Rejoining – Saturday 22 January 2005, 10am

Not sure what lesson we are up to, so I will begin the diary from this point onwards with the Lesson title. Rejoining is simply an extension of the circuit where you actually fly away from the airfield, cross an imaginary line on the ground, turn around and fly back to the airport. Sounds easy? Well it isn’t necessarily. The weather was pretty nice this morning, winds from 020 degrees at 6 knots, broken cloud at 4500 feet. Had a briefing for the first time in about 20 hours flying and Greg and I went over the new radio procedures I would need to know. I had been going over the manual a great deal during the week and thought I had it down.

Unfortunately, once we were airborne things were quite different. I made a dumb mistake, I asked for clearance to depart to the west to Cambridge, which was in the wrong direction as Cambridge is east of the airport! Been doing runups and pre-take off checks for so long I know them all now fairly well. Took off and were cleared for right hand departure. Flew to Cambridge, reported clear of the control zone, turned around and did OK in the request for re-entry to controlled airspace. The guy in the tower said a load of stuff I didn’t understand at all. Greg cut through the crap the tower was telling us and replied. It turned out later that I was getting a traffic advisory, and they are a real problem for student pilots because you don't know what to read back. The simple fact is, you don't have to read back any of it.

Made righthand downwind for grass 36, touched down and lifted off again, this time requested clearance to depart to the west over Temple View. Maybe the tower wasn't in a mood to play ball because they refused me the clearance. This time we had to climb out over Hamilton and then about 3 minutes later were cleared for a left turn to Temple View at the substation VRP (visual reporting point). Did a much better job of the reporting in, only this time forgot to fly the plane and we ended too close to the airport on the downwind leg. I thought I did a pretty good job of getting us back to where we needed to be but Greg said nothing so I guess I did OK.

Then we took off for Te Awamutu and that’s where I fell into the trap that Greg had set for me, well he didn’t but he wanted to teach me about being ahead of the plane. We were cleared to make a straight in approach for grass 36 (Te Awamutu is pretty much directly south of the airport) and we had to report overhead Ohaupo. Greg asked for 1500 on the way in so I maintained it as we came in. Then we had to report but it was quite busy with a lot of aircraft in the circuit so and I fell into the trap of not flying the plane. I should have slowed the plane and set her up for a landing but instead we blew past Ohaupo at 110 knots at 1500 feet and it was only when Greg reminded me that I cut the power and looked for the runway (second big mistake because our airspeed went up and that’s another no no) then I remembered what he said about setting a 60 knot descent with full flap and no power will give you a 700 foot per minute descent which will get us to where we need to be. Lesson two, slow is the best way to descend for landing approaches. I got us back down and we had a long debriefing in the plane where I told him I had taken it to heart and I am much wiser because of it. He has a nice saying which I repeat as a mantra, “you have to slow down to go down”.