Unfortunatley, at the moment I am unemployed and therefore are unable to pay for lessons, which are now my responsibilty to fund. My father agreed to pay for one lesson to keep me fresh at the controls in my long period of no flying.
I booked an hours lesson just another revision flight like the one in August 2008, flying with Phil, a friend of mine from the school, but never an instructor before this flight. He was late to arrive, so I took advantage of the extra time, by going out to start my checks early. I managed to complete the external checks from memory, as if I had did them yesterday. A quick glance of the checklist confirmed I had completed them perfectly. I then began internal and before start checks, again fairly comfortably, reading from my checklist. Once these checks were completed I just sat in the aircraft familiarising myself with the cockpit and the controls, running through in my mind FREDA checks and things, I also began to start remembering what I had missed for so long, being sat at the controls of a PA28.
Phil arrived and I did the internal checks again to keep him happy and then we started up, I switched the radios on and tuned into ATIS. After writing down all of my information, including Foxtrot the bulletins identification letter, I looked to Phil waiting for the nod to make that inital call to ATC, ground was closed, so 119.7 was the first and only frequency used during the flight. I quickly ran over with Phil what to say and then made the call fairly confidently along with the clearance to taxi to the Foxtrot holding position along with my QNH 1024. All was going well, my taxi was fine. I arrived at Foxtrot and began my power checks, all still going well. Another PA28 from the school joined us at Foxtrot, this student joining the circuit, not knowing that he was to fly solo for the first time at the end of the flight, myself had more than that on my mind, remembering how to fly the plane for starters!
We were given clearance to enter the backtrack for runway 25, so I taxied the aircraft onto the runway, every minute of the lesson I was becoming more and more comfortable at the controls. An easyJet 737 was on a 6 mile final so we were told to expedite our back track and were also given a clear take off on turn around clearance. I read the clearance back, spun the aircraft round and took a deep breath.
I asked Phil if he was ready before saying "lets go," I applied full power with the throttle keeping the aircraft straight with the rudder pedals. "Airspeed gaining, T's and P's all green," as I cleared 30 knots, "65 knots, rotate" the call was from Phil and so we were airbourne again, for the first time since August 2008. I established an 80 knots climb and we made a right turn north towards Morpeth to leave the zone. I made the call saying that we were leaving the zone, however I was still not confident enough to read back the reply. This was quite a big knock on my confidence, but my flying was still decent.
There was quite alot of cloud up north, so once we left the zone, we both agreed it would be better to climb above the cloud, I established another 80 knot climb and headed for the light blue in between all these clouds, once I was through the cloud it was amazing. Something I had only ever experienced once before, flying around 100/200 feet over cloud. Its here where you truely appreciate the speed you are flying at and where the sky is beautiful. Once at 3500ft, we began the exercises.
We started off with a few 180 degree turns to the left and to the right. I managed these fine so we moved on to a steep turn and also a clean wing stall. Pushed the nose down a bit too much but handled the recovery fine. We then flew a few climbs and glide descents, my first major forgotten thing occured here, Carb heat. Phil was constantly reminding me about carb heat before reducing the power, it gave my confidence a big knock because its something so simple to remember once you get the hang of it. Phil was then happy to fly below the cloud to try some forced landings without power. The cloud had turned a lot darker whilst we were in the air. I configured the aircraft for a glide descent and began to descent towards the cloud. We could still roughly see the cloud but not much. The air started to become very turbulent and windy, the aircraft became harder to control but not by much, a few small adjustments using the ailerons maintained straight flight. We finally flew below the cloud and started planning for a forced landing, we cut the power and selected an appropriate field to land at, this is when my lack of reading revision showed, I could not remember any speeds or anything, my flying was still good but Phil was having to talk me through a lot of it. The weather was truely shocking so we decided to head back to Newcastle where the weather was a lot better, hoping for a quick circuit.
We received our clearance back into the zone and was told to report left base for runway 25. Once we were flying left base we were told "report final number 1" which we did, I was still flying confidently and calmly at this stage, landings still fresh in my mind for some reason, I was flying at 75 knots, adjusting my altitude with the power etc, maintaining a steady approach. I pulled back on the stick to start the flare and I was holding it off well. I then pulled back a bit too much and had to apply more power before touching down, everything up to about the last 10 seconds of my landing were Ok, but that last 10 seconds was the most vital as it was the touchdown 10 seconds! I asked Phil to retract the flaps and applied full power again, rotating at 65 knots. I flew the upwind and crosswind legs well without any reminders or faults, levelling off at 1000ft. I turned onto the downwind leg and once paralell with the middle of the runway made the call "Golf Juliet Victor, Downwind Runway 25 to land" as I had almost had my hour and couldnt afford to pay anymore. I was told to report when ready for base to which I replied "Wilko Golf Juliet Victor," the circuit happens a lot faster than flying up north so I was having to work a lot harder to get everything done in time. I called ready to turn base and were given instruction to start a right hand orbit as another easyJet 737 was taking off, this gave me a chance to sort myself out and prepare for the second landing whilst having a nice view of Gosforth Race Course. After one orbit, we were given a clearance to turn onto left base and also to report final. I turned onto final for my second approach of the flight and was given a quick clearance to land, far up the runway so expedite vacation of the runway as the ATCO had a few inbounds due. I flew a smooth approach once again and flared as normal last time, this time making the error of putting the nose down, before having to sharply pull up again, resulting in quite a heavy landing. Not the best, but then again I had'nt flown in a long time and I still flew the landing unaided (even if it was a bit rusty, which is to be expected really)
We vacated the runway via Foxtrot passing a large queue of Warriors and R22's waiting at the hold before taxying to the flying school appron and parking up. The flight was over, Phil collected his belongings and walked into the building while I sat for a minute, I guess I was quickly debriefing myself on the good and bad points on my flight. Carb heat being the worst, everything else was down to rust or lack or revision. Both which can be sorted before my next flight.
All in all I was glad to be airbourne again and continue to look for work so I can start my regular flying again, something that stopped in September 2007.
Thanks for reading and happy landings!
Lesson 1 - 25/08/06 - G-BUIF - Ex 4.1, 4.11, 5, 6.1 - 1 Hour
Lesson 2 - 26/09/06 - G-BMUZ - Ex 6.1 - 1 Hour
Lesson 3 - 13/10/06 - G-BUIF - Ex 6.1, 6.2, 8 - 1 Hour
Lesson 4 - 19/11/06 - G-BMUZ - Ex 7, 8 - 1 Hour 5 Mins
Lesson 5 - 19/01/07 - G-BMUZ - Ex 7.2, 8.2 - 1 Hour
Lesson 6 - 02/02/07 - G-BRJV - Ex 9.1, 9.2 - 45 Mins
Lesson 7 - 02/03/07 - G-BRJV - Ex 10a, 10b (15 Mins) - 1 Hour 20 Mins
Lesson 8 - 01/04/07 - G-BRJV - Ex 11, 12, 13 - 1 Hour 5 Mins
Lesson 9 - 29/05/07 - G-BMUZ - Ex 12, 13 - 45 Mins
Lesson 10 - 07/07/07 - G-BUIF - Ex 10, 11 - 50 Mins
Lesson 11 - 18/09/07 - G-BMUZ - Ex 18 - 50 Mins (Flight To EGNC)" - " - Ex 12, 13, 18 - 1 Hour 10 Mins (Circuits and Flight Back Home)
Lesson 12 - 11/08/08 - G-BUIF - Revision (5 Mins) - 1 Hour
Lesson 13 - 08/01/09 - G-BRJV - Ex 9, 10, 12, 13, 16 (Revision)
Total Flight Time - 13.8 Hours
Total % of Minimum 45 Hours Completed : 30.6%