Lesson 15. Circuits Sunday October 30th 10am 2004

No wind at all. Couldn’t believe it. Total turnaround from yesterday. A bit of cloud around but it was over 2000 feet up so wouldn’t bother me today. With the Club Competition on in the afternoon I thought that the more flying I got in the better. Arrived early and started early. Did the pre-flight, 130 useable litres onboard – what?!? Damn that’s a lot of gas, almost 4 hours endurance. Can’t wait to do some cross countries in this beast. Pity it won’t be with Ryan, next week is his last with the Club. Must remember to buy him a card or something. Went up, the first circuit was a bit loose but probably on a par with lesson 14. Oh yeah, we were using Grass 26, I haven’t done circuits on 26 since the formal Club Comps. The first turn to finals I was high, way high, so its time to glide in, OK, check the airspeed this time to check our approach, hmmm, 75 knots, that’s too fast so bring the nose up a bit, that’s better, hey the airspeed is increasing again, ahhh use the trim wheel, much better. Once I had this little revelation things got way better. It was almost like I was learning to fly all over again. All the advances I had made in my perceptions and judgement were gone and I had to relearn them again. Oh well, better safe than sorry. We were getting sometimes a bit of sink, sometimes a bit of float over the threshold which was throwing my approach out. Ryan said I was doing much better than last week but the conditions were challenging for a student like me because they were different every time we came past. The best landing of the lesson was my first flapless landing. Extend downwind quite a bit, then line up on final and fly it down onto the deck like a jet fighter. I liked it because although the touchdown speed was a bit fast you don’t need to flare as much and it’s a lot easier if you nail the approach to nail the landing. Taking off again caught me out because I took off and wondered why the airspeed indicator shot past the 65 knots I was looking for and settled around 80. Oh yeah, no flaps. The last landing was a bit of a bouncer because I put too much power on just prior to the threshold and we came in high and slow.

That afternoon I did right hand low level circuits from the right seat for the competitions. Only done one right hand circuit before, but never from the right seat. The first circuit was a mess, too high, landing wasn’t bad considering it was my first from the right seat. Its weird because you can’t see the main gauges properly so you sort of have to fly the approach visually. Quite a good habit to get into actually. The second circuit was perfect but for the landing. Again I was a bit short and put too much power on. We ended up high and slow and effectively we fell out of the sky from about 5 feet up – at least I had the presence of mind to bring the nose up so we came down on the main gear and not the nose wheel (that would be very very bad). Ryan was watching me too. I apologised to both Roger and Ryan but they were all too cheery about it. Roger said that at the very least I could walk away and the plane was still in one piece so it was nothing to get too worried about. So much for my solo coming soon.