It seems that every day that I’m not down to fly is perfect flying weather! Today the question was is it too windy for solo practice? Well luckily for me the front moved through taking with it the very light rain and much of the wind, so by 12:45 it was deemed ok for me to go solo and practice trimming and turning on to headings in preparation for a change in plan!
The change in plan for me is very exciting, in that as the better weather seems to be coming our way I will now try and fly 2 solo cross counties and if Mike is ok with my dual attempt scheduled for 2 weeks’ time (no flying for me next week). This will enable me to go directly for my full licence. I have not been flying on exact headings for a while as we go up and head in a general direction and then practice whatever the lesson is. I think my flying has improve a lot over the last few months so I hope I will find the upcoming challenge less of an issue than before.
Still back to today’s Solo practice, the wind was almost straight down runway 01 which made choosing the runway ease, so off I went and out over to the drains which are to the east of Chatteris. Flying at 70kts was fine and 80kts too, but at 60kts it fell like being on a funfare ride! I practiced working out the heading I was to turn on to and then turning on to it, I wasn’t far out on these and they got better as the hour went on. My height was proving a little to variable and I will need to watch and correct this more proactively on the cross county flights. The conditions seem to be improving from the point of view of the cloud base, it was around 1,200 went I went up and by time I came in it was nearer 2,000. I didn’t want to be late back in as I knew Alan had a cross country planned after my lesson. I turned back with plenty of time on my side and joined base leg for 01. My approach was ok, but I was aiming at the threshold like we had in my no flaps lesson the last time I flew and with the gusty wind and the fact I took the power off before I rounded out, it was all looking not so good, so full power and around I went, I struggled a little to keep it within the white arc trying to keep the nose on the horizon, I guess this was just down to me, although I would like to blame the wind!
So my first Solo go around, and in my mind I could hear Mike saying why did you take the power off at that point , closely followed by well no one has ever crashed into the sky!
On my next approach it all seemed a lot more controlled and apart from a slight balloon as the wind gusted, it was a gentle landing.
Back on the ground I quickly filled the tank to the 30ltr mark ready for Alan and then went back into the clubhouse. Mike asked how it went and I replied “ok apart from my first landing attempt!”, “So what went wrong?” He asked, “I’m not sure, a gust of wind!”, “No you took the power off to soon and were aiming at the threshold!” what can I say he was right as normal!
I asked Mike if he could re cap on the board overhead joins and radio calls so I can try to get them in my mind before my cross country attempt and he duly obliged. Being that Chatteris is a Parachute drop zone, we are not allowed to do overhead joins so don’t get to use/practice these before our out landings.
Below is my attempt to recreate what was on the board. For each of the radio calls you need to prefix them with who you are calling and your call sign, e.g. Boston Radio, Boston Radio, G-CEGL, 5 miles south inbound. Mike always says to say the called station twice when it’s a Safetycom frequency.