This lesson was postponed, due to the weather, on my original day and was moved to the next day, which brought better weather compared to the previous day. It was an early morning slot so the airfield and airspace was quite quiet which is very nice for a student pilot. I arrived in to the training centre and checked in, and was introduced to my instructor – a new instructor for me, a different teaching style, which is great as you learn different things with different people – and we went off to brief about the lesson.

After briefing we headed down to the aircraft to perform the walk-around, which in simple terms, you are trying to find a reason NOT to fly the aircraft, as something minor on the ground could be major in the air. This includes checking all the control surfaces, the landing gear, the fuselage, oil and fuel to ensure it is safe to fly. Once the outside checks were completed we headed in to the aircraft.

It was freezing cold on the airfield and after doing the walk around we were frozen, after starting the internal checks we fired up the engine, and then tuned in the radio and this was when we found that my microphone was having issues, we went through the trouble shooting to see if it was the aircraft of the headset, to which we deduced it was. We shut down the engine and my instructor headed back to the training room to grab a different headset. After he came back, we tested it, and it worked, so started the engine again and finished the internal checks. We tuned and checked the ATIS frequency, copied it down and then requested our taxi clearance – my instructor was keen for me to do as much as possible, so wanted me to do the radio calls as well, and if i needed help he would jump in – so we talked about what I would say on the radio and what to expect as a response, after a short pause to make sure no one else was transmitting on the frequency I transmitted my first radio call, and low and behold it came quite naturally, the only thing i missed on the read back was my squawk number which my instructor jumped in on the end of my message and transmitted the missing details.

We taxied to the holding point and performed our usual checks before departure before I called up saying we were ready for departure, we got cleared for takeoff – the first take off i have done myself – headed out over the beach and turned to head to the west. We climbed up to 2000ft initially where we looked at medium level turns, and how to recognise when its going wrong, such as overbanking, underbanking, climbing or descending. It was interesting to see the flight track to see just how many turns I did in a short space of time. Over the lesson we looked at improving the speed of entry and exit in to the medium level turn and rolling out on to a heading. After this we looked at climbing and descending turns and how to recognise when they are going wrong again. Once my instructor was satisfied I understood medium level turns and climbing and descending turns he asked me if i wanted to continue on a bit more and start to look at stalling or whether i wanted to head back to the airport – obviously I said continue!

The stall filled me with a little apprehension, we climbed up to 3500ft to perform the stall, we completed the HASELL check before completing the manoeuvre. My instructor showed me how to perform the stall and how to recover without power, and then he talked me through it so i could try it. We then looked at stall recovery with power straight away. I must say a stall isn’t the same as in a car where the engine stalls, the engine in an aircraft keeps running, it’s the wings that stall, an aircraft stall is an aerodynamic condition in which an airplane exceeds its given critical angle of attack and is no longer able to produce the required lift for normal flight.

After touching on stalls we headed back to the aerodrome, where my instructor wanted me to do the radio calls, I started off fine, but when it came to passing the message back, i froze, I completely forgot what to say and my instructor took over. We headed in on a crosswind join for runway 20, headed down on a left downwind, turned base and eventually on to final where I brought the aircraft down on the glide path pretty well –  considering there was a crosswind throughout all of the approach and landing – until the round out to landing where i ballooned the aircraft and the instructor took over and brought her down further down the runway.

We taxied back to stand and shut her down, and headed back up to the training room and debriefed the lesson to which i was told i was doing really well and that the radio although fluffing up on the inbound radio call, did really well considering it was my first time on the radio, and was told to brush up on my Air Law theoretical knowledge and get my class 2 medical sorted as I could be going solo in the next 3-4 hours – this made me very happy!

I did however realise only when I got back to my car that when my instructor went back to get me a different headset, i turned off the audio recorder and the go pro with the intention of turning them back on when he was back, I turned the audio recorder back on, and thought i turned the gopro back on, but didn’t. When i dismounted it from the aircraft I thought it had just ran out of battery, but i didnt even press record! I was so gutted as it was my first take-off, landing and radio call. Hey ho these things happen at least i still have the audio recording to work from and the CloudAhoy track. It also explains the lack of photos on this post.

lesson 4 route.PNG

See my track in more detail here

I will get the ATC transcript up soon – I havent had the time to do it yet!

I won’t be posting the next few weeks due to Christmas and New Year, all the best and ill speak in 2018!

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