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December 15, 2004

Wellesbourne Circuits Again

Coventry wouldn’t let us do circuits today so rather than abandon lesson decided to do circuits at Wellesbourne.

The weather forecast stated broken cloud at 1500 ft- However it proved to be more like 1100 ft – just at circuit height. So visibility was poor.

Found our way to Wellesbourne and had to do a rather complex right hand circuit (standard circuits are left hand). Complex because we wanted to fly round the back of a town (noise abatement rules) which put us at a awkward angle onto the runway. There was some low lever turbulance which made climbing and landing a bit more difficultHad a better idea of controlling power for approach and managed to fly down the runway a bit instead of plonking the plane down.

Unfortunately (probably due to not enough lunch) after about 1/2 hours I began to feel really nauseus. Managed to fly and land at coventry but was very green by time got out of plane

Also tried a powered landing with full flaps (normally landing is with no power and two stages of flap). Having full flaps gives you much more drag so you need to pitched more nose down to maintain airspeed – result is a runway has a different perspective. (Steve you should try this one)

December 11, 2004

Lesson 11 – Doing much better

Saturday 1:00pm – just had another lesson – circuits again. Weather was good – could actually see the runway all the way round the circuit.

Although my approaches were variable – managed to correct them myself and the landings were much much much better. i.e. didn’t land on nose wheel – landings were not too rough and I think I’m starting to get the idea of flying ~ 1ft off the runway to allow for a gentle touchdown.

Golden rules of approach
  • too high (overshooting) reduce power and and pitch down to maintain airspeed
  • too low (undershooting) increase power and pitch up to maintain airspeed
Interesting? Occurrences
  1. On one of the landings we had to abandon because there was an aircraft still on the runway. Air traffic control had told him to take off immediately but he was still sitting there. At about 300ft we had to abort landing -> so full power -> raise nose and away we went (not forgetting to set carb heat to cold and put flaps up one stage at a time).
  2. Conversation overhead on radio (well the gist of it anyway)
    Aircraft: Coventry tower this is G-xxxx can you direct to runway
    Air Traffic Control: G-xxxx follow heading 023
    Aircraft: Coventry tower I’m at toll bar roundabout (less than 1/4 mile away) – still can’t see runway G-xxxx
    ATC: G-xxx I promise you its there
    Unfortunately didn’t catch rest of conversation – hope they made a safe landing
Things to Remember
On the base leg – getting ready for descent
  1. Carb heat to hot
  2. Power to 1500 rpm – keep nose pitched up to allow speed to drop
  3. When airspeed decreased so that it is in the white arc then 2 stages of flap
  4. When just above 70 kts then, and only then, pitch down for descent

Aborting a landing
Always fly to the right of the runway


A great lesson – felt like I’ve made real progress – maybe just maybe its starting to fall into place

Note to any flight simmers – Its much more internesting and realistic if you allow for other traffic to be on the circuits

Lesson 10 – Hazy lesson on circuits

Firstly before getting into the lesson – answer to Steve’s question on Headng Indicators

The Heading Indicator uses a a gyroscope to give a direction indication. Generally it does not have a auto north-seeking sensor so you have to align it manually with the magnetic compass before flight. This is what the instructor was doing on your trial flight. The heading indicator reads the same as the compass but with the trailing zero removed i.e. 36 = 360 deg.

Apparantly is much easier to use than a compass so is the primary instrument for setting headings. Having read up a bit on the instrument – I now feel a bit more confident about how to use one!

The lesson

Once again the weather was difficult for circuit flying – there was a temperature inversion (condition in which the temperature of the atmosphere increases with altitude in contrast to the normal decrease with altitude – this is ideal condition for trapping pollutants). This meant there was some smog-like haze on the circuit which meant that it was very difficult to see – so once again I felt disorientated. Only did two circuits – both approaches were too high and – needed help with both landings.

too high – reduce power and pitch nose down – maintain 70kts

Learning Points
  • Apply rudder when applying full power on the runway – otherwise can veer to the left
  • Use heading Indicator to help keep idea of direction
  • need to almost raise nose to full extent to stop landing on nose wheel

Heading for left hand circuit of Coventry Airport. However these are ideal headings – if I overshoot on one of the legs especially the base leg – the heading could be different to get back on course

December 01, 2004

Addressing the balance

Follow-up to Lesson 9 – Totally Dejected Again from Christine's Flying blog

Just realised that a lot of my comments have been a bit negative. On the positive side I think I have more of an understanding of what I am supposed to be doing. Trying to make turn more coordinated, correcting for yaw etc

Also I am really happy with Coventry Flying School and in particular my instructor. Living in or around Coventry – want to learn to fly – this is the place to go

Lesson 9 – Totally Dejected Again

Had another flying lesson doing circuits

Lessons starting off badly when I took at least 5 minutes to fasten seat belt!. Also I put my instructor in the embarrasing position him having to tell me that 22 is between 21 and 23 (when trying to set the heading indicator) Doh!

Started off by me doing the radio – but as I was absolutely useless had to abandon – so instructor had to take over. Now got a crib sheet so I will practice before next lesson – Saturday

Also I realised I was taxying on the brakes – so must correct next lesson

Runway in use was the opposite direction to what I am used to . (Flight simmers you should try this – not as easy as it sounds) Also thick haze so not a nice clear horizon to work with.

Basically I have 2 main problems
1) When flying I’m usually lost
2) I can’t land

which added together is a bit of a problem

1) Getting Lost I’m getting disorientated very quickly. After we have taken off and make first left hand turn. I lose sense of where the runway is. So it hard to make accurate turn in relation to the runway when you can’t find the damm thing. Coupled with the above – I have no idea of how to use a heading indicator – (I never used a compass as a kid). So I couldn’t make turns onto a heading

2) Landings Out of six attempts none of them were even remotely ok. Approach was all over the place. Rasied the nose of the aircraft far too early and then just came down to earth in a great thud. One attempt was so bad we had to abandon it.

So summing up a long long way to go – wish I could just enjoy the learning experience and not get so dejected when it all goes wrong

Coventry Airport

November 26, 2004

Review of Cessna 152 A Pilots guide

4 out of 5 stars

I am very impressed with this book – extremely comprehensive with very clear explanations. Lots of diagrams and charts to break up the text.I am not particulary mechanically minded so especially appreciate the clear and simple description of the aircraft systems.

Note that I got the book for next to nothing on Ebay – always worth a look

November 15, 2004

Lesson 8 more circuits and some heavy bumps

Really this lesson was much of the same. Circuit training at Coventry.

Started off really well – now feel a lot more confident doing the checks and think my taxying was pretty damm good. No more shopping trolley experiences for me. (Although I must check that I wasn’t taxying against the brakes – a really big no no)

However this time I got to talk to ATC (Air traffic control) to request take off, tell them we were ready for take off. inform them that were on downwind leg and that we were going to do a touch n go This was really stressful- why I’m not sure. Mark had clearly written or told me exactly what I had to say but still it felt nerve wracking. Its probably something to do with not wanting to make myself look a complete prat on air.

Unfortunately the headset wasn’t working properly I could hear the babble coming from atc okay but my instructor was quite faint – this added to the complexity of the task.

During each circuit I had a problem lining up for the final approach I was too far over to the left (although I felt at the time I was reasonably lined up) – what I wasn’t doing was making any allowance for wind direction. I think there was a strong crosswind coming from the right side of the runway therefore we needed to counteract this by having the nose of the plane pointing to the right. I think this was a crabbed crosswind landing.

Another problem that came to light was that I have been thinking that the rpm for normal straight and level flight is 2200 rpm but its actually 2300rpm so this explains why I was flying to slowly round the circuit (85kts instead of 90-100kts). Also for some unknown reason (perhaps over- confidence?) my climbing turn were becoming too steep – these are supposed to be gentle 15 deg turn but I think mine were starting too approach 30 deg.

However despite all the problems I did do some good landings so all was not lost. However again I thought this was more luck than good judgement. I also thought that some of my landing were a little on the heavy side but at least they were main wheels not nose wheel down first.

things to do

  • look and do a follow up blog of atc procedures – what do I need to say and when
  • revisit the idea of flare- possibly need to follow up with Mark exactly what I should be seeing when landing again – how high to pull up the nose etc

P.s note for steve r on making the final turn height was 600 ft speed 70kts and distance from runway best guestimate approx twice length of runway

November 10, 2004

More about crosswind takeoffs

Follow-up to Wellesbourne Airport from Christine's Flying blog

all I did was steer into the wind

if you have a significant crosswind (greater than 10 kts) cutting accross the runway I’m not sure how to steer into the wind enough to offset its effect

As you point out I think you need to compensate with the ailerons for the effect of lift – I will ask more questions at the next lesson – thanks for this prompt

Also have you tried landing with crosswind – apparently this is a bit more complicated as there more than one method
  1. the crabbed approach
  2. wing-down approach
  3. combination of above 2

Wellesbourne Airport

Follow-up to Lesson 7 Landing Approaches from Christine's Flying blog

Circuit Diagram for Wellesbourne

I forgot to add in my original posting that when taking off from Coventry there was a strong crosswind. The crosswind takeoff means that the ailerons are ‘moved into the wind’ i.e cross wind from the right move control column to the right. As speed increase during take-off run the central column is slowly centralised so that at the actual point of take off wings are level

November 09, 2004

landing hints 2

Follow-up to Lesson 7 Landing Approaches from Christine's Flying blog

Another helpful hint on landing approach is that the runway should be in a fixed position in the viewscreen (should just get larger) obvious I know when you think about it

BTW I’ve had a go at trying to land with a flight sim and its very very difficult – for me more difficult than the real thing

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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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