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First night flying lesson!


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Thought I might write a little about my first night flying lesson for those interested! 001_smile.gif.2cb759f06c4678ed4757932a99c02fa0.gif


Rocked up at the school, did some paper work and talked about what we will do... which was go out for an hour or so and touch up on some full panel IF flying - under the hood - as it was in day light at this stage. Pre-flighted the C172SP, first time I've flown an SP so it was fun tracking down all 13 fuel drains...!! (there are five in each wing, and 3 under the belly). Certainly ensuring we weren't carrying anything But Avgas in there!


Climbed in and fired up - fuel injected engine so prime up with rich mixture and throttle in, then start with mixture lean, back to rich once it fires. Started first pop and away we roll... this was probably the newest Cessna I've flown so it was a bit of a novelty to be using 21st century radios, and even have cup holders throughout the aircraft! Bit flash really.... 016_ecstatic.gif.156a811a440b493b0c2bea54e43be5cc.gif


One other thing I learned in the run-up bay was you had to set the electric trim button (yes it has electric trim on the yoke as well!) with the Autopilot... so once that was done we were ready to rock and roll! 003_cheezy_grin.gif.c5a94fc2937f61b556d8146a1bc97ef8.gif


Lining up and rolling, lifting off when it was ready and climb out at 75kts. Once everything was looking rosy, it dawned on me this was sooo quiet! Even with my fancy clarity aloft headset it was remarkably quiet. Something to do with being a 21st Century aircraft and modern technology eh! 012_thumb_up.gif.cb3bc51429685855e5e23c55d661406e.gif


A few seconds after contemplating on how unusually smooth and quiet it was, my instructor decided my time for looking outside had come to a screeching holt, and asked me to 'don' my hood. For those that haven't ever experienced a hood, and I'm not meaning one of those things girls used to wear 'back in the day', or was that a hoody? Ah well, anyway it's a plastic hat thingo that when positioned properly you can't effectively see out the windows unless you tilt your head back. So we then proceeded to go through the motions of full panel instrument manoeuvres, climbing descending turns onto headings, etc etc etc... and it's pretty easy going, but if you forget to do the instrument scan and just focus on one you can get yourself unstuck pretty quick. Did some unusual attitude recoveries - so with that, you hand over control and close your eyes and the instructor throws the aeroplane around for a bit then hands over to you, the idea is for you to recover back to straight and level on instruments only. As we all know the golden rule of wings level, then go from there. Great fun, and fairly easy but you just have to make sure you roll the right way... it'd be an interesting moment if you ended up with a brown bit above the horizon on your Artificial Horizon!


Apparently it was such a lovely view, and the clouds and rainbow were amazing!! Well that was what the instructor was saying... All I saw is a AH, DG ALT ASI etc... 040_nerd.gif.a6a4f823734c8b20ed33654968aaa347.gif


So I was directed back to the airfield by my instructor using compass headings, and once near the field was given the privilege of the glorious view one gets when looking out an aircrafts windows, by tossing the hood on the back seat.


Circuit and landing... on final with full flap, hold off and touch down with the horn making itself known somewhere in the cabin. I was told I probably don't need to do such a high nose landing... well I guess It had been a while since flying a trike undercarriage.... 022_wink.gif.2137519eeebfc3acb3315da062b6b1c1.gif


Into the briefing room and we did some chatting about night flying some more, how the runway lights work etc... and what you should and shouldn't do around an aerodrome at night. So just before it got dark, out we went again and this time having a passenger who asked if he could come along for the ride - passenger being a pilot as well.


We did a few instrument circuits, so as soon as the runway lights go under the nose down on the instruments and doing a complete circuit not looking outside - instructor was I hope! - and coming visual again around 300ft. That was interesting as I've always flown and adjusted my circuit/descent rate etc on base final to suit using an aiming point, well when you can't see outside that is mighty tricky to do!! poke_tongue_out.gif.5a7d1a1d57bd049bd5fb0f49bf1777a8.gif But I surprised myself, and turning onto final about 6ooft it all fell into place pretty well. As it got darker we did a few more under the hood, then I did the rest without the hood, but still using instruments 80% of the time. So once the runway lights go under the nose, down on the instruments and check for positive rate of climb, and the altimeter is moving (in the upwards direction!) and maintaining heading on climb out.


We had some storms around that night so we had to keep an eye on them, and fortunately it stayed away from the airport so we got in over an hour of circuits. Had a blasting 15kt gusting wind though... I was told I handle the crosswind fine, "so we can continue if you wish". (apparently it was pretty rough conditions for night flying/training). I don't mind a challenge, particularly when I know I have an instructor beside me, so I kept at it. Didn't have much issue with landing, which surprised me - don't really know why but even despite the conditions It was reasonably easy to make good landings, I put it down to the marvellous design of Cessna aeroplanes and their handling characteristics.


Finally decided we should go in so made a full stop and taxied to the hangar, it's interesting, when taxiing at night looking out the front you can't exactly tell how fast you're going, well, it appears slower than you think, but you're actually going pretty fast! So looking out the side helps with that little interesting fact of life.


Next lesson is in a Warrior as the Cessna is going away for a while, and the other Cessna is a G1000 equipped one, which I can use, but I prefer to do my night training in a steam gauge cockpit. Never flown a Warrior before, so that will be interesting to see what it's like. (Old! no doubt! na_na.gif.fad5d8f0b336d92dbd4b3819d01d62e5.gif)


So there you go, until next time... happy and safe flying to y'all! 014_spot_on.gif.1f3bdf64e5eb969e67a583c9d350cd1f.gif



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Tomo, I did my night VFR in a Piper... I preferred them as I didn't need a ladder to check fuel and low wings are good in ground effect when landing...


A steam cockpit is good for the basics, but going forward EFIS is the way to go.... I can't imagine old individual steam gauges will be around much longer...


A good EFIS will give you the "big picture" but in a quick, concise way... Nowadays screens are more reliable than the pilots flying them...LOL...



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Sounds like you have had a thorough start Tomo. When I got my Night rating it was a called a Class 4 Instrument Rating, which was a bit of a misnomer as it was not an Instrument rating as such, but in order to fly at night you had to demonstrate proficiency on instruments.


I did the initial circuit work in a C172, and then by virtue of seven months in the UK for a Young Farmer Exchange, was swung across onto a Warrior for my Navs. The Warior was far more stable than the Cessna, especially lateral stability, and visibility over the inboard wing in a turn is heaps better- great for that turn onto final.


In an intersting irony the first 10 hours on a Warrior were all done at night and landings were fine, until I tried a few circuits in daytime and bounced the hell out of it. Difficult in a Warrior I know. Think I tried to land it like the Airtourer, and only an Airtourer lands like an Airtourer!!


All your contemporary gadgetry will spoil you Tomo. I am sure Nev can be far more expansive than I on the rudimentary equipment that was used for night flights. Before vacuum pumps, venturis provided the suction for AH, DG and T&B, and it was a game of chicken on the take off run to uncage the AH just before take off speed and pray that it did not topple!! We also had to be able to recognise the Morse idents of NDBs, cos some of the ADFs were valve sets with manual tuning. The intoduction of the KR87 was manna from heaven with digital tuning.


Tomo we all look forward to ongoing reports on you night training. We are sure your learning curve has just increased slightly. I keenly await the report of your first Nav West on a pitch black night. No doubt you will handle it well, but it will give you heaps to reflect on.



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Good story Tomo,


The night training actually improved my daylight landings. I found it easy because, being so short, the instruments were what I looked at most, so it wasn't a stretch to fly by them rather than the view outside.


Night flying outback (or any sparsely populated area) is magic. Towns you couldn't see in daylight appear lit up and you wonder why you couldn't see them in daytime. In that regard naviation is easy. The thermals have given up for the day and flying is smooth as the fairy lights pass under you (I like a highwing for that) and it seems quieter. Love it.


Keep reporting Tomo.





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Thanks folks! 001_smile.gif.2cb759f06c4678ed4757932a99c02fa0.gif


av8vfr: Yeah I know... but most aircraft I'll be flying will have steam gauges... and converting from steam to glass is pretty easy, probably easier than the other way around. I like a challenge, flying glass is all to easy! (yeah I've done it...)



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I did a bit at Gladstone many years ago and due to the hump in the middle of the runway, the far end loghts used to disappear as you got lower on finals. In those days we didn't have headsets, just used the speaker and a hand held mike. That may be why I am nearly deaf now.


It sound as if you are really enjoying your flying and that is great.



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Guest SAJabiruflyer

Tomo, RA-Aus would be well served to use you as an Ambassador for our organisation. Your positive attitude, passion, and the general "feel good" feeling you induce from your posts, would go a long way in helping RA-Aus. Sure, your current endeavours are not neccessarily applicable to Recreational A/C, but the rest of it is. Well done, keep up the good work, and thanks for sharing 012_thumb_up.gif.cb3bc51429685855e5e23c55d661406e.gif



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When are you going to get an Instructor's Rating?

Well I lot of people have asked me that... personally I don't think I've got enough experience to instruct yet, and second I can only do one thing at a time! blink.gif.7ee21b69ed31ab2b1903acc52ec4cc3f.gif


Sponsorship... now there's an idea someone na_na.gif.fad5d8f0b336d92dbd4b3819d01d62e5.gif And It's Okay OME, don't feel pressured, you have pay off that flash new motor bike first! 021_nod.gif.30c66a33e1ed960b5b5d3fc7b345b58d.gif poke_tongue_out.gif.5a7d1a1d57bd049bd5fb0f49bf1777a8.gif


By the way if you are looking for someone to come and get you to pick up your bike... I reckon we could work something out... 022_wink.gif.2137519eeebfc3acb3315da062b6b1c1.gif



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