Low Flying Revision + Circuits 10-11 December 2005

Weather was pretty much what is forecast for today:


METAR NZHN 111900Z 09008KT 30KM FEW025 SCT042 BKN065 19/15 Q1012=

TAF NZHN 111319Z 111306
08008KT 30KM -SHRA FEW018 BKN050
TEMPO 1324 6000 SHRA
TEMPO 0004 4000 SHRA BKN012 SCT020CB
TEMPO 0406 4000 SHRA
2000FT WIND 06025KT =

So I decided to revise low flying, because when I did the formal low flying lesson the weather was nil wind sky clear. Dave was a bit concerned about the cloudbase and we were indeed cleared for special vfr to the low flying zone. As it happened the cloudbase was about 200 feet higher than forecast (in fact we were asked for a weather report by the tower) so we made it out there fine. After a trip round the perimeter we descended to 300AGL and reconfigured into the bad weather config (15 degrees flap and trim for 70 knots) and went about going over the finer points of low flying. I must say, the apparent slip/skid into cross wind turns is quite pronounced, but a quick glance at the coordinator put any fears to rest. We did a coastal reversal turn, a turn around a point (which I haven't quite got the hang of yet) and something new since I did my lesson way back in January, a steep turn at low level. I tended to put on more power than was necessary because a spiral dive at 300 AGL is not good. Then we did some precautionary landings which went OK except I was too close to the field I had chosen. Then it was back to the airfield where I did a crosswind landing. This went fine up until I deliberately (and I still don't know why) lowered too much wing into the wind and we nearly went off the runway. Instructor Dave asked me what I did wrong and I answered instantly what I had done. I made a silent vow to go up and practise some more landings.

Which brings us to my next flight the day after. Similar weather conditions but surprisingly good visibility under the cloud which made life a lot easier. Took WAM up for some solo circuits and after a standard one to get into the swing of it I decided to practise my glide approaches. The first one I was too low and even after not deploying flap I had to add power to make the field. I had to orbit on the next one to maintain some separation with one of the other students who was doing some dual circuits with Greg. That one I ended up having to go around because I was way too high and despite closing the throttle and deploying full flap there was no way I was going to make it to the runway. The next one I was instructed to land and backtrack because IFR traffic was about to depart. 0.3 on the hobbs later I was back in the air. I did two more circuits but the last one was my best glide of the day, with a perfect stall warning touchdown. I still need more practise and will do so over the next few weeks.