sadly this was just a touch and go, so I retracted flaps, applied full power and took to the air again. The GPS plot shows that my outbound track was a little off to the right, and the Controller vectored us around for the SRA.

We were no longer alone in the sky, with 2 other aircraft following us on the Approach (nice  for a lowly PA-28 to be ‘number 1’ for a change!). Again, the SRA went pretty much to plan, with the descent always being within 50 feet or so of the expected height announced by the Controller. Once down to minimum I again acquired the runway visually, bringing us in for the second good landing of the day!

We asked for a visual departure via Burford after this approach, and were granted this not above 1300 feet. This should have been very familiar to me (it was the departure I almost always used from Brize when training there), but I had a little difficulty spotting Burford this time (I remember the Garden Centre being much more obvious in the past!).

As we left the Zone, we remained with a Basic Service for the remainder of the flight. We climbed back up to altitude before carrying out some ‘upset’ drills on instruments. Roger placed the aircraft in some ‘unusual attitudes’ (generally a descending turn or a steep climb) to ensure I could correctly recover from this using the instruments alone.

As the instrument work had generally gone Ok, Roger asked if I was happy to carry out some ‘partial panel’ drills. He covered the AI and DI, removing the two main instruments for setting the aircraft’s attitude and maintaining headings.

I carried out some climbs and descents that went well, then some ‘timed turns’ which went less well (and indeed had always been a bit of a weakness of mine). Roger gave me the useful tip of setting the OBS on one of the CDIs to my current heading, then reading off 10 seconds for every 30 degree marking to my desired heading. This helped in calculating the required turn time, but either my turns weren’t at the correct rate or I can’t tell time properly!

Roger then asked me to take him back to Kemble, announcing that my flaps had now failed. I quipped that I wouldn’t be flying with him any more, as everything seemed to go wrong when I did! My first thought should have been to use the NDB and track this (which I think is what he really wanted me to do) but instead I entered a ‘direct to’ on the 430 and followed the magenta line. Roger had me do a further turn, then asked me to track towards Kemble using the NDB, which I managed to do fairly successfully.

We signed off with Brize, thanking them for their service, and contacted Kemble to recover. They were still on 26, and I advised them I would carry out a standard Overhead join. I meandered slightly to slot between a couple of clouds in our path, while trying to descend to the correct height for the Overhead join.

Another aircraft came on frequency also rejoining, and Roger spotted them low and to our left (a somewhat unusual position) and they continued on a ‘deadside join’. We carried out a full circle of the Overhead, before descending on the deadside, dropping the gear on the descent to help descend and slow the aircraft down.

We reported Crosswind as requested, and then were requested to ‘report Final’. Generally if solo I would also report Downwind and Base (even given this request to only report Final) to allow other traffic to get a better idea of my position. However, on this flight I didn’t, and Roger pointed out that it might have been a good idea to call Downwind anyway!

The aircraft ahead touched down as we neared the end of the Downwind leg, and I turned Base as usual, dropping the flaps. It was at this point that Roger reminded me that the flaps had failed, so I retracted them and continued the approach. I was fairly high on Final (which Roger picked me up on), but given how draggy the Arrow is with the gear down it was relatively easy to lose the required height.

I again brought us in for another good landing, getting slightly confused as to the location of the Southerly taxyway and sailing straight past it! I ended up turning right onto Bravo, before turning round again and waiting to be cleared to backtrack.

We taxyed back to the Club’s parking area, refuelling the aircraft and then having to rebuild its parking space due to the metal parking panels having come adrift (something that showed just how unfit I was!). We headed back in to the Club so that Roger could sign off my license and complete all the necessary paperwork. I’m now current to fly again, and my Class Rating is renewed for a further two years.

Route flown

Route flown

Flight profile

Flight profile

On the whole, this was a really successful and enjoyable flight. Despite the gap between flights (shown by a number of small omissions in procedures) I managed to handle all the drills pretty well. I was particularly pleased that my IMC skills weren’t as rusty as they could have been given their recent lack of use.

Roger gave me some useful tips for future flights, I’ll try to incorporate these into my general flying so that they become second nature. I think I need to sit down with the Checklists for the various aircraft for some ‘study’ and also (now that the 430 has the correct CDI fitted) start reading up on what’s involved in setting it up to carry out Approaches. Finally, I need to make sure I fly more regularly!

Total flight time today: 1:40
Total flight time to date: 234:35