Lesson 23(a) – Pre-Area Solo check practice flight

Its a beautiful Saturday morning, 7am, the sky is clear, sun is out and I’m super excited. I could only get VH-IGX this morning, rather than my new favourite C152 at Air Australia, VH-AOH. Anyway, IGX had just had maintenance and the news was that it was performing super well.  Sweet!

Pre-flight checks, done.  Anyway, we taxi out to the run-up bay and get into the checks.  We get to checklist item “Check Magnetos Left / Right”.  Left good, Right, cough cough splutter splutter.  We do the usual and run the engine to about 2200 RPM and lean the mixture out.  This clears the carbon and usually sorts the splutter.  Anyway, the engine was struggling to make the 2100 rpm mark.  On the check of the mags again, the same result.  This means the flight is over 😦

We taxi back and report the fault.  One of the senior instructors takes the plane out to the run-up bay and tries it himself.  When he gets back he promptly gets on the phone and starts re-scheduling students.  I was angry that we couldn’t do the lesson, now the third time because of a problem with the aircraft.  The earlier instances were due to the VHF radio not working before the flight.  The checks are mandatory in any case and are there to ensure the safety of you, your passengers and the aircraft. My takeaway from today was that this re-enforces the critical nature of all the checks and diligence is a must!

Anyway, the planes spark plugs were pulled out and checked, something that a pilot is permitted to perform without having to send the plane off to maintenance or take it offline.  One of the plugs was replaced and the plane was back to top performance.

What this meant, was that I had a good hour or so up my sleeve.  So Adam sat me down in the test area and I did my pre-area solo exam.  It was pretty straight forward, since I’ve been pretty much reading the Basic Aeronautical Knowledge (BAK) most nights.  I got a call later to say that I’d passed.  All that remains at this point, is a successful check flight with Cameron and it is time for the area solo 🙂

The next few days I took my son Josh camping.  We took our 4×4 and my brothers boat away with us.  We found ourselves on the beach fishing and camped in our swag overnight.  The next day we spent a good few hours playing in the dunes and then out in the boat to catch crabs.  All was great fun and we both are hanging to go again…

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