I engaged a finger under the latch on the Kilner jar this morning without thinking. I was late, despite waking up early, but my attention was immediately drawn to the contents of the jar when a satisfying pop accompanied it’s opening. Clearly there had been a build up of CO2, and this was also evident from the lively bubbling on the surface of the starter.
I received my baking stone yesterday, and was disappointed to find that it didn’t quite fit in to the oven. After some prodding and poking, and alot of head scratching came up with the solution. If I invert a shelf it rises the level of the backing stone so that it sits above the racking attached to the sides of the oven. These extra precious few millimeters allow the stone to sit perfectly.
I’m looking forward to my first bake, but conscious that the starter is still immature, so may be slow and lazy. A bit like your average teenager :)
Went to Wellesbourne today to try and get an hour in the air before I start my new job. Unfortunately the low pressure system coming in from the west meant wind gusting to 28kts and therefore just too windy for any airborne fun.
The new role means staying away (again) so limited chances for flying in the foreseeable future. Just have to hope for some clear weekends and good weather.
Not a great deal to report at the moment - the weather, or more specifically the 35kt winds, have seen to that.
So, without being able to fly I sat down with the books, and then today headed for the club.
I sat down with my Human Performance and Limitations exam paper at 1300, and by 1308 the exam was complete. It’s only 20 questions with a 30 minute time limit, and a 75% pass mark.
By 1320 the paper had been marked - 95% YAY.
That’s half my exams taken.
Nothing more this week, but I’m starting on my met study.
I’m in the air today at about 3, and it’s looking mild with low wind from the SSE.
That should mean circuits on 18. That’s good news and I really hope to make some decent progress.
So, quick bit of revision and I was sat down with my CAA Communications exam. Another headscratcher as it doesn’t seem to matter how much I think I know, or how well I’m doing in practice exams there still seem to be questions that catch me out. It’s a frustration as I want to do well, and it just makes me feel that I’m not doing enough in the way of learning and revising.
Still, after a nervous few minutes and a concerned look from the examiners face and a “PASS” was marked on the paper.
Now this is where frustration creeps in. I want to know the right answers to the question, but no review is permitted. The paper is filed away and it’s on to the next subject - Human Performance and Limitations.
Had another hour in the air on steep turns, but the wind was simply too strong for circuits. Limited chances this week, so may be next week before I get to fly again.
Yesterday was another challenging day. Windy, but flyable. I had an hour in the classroom to start with on Radiotelephony and then it was off to fly.
It was suggested that I would take out SP today as it’s more stable in wind as it has more power.
It’s basically the same layout in the cockpit as HF that I’ve mainly flown up until now.
The view out of the front is as limited as ever…..
Up we went, and some of the things that seemed so complicated in the past are really bedding in.
We were on the short runway 23, and with winds from 260 gusting to 20kts it was a bit bumpy.
4 circuits were enough to convince me that it wasn’t the easiest of conditions, but…….I did feel like I made progress, and there is certainly a point that if I try on 36 now with light winds I reckon it’ll feel easy!!
Now back to the books, as I’ve been threatened with an RT exam on Friday!
Back to Wellesbourne for an 11am start today. By 1130 I was sat down with a blank answer sheet in front of me.
It was a new paper with different questions and to be honest I think the questions landed better with me today. I had certainly put more effort in to reading and revising, but there seemed to be a higher quota of easy questions. Mind you, they’re all easy when you know the answer :’)
I used just over 20 minutes of the 60 available, and back came the examiner.
Paper was marked on the spot - 90% compared to the pass mark of 75%.
Usual aircraft G-HF was unavailable due to a small fire the previous day!!! The suggestion therefore was to take up a Cessna 152. Now it has to be said that I have developed a lasting hatred for 152s. The space in the cockpit is cramped, they are light and unstable in the air, and I just can’t get on with them.
However - I wanted to fly, and I though “just how bad can they be?”
Answer - F**king awful. One circuit was enough to show me that I was spending my time learning to fly a different aeroplane rather than practising what I already knew.
Had to do a go-around over the runway when we came back as an emergency had come in which was exciting.
I had to laugh when on the radio I heard the pilot asking the tower where to park, and the response coming back “If you’ve got smoke coming out of the back then I’d shut down where you are”……….!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, today I feel like I’ve moved on a notch. I can’t explain just how good it feels to be typing that!
I got to the airfield at 12 with a numb mouth after a trip to the dentist, and that didn’t leave me feeling terribly well disposed to anything, but the weather is clear and bright so we’ll make hay whilst the sun shines.
An hour of briefing felt like alot, but I guess I was glad of it when we got in the air.
G-BAHF that I’ve been flying was over at the hanger so I popped over there for my checks.
All completed we headed off to Alpha for power checks and take off from 18. For the first time I really felt in control on the ground. I’ve managed to get the knack of rudder control on the ground, and that just helps to relax the whole thing.
So up and away - Initial take-off led by Sat and a quick nip around the circuit with Sat also then flying the approach and landing.
Next it’s my turn, and Sat’s talking me through each step. Landing OK, but not fantastic. Flaps up, full power, and we’re off again - this time I’m doing it myself. Sat adds the odd suggestion, but otherwise it’s all me. Approach was OK, but needed to keep the control column back. Flaps up, power up, right rudder, and I’m back in the air.
"OK - This one’s down to you"
All looking great right up to the threshold and again needed just about 5 seconds of assistance on landing.
Fifth and final landing I flew the circuit without assistance and just needed again a final input on landing. That said it was so smooth you could hardly tell we’d landed :)
So, I seem to be getting more confident with take-offs and finally I feel like the approach and landing are making more sense.
Just need more practice now - but it does feel good to be progressing.
After my last lesson feeling like a disaster Friday was considerably better. The weather was smoother, we were using runway 18 which is about twice as long as 23 and I just felt more comfortable.
We took off and flew to the west and climbed to 4000’. We did another hour of stalls and then back for a few circuits.
The first real success was my take-off. I’d spent alot of time thinking about my flying and trying to work out where I’m going wrong. Unfortunately the only thing that I’m sure of is that it’s not one thing but many! Anyway, I digress. My take-off was my first real success. Using 18 meant that there is just more space, and that means more time.
"G-HF ready for departure"
"G-HF take off at your discression runway 18 windspeed 8 knots from 23"
Follow the yellow line and line up with the centre of the runway. Increase to full power and balance with right rudder. Steer in to wind, stay on the centre line. Speed increases to 65 knots, and then pull back. We’re off the ground. Watch the attitude to make sure it’s not too steep. Trim back to keep the attitude constant. Keep gaining height. 300 feet and it’s time for FLAG checks.
F - Flaps up.
L - Landing lights off
A - Attitude
G - Gauges. Engine temperatures and pressures.
Keep gaining height, to 1000’. Level off, look around for traffic, and regain attitude for gaining height. Same at 2K’, 3K’, and then level off at 4000’.
APT - Attitude, power, trim.
A - Level off the nose, and wait for the airspeed to increase.
P - Power back.
T - Trim forward for level flight.
F - Fuel. Fuel Pump on, change tanks, check pressure, fuel pump off.
R - Radio. Tuned and active.
E - Engine Temps and pressures, and carb heat check.
D - Direction Indicator adjusted to compass.
A - Altitude. Correct?
Right. That little lot has taken very very little time. It’s busy, so it’s easy to get flustered, however on this occasion I seemed to get it right, and it felt good.
After the stalls we headed back and did a couple of circuits. I’m getting better towards landings, but I’m still not there.
So, next lesson on Wednesday and we’re on circuits only. Hopefully the wind will be still and we’ll be on 18 or 36!
Got to the airfield today to find a grey miserable scene. With a cloudbase of about 1500’ it was too low to finish off my stalls work so we decided on some circuit training.
1 hour of flying circuits resulted in another 5 t/o and landings, but things just don’t seem to be clicking. I’m not sure whether I’m expecting too much, but I really feel like I should be making better progress than this.
To compound a bad day I went back and did my Air Law exam and failed! I can’t really roll out the excuses - I just wasn’t ready. There were areas I just haven’t read, and so it’s back to the books for some more study.
Next flying on Friday, so we’ll see what that brings.