Monday 20 May 2013 13:26 UTC
If you're learning to fly, or thinking of learning, then here's the place to post your questions, comments and experiences
Nice report as always Z, and congrats on that first land away
I can't see the QXC causing you any problem. I found the worst part was getting the weather suitable in all three locations on any given day.
I know what you're saying with keeping track too, I find my problem is to resist the urge to ignore headings and point the nose at a waypoint once I've got visual
Pilot plans, Weather laughs.
Hi Fish - & thanks for your kind words.
My FI pointed out that if you point the nose at your waypoint in a crosswind, you'll end up steering a parabola to get there as you are continually blown off track. Hard to resist though.
Incidentally, whilst I was doing my power checks at the remote airfield and dwelling on my somewhat suspect join, I heard the following on the radio:
Pilot: "G-WXYZ Downwind runway 27"
FISO: "G-YZ, you're actually downwind for 09. If you make a left turn, that will put you crosswind for 27"
Pilot: "Um er roger, G-YZ"
So it's not just me!
LIke the report Z, as Wierdfish says, good one as ever! And congrats too on the first solo landaway
As to your question above, errm, if i'm too far away from the Fix, but can see it, I tend to just fly towards it (thats the military way!) rather than re-calculate. If I am way off track, my FI is still at the stage with Nav where he says what i need to do - ie prods me in teh right direction for working out how far we have drifted and therfore which heading we need to be on. This is not helped of course by the fact that Alpha's compass is out and needs re-swinging...and our DI is ALWAYS needing readjustment...even when not doing FREEDA cx! Oh, if only we flew the uptodate Tutor in the Club, sure 16 Sqn wouldn't mind!!
Flying this afternoon if the wx plays ball. It is at the moment. Looking at the CU, looks like we'll be on 19 with a crosswind if it continues....oh joy! Some GH practise coming up. We flew on Monday evening (in the twilight!) and my Stalls were seriously bad! Couldn't remember how to get an aircraft into a clean stall!
Iolanthe "The Flying Curator"
Home Airfield: EGYD
Exams Passed: Met; Air Law; Comms
Thank you! As the FI said, though it is not a patch on the 1st solo, solo XC is the first time that you get to do what a 'real' PPL can - i.e. go somewhere and buy your 1st 3 figure cup of tea!
Of course they won't - and whilst they are an organisation with deadly weapons and have access to surface to air missiles and rendition (allegedly), what is the worst that can happen?
Erm, polish it carefully then raise the flaps and pull back off the runway like a Lightning pilot?
This week my regular FI was laid up in bed with man flu. He explained in a beautiful briefing email that he was going for the "2 Bowler Hats" remedy, which I hadn't come across before. Apparently, you place a bowler hat on the end of you bed and then consume your preferred spirit until you can perceive 2 distinct hats. At this point you should close your eyes. When/if you regain consciousness, your man flu will be gone or you'll have such a severe hangover that the flu symptoms will pale into insignificance. I believe it was first demonstrated in an unbroadcast episode of Mr.Benn.
The upshot of this was that he was never going to be in a condition to teach VOR navigation so I returned to another FI (the advantage of being taught by everybody is that no instructor is a stranger to me). I was really impressed at this one's preparation in terms of reading my training notes and log. As a result, we were quickly at ease in the briefing. The student following had also cancelled due to ill health (slacker!!) so we had a bit more time to take things slowly and allow the small amount of fog to clear. Whilst VOR beacons themselves seem to be pretty straightforward, I'm struggling a little with visualising what the instrument is telling me. The FI was fairly helpful, explaining how he visualises the needle representing a section of a large imaginary line on the ground (the radial) and the deflection shoing me my position relative to it. Though I promised myself that I wouldn't, I think I confused myself a bit by reading this very interesting article: http://www.campbells.org/Airplanes/VOR/vor.html which I'd found a few week's back whilst preparing for a lesson.
The problem is not with the article or its contents - just that it is at odds with conventional teaching on how to use the instrument. If you've already qualified, I urge you to read it as it puts forward a compelling argument why we should use the VOR differently. If, like me, your flight test is ahead of you, I think I'd advise you to stay clear for now.
Incidentally, this is the lesson at which you get the answer to that question that has been bugging you for a few weeks now; "Should I learn the Morse alphabet? Surely in this age of iPads, iPods, Blackberrys, Apples and Custard this is a technology that is nearing extinction?"
Well it turns out that the answer is an emphatic "yes" as all these blasted beacons are prepared to do to confirm that they are present and operational is to bleep at you. Or at least they will bleep at you if you remember to select NAV1 to point at your headset and pull/push/twist the "Ident" control (if you leave out the last step it will just imitate a hearing test). An excellent starting point for this is to listen to "YYZ" by Rush, the intro of which is how the beacon at Toronto airport should sound. However, combined with the well known "S.O.S" and PanPan's "X" you'll still have only covered 5 letters so I guess there's no alternative to browsing the web for results for "Learn Morse Code in an hour". I failed to do this and so scribbled the identifiers for some of the beacons we were to use on my PLOG.
Pre-flight was also interesting with the FI checking what I inferred from the "Temperature: 11C/Dew Point: 10C" on the ATIS. Whilst we were talking the RPM dropped and my hand moved instinctively to return it to the level I'd set.
"Hold off for a mo", said the FI and continued with whatever we were talking about. Ten seconds later the RPM sorted itself out without intervention.
"What just happen there then?" he asked.
Whirr, rumble, tick-tock, whirr, click. Aha!
"Was that the carb icing up and clearing itself? I've never observed that before."
So in a smug frame of mind I taxied off to the initial holding point. ATC then cleared me to cross a runway giving the reciprocal of the one normally used. I confidently queried this (even though I knew full well which one she meant) and she changed the designation for my benefit. As I moved off, the FI pointed out that as that runway was in fact active (someone was practising intrument approaches on it), she was absolutely correct in the designation she used. Moral: Nobody likes a know-it-all, particularly if they're holding a control column. Engage brain before PTT switch.
Oddly enough, there's hardly anything to report of the flight itself. Nice day, a few clouds and a bit of mist. VOR beacons seemed to be exactly where they appear on the chart and the VOR instrument behaves as advertised. The same cannot be said for my aircraft's ADF which turns out to be an RBI (random bearing indicator) regardless of its proximity to the beacon. Eventually the FI gave up trying to explain how it should work and told me to try one on Flight Simulator which is far more reliable. Much more confident entry to the circuit this time and a passable landing with a less-than-flat touchdown. Having listened to all the chaps talking to Heathrow tower last week (I was stuck in traffic when they closed the M4 and had my scanner in the car) I'm trying to train myself to end my last call to ATC with "G-CD Bye." with the sort of fluidity that means I won't get pulled up on the non CAP413 compliant pleasantry. Perhaps I should leave this until after I qualify.
So, valuable change of right seat done, complex dual cross country land away up next, involving MATZ penetration, VOR tracking and a big scary CTR. "Expect a very high workload" said my usual FI. I hope his hangover has eased by then.
Last edited by ZG 862 on Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I clicked on the link and got side tracked reading it before your warning Z. Fortunately I ran away once I realised it was doing nothing to help my tenuous grasp of VOR tracking It's irksome that I'm fine with the VOR, and the ADF for that matter, whilst my feet are firmly on the ground, but something happens at altitude...........
Pilot plans, Weather laughs.
Thing is, it makes perfect sense as to why the thing behaves as it does, and it will give you an almost instant answer of what heading to steer to intercept the selected radial either to or from the station; but it will mess with your head if you try to reconcile this with what you are being taught.
I did warn you!
A couple of things on the earlier post - London Information - while it may be good practice now, it might be an idea to only talk to them if you need something. If there's the choice of a LARS, take that, as it's designed and funded to watch you on radar and keep you out of trouble - controlled airspace that is! If you're confident on your navigation, you may not need to talk to them, and indeed on one trip back from Le Touquet, I elected to stay with London Info rather than be handed over to Farnborough.
Regarding pointing the nose at destinations rather than maintaining a heading...yes, this is a natural reaction! Once you've done it a few times and drifted a few times, you'll learn to spot something on the nose when the heading is correct and keep the nose pointed at that. With practice, you'll see how much you're drifting and how much correction you have to put on to keep the next waypoint in the same place in the windscreen. If the visibility is bad, perhaps VFR minimums, you won't be able to feature crawl, you'll just have to maintain a heading and use the watch. Or use the GPS which is quite popular these days post PPL!
Regarding alternates - by all means have "official" alternates, including "back home", but whenever going cross country, always bear in mind what's around you. Remember airfields on the route, each side of the track. If the weather all goes horribly wrong and you're forced in one particular direction, or something goes wrong with the aeroplane, try and figure out what airfields there are in your direction in case you have to duck into one. Keep an AFE/Pooleys in the aeroplane so you can turn to the right page for frequencies and runways, though if you haven't got this info and you're out of other options, don't be afraid to land anywhere that looks good even without talking. Try not to make this Heathrow...
Regarding stalling. Yup. Pull the stick back and the cows get smaller. Keep pulling back and they'll start getting bigger again.
Personally I've always maintained that the first solo land away is better than the first solo. First solo was good, having gone once around the circuit on my own, but when I got out at another airfield, having got there all on my own, well that was something else!
It was because someone hadn't cancelled that the first instructor was ill!
I've downloaded these apps on my smartphone:
If your phone has a GPS, it'll work as an ADF or VOR simulator to a beacon of your choice from your present position. If you have some sort of phone holder, you can try it out in the aeroplane. I haven't tried it in the air yet, but I suspect it would make a passable go at showing what the ADF in the aeroplane should be showing.
Thanks for the comments and suggestions Paul, particularly with regard to London Info. My FI is of the view that they are a much under-used resource and encourages me to talk to them regularly. I'm sure he'd agree that a radar service is "better" where available though, so point taken.
Alas I can't run Android apps on my Blackberry (whose "app store" now seems to consist primarily of custom loan rate calculators for every financial advisor in the US - but I digress). I'm running "GPS Logger II" to capture my flights and it does a great job of my primary desire to capture where I've been and show me where I go wrong.
Last week's navigation was a real baptism of fire. The plan was to navigate to and from a VOR station crossing a MATZ on the way and getting uncomfortably close to some class A airspace just to keep me on my toes. Whilst the cloud was generally obliging, the wind forecast suggested that the sooner we set off the better. (Before I get the "Better sitting on the ground looking at it..." etc response, it wasn't forecast to be that bad, just (at 25kt at 2000 and 35 at 5000 iirc) a little stronger than I would have liked. I'd planned it out on my PLOG mostly in the morning of the flight (the prior evening having been taken up helping my wife finish off making a Dennis the Menace cake for our youngest's birthday - but I digress again) and so had access to the 214 and 215 before I arrived at the school. This meant I was comparatively prepared and 1/2 a step ahead of the FI who hadn't done the wind calculations.
However, this gave me more time to get a little stressed about the sequence of radio stations I would have to work; tower, approach, MATZ, a LARS and the destination ground service. I'm now pretty good on the whole "<Station name>, G-ABCD, request Basic Service" call and even the first few elements of my response to "Pass your message" but can't seem to get out of the schoolboy error of not having my position and ETAs at my fingertips when I start. On the day, this resulted in something like:
[Me, confidentally]: "Acme Zone, G-ABCD, request zone transit"
[Military controller, in business-like tones]: "G-ABCD, pass your message"
[Me, starting well]: "G-ABCD is a Cessna 152 from Here to There, er..."
[faltering] "um just about overhead VRPville at 2600ft 1020 erm, um"
[wobble entering voice]: "er... routing via ermm er Great Big VOR, estimate um...."
<controller is now tapping the back of his pencil on the desk> "er .....overhead Otherpoint at hang on........ 26? um....."
[this pilot is clearly an idiot]: ".... errrrr VFR, 2 POB, er request um um zone transit?? Sorry?"
[controller]: (speaking nice and slowly for the "challenged" stick holder he is talking to, who clearly doesn't realise it is 26 now) "G-CD squawk 3012"
(realising that there is little point in giving more than one instruction at once)
[me] "Squawk 3102, G-CD"
[Controller]: <sigh>"G-CD, the squawk TREE ZERO WUN TWO"
[Me] "3012 sorry"
...and so on. I have to say, none of these controllers have been anything but tolerant and helpful but I do mentally kick myself for starting the call before being properly prepared. I think some more imaginary calls whilst driving the car may help - though it doesn't simulate the workload of calculating the ETAs, FREDAing and trying to work out my exact position immediately before the call.
Anyway, with the MATZ transit rapidly in progress, I can turn my attention back to flying. To say that it was gusty would be a quite splendid understatement; 3/4 aileron required regularly to keep the wings level, the occasional drop that had me leaving my seat behind an me saying "Blimey!" alot. Funnily enough, this was not air-sick inducing; I think the combintion of mental workload plus the fact that I'm holding the contols (for grim death) tricks my stomach into realising just how low down in the pecking order of priorities it is.
Out of the zone, the next change is to a LARS whilst still looking to track to the VOR. Anything I learned about VOR navigation went out of the window as I bounced around tryng to hold the heading on my PLOG. The FI cheated and told me which way to steer to get right on track. What little of my mental capacity that remained made a note for me to go back to the books - I don't understand this well enough yet. FREDA checks were stalling at "D" as I struggled to keep the aircraft still enough to get a reliable reading on the compass. Altitude control was poor.
When we hit the turn at the VOR things got (if anything) a little worse. I dialled in the new heading on the OBS but the wobble I'd had when visualising my position on the "FROM" leg magnified itself when on the "TO" heading. I had a printout for my destination airfield with me which I also needed to confirm the tight visual reference points. Instead of having this on the top of my kneeboard, I had my chart - which was too small a scale for proper identification of the landmarks. Strictly speaking, I was unsure of my position heading towards Class A. The destination airfield was in one of two places and my brain was doing at least 23 to the dozen working out which it must be. I'd also descended during this to just above the (lower than 2000ft) height of the overhead. Now talking to the destinations A/G service, things started to calm down a little. I eventually confirmed the runway in use (changed from the one I'd established on the phone I think) and entered the circuit.
A reasonably good bit of decision making was to opt for a flapless landing though without the 'normal' routine of slowing to VFE before lowering flap my airspeed was high on final, giving me quite a lot to do. I did manage to get us slowed down and on a sensible glidepath though I flared a little early and touched a little harder than I'd have liked. I'd enquired about taxi conventions on this grass airfield before I set off but still found it odd to simply take a direct line to the visitors' parking. Mixture ICO, throttle closed, master off, control lock in, harness off, fall out of the door and crawl towards the big "C", FI in tow. The rule is you have to buy him at least a cup of tea if you want any help getting home, so landing fees paid (they could have charged me 12 grand for all I know - no capacity left to read the card machine) we followed the signs to "tea".
The FI opted for coffee & flapjack, I had milky tea with 13 sugars.
"Well done" he said.
Debriefed from the outbound and re-briefed for the return we booked out and left. The turbulence was much the same on the way back but the much increased headwind component meant that everything happened much more slowly. Handed off from the LARS back to the zone controller I made a much better job of my "message" - such that the controller thought I might actually be a grown-up and largely left me alone. That I followed my planned track closely and had good control of my heading probably influenced him to not bother telling me when I entered and left his zone. As usual it is always a relief to get back to your "home" approach frequency. The ATCO seemed quite unfazed (unphased?) by my confusion of South-East and South West when I gave him my message. In the absence of instruction to the contrary I figured I'd tell him when I was at 5 miles (it all sounded quite busy and there was a convenient gap). I don't think he wanted to talk (he was busy) and conveyed a little irritation when he asked me to report at 3. Maybe he'd told me 3 and I'd just not registered. Ho hum.
Into the circuit behind another company 152. No trace of live side/ dead side confusion and instinctive adaptation of my path to help with spacing - which was nice. Funny how its easier to fly better over more familiar landmark isn't it? The Fi suggests I wait in the middle of the runway for the (busy) tower controller to direct me the short way back to the apron and moments later we're done and I can empty much of the contents of my back account into the school's card machine with a few simple key presses. Just on 2 hours of flying and about the same in planning/faffing.
I think the big takeaway from this lesson was the reminder that just because I had "passed" my 1st instrument appreciation lesson and now have more hours that I care to add up including some in bumpy stuff, I'm a long way from having the experience to put it all together and fly a route like this like I'm comortably in control. The more you learn, the more you discover you don't know.
On the good side, the QXC routes seem like a gentle drive in the country by comparison. Wonder if The Weather will be kind?
It appears you navigated and flew this route without any help from the instructor. So that means you're ok being let out into the world, more or less, given a few official hurdles to get over. It then that you have to put all this into practise in your own and then learn from experience. It does get easier as you do more and more flying...and buy a GPS!
One comment about the ETA, I don't know about the official way of doing things, but in the real world you won't need ETAs generally when talking to a radar controller...they can see where you are and how fast you're moving. Talking to London Info is where the ETA thing comes in - I like to imagine them standing around a UK shaped table with croupier sticks, moving little aeroplane boards around, such as in WWII. I've been told it's not like this any more, but hey, until I see it for myself...
One place you will need ETAs are FIR boundaries for flying to France, etc.
My message passing is usually...
"Lyneham, G-DOGG is a Bulldog out of Bourne Park for Gloucester, currently passing Rivar Hill gliding site at 2000ft, request zone transit and basic service."
That's about it.
I find it easier to wait to call them until you're at a landmark/town rather than work out where you are in the middle of nowhere! Though having said that, calling up an airfield, I'll usually just give my position as "9 miles to the south" or whatever (GPS distance on a screen in front of you makes this easy to "estimate").
Oh, I also have to speak of the dangers of tea and coffee. Don't drink a bucket of the stuff before launching into a 50 knot headwind to fly 200 miles. You may find you have to make a diversion half way with one's legs crossed...
As always, those tricky lessons we beat ourselves up over are the ones that are most useful. I was worried that my aborted solo to Shoreham nightmare a few weeks ago was going to kill my confidence and ultimately set me back, but Looking back now I actually think the reverse is true.
As for ETA's in your calls, apart from requested position reports or being specifically asked, I don't give them and I've not been told otherwise.
Pilot plans, Weather laughs.
Thanks chaps. I think my FI was deliberately encouraging me to know my ETAs - which requires a greater level of organisation than was going on during my outbound trip.
I'd agree wholeheartedly that unless you're aware of what you're doing wrong you don't improve. There's a fine line to be trodden by the FI between making it all very easy (and using up lots of flying hours) and occasionally pushing you to step up a gear. I'm confident that mine won't let me get into any danger but also happy with the approach that he takes with me of letting me stumble every so often.
Agree with the tea warning. Nothing worse that flying high when your mind would like you to be flying low!
Sadly no flying for me this weekend.
I was getting all excited based on my FI's original pre briefing email; next flight should be QXC!!
....then the follow up email pointed out that my training record didn't show evidence of cross wind landings (which is a shame as I've been very cross on a number of my landings) and I've also managed to avoid sitting my Nav exam. So, plan was to do some cross-wind landings. Apparently, these are the ones where you have to move the foot rests during the approach. Novel.
However, when I turned up, there was not enough wind to get the whole "nose pointing at 30 degrees to the direction of travel" setup so the new plan was to do some position fixing with 2 VORs and/or VOR+DME and/or VOR + ADF and/or 2 ADFs. The briefing took quite a while because:
1) I hadn't done the revision I'd promised myself I'd do. For anyone without a money tree in their orchard, this is a pretty dumb move. This section in particular is one that can be made MUCH MUCH easier with a solid understanding of the theory.
2) I didn't have a solid understanding of the theory (see 1).
3) I'd read that article in my link a few posts back about VORs. This is a great article, but makes it impossible for the thus informed student to make sense of what the FI is trying to teach you. You have been warned again! (though it is a very interesting article)
4) My previously solid ability to add & subtract 180 from a number had gone south for the winter.
5) The FI has a natural preference to using navigation intruments over teaching them
We got there in the end though and I went out to check the aircraft once again, joined moments later by the FI.
"I see the cuts in the nosewheel tyre haven't healed over. Is that shimmy still there?"
"'Fraid so. You just need to keep a load of back pressure when taxying..."
"Is that little dint in the tailplane leading edge new?"
"No. Been there a few weeks."
"Nothing to worry about then?"
I include this little interchange because I suspect it is typical of fliying schools up and down the country. Whilst most of us think of flying as one of the more expensive hobbies out there, I'm reasonably convinced that the profit margins are paper thin. Although I think my FI would actually work for nothing just to ensure he's up in the sky, what he gets paid is, I imagine, something slightly less than the difference between the cost of a lesson and the basic hire cost (i.e. somewhat less than a piano teacher's houry rate). The difference between the basic hire cost and the cost of running a C152 in a syndicate represents the gross profit to the school to cover the briefing rooms, reception, receptionist etc assuming that hangarage and maintenance is going to be around the same however the aircraft are owned (though I'm sure the virtual continual running of a teaching aircraft makes it a little cheaper per hour). My dilemma is with exactly how to feel about the aircraft not being maintained quite as well as I hope I'd do with my own. Please don't get me wrong, because I really don't think the issues are life-threatening nor unusually bad as compared with any GA aircraft in the UK, but some days I'm not particularly comfortable about setting off in an aircraft where the brake pads are right at the wear limit indicator or the nose wheel tyre has picked up some cuts in the surface. One day I'm going to reject the aircraft and see what happens. Maybe I should put my money where my mouth is and slap a set of C152 brake disks on the reception desk.
But I digress (and you see why in a mo). We have taxi clearance to the threshold of a runway other than the active. The FI & I discuss his concern that they may be about to change the active. He's a little troubled about where we'll do our power checks if we're already sat at this line and thinks the tower should have been clearer. I'm relatively cool about this because I can hear another company aircraft doing circuits on a different runway and suspect that this is why we need to hold before crossing. His responsibility, so he gets on the radio to clarify:
TWR: "...G-CE, cleared touch and go, the surface wind nnn/nn"
CE: "Cleared touch and go, G-CE"
Us: "Tower, G-ABCE, can you confirm the active is still XX?"
Me (quietly) "We're in G-CD"
Tower: "Affirm, err, G-CD, after the company aircraft on touch and go, you're cleared to cross XX to holding point Yankee 2)
FI: "After the company aircraft, cross XX to holding point Yankee 2, G-CE"
Me (mildly cheekily): "The curse of the multi aircraft instructor, eh?"
FI: "Oh yes. Oops!"
Now I'm really on my guard. You don't pull up an FI on his tongue slips then fly like a twit. Make mental note to fly perfectly today.
But I don't of course. The cloud base is mucking around a bit and there's some skill involved in remaining VFR. As we climb through 2000 feet, we get a vibration in the airframe by my left thigh. Hmmm. What's up? <pause>. "Do you feel that?", I ask, pulling the carb heat and flattening my climb angle a little. It's too far back to be the engine and my (limited experience) instinct says we're not about to fall out of the sky. But something is vibrating and it shouldn't be.
"Yes" says the FI, poised over the controls and looking at my door.
Ah. I know what it is. There's something just outside the door, slapping at the fuselage. It's not wheel-sized (as I originally feared) but more sort of webbing sized.
"I think some idiot has left the end of his lap strap outside the aircraft" I say.
"I have control."
"You have control."
The idiot sitting in my seat sorts out his chart, pencil and kneeboard before opening the door, pulling in the end of the lap strap, opening the window and firmly shutting the door then window.
"You have control"
"I have control."
Up at cruise altitude, the nicely maintained VOR/DME behaves exactly as advertised and lets me first work out my position and then navigate to intercept another radial. As I hold my heading, I do another FREDA check and find the DI and compass are 10 degrees off. That's about a degree a minute drift. Re-align and make sure the knob is fully out, like I did before. Grr. I steer onto my requested radial and then follow the DI. We drift off the VOR needle. Wind drift? Maybe. Slightly sticky DI? Maybe too. On the radio, we can hear aircraft negotiating lower circuit heights and different joins as the cloud base lowers. I think about alternates, but also about the nice patch of clear air we're in which is heading towards the field. The longer we stay out, the greater the chance of clear skies on rejoin. And if not, we have about another 3 hours endurance and many, many airfields within range.
A new heading and more FREDA. DI drift again, but much less this time. Right, on to the ADF bit.
I am confused by what the ADF is telling me as I attempt to draw a line on my chart from the beacon to intercept with the VOR radial I've scrawled there. We ID'd it just fine but the derived position is nowhere near where we are and the needle isn't pointing to the airfield. Well, not our airfield where this particular beacon was last located anyway. We both do lots of gross error checks. We look around for large stretches of coastline that may have mysteriously appeared in the vicinity, refracting the signal. Nope.
Nearby thunderstorm? Nope.
Duff instrument? Could be... (Cue music to "Hong Kong Phooey" for those old enough to remember)
We use good old "IFR" (I Follow Roads) to confim that we are indeed heading back home. The DME seems to stack up with what the roads and rivers tell us whilst the FI twists and taps at the errant ADF, finally giving up on it and almost thinking about selling the line that this has taught me how to establish that an instrument us playing up. The same instrument that if you read my account of 2 lessons back was found to be pretty useless and that FI recorded in the maintenance log. Ho hum.
At 10 miles I call up Approach as instructed and request a direct join. The cloud is better than it was but a standard overhead join would be in marginal visibility. To fly down through the holes in the cloud could take us a little closer to cloud than I ought to be and I briefly become a passenger as the FI keeps us on the straight and narrow. I'm still jealous of his ability to fly exactly on intended track at exactly the same rate of descent. Guess that's why he's an aerobatic instructor and I'm not.
There's the runway and I have control again at 700 ft and 2 miles. Being a circuit kind of guy by experience, it's a bit odd sorting out my deceleration, flap and trim whilst staring at the numbers but I make a reasonable fist of it. Bit low but we can fix that with some power. Not quite in trim but you could say that at almost any point. Touch forward on the trim wheel. Realise my feet are not properly on the pedals, which explains the imprecise yaw control. Fixed.
Last time out I flared a bit high, and as today requires perfect flying, I'd better not do that again. I don't. I leave it a bit late and have my main wheels touch before I've got the nose up where I want it. Grr. Remember to keep the weight off the shimmying nose, I taxy us back to base, the FI completing the post landing checks as I go to save time and my dosh. He's nice like that.
They've replaced the dodgy tyre on my favourite 152 now, so I hope I get that one next time. Don't think I'll throw money at another ADF lesson in this one until the school throws some money at the ADF maintenance company.
Post brief and payment, I head off in my car, mulling over how best to drop a hint to the school owner that balance between cost control and laying on suitable aircraft for those nearing the dizzy heights of QXC and <gulp> mock skills tests is a little off. Surely those nice people in reception for the experience flight would pay a little more to subsidise me?
For the time-being then continue to 'use' them. Pleasing your instructor is important.
But remember the simplified rule of comms... "Who am I? Where am I? What do I want?"
I never hesitate to contact London Info to open a flight plan, or to check weather in a distant destination, or to check a frequency. But these are not 'every flight' occurrences.
The rest of the time I cannot think of anything I would actually want from them, and calling a unit just for the sake of it isn't a very clever use of your time or theirs.
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