Today saw possible the start of the next chapter of my flying, a Journey from Microlights to GA, every journey starts with a single step, or in this case flight, begins with a first flight in Cessna 172.
I travelled from my home near King’s Lynn to Rutland Sky flying school www.rutlandsky.com which took about an hour and 15 minutes, there I meet my new flying instructor Stephen Waddy and the Cessna 172 I was to fly on my Journey from Microlights to GA.
I had previously thought that Chatteris is a little short on amenities compared to say Fenland and other airfields, but Shacklewell is even sparser! Still this was made up for by the warm welcome afforded by the owner of the flying school Stephen.
The idea of this is to take advantage of the current 18 month window in which you can add SSEA (Simple Single Engine Aircraft) and then convert it to EASA LAPL via a paperwork exercise which lets you fly GA up to 2000 kg and a maximum of 3 passengers (search CAA CAP 804), which is the goal for my Journey from Microlights to GA
I can sum the difference up between the C42 and the Cessna 172 by liken it to driving a recent sports car and then switching back to an old Routemaster bus. Everything happens slower in the 172, that said it has more instrumentation, full IFR.
It’s a very different beast to control, the pedals have toe brakes which allows differential braking, the seat is adjustable, the high dash restricts the forward view, and the throttle is in the dash with a carb heat to the left and a mixture control to the right of it.
Stephen started her up and she rumbled a much lower note then the Rotax 912, we did the normal mag, and power checks and I taxied her out to the runway and then using the toe brakes and power I spun her around and lined up on runway 06, Stephen took the controls and we trundled down the runway, at 55 knots we lifted off a climbed away at 65 kts, once we were up to around 7,000ft we requested a traffic service, not something we tend to do in the microlight, but I think I might start doing this now. After flying and turning for a while, which presented little issue, Stephen flew us into a cloud and showed me how to fly on the artificial horizon and turn coordinator and then another cloud presented itself and it was my turn, something I always wanted to do! Next we went on to do some stalls from straight and level flight, these were the same as they are for the Microlight, so no issue there, however the stall is a lot less violent than in the Microlight,
Next up simulating a stall on the turn onto final, so flaps at 20 degrees mixture rich carb heat on and turn and stall! Nose down, power to full, oh wait I forgot the mixture and carb heat! Positive rate of climb, retract flaps to 10 degrees, positive rate of climb for the second time, flaps fully up and climb away. This one I was not so slick at, but it was my first time!
The hour was up and we were nearly back, on the approach Stephen once again took the controls and landed.
He left me with parting word which boosted my confidence on my Journey from Microlights to GA, saying “I don’t think it will take you as many hours as you think!”
I’m looking forward to my next lesson and blogging some more.