Sunday, 21 April 2013

Lesson Number Nine - Circuits

T'was a nice day... Little cloud about, sunny, mild - Perfect flying conditions!

Today, I knew that I would be getting my first taste of the circuit, so I was looking forward to it, a lot of excitement.

I arrived at the club and was met by Kiwi who's been mentioned a bit in some of my previous posts, he immediately started a briefing with me on the circuit, he told me the sequence in which tasks had to be completed, how long I'd have to do them, when I need to turn, what altitude I should be at, speed for the circuit and also when each stage of the flaps should be implemented, etc.

Since this was my first proper go at circuits, I suppose I was a little nervous. I headed out to the aircraft carried out my checks, both internal and external, kiwi joined me about 5 minutes later and we got ourselves into the cockpit, closed the canopy and away we went. We were using runway 15 today because of the southerly winds, I lined up with the centerline, pushed throttle to full, and upon reaching 55 knots, I 'rotated' for takeoff and we were away.

Climbed straight out, and done all the mandatory things such as flaps up at 300ft, demonstrating airmanship, radio calls, etc. I was taking in a lot of details at this point because it was all new to me such as when to turn, at what altitude I should be at and what speed, kiwi helped me along with the the first go around the circuit as it was my first go and I was able to do the approach and landing all on my own, which was good, it made me feel confident.

I took off and just done the same as last time, expect, I done it all on my own, I didn't need much help at all really, just a little bit of guidance at some points which I suppose has to be expected, I got the aircraft down again on the runway and pulled up for our third circuit around the airfield. 

When I got to the downwind stage of the circuit this time around, when I used the first stage of flap, I seemed to let the aircraft climb a little, we should have been at 1000ft, but I was at 1200ft, kiwi let me continue with everything, I turned onto finals and made the decision to implement full flap to help lose some airspeed resulting in a gradual glide, a bit earlier than usual, to lose the extra height gained, I had to be careful not to fly too low as there is a police radio mast on the approach for runway 15 at 500ft, to avoid this, I had to fly slightly right of the centerline approach and then line the aircraft up after passing it along with the normal checks at 300ft just before landing, I got the aircraft down, just as normal.

The forth go at the circuit, everything was fine, until turning on to downwind, when the aircraft climbed again when I used the first stage of flap, we turned onto approach and we were simply too high to carry out a landing so we preformed a go-around and were now on our fifth circuit, I was hoping that I would get it right this time...

And I did, I handled the aircraft well, didn't let it climb, kept it at the right speed and altitude, and done a nice landing if I don't mind saying so myself, I taxied us back to the apron, and had a de-brief with my instructor, we just talked about how easy it is to let the aircraft climb at any point, so once everything was made clear about that, and I felt confident that I wouldn't let it happen again and if I did, I would know how to counteract it. We finished up the lesson and kiwi give me a checklist for the circuit to revise for next lesson.

Quite a day for mixed feelings, but an important day of my flight training, one which I will take many things away from.

Just have to wait and see how lesson number 10 pans out!