Its foggy outside as I walk my dog, I don’t hurry as there is no way I will be flying today let alone solo! This is the frustration of learning to fly microlights, I even read on either Twitter or Facebook just a few days ago someone who was querying if microlight flying was the sport for them, due to having their lesson cancelled again, in fairness to them in the weather report they included it looked like great flying weather to me, but I’m sure there was a good and valid reason for their cancellation.
Looking at the METAR for the local airbases RAF Marham, Lakenheath, Norwich international… the best I could see was MVFR (Marginal Visual Flight Rules) at Lakenheath. Oh well I guess I will be getting a call soon to say no flying today, AAA Microlights are normally good at letting you know.
With no call and nothing else planned for the day I decided to take a drive over to the club if nothing else I could have a cup of tea and hopefully some cake! I have been timing it wrong lately and missing out on the cake assuming there has been some; however I have high hopes for next week when my lesson follows Alan’s!!!
As I drove over to the club the skies got brighter and brighter and by the time I got there, it was clear blue skies with some haze. My syndicate aeroplane was out as was my instructor in the clubs aeroplane, so I would not be going anywhere until both were back, time for a cup of tea. Both Mike and Stuart had a delayed start to their day’s flying and thus were running late, it can’t be helped you can’t control the weather.
So I sat drinking tea when a new potential student arrived, it must have been the clear blue skies and the calm wind as a little while later another new potential student turned up and both decided to learn to fly with the club.
By now Stuart had returned with G-CEGL, so now I had an aeroplane, but still no instructor, it wasn’t long before Mike was back with his student so my flying was ready to begin.
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Today was solo GST revision, I asked Mike if it was ok to take my Skydemon with me and he agreed, so I checked out the aeroplane and had my briefing from Mike, which included instruction to only use the second half of runway 01 due the bad state of the first half and to do a go around if needed due to the shortened runway. Fly out to the south (not the east as I normally do) so I can see the airfield better through the haze as the sun will be behind me on my return.
So I taxied to the midpoint of 01, full power and off I went, I followed the circuit climbing out on the downwind leg to my chosen height of 2,800ft, as I’m sure many of you know the difference between height and altitude is that altitude is measured in feet above sea level and height is feet above the ground. While flying around I trimmed for different speeds, first 70kts then 60 back up to 70 and then up to 80 all seemed to go well, so on to steep turns first to the left and then to the right, all still looking good so time for a stall and that to seemed fine! Time to turn around and try a practice engine failure, yep I would have got into the field, oh what a day and to think, I thought I would not be flying! Time to head back towards the airfield and I saw another light aircraft flying a lot faster off to my right and 500ft or so higher, I let him go by before trying some more steep turns. Turns to the right were ok but now when turning to the left I was gaining speed and losing altitude, I tried again same thing! Not how I wanted to end the day, but time was running out. I checked my distance from Chatteris on Skydemon and mad my inbound call at 4 miles, I got on to the extended centreline as shown on Skydemon at the same time and as I got near to the circuit I made my joining call. Now where did Mike say to land! Ok I can see the rough bit midway; I’m a little low so I would be touching down just before it, on with a little power and I touched down just after it, thinking to myself that seemed like a good landing.
Back in the clubhouse as I walked through the door Pat asked what was up with my landing, oh know what did I do wrong I thought to myself and my heart sank a little. So I asked why, it seemed ok to me, Pat said it was a good landing nice and gentle and no bounce so I must have done something wrong!!! Katie and Pete also complimented me on my landing and explained the person who landed a few minutes before me had bounced and touched down in the rough.
I love flying with my Skydemon normally I worry when it’s time to turn back, thoughts of where is the airfield, how far out am I and how to orientate myself with the runway all banished by Skydemon.
I discussed my steep turn issue with Mike who pointed out that I would have been using the nose as the reference instead of looking out at the horizon, in my defence for about 30% of the turn I could not see the horizon due to the sun, but Mike was not accepting of my excuse and nor was I truth be told.
The only real downside of today’s flight is that I recently always seem to be the last person to fly our aeroplane, so I have to wash the mud off and there was a lot of it and it was very cold too. I don’t mind cleaning it, but I was slipping in the mud while doing so, which was not a lot of fun; still next week as it stands I’m not the last to fly her.
You haven’t seen a tree until you’ve seen its shadow from the sky. ~Amelia Earhart