Lesson 24 – Instrument Flying and more PFLs

So this Saturday still hasn’t come quick enough!  Getting impatient late one arvo at work, about two hours before home time, I made the phone call, “Chuck, what is the chance of getting a C152 and Adam?”.  His answer was “which one do you want, but Adam isn’t on”.  A quick call to Adam he agreed to come in and do the flight, what a champion!

I left about an hour early after an early start and a long day of meetings.  The late arvo freeway traffic was still ok, so getting to Jandakot was quick.  Very co-incidentally I got a text from Tulky, a mate saying, “just sitting at Jandakot watching the planes, cool”.  A quick call confirmed he was still there and mentioned I was about 10 minutes away.  He hung around and came over to have a look at the tiny planes I fly.

Tulky will be one of the first few who will no doubt join me for a flight after my GFPT, so having a look at what he was in for was quite timely.  He came and had a look as I did the pre-flight checks and marvelled at the simplicity and basic nature of the aircraft.  We both agreed that the off-road buggies we’ve been building for the last 3 1/2 years are probably more complicated.  He help me pull the plane out and headed off back to the viewing area once I went into the briefing area with Adam.

The goal of the lesson was two fold.  Firstly for me it was about doing the PFLs and arrival procedure for area solo clearance.  But at the same time do our first of 2 lessons on Instrument Flying.  Instrument flying is taught this early as a precaution if you end up in clouds and allows you a good chance of controlling the aircraft safely when you have no sight.

This meant wearing the hood.  I grabbed a sick bag as Adam claimed that by the time he dis-oriented me with the hood on, I would probably throw up.  Since the front seat briefing a few weeks back, I’ve been regularly studying and reviewing the Instrument Flying procedures.  This means knowing which instruments apply when entering straight and level flight from both a decent and climb, doing a rate 1 turn, doing a turn in a climb and doing a turn in a decent.  After all those, Adam did some rather dis-orienting maneuvers and gave me the controls to recover all while my hood was on.  This meant using only the instruments.

These went well, except when he did a negative g dive and my head hit the roof.  He was amused at the expense of me not having my lap belt tighter.  Right, enough of that for today, it was time for those pesky PFLs.

The first was ok, but I was high, the second the same.  I would have still successfully got in, but probably half way up the paddock.  Then on the climb out at maybe 700 feet, Adam tested me on an engine failure.  Straight away I reacted and did what you would do during a take-off engine failure.  On the third I was pretty much spot on, but had knocked the flaps down to full during my restart check.  Although I made the mistake, it ended up being pretty spot on.  Then the fourth I was again a bit high.  This time I did some slide slipping to drop some altitude out quickly.  Still a little high but ok.

That was all we had time for.  On the way back towards Six South before demonstrating an unassisted Jandakot arrival, Adam asked what I could improve.  Although the PFLs were ok, they weren’t perfect.  The key was that you don’t have to rush when you have the altitude.  Plan well and fly to that plan.  My answer was that I was making my flight plan too tight.  I was correctly flying the plan, but the size of my flight pattern was too tight.  Adam agreed and it gave me something to work on when I head back out alone…

The final test was to fly back into Jandakot without any guidance, including all radio calls.  Although I’ve been doing this a while, this was the formal sign off test.  To say today was routine was far from the norm.  We got the ATIS info, the same as when we left, then reported ok at Six South.  But between Six South and Forrestdale Lake a following Cessna 172 reporting in.  Then about 4 miles out a twin engine plane reported in.  The tower advised me that the twin was going to fly straight past me.

We kept a close eye and spotted the lady in the C172 behind, but was still to spot the twin.  It was only about when we crossed the training circuit that the twin finally caught us.  He had a good head of steam and was cleared visual approach.  The tower advised we were to follow him.  Forgetting to give us “clear visual approach” the tower called back.  The C 172 behind us was then given clearance to follow us in.

With the speed of the twin he flew a wide long down wind and then in.  I slowed slightly so I wouldn’t have to head too far out and then turned onto the base leg as he turned final.  We flew our normal base and final leg and were given clearance to land.  Immediately as we touched down the C172 behind us was told to go-around.  Adam looked out the back window and she had flown right up behind us, just crossing the airfield boundary.  We were surprised why she didn’t space herself out a little better and as a result she cost herself another circuit.

After getting back to the Air Australia office, Adam and Cameron had a chat and gave me the ok to go ahead my area solo.  However Cameron said that due to starting footy back up, he wouldn’t be available to come in on the weekend to sign me out.  He said I’d have to find a weekday slot.  Farrrk!  Anyway he said, I suppose I can come in Sunday and you can do it.  His humour and offer resulted in him copping a hug 😉

So, Sunday 9am, its time for my first Area Solo.  So eager am I, that my second area solo will be 3pm the same day… Woo hoo, a big milestone is just around the corner! and, my blog is now upto date!!!

Will report back on Sunday after the area solo’s 🙂

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