16th November 2013, Today’s lesson we continued to fly the circuit as per the previous few lessons, however due to the wind direction we were using runway 24 for the first time in my circuit training. There was very little wind which is a help while learning how to land, as it’s one thing less to think about and correct for. I taxied out and lined up on the runway, Mike explained that I would do the take-off and he would take over after flaps up (200ft) and show me the turning points.
I started my roll as normal and took to the sky with my normal slight wandering right and then left where I don’t put in enough rudder to compensate for the thrust and then end up putting in too much. We climbed up to 200ft where I put the flaps up; Mike took over the controls and flew the circuit pointing out the turning points for the given conditions and as normal the fact that we want to be good neighbours and not over fly the farm houses below. When on final Mike handed back control and I brought us down for a touch and go. I tend to not to keep the C42 flying for long enough to lose all the speed before touching down instead I let it touch down and then try to keep the nose up, I find my hand seems to freeze on the stick at the point when I should be pulling back more! So on my next time around I will keep this in mind. Full power and back up we go, yep I didn’t put enough rudder in again, it seems so easy when Mike does it and I know what I should be doing, but for some reason putting it together is an issue for me, I guess it’s just practice.
200ft flaps up, 500ft fuel pump off, 700ft level out, allow speed to build to 70 knots, power back to around 4,000 rpm, fly passed the farm house and then turn on to cross wind aiming for the intersection of the drains, turn on to the downwind leg after clearing another farm house, check temperatures and pressures, check fuel, check harnesses, and make the downwind call. Turn on to the base leg and check there is no activity on the runway or any aeroplanes on approach, almost level with the runway power off hold the nose at the same attitude and watch the speed fall in to the white arc, Flaps to first stage and turn on to final, maintain speed and correct alignment with the runway centre line, I have a tendency to overturn and then need to correct it, another note to self not to do it next time! Continue decent and touch down, dame should have kept it flying longer, power on and around we go again. On the next approach Mike says we are going to stop on the runway, did I do something wrong? has he given up on me! Down we come, I keep it flying a bit longer, which I’m pleased with, but Mike asks what’s wrong with the other 2/3 of the runway on the right, I back track down the runway and we go around again, this time I got the take-off right not to little or too much rudder, even Mike comments on it and says “that’s much better, all your take-offs should now be like this”, around we go again for the last time this lesson. My last landing wasn’t to bad either, maybe, just maybe I’m improving! Time to taxi back and clean up the aeroplane on route, flaps up and transponder off, I park up outside the hanger and perform the mag check before shutting down.
Mike debriefs me on my flying and sets out what we are going to do next time. Next time we are going to work harder on losing the speed before touching down in the first half of the lesson and then in the second half we are going to use full flaps and see what difference it makes. I took this opportunity to mention to Mike that I have been revising my Air Law and thought I may be ready to try it so long as there was an option to retake it should I fail! Apparently you can retake the test 3 time at the club after that you need to go to the CAA at Gatwick, fingers crossed that doesn’t happen. Back in the clubhouse Mike asks Katie the AFI to test me on some of the signals and symbols and I do quite well as I made some flash card for these which were a great help in learning them. So with much trepidation on my part we decide that I should take the exam there and then.
Mike and I go into his office and I sit at the desk while Mike randomly pulls out a test paper and sets it on the desk next to the answer sheet and blank paper, Needless to say before taking the test Mike has me leave my phone, book and revision papers outside the office. The questions are multiple choice each with 3 choices and there is 20 question in total for the Air Law exam, you have a strict 30 mins to answer all the questions in. I did find some of the questions a bit ambiguous, but have decided not expand on these or what questions the paper contained, as there is only 3 papers and you need to know the subject for safe flying not just how to pass the exam. All except 2 where covered in the “The Microlight Pilot’s Handbook” 8th Edition by Brian Cosgrove in the Air Law chapter, these 2 may be elsewhere in the book or I may just have missed them. After around 20 mins I could do no more. One of the questions I knew the answer to, but for the life of me I could not remember and all the answers looked plausible, needless to say I guessed it wrong, but I still passed the exam with what I would say was a respectable percentage.
All in all a good day at the club.