Another day of clear skies, my run of good fortune with the weather can’t last for much longer. In fact, looking at the forecast for the coming week, it looks like it’s at an end and I’m due some cancellations!
Arrived at the airfield early and had some lunch in the cafe while watching people doing touch-and-gos, go arounds, and other usual bits of circuit practice.
I must admit that I’ve been feeling slightly impatient about getting on with things in the lessons and wanting to be doing circuit practice and even cross-country jaunts myself. Obviously I know that all that’s no good if I can’t even hold the plane in a straight line, and these things have to be done one step at a time.
Today’s lesson was to be the effect of flaps, the control surface on the inner side of the wing’s trailing edge. Having read the first Thom book cover-to-cover on first buying it, and re-reading it before and after each lesson along with the equivalent Pratt book I was given by the club I felt pretty comfortable with the theory of them and was confident about the practical.
John asked how I felt about doing the checks, we’d done them together last week and I’d read up on them again at home so felt fairly confident about being able to do them. So I walked out to check over the aircraft, G-WAVV again this week, while he wrote up today’s lesson on the board.
Interrupted when doing the checks by somebody who’d just booked out Victor Victor and thought they had it; they went back to check, and took a different plane instead.
Had to go around a couple of times as I remembered things on one side that I hadn’t checked on the other, but was pretty happy that I’d checked everything I was told to. Back into the school for the briefing, and all the reading I’d done had set me in good stead since after just a few minutes, John declared that I clearly knew all this and let’s get flying!
Hurrah, a whole hour before the end of the lesson so maybe a good length of flying time this week!
Did the pre-start checks myself, and started the engine while John got himself strapped in. Made a slight error in that I didn’t have the parking brake on hard enough, so we lept forward when the engine started. Mental note to check that harder next time, and keep my feet on the brake pedals just in case.
The plane needed some fuel, so I taxied us down to the bay and parked us by the pumps; carrying out the pre-stop checks and stopping the engine there. Finding taxying easier this time, much more natural feeling holding the pressure on the pedals to hold the line rather than assuming that we’d carry on in a straight line if I release them.
Now just a matter of waiting for someone from the tower to come down to switch the pumps on for us… and waiting, and waiting. Precious flying time being wasted with no sign of anybody. John gave them another call on the radio, and eventually they came down. John filled the plane up, and then I got the pre-start checks underway and even thought to hold the brake pedals down while he climbed in (since we hadn’t had the parking brake on in case of fire).
While we were waiting, the runway direction had changed and we were to take off on 18 rather than 36, so had to taxi all the way back across the airfield again. Still, good practice and I guess it’s no good learning to fly if you can’t get to the start of the runway in the first place. Rudder and steering checks at the start of the dis-used runway and turned into wind to do the pre-takeoff checks.
Lined up for take-off and John asked me to follow through on the controls as he did it. In the end, it turns out that I was moving things in the right direction anyway so he let me direct the control and I did almost half of work myself! Another Robin had taken off just before us and turned to the west for a training flight (our usual direction) so we headed south instead to keep out of his way.
Things seemed much more natural and comfortable today, some of the basic stuff has obviously sunk in so I was more relaxed. Instead of trying to correct every small movement the plane made, I was just keeping the wings level after any major deviation. As a result, a much smoother ride!
Some testing on the throttle, I’ll need to know by feel and sound how many revs the engine is doing so John asked me to set various power settings while hiding the dial. Nailed every single one of them, with no idea how; I guess the previous knowledge of how much the control moves has been remembered since I was able to set the different power settings pretty accurately.
Looped around Shipton-upon-Stour towards Long Marston and some work on the effects of flap; setting them, pitching the nose down and increasing power. Noticed that the plane was much more stable with lots of flap, but much harder to make it change direction!
Turned towards Stratford and did a sneak-peak at next week’s lessons, flying straight and level. I don’t think I did too badly here, nose attitude is definitely becoming easier to judge and I’m finding the trim wheel much less difficult to control.
Three other aircraft in the circuit on landing, the busiest yet. Post-landing checks, taxi’d us back to park and then engine shut-off.
P/UT Hours Today 0:40, Total 2:20