Another offer of an extended lesson this morning, due to an earlier cancellation, but unfortunately I had too much work to do so had to decline. Happily traffic was almost non-existent on the drive down, so was half an hour early anyway.
Today’s lesson was the last of the “basics” – turning. Obviously I’ve already done quite a bit of that so far, but this would be the lesson that ticked off the formal exercise in my log book.
Checked the plane while John wrote the briefing up on the board as usual, today we’d be in Victor November again; which is fast becoming my “regular” plane.
No problems with the checks today, they’re starting to become fairly natural and am finding that the procedure is sinking into memory and I’m using the list to check myself as I go rather than following it.
Taxied to the hold for Runway 36, handling the Radio Traffic myself and had a nice shocking surprise when John announced that I’d be doing the take-off today!
Since 36 has left-hand circuits, and there was little wind, our into-wind checks where done facing up the runway. So after finishing them, we turned round to the left so we could scan the circuit before resuming the centre-line to the holding point.
Held while another plane turned onto final, to give me plenty of time to do the take-off and once that was down, the sky was clear so lined up.
I’ve followed John through on take-offs for the last few weeks, so knew what to do; full power, hold the centre line, and then pull back gently on the stick when we reach 65 knots and adopt the climb attitude.
And that was that, up in the air and a turn to 030Â° to avoid a noise-sensitive village, holding the climb attitude, turned onto the crosswind leg, levelled out and onto the downwind leg before departing the circuit and heading towards Shipton-upon-Stour.
And onto the lesson, turning onto a reference point and then turning onto a selected heading. First John demonstrated a turn to each direction so I could see the nose attitude required, and then I repeated the exercises.
No problems here; already done enough to know the general form and had pretty quickly mastered it with reference points and headings.
At one point, while we were turning, John spotted an RAF Hawk flying below us and had me roll out of the turn so I could see it. Later I found out that there’s a big exercise in Gloucestershire which that must have been heading to.
Turning exercises were followed by some revision of climbing and descending, especially with flaps. No problem with setting the switch the wrong way this time, and was able to observe the effect much easier.
Nearly time to head home, so John decided to try a test for me and asked me where I thought Stratford-upon-Avon was. I checked the compass to see which direction we were heading (East), and out of the window to figure out roughly where we were (south-east of Long Marston); so Stratford had to be ahead and to our left. Sure enough, I could make out a town of the right shape over there, and the white buildings near Wellesbourne airfield, so confidently pointed.
“OK then,” John said. “Take us there.”
Turned to the heading, and as we approached John made the call to request joining instructions from the airfield. I’d been right, yay!
I lined us up to pass over the end of the runway at 2000ft QFE, while John left me to it; in fact, I ended up doing the majority of the join and descent myself with John taking control once we were on final.
Another very good lesson! I’m really starting to feel like I’m in control of the plane.
Two lessons booked next week, so we’ll be covering Slow Flight and Stalling with some revision on turning whilst climbing and descending. Looking at the exercises, it may be only a few weeks before I’m into circuits!
P/UT Hours Today 0:55, Total 5:20