No passengers allowed

I've booked a 172 for a trip to Pauanui with Susan for Wednesday. The forecast rain for today (Saturday) hasn't arrived yet so it was a beautiful spring morning that greeted me as I arrived at the Aero Club to do my 3 circuits to pass the currency test (according to my logbook I have not logged PIC time in a 172 since August). Thats well outside the minimum 3 takeoffs and landings required every 90 days to satisfy the legal requirements of carrying passengers.

I got to fly WAM again for the first time since it had the 180hp STC conversion performed (according to my logbook it was way back in February that I last flew WAM), and it also had some nice leather seats replacing the old velour ones. An instructor asked me to treat the new engine with care, no glide approaches and to try to keep the revs up. I got in to find that half the radio stack was missing, and so I had to give myself a crash course on how to use the radio function of the GPS. Then there was maneuvering for a run up near holding point Golf. There is enough room there for two aircraft and I hesitated because I wasn't entirely sure there was. I ended up in no mans land and effectively blocked the taxiway, which got a polite request from the aircraft behind me (with Club instructor aboard) to move.

On the first circuit despite a slowly falling air pressure WAM showed just how much difference a new engine makes, climbing sharply away. I was overhauling the Alpha in the circuit ahead of me so I widened the circuit out and kept an eye on him.

It was almost impossible to descend with the throttle open. I tried a descent at 2000 rpm, then 1800, then 1700 but WAM just wanted to keep flying. I ended up almost having to glide her in because at those power settings she just resolutely refused to come down.

Once I was on the ground just opening the throttle was enough to get WAM airborne again, never mind raising the flaps. I tried a Vx climb andWAM didn't disappoint. By this time I had worked out a way for WAM to come down at a decent engine speed, using the precision approach method. I needed to practice them so it was good compromise.

I was circuiting on Grass 07, which hardly gets used because Hamilton very rarely has easterly winds. I like approaches to Grass 07 because of the lack of turbulence on short finals. There was a very slight crosswind (less than a knot or two) so I got to practice my crosswind landing technique as well. I aimed to land on the centreline as well, and for the most part I was successful.

As per usual, my last landing was my best, probably because by now I had come to terms with WAMs new flight characteristics and my confidence had returned. I taxied back and shut down, and then came a quick lesson from the polite instructor in the aircraft behind me on runup area etiquette and spacing. All of what he said I knew, I guess I just was thinking about a million things at once at the time and plain common sense wasn't one of them. Thats why the one thing you simply cannot afford to do in aviation is hurry. Haste most certainly makes waste, the consequences of which are most unpleasant.

I'll post again after my flight on Wednesday. Those of you who read Chris's blog would have seen his photos of Pauanui airfield and I hope to post some of my own here after my flight there.

Comments

Kiwi Flyer said…
Yes interesting runway 07 is, unique but slightly nerveracking approach right above SH3. Cool looking down at the cars to see them looking up at you green with envy :)

The shorter runway makes for a good challenge to get your downwind checks and call done, as I found out today, but I guess like you said the other day it's about keeping ahead of the aircraft.

Enjoy your trip to Whitianga, from the photos looks like a great place to fly.
Chris Nielsen said…
Went in WAM today as well - it certainly goes well!!!!
Euan Kilgour said…
I have to say, whoever did the conversion did a pretty good job. Unlike JGP you don't need very much right rudder in the cruise. Its pretty much the same as it was when WAM was 160hp.
Chris Nielsen said…
The powerplant might be nice but the stall warning is shit! We were flying round at 75kt and it sounded like someone had left their cat in the plane, it was howling for the moon :)
Aaron Martin said…
I think you forgot to log the flight we all did to Ardmore, Thames and Hamilton on 15th September. Although you only got one takeoff and landing, so I guess you still wouldnt have been current.
Chris Nielsen said…
Yeah, that was an awesome flight.. We'll have to do it again sometime, although I don't get owners rates on JGP anymore so we'd have to pay retail.. boo hoo!
Euan Kilgour said…
Its weird you say that Chris, I did a 60 knot approach and the stall warning didn't go off. Have you been doing high speed > 16 degree AoA maneuvers again? :-)
Chris Nielsen said…
Nah, Rog was just flying us round with flap zero and maybe 30 deg angle of bank and the stall warning was just constantly blaring at 75 kt
Aaron Martin said…
Maybe we should schedule a 3leg flight once a month or something?
Chris Nielsen said…
Yeah man - sounds like a plan, we should do that...
Euan Kilgour said…
Sounds like a plan guys. For a longer trip (and we could take an Archer/Arrow coz the runways are nice and long) we could do something like HN - TG - WT - HN?
Chris Nielsen said…
If you want to go a bit further afield, how about maybe HN-AR-GB-HN
We could have lunch at GB and then come back.. It's only 50 mins in DQV to get back from GB...
Euan Kilgour said…
I have no problems taking the Arrow, just I can't log any time.
Chris Nielsen said…
Not sure I'm that comfortable with you paying and not being able to log time. I suppose it's not really different to if you were in the back on a Barrier run
Kiwi Flyer said…
Hope your trip to Whitanga went alright Euan, weather should have been OK..

I hope you dont mind me asking, but I've just got a quick question in regards to the VFG. I see there are couple of different binding options, I'm guessing the hard cover binder would be the one to go for?

Cheers, Jarred.
Chris Nielsen said…
Hey guys.. Yeah, come on and tell us about your trip Euan :-)

If you don't mind me sticking my beak in, the hard cover is a pain in the ass in the plane, I'd either go for the ring bound VFG and take that with you, or get either one but take copies with you in the plane, like the A5 clearfiles we have in our planes now
Rodney said…
Hello Kiwi Flyer... you question re AIP Vol 4 ["VFG"]? Personally, I have a couple of the plastic ring bingers. The work well, have not yet broken and allow you to easily fold the AIP back on itself, so easy to use in the cockpit. Just my 10 cents worth :-)

Actually, to make it easier to use, I have two of them: One for everything excluding AD section and one for the AD section. Not quite as tight a fit that way.

Cheers,

Rodney
Euan Kilgour said…
I have an A4 clearfile which I store photocopied sheets from the VFG in for any given flight I am going to undertake. Basically I keep as much relevant information (destination plate, FISCOM chart, diversion airfields) in it for quick reference. I find this most handy if I am alone. I always carry my VFG as well in case of the unexpected.