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Finally!


Guest Crash Lander
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Guest Crash Lander

Well, I finally managed to get airbourne again today. I haven't flown since 30th June, so I was getting blisters on my feet from being grounded for so long!

 

I had booked for 2 hours, with the plan to do 1 hour dual on advanced stall, then 1 hour solo to do the required 1 hour solo stalls practice.

 

The sky was clear all morning, except the wind was rather strong. I rang the airfield an hour before I was due to go up, but they were all out flying, so nobody answered. I decided to take a punt, and just head on over.

 

On the way to the airfield, which is about 35-40 minutes by car from my home, the dark grey clouds decided to roll in, and the wind wasn't showing any signs of letting up either.

 

Once I arrived, I was told that there was the odd hole in the clouds we could get through to get the required 3500 feet to practice stalls.

 

Winds dictated we use rwy 26, which is the short, uphill driveway....I mean runway.

 

A slight crosswind too. The winds were forecast to reach 32kts, but were currently at about 20-25kts.

 

We fired up the old girl, who was waiting for me on the tie-down pad next to the other, more 'real' type a/c, otherwise known as Cessna 172's. She didn't want to start at first, and the comment was made that she took a bit of effort to start first thing that day too. A little extra choke saw her come to life, and I felt the rumble of my addiction begin to run through my veins once again.

 

Taxiied to the threshold, and launched sky-ward. It was soon apparent that todays lesson would involve some revision in 'flying sideways', as the winds were quite strong, but consistant.

 

We managed to find a nice big gap in the clouds just to the East of Ocean Grove, that allowed the required altitude, and we began with a few level wing stalls. I hadn't done any work on stalls since lesson 4, in October last year, so it was good to go over it again. We did a few of those, with each one also requiring a medium to steep turn afterwards to remain clear of the clouds. We went back up, to 3500, and the did some stalls in turns. I had been told that some a/c will flick over to the opposite side when stalled in a turn. For example, if you're turning right, and stall the a/c, the left wing will drop suddenly, potentially causeing a snap roll, and untold trouble. We discovered that the Gazelle, when in a full stall in a right turn, will pause, count to 10, recite the alphabet first forwards, then backwards, then ever so leisurely, lower the left wing for you.

 

Did seeral of those, and then headed back into the wind for the trip back to the airfield.

 

On our way out into the training area, our airspeed was indicating about 70-75kts, but looking at the ground confirmed we were really travelling. The trip back however, we were indicating about 85kts, but looking at the ground told a much slower story. I'd guess we were only getting about 60kts groundspeed.

 

We made our call. "Barwon Heads Traffic, Gazelle 3843, overflying Ocean Grove, inbound at 2000ft, Barwon Heads."

 

About 6-8 minutes later, my instructor decides to make another call. "Barwon Heads Traffic, Gazelle 3843, STILL overflying Ocean Grove, inbound at 2000ft, Barwon Heads."

 

Upon returning to the airfield, we confirmed that the message did indeed get the intended chuckle from those in the office.

 

The landing was a little rusty, being 5 weeks since last flying, but not so rusty as to have Roy need to grab the controls, and considering the winds, I reakon it was a satisfactory effort. The last part of the final approach, just before touchdown went like this:

 

Roy: Nose down, nose down...Hold it off, hold it off.....

 

Just before he finished saying the second hold it off, we landed. I'd say touched down, but it was slightly more than a touch! LOL! He laughed, which I thought was funny.

 

All up we did 0.8 hours. (felt like 0.2 to get out, and 0.6 to get back again!LOL!)

 

Next flight is scheduled for next weekend, weather permitting.

 

Plan is to do 1 hour solo stalls, level wing only of course, if the cloud base allows the required altitude. Otherwise, he wants me to do a few standard circuits, then a low level 500ft precautionary circuit, followed by a short field landing to a full stop, then taxi back for a short field take off.

 

They've blocked the a/c for the whole afternoon for me from 2:30pm, in case I want to do the final hour of solo I require for my passenger endorsement. The it's just the flight test to do, and I'm legal.

 

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