After the recent heavy rainfall and flooding, I really didn’t expect to be flying today; especially since the airfield was a little wet a few days ago. The weather forecast throughout the week was quite hopeful, fairly consistently indicating no worse than light showers, and this remained true this morning.
Of course, the sky outside didn’t quite match the weather. Woke up to a dreary grey sky out of the bedroom window, but strangely, a blue sky out of the bathroom window. It was going to be that kind of day. Phoned the school to find out that they were flying this morning, but that the report was changeable so there were no guarantees.
Since I had the day off, and needed to sort out proper membership anyway, I figured that I would drive down and if the weather wasn’t flyable I could at least have lunch in the cafe and pick up my log book, etc.
I set off with what I thought was plenty of time to get there and have a snack or relax before the flight. This didn’t go quite according to plan. It turns out that I need to add another “pre-flight check”; it’s all very well watching the weather and NOTAMs, but it helps to cast ones eye at the ground and read the traffic report! Everyone seemed to want to park on the M42 today, so I made it to the school five minutes late rather than half an hour early like I planned.
No matter, John was ready and waiting so we jumped straight into the briefing. Since my trial flight was in a PA28, and this and future flights were to be in the HR200 Robin, he decided that this would be the same trial flight again to allow me to get used to the different aircraft and controls.
This turned out to be a good idea, since the handling was somewhat different from the Warrior. Even the controls were different, the Robin being a “stick and rudder” plane, rather than the Warrior’s control wheel. I’d also felt not entirely in control of the Warrior, I didn’t like the feel of banking it too steeply and couldn’t get the hang of trimming it at all!
The wind was blowing straight across the main runway, so instead we took off from 23, backtracking up it first. One of the advantages of flying in the week being that there’s no market stalls in the way!
Once in the air, John handed control to me and I tried out some turns in the Robin. This felt much better than last time, I was able to quite comfortably get the plane into a good turn in both directions, and John showed me how to use the rudder to ease the feeling of my bum sliding out of the window.
I then tried a climb, and a descent; again the Robin felt much more like it wanted to go where I put it. Yet to figure out quite where the nose is supposed to be relative to the horizon, but I know that’ll be handled sub-conciously soon enough. Trimming was a doddle, unlike the Warrior where I had to search around the wheel for ages, this was easy to feel the difference with even the tiniest turns of the wheel.
While playing around, John talked about some of the features we might use for navigating. Being a Southern boy, and not knowing the area, there wasn’t much I could name myself so he pointed out various things we might use such as Long Marston airfield and the Fosse Way. “If you’re completely lost, just follow the Fosse Way and turn left at the roundabout. Trust me, it works!”
Did some descending turns, and all too quickly, it was time to finish the lesson and head back to the airfield. I must have seemed much more at ease with this plane since John commented that he thought I’d take to flying and learn very quickly!
Landed on 23 again, and taxied the plane back to its parking spot.
Afterwards, while I had my lunch in the cafe and listened to the radio traffic, I realised I hadn’t noticed it at all during the flight. I’d been concentrating too hard on everything else. Other student blogs have talked about the sheer amount of information you have to process, and how it seems overwhelming at first, but becomes natural after a while.
P/UT Hours Today 0:40, Total 1:10