Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

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By Rob P
#1895117
Cessna571 wrote:You can fly to the left You can fly a 500’ bad weather circuit at Duxford, you turn base before Duxford village and fly along the M11 ! It’s very tight though.


You can, but when I did I got roundly abused by some bolshie FISO (Not Allan, of course). And I'd flown it inside the M11 out of consideration for Germaine.

The next time he got all aerated when I touched down just before the marked grass strip (incompetence, not intent), despite the fact that back then, and possibly still now, the whole of the grass was licenced.

Rob P
By tcc1000
#1895124
Cessna571 wrote:You can fly to the left of the gas venting station, there’s a little gap to aim for.

I gather this used to be the done thing, but the more recent general flying orders appear to frown on it and explicitly direct you to be south of the gas venting station.
User avatar
By Rob P
#1895127
tcc1000 wrote: explicitly direct you to be south of the gas venting station.


I these days follow the circuit as on SkyDemon, this is not to the South.

Rob P
By Cessna571
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1895169
tcc1000 wrote:
Cessna571 wrote:You can fly to the left of the gas venting station, there’s a little gap to aim for.

I gather this used to be the done thing, but the more recent general flying orders appear to frown on it and explicitly direct you to be south of the gas venting station.


I’ll check, ta! :thumleft:
By Cessna571
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1895172
Rob P wrote:
Cessna571 wrote:You can fly to the left You can fly a 500’ bad weather circuit at Duxford, you turn base before Duxford village and fly along the M11 ! It’s very tight though.


You can, but when I did I got roundly abused by some bolshie FISO (Not Allan, of course). And I'd flown it inside the M11 out of consideration for Germaine.

The next time he got all aerated when I touched down just before the marked grass strip (incompetence, not intent), despite the fact that back then, and possibly still now, the whole of the grass was licenced.

Rob P


It is all licensed still.

It’s still the backup “make up your own heading” runway for crosswinds you don’t like.
#1895179
Rob P wrote:
tcc1000 wrote: explicitly direct you to be south of the gas venting station.


I these days follow the circuit as on SkyDemon, this is not to the South.

Rob P


I'm going from https://www.iwm.org.uk/file-download/download/public/15372 Annex II (p.53) and Annex III (p.55). Anned III is the same diagram on p.2 of Essential information for visiting pilots so I'd suggest SkyDemon is not up to date in this respect.
Rob P, ericgreveson liked this
#1895242
Good to see that our circuits were in line with the latest info - I'm sure my instructor had done his homework :-)!
Well, today I was back at Cambridge. I got there early to sit the Meteorology, Aircraft General Knowledge and Principles of Flight exams - and am pleased to say that I passed! After a celebratory McLatte (I know, I'm sorry, although it actually was pretty good) I was back for my lesson - more circuits - with overcast cloud at about 2000ft and very light winds.

There is no ATC at Cambridge at the weekend, and the circuit was very quiet today (just a Tiger Moth doing a lap or two before we took off) and these things combined made everything seem much more relaxed and seemed to give me much more time - easy radio calls and no traffic to speak of. Plenty of time for downwind checks and discussing what was happening during each circuit. We did a short-field takeoff (my first one) and then a couple of normal landings, a couple of flapless landings, and then a couple of short field landings. All of these went pretty well - airspeed and altitude control was much better today, I turned onto final a little bit late the first two times (slightly more crosswind than I first thought, from behind on base leg) but this was easily corrected in plenty of time, and the landings were pretty decent on average. There was a bit of sideways drift at touchdown on the first landing, again because I hadn't really clocked the light crosswind, but this was very helpful as I had a bit of a "light bulb" moment. The next time round I found it much more intuitive to use the rudder to keep straight, together with slight wing-down into wind, which previously I found too much to keep up with as I was having to concentrate on the approach speed and elevator for round-out. Overall, I think that having a relatively non-turbulent day combined with light crosswind and other reduced workload (no traffic / easy radio) meant that I had time to actually get all the control inputs together like I knew how they should be done "in theory"!

Got another lesson booked for Wednesday afternoon, hopefully the weather will be good enough, so I can keep up the progress and see how it goes on a normal ATC day with no doubt a fair amount more traffic... this brief period of doing 2 lessons a week rather than the 0.5-1 that I have previously been managing makes it seem like progress is very fast! Will probably have to go back to 1 a week (at best) due to work etc after this, but there's always more theory to learn anyway...
Milty, TopCat, T6Harvard and 4 others liked this
#1895436
Now you know the feeling of the correct control inputs I hope you can remember them next time when things might be busier in the circuit. Being back at Cambridge may have helped as you should know the turning points now so can put more concentration on speed/altitude control.

I'll have a look out of the window to try and spot you on Wednesday if I am home
ericgreveson liked this
#1895836
Well, today's lesson was on a surprisingly bright and sunny afternoon, with quite a lot of haze, and landings / takeoffs straight into the sun! It was also surprisingly quiet in the circuit once again - just one or two other aircraft about during the hour, and none of them doing circuits. We did a variety of things today - short-field takeoff, normal landings x2, EFATO, flapless landing, glide approach x2, short-field landing and rejected takeoff. All of this in another "new to me" aircraft - I've now been in all 3 of the Cambridge training C152s.

Hopefully @FlyingBoot wasn't watching too closely - the first landing could have been a lot better (lots of sink over the roads on final, then the hold-off was a bit high and a bit of a "thud" on to the ground!). Second time round was much better. It definitely took a bit of time to recalibrate to the right control inputs, the wind, etc. For the first glide approach I judged it too optimistically and although we made the runway and landing OK, it was pretty much on the numbers and certainly no chance of using flap. Second time was much better, made it with one stage of flap - it's hard to remember just how big a difference a slight headwind makes to glide distance! Short field landing was OK - came in at the right speed on the numbers, but landing was a little bit heavier than ideal.

Overall I think my landings were probably better on average in the previous lesson, which feels a bit like the "2 steps forward and 1 step back" that others have mentioned, but that's OK - I know what things I need to work on for next time!
VRB_20kt, Rob P, T6Harvard and 1 others liked this
#1895843
ericgreveson wrote:Well, today's lesson was on a surprisingly bright and sunny afternoon, with quite a lot of haze, and landings / takeoffs straight into the sun!


On occasions you will find it better to accept a cross / tailwind and land on an alternative runway. I am not suggesting you should have done today, but just store it at the back of your mind for future. It is always an option, as landings into a low sun can be tricky.

Rob P
ericgreveson, T6Harvard liked this
#1895849
Great suggestion... unless you're at Cambridge, with its one giant runway 23 (OK there is also a parallel grass runway and I suppose there is a tailwind option in the other direction on 05 but it would have been a fair old tailwind today) :-D

In fact the only places I have flown from so far are Cambridge and Duxford - both with one long tarmac runway and one shorter grass runway, in pretty much the same direction! When I eventually get to an airport with the luxury of more than one direction to choose from, I will be totally confused...
#1895893
ericgreveson wrote:....Hopefully @FlyingBoot wasn't watching too closely - the first landing could have been a lot better (lots of sink over the roads on final, then the hold-off was a bit high and a bit of a "thud" on to the ground!). Second time round was much better. It definitely took a bit of time to recalibrate to the right control inputs, the wind, etc. For the first glide approach I judged it too optimistically and although we made the runway and landing OK, it was pretty much on the numbers and certainly no chance of using flap. Second time was much better, made it with one stage of flap - it's hard to remember just how big a difference a slight headwind makes to glide distance! Short field landing was OK - came in at the right speed on the numbers, but landing was a little bit heavier than ideal.


Don't worry, I can only see you once you're in the air. The runway is out of sight unless I stand on the roof. I think you must have picked the perfect time today. All of a sudden the clouds disappeared.

Getting consistently good landings is quite hard, particularly if you are mixing different approaches. Plus it can be hard to understand why a landing can be really good or bad when you think you have done the same thing (other than pure luck of course). I guess a lot of it is recognising very early on what slight adjustments will be required before they turn into large adjustments. Keep trying. One day it will click and the poorer landings will be consigned to particularly challenging weather.
ericgreveson, T6Harvard liked this
#1900334
Another training diary entry on a weekend where I really wasn't expecting to make much progress! I had 2 lessons booked (Sat and Sun) but all week the weather forecast was looking, let's say, unlikely. However on Saturday morning I got a call to ask if I could come in early because there looked to be a short weather window, maybe enough for a few circuits - suitable for some crosswind landing practice. Upon arriving, the TAF had been updated to indicate possibility of stronger winds arriving some time in a 4 hour window, along with a front of rain from the west - but it looked like we should still have enough time for a couple of circuits before it arrived. Discussed whether to go ahead or not with the instructors, but we decided it was worth it even if we wouldn't get much time out there in the end.

We took off in fairly blustery and gusty conditions, with the ASI reading 20-25 knots when parked up at the end of the runway, but the wind direction was only about 20 degrees off the runway so a manageable crosswind. Took off OK and we could see the rain coming in ahead of us, a few miles away, but it wasn't too bad in the first circuit! Did a flapless touch and go, despite the gusty crosswind and some half-baked radio calls (to Traffic at least, no ATC at the weekend) the landing was OK and we were off on the second circuit. The rain started to come in, and we could see the weather closing in around so decided to make the next one to land - circuit wasn't the tightest in the world and I managed to forget carb heat when starting descent (despite putting it on for downwind checks successfully), overshot final by a fair way in the crosswind but got back on to it and made another decent enough landing despite significant sink over the threshold. Tied the aeroplane back down in the rain and went in before it got too heavy! I was definitely pretty rusty after not flying for nearly a month, and this showed in the not so perfect circuits. But overall a pretty successful 20 minute lesson, and my cheapest to date by a long way :-D

Then, because of the clearly worse weather that was on the cards for today, I decided that I might as well try my last 3 theory exams so booked in for those (Comms, Navigation, Flight Performance and Planning). Did those this morning and passed them all! I was a bit uncertain of what to expect for Navigation but it was much easier than I expected - not even a map in sight (that only came up in one question in Flight Planning). Once again, EasyPPL Ground School was great preparation, if you can pass their mock exams I think you should find the real thing to be quite easy.

So, a much more productive weekend than expected, and now I've done all the exams I am "on the clock" for actually learning to fly the aeroplane! Hopefully 24 months will be enough... I will certainly need to do better than 20 minutes a month but hopefully the weather will start improving soon!
Milty, Rob P, T6Harvard liked this
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