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Mar 27

Solo Nav 2

After a week of bad weather, it was nice to wake up this morning to see things were looking positive for my second solo nav flight, which was a route out via Framlingham and Snetterton Heath.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

I got to the airfield, checked over the NOTAMs etc, and my instructor had checked over my route planning to make sure it was all in order. After the paperwork, I went out and preflighted the aircraft (G-SHWK), and then we did a single circuit as a dual check to make sure I still remembered how to fly.

With that out the way, it was time for me to head off on my own. After departure it seemed air traffic were a little confused as while I was approaching 2000′ heading out to the East they instructed me to orbit for spacing in the circuit – this was quickly resolved after I explained I was departing on a cross country ?

The point I was using to start the route is a place known as six mile bottom, recognisable by being where a railway line crosses the A11. This was the first time I’ve approached it after taking off on 05, and I did initially manage to fly straight past it, so I did a 180 degree turn and got back to it.

After that I turned on to my heading for the first leg to Framlingham, and then noted down the time and did a quick gross error check. I had quite a while until my first checkpoint as I had a 20 knot headwind – eventually however Bury St Edmunds appeared – I was slightly left of track so I made a correction for this. The rest of the leg proved uneventful, I made contact with Wattisham Approach to get a MATZ penetration, and other than a couple of further adjustments to my heading as I was still drifting left a bit I made it to Framligham with no problems. I did encounter a nice demonstration of the effect of thermals however – there were a few breaks in the clouds allowing sunlight to the surface, and as I flew over those sunlit areas I would start to gain height if I didn’t compensate – I’ve never experienced it this obviously before, but I think the cold temperatures meant it had an exaggerated effect.

For the next leg to Snetterton Heath I tried to compensate for the fact my first leg had shown the wind was not doing exactly what was forecast – I realised once I could see Eye and Diss that I’d slightly overcorrected as I was ending up a bit to the right of my planned track, so I picked a heading in the middle which seemed to work well.

Once Snetteron Heath appeared (it’s a disused airfield which now has a race track, making it very easy to recognise from above), I turned on to my next heading back towards Cambridge (attempting to adjust for the wind). I then made contact with Lakenheath approach to get approval for entering their MATZ. I realised as my first checkpoint came into view I’d slightly overcorrected, so I adusted my heading slightly.

After clearing the MATZ, it was just a case of contacting Cambridge Approach and heading in. Upon contacting Tower I did rather foolishly request a crosswind join, which was impossible as it would have required me to be the other side of the airfield to do, however Tower realised this and gave me a downwind join instead, which was the right answer. The landing was a little flat, but I touched down with an almost zero rate of descent which is ideal (if I’d have had the nose a little higher so it wasn’t as flat then it would have been what’s known as a ‘greaser’, or essentially perfect landing).

It was then just a case of taxiing back, shutting down and heading in to complete the paperwork, and pay for the total of 95 minutes of flying (which my wallet didn’t like!).

Next up is my Qualifying Cross Country (QXC) flight, which is a solo flight of at least 150nm, landing at two other aerodromes (in my case Sywell and Connington). I’m booked in for this for tomorrow, so if the weather cooperates it could be a fun day (statistically speaking though it’s unlikely, as very few people ever get to do their QXC on the first attempt!)