Another big milestone was reached today in my flight training, the GFPT! Formally called the General Flight Progress Test. What does this mean you may ask. Well it means that I can now officially take passengers flying when I go solo to the training area. So, any takers???
I headed out to Air Australia late this arvo to meet Wayne, my CASA flight examiner. After completing weights and balances, preparing the plane and generally being nervous as hell, we finally sat down and kicked off proceedings. Wayne asked a bunch of questions as per the GFPT criteria. He went significantly easier than Frederic had during my preparation (which I’ll blog on a some point soon), but asked a couple of tough questions that required some significant recall. For example, What are the Special VMC requirements for Jandakot in the event there is adverse conditions? Ok, that basically means visibility and separation from clouds.
After the general questions and answers, Wayne ran through exactly what was going to happen in the air. This was good, it meant that there was a clear plan and I knew what to expect. After a normal take-off on runway 06 Left we departed via Lake Yangebup and then to lake Thompson. I had to put on the hood and we did the basic IFR check. That went well. Next it was stalls. We did the landing configuration incipient recovery (when the stall warning goes off), then we did a full stall in normal configuration. These were all good and no big wing drops today.
After that, we did a Practice Forced Landing (PFL) and a Precautionary Search and Landing. Both went well and at this point Wayne commented that he felt I was flying well. That helped me relax alot. At this point Wayne asked me to head back to Jandakot via Six South and Forrestdale Lake. Approaching Six South, the Eastern entry point to Jandakot I got the ATIS information and flipped over to the tower frequency.
The key at this point is to keep a keen eye out for planes as they all converge at this point. Today was no different, there always seems to be other aircraft arriving at the same time as me. He was in my “8 o’clock” and fairly close. Identifying the other aircraft as a Cessna 172, it has better performance, so I said to Wayne I’d back off a little and let him through. The other plane slowly edged away and we followed him back.
On arrival at Jandakot we joined the training circuit and on the first lap did a normal touch and go. On the second Wayne requested I do a short field landing, which involves landing and stopping in the shortest distance. He requested I put my wheels on the “numbers” at the end of the runway. This was achieved and we pulled up quickly without skidding, sweet! We then took off again and he pulled the power on the upwind climb out to validate I’d get the plane into a safe spot. That was good, it was then off for our last circuit. On this one he got me to do a flapless full stop landing. That meant it was it…
We taxied back and I put the aircraft away. Wayne was waiting inside, he had Adam (my goofy instructor as seen in the photo above) and Frederic (the CFI) waiting. He did a run through of how it all went. The nerves were pretty high at this point. I was thinking, had I screwed something that was meaning a fail given the audience. Wayne had a few bits of advice on the circuit pattern and otherwise commented on each area positively. He gave me some good wraps on the handling of the other inbound aircraft and situational awareness. Then he said congratulations and complimented Adam and Frederic on the training to date. Smiles all round!
So the flying thanks, Wilson for helping me sort my balloon landings and getting me solo, to Cameron for Steep Turns and getting me checked out for the area solo, Frederic for the polishing and invaluable lessons this last week and Adam for all the rest, thanks buddy!