After some initial confusion as to what lesson I was doing (yesterday’s instructor needed to dash out after the lesson and hadn’t had a chance to transfer his scribbled notes to my training file), we went and had the brief.
The key thing here was going to be to try and keep the turns co-ordinated (this means putting in the right amount of rudder to counteract the adverse yaw effect), and also trying to maintain level. As with most things, it sounded simple in theory…
We decided to take G-MEGS, which is the one with the glass cockpit. I had a bit of difficulty starting it – the instructor couldn’t see that I was doing anything wrong so in the end we concluded that it just needed a bit more time being primed with the fuel pump than the checklist said. Once up and running, we were fine.
As we taxyed to the holding point, I discovered a failure of my cheap WHSmith clipboard – the pen holder doesn’t have enough friction and so it decided to disappear out onto the floor – will have to resolve that for future lessons.
I did the takeoff again – it wasn’t as good as last time as I veered a foot or so off the centre line at one point, and then proceeded to end up in initially too high an attitude for the climb (not dangerously high, but higher than the ideal – I’m blaming that on the trim setting though as I think from looking back at the position of the trim tab the take-off mark is in the wrong place). I was also told that I need to keep my hand on the throttle during the takeoff in case it starts to work its way closed etc.
Once we had sufficient altitude, I was asked to do a climbing turn to take us towards the area we were going to be using. Once there we then proceeded to keep practicing medium bank turns, coupled with the occasional climbing or descending turn in order to avoid clouds. The instructor also prompted me to do a few FREDA checks (he also gave me a useful rule of thumb, that very roughly each 10 units on the fuel guage equates to an hour of flying), and asked me where we were a few times – now I’m getting more familiar with the area we operate in I can start to recognise some of the more obvious landmarks / features (the A14 being a really useful one).
By the end I had managed a few decent turns, and those that weren’t perfect I could at least recognise why. My main problem was judging the appropriate amount of rudder, coupled with some difficulties keeping the altitude stable (part of this is my old problem of keeping the nose too high, the other is when I was concentrating on getting the rudder right I’d find I ended up in a slight descent). Lots more practice required here (which I’m sure to get once I start doing circuits in a few lessons time!)
One the positive side I did seem to be remebering how to climb and descend when asked to, so it looks like that has at least sunk in.
Coming back to the airport everything got a little hectic – due to some clouds in the way the instructor had been planning a downwind join (joining parallel to but in the opposite direction to the runway), however the tower asked us to do a crosswind. This led to some interesting climbing / descending, which was then further complicated as we were told about a Tiger Moth that had just taken off to do circuits so we had to try and spot that. Once we had visual contact with it things calmed down a little bit, though was still all a bit rushed (for me at least).
The approach was OK, though the instructor had to take over a bit higher than last time as I was letting the speed start to get a bit too low (again my problem of keeping the nose too high – I don’t seem to like looking at the ground!). Once we’d touched down and lost sufficient speed that we weren’t going to leave the ground again I took over, slowed us down and took us off the runway and back to park.
Next time is slow flying and stalling, which should be interesting. I’m also I think going to ask to do a little bit of straight and level at higher power (which means lower nose attitude) to try and convince myself that just because it looks like we’re heading towards the ground we’re not!