And another good lesson with a decent amount of learning.
First item on today's agenda was the Aircraft General Knowledge exam. Wish I'd got this one out of the way earlier. As a mechanical engineer by education, career and experience, a good chunk of it was known already and the rest made good sense. Annoyed to get one wrong which was on the topic of gyros and to be honest, I can't recall which question it could have been. There were a couple of questions, and I've found this on some of the other exams, that the answers could be a bit subjective. Anyway, a 93% pass is alright and ticked the box. Going to study Nav next - I want to get one of the biggies out the way. Then it will be PoF and flight planning left to do.
In the air, today was VOR and DME day. Not really studied these yet but had a chat about it last week with the instructor and a bit of youtube last night and it all seemed fairly logical. Having spent and hour or so messing about and using them, I actually found it easier to do than to read about and learn.
Missed the runway crossing readback today before taxiing out but nice controller reminded me and off we went.
Pretty breezy down at Gloucester this afternoon so good and wobbly as soon as the wheels lifted off 22. Off to the north visually up to Tewkesbury then put the first Daventry radial in. All a bit confusing with different radio's, confirming ID's etc. (didn't realise I had to know the morse code for the VOR). It all seemed to fall into place though and I reckon if I had to do it tomorrow, I'd have a decent stab at it.
First exercise was I had drawn a line from Tewkesbury to the Daventry VOR - had to put that in and follow it until we were 26m away on the DME, then switch to the 015 Honily radial until 11m from Honiley, then pick up and fly the 270 radial from Daventry. All going well so far.
We then got a position fix from the Daventry VOR and DME, then cross referenced that by re-tuning to the Honiley VOR and confirming the intersect point. I'm not going to lie, flying and drawing accurately on a map seems to be the most stupid thing to try and do at the same time but it wasn't quite as hard as I imagined. It was a touch bumpy and kindly, my instructor helped out on the yoke a bit to keep us in the sky given the conditions were what they were.
I'm going to stop writing about this now because as I'm writing it, I fear it is probably intensely boring to read and I'm aware that some of you may be operating aircraft or heavy machinery within 24 hours of reading it which could be dangerous. I'm also aware as mentioned at the start that it's harder to write about than do. Any students that haven't done it yet, please don't read this and panic - it really is easier than it sounds.
We did do a few more intersect exercises before finally taking a radial from Honiley to Gloucester, flying at around 50 degrees to it until intersecting it, then followed it back to Gloucester.
PFL on the way back went quite well. The flying bit and finding the field was all good. Engine restart checks left a bit to be desired and the less said about the mayday call the better. Chosen field wasn't quite as nice when we got a bit closer and right in front of us was a nice, newly mown one so I elected to go for that. Good choice was the feedback. Back up in the air and homeward bound.
Feeling happy and smug with today's performance, I was immediately brought back down to earth by a brainfart on the SOHJ readback. Valuable lesson learned - write it down. Was feeling that I had it all under control so got a bit over-confident. Just completely clammed up and had to ask the instructor to step in. Say again would have been my friend and I suspect had I been on my own, I'd have put my big boy pants on and got on with it. I do find having the instructor there at times, whilst brilliant and necessary, does almost distract from learning by being forced to get on with it.
Anyway, no puppies killed, nicely executed SOHJ and we got down safely. Little bit of crosswind and a bit gusty but not too bad overall.
Instructor happy with progress in fairly challenging conditions. Me happy with progress and some good lessons learned.
Next week, if the weather is a bit poor, will be foggles and cloud (been promised both as instructor wants to show me that cloud is more difficult than foggles - I understand that this will be conducted safely with a radar service from Brize but don't quiz me on the detail - I'm leaving that to the bloke that needs to know. If the weather is OK, we're off for a transit through Bristol (hopefully). Week after that is holiday, then on 3rd June, instructor has had mass cancellations due to bank holiday so I've got him for 4-5 hours and we're off to Cardiff to practice for my QXC which will follow relatively shortly after he feels. Seems a bit surreal that it's all happening quicker than expected, but I'm enjoying it and it's now nice to feel that I can cover the basics reasonably well and from now on, it's finessing, e.g. bit like when you learn to drive a car and you get to that point when you realise that you're not having to think about pushing pedals, changing gear etc.
FRTOL is booked for 17th June. Need to do a bit of swotting to get that good enough to pass. I know most of it, but don't know it well enough to regurgitate it from memory without mistakes so I want to be more confident. If anyone is lying on a sunlounger in Crete in a couple of weeks time and overhears a nutjob wittering mayday mayda mayday, it's me reading CAP413 and practising
34:10 flown. About 7:05 solo. Happy with progress. Life is good.