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August 26, 2008

Lesson 2 – Back into circuit flying

Well lesson 2 and back into circuit flying. Got a strong sense of deja vue having done x lessons 3 years ago. But nothing really useful came back..

Did some work on the radio this time, ok but a lot of variations from the script so was soon lost...

Circuit was ok - landings were much easier than previously remembered but had a worrying tendancy to fly a bIt low.

Need to really get to grips with what to do when on circuits including checks so will keep this blog short and post before next lesson

August 18, 2008

First Lesson (Again)

Had my first lesson yesterday at Almat flying school Bagington.

As usual was quite nervous, but instructor Ken really nice and friendly which helps!. Quick briefing session,, when I realised I had forgotten the checks procedures and then off we went.

Plane was a little CESSNA 152 and after climbing in, it all did seem vaguely familiar. (Thanks to Rachel who let me sit in the Cessna last week - it helped) 

Taxying again did seem relatively easy- going across grass was new though. Managed to keep roughly to the yellow line

Ken did the radio and power checks then lined up on the runway. He did the rudder and i did the control column as we took of at 70kts - a great feeling. Once in the air did the climbing, turning and trimming revision exercises which went okay. Still not 100% accurate with trimming though. Then did some more practice with turning, talked through the FREDA checks etc

After about 30 mins started to feel really sick - problem as plane has no sick bags,, but manged to keep it all in.

Returned to airfield via Draycot water,,, and I approached the runway (a little hesitently) we came in too land. Touchdown was ok - but I think the approach was a bit erratic

All in all a good lesson and looking forward to next week.

Cessna 152

August 06, 2008

Booked first Lesson

Writing about web page

Hi have just booked my first lesson at ALMAT flying club for 10.00 am Sunday 17th August. Really excited can’t wait to get up into the air!

Going to learn on CESSNA 150/152 which I’m very happy about and with a female instructor Charlene which I’m also looking forward to

Wish me luck

July 29, 2008

Flying Again?

Well after a forced break of over 3 years while I get back on my feet after divorce etc etc. Finally decide its time to fly!!

However big dilemma

*fixed wing microlights or
*light aircraft

Previous flying ~ 15 hours on Cessna 152, loved it despite lots of stress. However now £145/hr plus landing fees, fuel surchage etc etc, exams and need 45 hours… When I get my licence will buy share or hire a plane.

Alternative… Fixed wing microlights, 95/hr only 5 exams and only 25 hours. But will probably have to buy a plane , its possible to hire but rare, then will have associated hangarage costs and maintenance

Comments/thoughts anyone?

Am going to go exploring on Sunday to talk to some experts!

March 07, 2005

Lesson 19 – Progress – Not

Fridays lesson after a months layoff was probably okay – but I felt very rusty

Still doing exercise 12/13 will I EVER move on from circuits.

Flying conditions
350 deg wind at 12 kts – runway in use 05 hence crosswind component of wind – at maximum strenght. Right hand circuits were the order of the day.

Tried crabbed approach but I was not timing the kick straight accurately. If you leave it too late you will veer of the runway. If you do it too early (which I think I was doing) you will the wind will catch you and you will still not be straight on landing.

To make the landing more accurate we tried a combination landing which is the combination of a crabbed approach but a wing down landing.

According to the book ….

The crabbed approach is used til about 50ft at which point aircraft it lined up with the runway and banked into the wind (slightly)

I.e wind is coming from left – left wing down.On landing you continue to turn the aileron into the wind

January 25, 2005

Lesson 17 – Right Hand Circuits

Todays lesson was a “formal” session on crosswind circuits. I have had a go at crosswinds circuits before (lesson 14) with mixed success.

In addition to notes from lesson ? when doing a touch and go – after landing the ailerons should immediately be turned into wind

well that’s the theory

I must admit I felt reasonably proud of myself today. There was a lot going on but a managed to I hold it all together. For a start its a lot different doing right hand circuits – the view of the runway (or lack of it) is completely different. Also you do get used to the familiar landmarks – (I felt lost without my familiar chimmney on the crosswind leg to aim for) My landing were reasonably good although I was relying on the instructor a bit too talk me down – ie left to my own judgement I proabably would have flared a little too early. But no bad landing and approach was much better. (Also managed to keep height steady on circuits)

January 03, 2005

Circuits and Radio – Lesson 15

Another good day for circuits. Good visibility with cloudbase well above circuit level. With a wind strength of 13 kts anddirection 240 deg, there was only a small crosswind component ~ 2 kts.

Did 4 circuits in all – very pleased with landings and my approach to runway was much better. Got the climbing and descending nailed at 70kts. Also did the radio myself this time.

However I have developed a tendancy to climb during the downwind leg. I think this is due to the fact that I have not trimming correctly. During the take off climb I am trimming too much nose up and then after levelling out on crosswind leg not correcting the trim enough. Hence trim still set for nose up and therefore I drift upwards. (Tip: very rarely need more than 1 turn of wheel in either direction)

Calculating the Crosswind components

Follow-up to Crosswind Circuits – Lesson 14 from Christine's Flying blog

Cessna 152 has maximun crosswind component of 12 kts. Before taking off I need to ensure that the crosswind component of the wind is less than 12kts

Calculation- The Sixths Rules of Thumb

First calculate angle between runway and wind direction . Taking lesson 14 as example wind direction 270 deg runway is 230 deg – therefore angle = 40 deg

then apply rule

if angle = 10 deg then crosswind component = 1/6 wind strength
if angle = 20 deg then crosswind component = 1/3 wind strength
if angle = 30 deg then crosswind component = 1/2 wind strength
if angle = 40 deg then crosswind component = 2/3 wind strength
if angle = 50 deg then crosswind component = 5/6 wind strength
if angle = 60+ deg then crosswind componnet = wind strength

So at 40 deg and 17 kts wind strength – crosswind component = ~ 12kts

December 28, 2004

Crosswind Circuits – Lesson 14

Coventry circuits again today – should have been straightforward with nice clear skies. However there was a strong crosswind ~ 12 kts coming from the right of the runway. So today I had my first go at a crosswind circuits.

Crosswind Take Off – wind direction right of runway

  1. Aircraft is lined up as normal then ailerons moved in the direction of the wind -> control wind moved to the right
  2. During take off aircraft wants to move into the wind (called weathercocking) so apply a bit of left rudder to maintain runway centre line
  3. As speed increases during take off run should start to centralize control wheel until at point of take off wings are level.

Crosswind Circuit – wind direction from right of runway

  1. After take off need to point nose to right to avoid drift
  2. On crosswind leg wind is behind you – so this leg is v quick
  3. On downwind leg need to point into wind (left)
  4. Base leg wind is against you should have more time on this leg

On the above legs my positioning was pretty good – did account for wind direction

Final Approach and landing

I found this very difficult and even after the third circuit hadn’t got the approach right.

  1. On final leg the aircraft nose should be pointing into the wind – i.e. right
  2. Only when you are about to land should the aircraft be straightened (need to check this with instructor)


  1. The crosswind was at 12kts was a the limit for crosswind circuits – for my level of expertise – a bit too much
  2. How to calculate limit – look this up – angle between runway and wind direction in this case (270 – 230 = 40 deg) Then calculate the crosswind component - (Need to look this up)

Action points

  1. must read chapters 12 and 13 again
  2. next time need to talk through actions to ensure that no steps are being missed out
  3. watch altitude on circuit – must keep at 1000ft (+/- 50 ft)
  4. must try and relax – mark and wes (chief instructor) both think that it tension that making me nauseus

December 18, 2004

Lesson 13 – More of the Same

Had a really good lesson today so feeling v buoyant. Doing circuits again but for once beautiful clear skies. Every landing was a good one – and definately feeling its coming together. There was a strongish 9-10kts wind along the runway (good for takeoff) however wind direction was a bit variable and there was quite a bit of turbulance on the climb and landing phases.

Learning Points

on turning to final – should make sure that you are not below 700ft – if altitude approaches 700 ft need to increase power (possible up to 2200 rpm) to ensure that height doesn’t drop. Should only descent below 700ft after turning onto final

training news

Got a letter from Coventry Flying School stating they are changing aircraft from next March – so I could be flying in either a Piper PA28 Warrior 111 or a Robin 2160.

The Piper

Piper Cockpit

The Robin

Robin Cockpit

Both are low-wing aircraft so are very different to the Cessna 152. Also the Robin has the added complication in that it has a stick rather than control wheel. The Piper is a standard training aircraft and is theoretically easy to land so hopefully the transition period won’t be too long

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Most recent comments

  • Good blog! Glad you got back in the air again. I am also doing circuits at the moment (at Southend) … by Dave on this entry
  • I think I left a comment back when you were still flying in 2004; glad to see you back in the air! by Fred Woodbridge on this entry
  • Good luck with the lessons. Ciruits will soon become a matter of habit and will give you a chance to… by Tony Harrison-Smith on this entry
  • too scary for me :–) by Christine Smith on this entry
  • Hello. Go for the wingsuit – … by Paul on this entry

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