Tuesday, 28 April 2009

"You are Ready"

As it can take a while to get a booking, I had persuaded Neill to ask for a test booking and then we could dot the i's and cross the t's in the meantime, but last night Neill said the words I have almost given up hope of hearing,

"you are ready"

Well, you can imagine what a high I came home on!

We flew one hour dual in which he pulled two things out of the hat which are reserved for students about to be tested: he asked what I would do if cloud was descending, making minimum height operation hazardous and I said I would have to find a field, land and re-assess the situation from the ground. He agreed and said, "let's see you do it". This is different from an emergency landing in that you fly down alongside a promising field and size it up, look for obstacles etc. Then you fly along the intended landing track at about 5' checking the surface before climbing up, going round and finally putting down. Just before the wheels touched we climbed out again and headed home.

I love that low-level stuff....the discipline of keeping just airborne....with precise throttle control and the surge as you power out! I can be a bit reticent in banking at low level on the climb-out, forever afraid of doing a Bader and touching the ground with my wingtip, but Neill has encouraged me to be firmer with this.
Earlier on I'd done a powered, shallow approach at a few hundred feet to Pitsford and because there was negligible wind it felt very fast indeed and I got a bit spooked by the speed and hit the throttle just before touch down; I needn't have. Neill says it always feels a lot faster with no wind. But it was good to see Pitsford again and I then demonstrated a short-field take-off.

Then, right near the end of my dual hour, Neill pulled the most exciting exercise yet...he completely stopped the engine and I did a perfect emergency landing on runway 05 before he sent me off to do some solo engine failure exercises over the runway.

55 mins Dual; 40 mins Solo......late in a day on which it hadn't looked flyable all day. It was well worth the wait.

I am ready.

Sunday, 26 April 2009


Tomorrow Neill is going to book me in for a flying test, which he anticipates happening sometime in the next two weeks.


Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Hearty Congratulations
to Steve Prouse

who soloed this Monday evening.

Absolutely delighted for you, mate.
Only sorry I couldn't be there to see it

....That's another drink you owe me :)

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Triangles of Velocities calculator

Ben lent me this piece of kit to try out and I really love it. It is a thick sheet of plastic with a compass rose and various scales on it. With this, a straight edge, a piece of paper and a marker you can very quickly plot triangles of velocities. I was quick with a drawing compass but this is even quicker....I can knock one out in about 30 seconds....and from it I know my heading and ground speed (quickly adding/subtracting variation and deviation afterwards).

Essentially, you draw in your Track Required (edge to centre); then your wind vector you draw in downwind of the centre (marking it off at the speed on the scale); using a piece of paper with a AS mark on it from its corner, draw an arc centred at the end of the wind line so that it intersects the heading line and draw a line between these points; then draw a line parallel to this from the centre out to the circumference....... Writing that took longer and seems more complicated than just doing it, trust me.

Flylight didn't invent the idea, but their version, with instructions printed on it (including a diagram example) is very neat and fits inside one of their A3 sized clear, zip-up map boards with a velcro leg strap. They are not cheap but they really are excellent.

Read here about the CRP-1 computer wizz-wheel....my other rather excellent calculator

Monday, 6 April 2009

Nav exam

Chuffed to bits - I re-took my Navigation exam today and got 90%. Of the two I got wrong, even my examiner got one wrong, admitting that he needed to revise. The other was a silly mistake I will never repeat.

More about this tomorrow.

Thanks to Neill and Ben (but mostly Neill) for ground-schooling me ....and thanks to the BMAA members who advised me on other books to read for the re-test.

Friday, 3 April 2009

The Shooting Star

Hergé, 1946, Tintin - The Shooting Star

Progress on the kitchen wall. Apart from touching-up to be niggled away at, the painting is done.

3'x4'4" in housepaint (left-overs and match pots)