First day back after the christmas holidays, first flight of 2015 and first solo!
I started the day with a dual flight with my instructor, which includes 4 full circuits to make sure I am still flying safely, my instructor then jumped out of the aircraft and I went up for another circuit on my own.
What an experience it was! It felt equally exciting and terrifying to be left alone with an aircraft after I’ve only been flying for two months. Once I started to taxi away from the school line all of the nerves disappeared and I really enjoyed the rest of the flight! I should be doing lots more solo flying over the coming weeks.
Up until this week we have managed to get quite a bit of flying in each week…. this week was completely different!
Monday we had a day off due to instructor availability. I decided to drive back from London early Monday morning and pop into school of my way. It was really lucky that I did because after only being in the building for a few minutes I was asked by one of the instructors if I wanted to backseat an Instrument flight going to Birmingham. The flight was conducted under instrument flight rules all the way to Birmingham, cruising at 9000ft and joining regular commercial traffic such as Ryanair, Flybe and Turkish Airlines. We then did an ILS procedure at Birmingham which ended with a go-around and engine failure procedure. We then flew back to Oxford under visual flight rules with some general handling and stalling practice on the way. The whole flight was on one of Oxfords brand new Seneca V’s.
On Tuesday the weather was bad so we were grounded. It was a great opportunity to catch up on some of the SOP’s and our essay for the foundation degree. We decided to go out into Oxford on Tuesday evening for a burger and a cocktail… we could have stayed out all night but we were very careful to observe the 8 hour flight rules!
The weather on Wednesday was a little better in the afternoon, however as I was a lesson ahead we ran out of time before I got to fly. I did get to backseat again so at least i had some airtime. Thursday was another bad weather day so after a brief for the next flight and a lot of waiting around we decided to call it a day and head home.
Finally the weather picked up on Friday and i got to fly! This lesson was the first part of stalling. After a smooth taxi and take-off we climbed to the north east at 4,000ft to carry out our stalling drills. Stalling is a very strange thing to experience because there is a point where you have basically lost control of the aircraft. I have been told by a few people that the sign of a good pilot is one who can regain control of the aircraft with minimum height lost… hopefully I managed to achieve this to a high standard and with a bit of practice will be perfect!
Hopefully the weather next week will be much better and ill get a few more hours of flying.
The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be? —it is the same the angels breathe.
— Mark Twain
When I started at OAA all I could think about was what it would be like to actually start flying…. this week I found out exactly how that felt. We have now started the next chapter of our ATPL training – Foundation Flight Training.
As I have previously posted I am going to be doing my foundation flight training in Oxford rather than Phoenix so my experiences will be very different to the normal OAA ATPL course.
We started on Monday morning with a quick introduction to the course and an introduction to the instructors. As OAA don’t usually do foundation flight training in the UK we are being paired with the MPL instructors (usually assigned to the easyJet sponsored cadets). There are 5 instructors in total so we have been split into groups of three and each assigned an instructor. I am paired with Marcus and Lily and our instructor is called Jamie. Next we went through some basic pre-flight paperwork, which includes checking weather & NOTAM’s and filling in all relevant paperwork (including mass & balance, performance and booking forms). After lunch we collected our SOP’s and checklists for the Cessna 182 and went out to the aircraft to talk through how to perform an A-Check. The A-Check is the first check of the day and therefore is much more thorough than any other check carried out on the aircraft. The check includes oil, fuel and tire pressures as well as a detailed look at the entire outside of the aircraft including the control surfaces and lights.
Tuesday was an early start (7.30am) to make sure we could fit everything in that we needed to. We started the day with a briefing for AP1 (all flight lessons are number starting with AP1 and finishes with AP78), which is ‘Familiarisation and Effects of Controls 1’. We walked out to the aircraft (G-MPLC) just before 8.30 for an A-Check and we began our taxi at 8:50. Once airborne we looked at each flight control in sequence and how to hold the datum altitude. We landed back in Oxford at 10:05 and after a quick debrief we were ready for the next person to fly. I was in the backseat of the aircraft for the second flight of the day and then had the rest of the day to read up on my SOP’s.
Wednesday was a bad weather day so we didn’t actually fly. We used the day to go over the Garmin 1000 on a simulator and talk over more paperwork and the local map. We finished the day with a brief of AP2 which was scheduled for Thursday.
The weather was still not great on Thursday morning so we had to delay our early flight until the afternoon. We used the morning to go over more paperwork and practicing our SOP’s in the Garmin sim. I ended up taxiing at 14:40 for AP2 – ‘Effects of Controls 2’. This lesson we looked at the effects of changing power and configuration on the aircraft attitude and how to hold the datum whilst making these changes.
Friday I flew AP3 – ‘Straight and Level 1’ in G-MPLC. This lesson was all about using the altimeter alongside the datum to keep the aircraft straight and flying at a constant altitude. By the end of the week I was also performing all preflight checks, taxiing the aircraft to the active runway and starting (with difficultly) to make the radio calls to air traffic control.
I have this weekend off so I am looking forward to having some time to myself without having to worry about doing work! Next week I am scheduled for AP4 on Monday afternoon!