Apologies for the delay with the blog but with a combination of financial year end work commitments, family, flying and study it's been a bit hard to sit down at the PC and "scribble". Plus I've been found out by a couple of guys at my school and someone's been hassling me about when the next instalment was coming...here you go .
Ok, last week saw a revision lesson with an instructor where there was a combination of slope landings, running take offs and landings and a demo on quick stops. It was actually good to go back a step from dual check and solo circuits, to showing the instructor if I'd remembered past modules and also the start of the long polishing process which is ahead. It was a case of I knew basically what I had to do in my head and trying to get the hands and feet to play the same game, hence the polishing of technique etc. I didn't go too bad on the slopes - my main emphasis personally was not to rush the move / hover / landing and make positive inputs to the controls. Limited power, that instinct to pull on collective, saw me with instructions to leave my hand on leg while emphasis was place on small inputs with the cyclic and positive yet "loose" feet on the pedals (if you know what I mean). In my initial lesson on these I remember there was a lot happening all at once and early on seemed a bit of a handful. I can appreciate now with a "level" of confidence (however small that is at the moment) it has freed up a bit of brain space to concentrate more and more on what would make the machine do things a bit smoother and what is being asked. Quick stops - how awesome, from the hover we travelled to about 40-50kts turning 180 then pulling up from aft cyclic and right pedal to a nice boot full of left pedal with collective and forward cyclic, into a hover - ok some of you guys are probably thinking big deal - but hopefully you can remember back to when you first experienced it. After demonstrating a few, I had a crack at a couple and could appreciate the amount of coordination required to make it look good - I seriously could have stayed out there for another hour or more just doing them!
A few days later it was off for a dual check and some more solo circuits at Hoxton Park. After the complimentary circuit with the instructor we landed and he departed so I could run around for four circuits and begin to balance the ledger of dual versus in command time (such a long way to go). On a chilly morning I kind of feel sorry for the instructors as they stand there trying to soak up some of the sun's ray's early in the morning, but once I'm rolling I forget about that until of course I come around again and as I do a clearing turn he's there again hopefully not wishing I'd hurry up.
The 3rd lesson that week was a flight down to Camden for a look see further into the training area, getting into Camden and a circuit before heading back. The gusty westerly wind made us feel like our ground speed wasn't earth shattering but at least the run home would be quicker. We tracked out to Mayfield and being an early Saturday morning, GAAP hadn't started quite yet so CTAF procedures were in place. Coming into an aerodrome like that for the first time bearings were a bit shot and not knowing familiar features for turning points in the circuit was a bit off putting. We joined downwind which was quick, base was slower and then final leg was a crawl. There were two or three fixed wing in the circuit as well and I thought it was funny some of them were having a nice old chat about the day etc over the radio. After the first circuit, we made the call for a downwind departure and off we went. There was a Cherokee turning crosswind as we were probably turning downwind and seeing our departure height was 1300' which corresponded to his circuit height we called to confirm with him where we were, but he couldn't see us. Until we cleared the zone I think it did play on my mind a bit about whether he would pop out beside or on top of us. But a minute later he peeled off on his base turn just above and behind us. Made me think about traffic and see and be seen when I was driving home in the car that day.
That week also saw as much study as I could fit in before Tuesday this week when AGK was sat and passed - 3 down 4 to go (think I'll go for Aero next).
This morning I took the instructor out to just past Prospect Reservoir and then did a u turn, took him back and then did the same thing by myself. Telling the tower that I was early solo, the instructor departed and I said see you soon . It felt really good to just head out rather than be confined to circuits (don't get me wrong they're great as well). After reaching Prospect again and feeling like I wanted to go just a little bit further, I hung another u turn listened to the ATIS and then made my inbound call. Tracking to the next reporting point, the local traffic chopper was my traffic in front of me as I turned to head for joining base. I was cleared to land and got a bit tongue twisted with my call back and the tower replied something like a bit nervous there?, I felt like saying fair go!, so I continued to the pad and buzzed back to the school - again can't wait for more of these.
Until next time...
Follow choppernut on his journey to CPL(H).
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