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

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#1773777
flyingearly wrote:Opinions very welcome, even if it's just to correct me!

I'm getting the feeling some of the answers may be getting more complex than the one you're after?

Basically as long as you comply with the rules of the air regarding airspace, VFR etc there is no reason not to go above 3000. Indeed it is done as a matter of course without thought for many.

In fact it is essential when the granite is higher than 3000. :shock:

It's also true you are more likely to encounter traffic at 400kts below 1000 than between 3000 and a height you are likely to routinely achieve. Military is widespread in the UK.

I get the feeling you may benefit from revisiting the difference between 1013 and QNH?

In short there's nothing about your aeroplane or that altitude to worry about. :D

Don't infringe, remain VFR and enjoy. :D
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By lobstaboy
#1773787
And, to be fair, there does seem to be a change of perception of your relationship with the earth above about 3000'. Particularly so in flex wings and open cockpit aircraft.
Lower and you feel as if you are flying above the ground. Higher and you lose any connection to the ground - it's just an image a long way away, while you are 'up here' with the big blue stuff. It can be a bit freaky if you let it. Not vertigo, but something else.
Anybody know what I mean and have a better description?
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By akg1486
#1773836
Provided I'm in Class G or can get clearence, I usually fly above 3,000 feet following the semi-circular rule (east: odd thousands+500 ft, west: even thousands+500 ft) if I'm going somewhere as opposed to a sightseeing bimble. There are many reasons: better overview for navgation, calmer air, higher TAS and perhaps most important much more time and options in the unlikely event of a failure.

As mentioned, winds are usually stronger aloft. A headwind may cause me to select a lower altitude, but I can also accept a lower groundspeed if the ride is smoother.

The power settings are different at different altitudes, so have a look ahead of time at what you should set for, e.g., 65% or 75% at different altitudes. They also vary with temperature, but not that much. As mentioned, leaning gets more important the higher you go.
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By rdfb
#1773868
I don't think anyone has said it directly yet. Perhaps it's obvious, but there's some benefit I think to stating this:

Pay attention to vertical airspace boundaries: are they specified by altitude or a flight level?

Plan to make sure your altimeter is set and changed accordingly, keeping in mind that an altimeter set to read your altitude is no good for keeping clear vertically of controlled airspace specified by a flight level, and an altimeter set to read your flight level is no good for keeping clear vertically of terrain. And if airspace is bounded by an altitude then it's the related aerodrome's published QNH that matters, not some setting from somewhere else.

Where I live and for me at least, this has been worth planning in advance. I don't find it as straightforward in practice as it should be in theory. The need to duck, dodge and transit controlled airspace means that it isn't just a case of a single transition in the climb to cruise and a single transition in the descent out of cruise as I imagine it is for CAT.
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By T6Harvard
#1774235
lobstaboy wrote:And, to be fair, there does seem to be a change of perception of your relationship with the earth above about 3000'. Particularly so in flex wings and open cockpit aircraft.
Lower and you feel as if you are flying above the ground. Higher and you lose any connection to the ground - it's just an image a long way away, while you are 'up here' with the big blue stuff. It can be a bit freaky if you let it. Not vertigo, but something else.
Anybody know what I mean and have a better description?



I have never flown in a light aircraft above 3000' but I know exactly what you mean! 3000' and things look small but recognisable, it didn't take long to get up there and settle in, and it feels sort of privileged but not too far off the scale as to be weird. Possibly because many of us have already walked up mountains* and experienced looking at terrain a few thousand feet below us? *(talking UK and Europe here, not Everest :mrgreen: )

Before my first flight where I could actually see out of the front window (as opposed to a commercial jet going on hols :D ) I did wonder whether I would be scared of being up there. Thankfully not, I loved it!

I would love to go higher but I think there may be a limit to my altitude comfort zone :pale: . When we can go back to training I shall certainly be asking my FI about the possibility of a jaunt a little higher.

Slightly off topic but one of my ambitions is to bust the clouds and fly on top, obvs with appropriate a/c and pilot (I have no ambition to be IMC rated myself).
By johnm
#1774237
Slightly off topic but one of my ambitions is to bust the clouds and fly on top, obvs with appropriate a/c and pilot (I have no ambition to be IMC rated myself).


Smoothly chugging along in the sunshine above the white and fluffy is one of the joys of flying....Getting back down with an instrument approach near minima is very satisfying.
#1774240
I do think there are some who may be uncomfortable with the difference in flying at 4000' rather than their usual 2000', however Im not so sure those who are, are not the same folks who's expectations were some significant difference before they left the ground?

It's only natural it looks different, you're further away. :D I'd suggest the thread is in danger of building above 3000' in to being a bogey man it is not. :D

This last couple of weeks there have been gliders across the UK at twice that height plus, our very own Trent772 was spotted playing up in the teens the other day.

And let's not forget that skydivers regularly jump out of aeroplanes from 10 000' and live to do it again. :D :thumright:

johnm wrote:Smoothly chugging along in the sunshine above the white and fluffy is one of the joys of flying....Getting back down with an instrument approach near minima is very satisfying.

I can understand the satisfaction in getting back down through the clag, :thumright: however I find being above it for any length of time becomes boring without the Earth to look at. An undercast is too samey, not enough variation! :D

Personally I like cloudscapes, but also like to see the ground below too. :thumright:

from 6000'
Image
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#1774260
A lot of years ago, on the first flight of my flexwing conversion, the microlight instructor took me to 6,000ft to go over the top of a chunk of airspace. In retrospect, he was very comfortable going to 6,000ft in a flexwing, but scared of asking for a CTA transit.

G
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By RichJordan
#1774262
My first flight up to 10,000 feet, just after I'd passed my GST was probably one of my most memorable flights.

It just felt so high.

Being all the way up there in that little aircraft was quite humbling. There was scattered cloud at 3000ft, felt odd having more air between me and the cloud than the cloud and the ground.
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By rf3flyer
#1774521
Not long after I got my PPL I was flying the club 152 with another recent graduate and remarked that in all my training I had never been above 4,000ft. Neither had he so I suggested we go up to 10,000ft just for the experience. He agreed so off we went.

As we got to 5,000ft he said he was becoming uncomfortable with being that high so I stopped the climb, but after a few minutes he then allowed that we could go higher.

Eventually we did indeed reach 10,000ft where we floated about for a short while marvelling that we were so high and having reached some sort of experiential milestone.

I'm not sure he has ever repeated that but I have, and more in wave. I confess I rather like it but being a cheapskate I do like a bit of thermic or slope soaring help from the elements, wave being the absolute best, the 'magic carpet ride'.

I also like getting above the clouds but I do want visible gaps in the clouds as escape routes for getting back down.
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By flyingearly
#1774547
Thanks for replies - I'm glad that it isn't just me, and that others have always on occasion been given a similar impression.

At the risk of thread drift, do you know of any resources that promote a 'post-PPL' syllabus to expand your experience of things like this.

As I'm still in the first 10 hours post-qualification (NPPL(m) in my case), I'm looking at where to fly and how I can stretch myself gradually, and as I do I'm realising that there's a lot of almost theoretical stuff that you only really acquire from experience, but which it would be great to speak to someone about (hence why I'm posting on this forum).

So, for example:

Flying up to higher altititudes
Transiting controlled airspace
Checking transits for danger areas

I mean, this is all in the theory and the exams, but when it comes to the real world....I don't know, it's sort of feels like you have to rethink it all. My club are great, but I don't necessarily want to ask my FI to sit with me all the time (and I don't need to either, I just need some guidance on 'how' to do things in reality).

To give you a concrete example, one of the flights I want to do shortly is a visit to my sister who lives a short walk from Monewden up in Suffolk. I fly from Headcorn.

In another post, someone remarked that this is really easy: transit Southend and route direct, but then when you plan it all out in SD it raises lots of 'new' things which I'm pretty comfortable with, but that would be good to get guidance on, or put in a bucket list. So things I'd encounter on that would flight would be like:

Getting clearance to transit Southend CTA
Checking whether danger areas are active and - if not routing through
Speaking to a military ATC
How best to route over water (admittedly, it's not exactly the Atlantic, but how SHOULD you transit a reasonable stretch of water, height, glide for safety etc)

As I said, I know in theory how to do these things and I'm sure I could do it textbook in practice, but until you've done it, you haven't done it so to speak...

So, ramble over, it would be great if there existed some kind of post-qualification 'skills checklist' for all the new, novel things to tick off and stretch yourself against in order to expand your skillset, rather than bimbling below 3k feet around your local AD.
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By rf3flyer
#1774563
@flyingearly I cannot help you with a post-qualification skills checklist but I will offer to you the words of my examiner after my first post qualification buttock clencher. "We can give you the skills but not the experience. You have to get that yourself".

But you are cautious, which is good for your probable longevity, and keep in mind the value of the 180° turn. :wink:
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