Im going to start off by saying, I PASSED MY AIR LAW EXAM! I also passed it with no wrong answers, 16 out of 16 correct, something that I am extremely happy with. I’ll go more in-depth in another post as to how I am revising and studying my theory exams.
I arrived at the school half hour before my lesson and informed them I wanted to take my Air Law Exam, they set the exam up, explained the procedure, 16 questions, 35 minutes, and away you go! I started my exam at around 12:30 and was finished within 10 minutes, it was marked there and then, and I was told not only had I passed but I had passed with full marks! We then got straight on with the briefing for the lessons.
I’d decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather on the day and decided that I would do two lessons on the day, do one lesson, land and have some lunch, and then do the second lesson. In the briefing we talked about the circuit, what to expect on each leg of the circuit, the checks that need to be completed, the radio calls, the altitudes to fly at, power settings, as well as general airmanship. It seemed like a lot of information to take in initially, however when we actually got airborne and completed a few circuits it all became quite clear. After seeing if I had any questions about what we would be doing in the first lesson, which would be recapping the stalling technique and stalling in the turn, followed by an introduction to the circuit. My instructor had some paper work to finish with regards to my exam so said that I should go down to the aircraft, perform the walk around and prep her ready for departure – gave me a brilliant opportunity to try new GoPro angles.
The start up was pretty standard, we taxied out to runway 20 and started to perform our power checks and as I was checking the magnetos, the right magneto was juddering the engine, something I’ve never experienced, but after a little bit of full power for around a minute or two, what we could only assume was rubbish on the plug was burnt off, when we rechecked it afterwards it performed normally so completed the checklist and prepared for departure.
We got cleared to depart on Runway 20, the reported wind was 280 @ 10kts, which meant that we had a full on crosswind from the right, the aircraft accelerated down the runway and lifted off around a third of the way down and rose in to the air. At around 600ft we started our left turn out to head to our training area, on the way out we got a fantastic view of Brighton, before turning in land to track the coast line to Seaford. We got there quite quickly because of the, what we calculated, 25kt tailwind! Once we got to Newhaven we circled back around in to the wind and performed the necessary checks to perform ‘advanced manoeuvres’.
We went through the stalling procedure, reducing the power and increasing the pitch to maintain height whilst the speed bled off – when performing stalls its hard to see how these can be done in normal flight however I soon realised how easy it can be in the circuit – as the speed bled off, the aircraft gave us multiple warnings that we were about to stall, the stall warner horn was going off, a low indicated airspeed, a high nose attitude and the controls started buffeting (shaking), all of these signs indicate the stall. The standard recovery just involves pushing the yoke forward ever so slightly to start to decrease the angle of attack and to gain airspeed, and if available add power. We went through different types with power recovery and non powered recovery, the clean stall – with no flaps, power off stall and power on stall; and a stall with flaps, power off and power on stall. After this we looked at stalls in a turn and how much easier it is to stall and at a higher airspeed, and looked at the recovery procedures for it, getting the wings level and increasing the airspeed.
As the lesson came to a close we turned back towards Shoreham, tuned the ADF as a back up, although I knew where we were. It was a lot slower on the way back, flying at 90kts indicated air speed (IAS) with a 25kt headwind, we only had a ground speed of 65kts, it took quite a while to get from our training area back to the airfield. Being a nice day the approach controller was fairly busy with the inbound and outbound traffic, trying to get our radio call in before we were close to the airfield. We ended up slowing right down to get the radio call before entering the ATZ (Aerodrome Traffic Zone). We managed to call them up just in time, we wanted to join the aerodrome traffic circuit on the left base before completing a circuit, but because of the volume of traffic in the circuit this was denied. We were told to join overhead at 2000ft, descend on the deadside, of the circuit, down to 1100ft, and join the circuit on the crosswind leg. This gave fantastic views of the airfield, but because the wind was really strong, the deadside descent was fairly quick! We completed the rest of the pattern before lining up on final for a touch and go.
On the approach we got the aircraft configured for landing which was quite successful, on the roll out, I brought the flaps up, increased full power and took the aircraft back in to the air to perform the touch and go circuit. At 600ft, this put us just off the coast line, we turned to a heading of 210 degress roughly, until the airfield was about 45 degrees behind us, before turning to the downwind leg. On this leg there is a lot to do, the level off at circuit level, radio in the downwind call, and perform the pre-landing checks. As the airfield is at 45 degrees again we turned on to the base leg and followed this until the runway was around 10 degress off our nose, on this leg we also start slowing the aircraft down and start slowly descending. As we turn on to final we configure the aircraft for landing, putting in the final stages of flaps and ensuring our speed and height is correct to maintain the correct descent profile. We brought the aircraft down quite nicely and taxiied back to our stand, shut the aircraft down and secured her. We headed back to the breifing room to debreif the lesson, grab a cup of tea, some food and refresh ourselves before heading back up for some circuits.
Like my lessons, I’ll leave this as a break, and the blog post will be continued on the next post.
For the details and my Flight Tracks for this lesson please see the link here.