Lesson 17, Circuits Sunday November 7 12pm 2004

Another nice day for my final lesson with Ryan. Because the team who were away at the regional Aero Club competitions arrived back first thing Sunday (actually most of them arrived back when I was doing my pre-flight) I got to take WAM up instead of JAF which Ryan seems to like. In fact, it was a good chance to compare the two aircraft. I spoke to him about how spoilt I was having 40 degrees flaps compared to WAMs 30 degrees and that was one of the reasons why I got too fast on the approach because I always had the nose too low. Now that I’m aware of the problem it’s a matter of dealing with it by keeping an eye on my airspeed and making sure that I have no more than 65 knots on final approach.

Todays circuits were made a bit difficult by using Grass 18. The downwind side over flies the Mystery Creek events centre and Lochiel Golf Course. That side always throws up some turbulence caused by updrafts and the ride is always a bit bumpy. Ryan noted that I have to pay attention to such things as we gained about 100 feet on the downwind leg. Coming in on final was quite difficult as there was a fairly large amount of updraft coming up which would die on you just before the threshold. Did a flapless landing, and we were way too high and I didn’t quite counter the sink enough enough when it finally came but we made it down a bit on the late side. Ryan then took over and he flew a low level circuit and flapless approach and I admit he had to fight the plane a bit on final to get it down the way he wanted. Then we did a couple of glide approaches, the first was an abortion because idiot Euan decided to lower 10 degrees of flap at the 'normal' time instead of holding off as you are supposed to do in a glide approach. We had to apply power to make it to the airstrip but the landing was OK. I must also remember to also let the nose wheel lower itself because I was dropping it onto the ground and that isn’t good for it. The second glide was much better except we ended up high. Ryan had to S turn it to lose height. I told him after the flight that if I got that high solo I would have gone around. He said that’s the best thing to do if you are low time. That’s where knowing how much fuel you have in the tanks comes in handy. Pushing a bad approach is like playing Russian Roulette. You are much better off going around for another approach. Did an EFATO as well, in which I did OK except that I picked a paddock which was too close. That’s a problem with a lot of students (I thought that I normally chose one too far away) but the go around was pretty good.

I noted that my confidence is coming up and I KNOW that I can land the plane. Ryan seemed keen to make sure that I get a lesson with Roger ASAP. Roger is the only instructor qualified to send students on their first solo at the Aero Club. The other instructors can endorse solo flights once the student has been soloed by Roger. On the last circuit I took the opportunity to wish Ryan all the best in his future endeavours. He decided to demonstrate flying the aircraft by opening the doors. I thought I was going to get 0.1 solo right there and then because it seemed Ryan was set on getting out at 1000 feet AGL!!

We landed and I bought him a beer at the bar to celebrate the end of an era in my flying.