Thursday 23 May 2013 06:36 UTC
If you're learning to fly, or thinking of learning, then here's the place to post your questions, comments and experiences
I certainly second the advice to study VOR/ADF theory before getting anywhere near it in the plane. I still feel like my dad trying to program the video a couple of decades back when I've been in instrument mode recently. I can also empathise with the relatively simple maths issues. Mind you, that's been a constant irratation on my part for most of my training so far. Maths was one of my stronger subjects back in my schooldays but nothing that happens inside a 152 would suggest that to be true
I finished the required instrument time last lesson and thank god for that, it was a long way from my favourite part of learning to fly. Short of sticking fingers down my throat, the 'barf hood' is the surest way I've found to make myself feel sick.
Pilot plans, Weather laughs.
Sorry to hear that you're sick of flying on intruments Wierdfish! It doesn't make me sick but when the foggles come off it takes me a while to transition back into visual flying; left is right, up is down, clockwise reversed (or just confused) etc. I find it fun but not at all like flying somehow.
I was finally dragged kicking and screaming into the exam room to sit Met and will find out how I got on tomorrow. It's a bit of a shame that you're not allowed to discuss the questions as there were a few in there that are a bit odd. The ones I take issue with though are two-fold:
1) Those where you're given a scenario with an unrealisticly limited amount of background information and required to make a decision on that alone. In the real world, I think you'd keep digging until you'd found out enough to make an informed decision.
2) ones about situations that you are specifically trained to avoid - of the type "In which part of a raging cumulonimbus would you be most likely to experience your ice-coated wings falling off?"
Anyway, last lesson was supposed to be a formal tackling of cross wind landings so that nothing (except skill) lies between me and QXC. Yet again, The Weather had other ideas, this time blessing me with stable air and a wind varying between asleep and struggling to trouble the windsock.
"So, what would you like to do?" said the FI.
Hmm. It's a tricky one. You can never do too many PFLs, my steep turns could do with a little more finesse and there always the thrill of low level navigation.
"How about slow flight and some PFLs?" I suggested. "Something that makes me use the rudder more." (and doesn't get me started on the woeful state of the navigation instruments.)
"Good choice! Let's brief crosswinds too anyway so that while I'm away next week you can do them with another instructor."
So off we went. Straightforward taxi and takeoff though I needed prompting for the noise abatement turn. (Too busy concentrating on tracking the centreline.) Fly away from the field, drop the nose every 500, level off, FREDA.
"Can you put us in a slow, safe cruise?"
erm... slow safe cruise... er, is that clean or with some flap? 65kts? 70?
"You'll have to remind me I'm afraid"
"70kts, 1 stage of flap"
[Lot's of faffing with controls, attitude, power, rudder, trim]
And again in clean configuration then faster then slower then much slower (e.g. 40kts no flap, nose pointing at the stratosphere, bucket loads of power countering the drag anchor we seem to be pulling). Much dancing gingerly on the pedals involved to keep the nose on heading. At these speeds, it feels as if it wants to fall off rapidly to left or right.
I think I flew for about 7 or 8 mins with the stall warner continuously bleating in my ear. I say "bleating" but it's actually quite quite and sometimes struggles to be heard over the radio background.
"OK, that'll do, take us back home."
"Hometown approach, G-ABCD request rejoin"
As ATC respond, I kick myself. Why is it so hard to remember to tell them where you are? As I'm busy having my "D'oh!" moment, I almost fail to register the QFE and join instructions I'm given. Whilst I instinctively read them back, fumbling to write them on my pad (my pencil is playing the "let's scrape paper" game) I find time to remember that they know roughly where I am from the booking out record and actually it's relatively quite so they probably don't care too much. VFR= my problem.
"... report 3 miles"
Descending, it becomes clear that the broken cloud is not ideally placed for an overhead join. The base is about 1800' where I am, and it is quite possible that it is the same over the airfield.
"It would be good if we could join downwind" I mention to the FI.
"Yes, carry on as you are. Not below 1500' though OK". His thumb is poised above the PTT as I can sense him thinking over the pros & cons. There's a "trial flyer" waiting in reception back at base and we took off a little late (what with all the crosswind briefing etc).
At 3 miles, he requests and is given the downwind join. I report at 2.5, am switched to Tower and then try to remember to do downwind checks. For some reason I can't bring the mnemonic to mind but I can remember what to check (-and so I should by now). Landing light on as there's a little mist about too.
I sort out my overly high approach and flare at about the right point (isn't stable air flattering?) but still manage to NOT get the elevator fully back at touchdown. One day, eh?
So, tomorrow I'll find out about Met; if I've scraped it, its crosswinds & QXC up next.
With a bit of luck, I may have to find a new Jeremy Pratt book to ignore in favour of the sudoku on my commute...
Has it managed to intefere with your skills test, or are you still revising? My FI gave me the impression that the usual approach is QXC, mock skills test, revision, real thing, party. I've got to fit R/T practical and Aircraft Performance in there somewhere but I assume its whilst I'm hanging arround waiting for the cloudbase to lift...
It's not so much interfering as twarting every attempt
This afternoon was the 5th time we've cancelled the scheduled pre skill. Watching the plane fly over my house on Sunday, as close to the perfect flying day since I've been paying attention, did little to help my frustration
Pilot plans, Weather laughs.
Yay! Passed Met!
Cross winds and cross country next.
Hi again Fish.
Afraid I still have to do Aircraft Technical and Flight Performance plus an R/T practicle though these are subjects I enjoy. In fact I enjoy picking holes in the training material; one of the practice papers has a question about when it's best to measure the oil level in a piston engine and not one of the answers acknowledged the existence of dry sump lubrication. Enough being a Smart Alec though - I do need to pass them.
Last Friday conspired to be just about the most frustrating ever. It didn't start off well and continued in the same vein. [Please excuse my self-indulgent account of domesticity, but you'll see where this is going.]
First off, child the youngest announced at the school gates that she'd left a vital book at home - could we go home and get it?
Next off, my garage project: I've stripped down and rebuilt a pair of suspension struts that I planned to reassemble, only to find that I couldn't for the life of me locate one trivial dust cover that (of course) could not be retro-fitted once the springs were re-fitted. Waste 1 hour searching garage in vain.
Next, work conference call: Participants largely inaudible and selectively illogical.
Whilst still on the call, I transferred to the car so my wife could drive me to a dental appointment. Arrive at dentists, drop off the still in-progress conf call and do the usual intro to the receptionist:
"Hi. Here for my checkup"
"Nope, you're not in the book."
"But I must be. This appointment was arranged to replace an earlier one that I turned up to and you didn't have in the book."
"Yes. 2nd November. You didn't show up."
"Er, I did. which is when I made the appointment today."
"Really sorry. Computer says no and we're really busy so I can't fit you in."
Next, on to the specialist fasteners store to pick up a couple of bolts. These are slightly peculiar bolts that fasten the refurbished struts to the refurbished wishbone and replace the old ones which stretched when I had to use a scaffold pole on the end of my torque wrench to get them out. The slight peculiarity is that they have a fine thread and are 100mm long. The fastenings place didn't have any in stock when I first went in 6 weeks ago, so ordered them and their supplier didn't have any so sent longer ones which could be cut down and re-threaded. Last week I was assured they'd be done.
"Hi there. Me again. Come to collect my bolts?"
"Ah. Well. You see they've been very busy and need to set the screw cutter up on the lathe and er um haven't. If we had a die that size, I'd have done them myself..." <Looks at shoes>
"... OK. That's pretty much what you said when I popped in last week."
"Yes, it's been keeping me up at night" [though they didn't think to phone & leave a message, day or night] "They'll definitely be done next week."
"That's pretty much what you said last week."
Back to house, swap cars and set off to airfield as Mrs Z heads off in the opposite direction. Play calming music and look at the beautiful clear skies above. Stress fades away the closer I get to the flying school and my mind turns to cross-wind landings with the FI with whom I had the 1st ADF lesson. Yaw into the wind and look at the approaching runway through the side windows. Into wind aileron as I gently "kick" the aircraft straight. This should be fun. <More stress fizzles away>
And now things are looking up even more; my usual FI has had a cancellation so can actually take me out.
In reception, another of his pupils has just completed his flying test. I can see that my FI wants to get a quick word with the examiner (who doesn't look quite as scary as I'd imagined) so I invent the need for a loo break so that he can find out whether its a pass or not. It's good news - although as we'll be using the same a/c that they've been out in all morning the examiner thinks the idle will be a bit rough and we'll need some fuel.
The FI joins me by the window and we look at the sky. We can see the front coming in from the North and it's clearly going to ruin a perfectly good flying day when it gets here. Thank goodness we're in the circuit. Should be able to get a 60 degree crosswind and at 7 kts its in limits.
Only potential problem is that they're training up a new controller and it might be tricky to offer the runway I'd like. In which case, we can probably get to Crosswindville and do a few circuits there if we're quick.
So lets get the aircraft checked and fuelled. I check whilst the FI books out. There's a little flat spot in the nosewheel tyre and a couple of new nicks on the prop. Damn fellow students abusing my aircraft again. The school has it's own bowser in the hangar so fuelling is generally not much of a palaver unless the battery that drives the fuel pump is low on charge.
Unfortunately, the battery driving the pump is low on charge, so fuelling proceeds at a rate similar to that which one would expect if trying to fill the tanks using nothing but a cracked teaspoon.
OK, push back away from the hangar and let's get a move on. The FI checked the weather when booking out and there really isn't enough time to head for Crosswindville. Local circuits it will have to be then. Let's hope it stays quiet so that ATC will play.
But now there's a minor problem. A rather nice PJ (which is a lovely acronym I learned that as well as "PyJamas" means "Private Jet" which had been doing its power checks with a view to departing before me has managed to put a wheel on the grass and dug in, but not before sticking his nose out into the taxiway I was planning to use. Lots of big vehicles have come to see if they can help so it's all a bit crowded. Fortunately, there is another way out, and we do a little jiggle around through 180 degrees to point the other way.
"Mytown Tower. G-ABCD at the School Apron with Tango. QFE 1020, request taxi via Juliet for runway 29"
<Nothing. Tick tock tick tock>
<One cleared to land. Someone else requests taxi to the fuel pumps and is given the nod.>
Whilst this is going on, a twin turns up on Juliet, leaving us no room to get out. FI takes control to reposition us again so that he can squeeze past us on to the Picadilly Circus apron.
Hmm. Still nothing from the Tower. Don't want to sound pushy as we're hoping they can play nice. I'm going to have to call again.
"Good afternoon, Mytown Tower. G-ABCD at the School Apron with Tango. QFE 1020, request taxi via Juliet for runway 29?"
"G-ABCD, Afraid we can't offer you 29 due to traffic. Will you take the active?"
Feared this might happened. We have a plan:
"Negative, I'm afraid. We'll scrub the exercise. Thanks anyway, G-ABCD."
Radios: Off, Fuel: ICO, Throttle: Closed, Mags: Off & key out, Beacon: Off, Master: Off, Control lock: In. Fumble for pitot cover.
Shortest powered trip so far in my training and a day I'd rather forget.
Oh well, there's always next week.
Thanks WF but there's one in my bag as I write. S'pose I ought to read it though!!
Hi Z and Fish,
Great accounts of your frustrations chaps, particularly like:
You ought to see our Club bowser.....its hand pumped (nightmare if you need 30 litres!) and has a lever to turn the fuel "on" which sometimes works, and a bit of hose from an aperture to get a fuel sample from the bowser first use of day...into a pint glass!!
I have been flying recently, just haven't noted my "issues" on the forum as I thought it would bore people, but with your humourous tales which are anything but boring, I may well be persuaded...when i want a break from studying Comms written!
Iolanthe "The Flying Curator"
Home Airfield: EGYD
Exams Passed: Met; Air Law; Comms
Doesn't bore me. It's all part of flying in my opinion. How's it all going anyway? Are you another one in the QXC queue waiting for the weather? It's going to get busy up there when we finally get a good clear day.
Ok, i'll start a new thread with my tales of woe from Sturgate, as don't want to hijack yours!! Nope, not yet up to QXC; my next milestone is the solo landaway. We are still working on my GH and cct skills at airfields other than Cranwell at the moment. I am just pleased that a) Duxford has the option of either tarmac or grass (tarmac every time!!!) and b) after my efforts at Sturgate last week, that Duxford has - ok, not acres of tarmac as we or Wyton do...but more than the short field that is Sturgate!
Haven't yet done my Nav exam which I guess I really need to do before the QXC...oh, and to learn the civvy way of Divs or regaining track (my way for the latter is more ..."hmm, off track, but the fix is over there, so lets point the nose in that direction....." much more sensible when flying in CAVOK!) Need to improve my Nav skills as well...
But yes, i'll be up there joining you guys on navs with my trip to Duxford!
Iolanthe "The Flying Curator"
Home Airfield: EGYD
Exams Passed: Met; Air Law; Comms
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