Date: 23/10/2009

Time: 13:30 - 14:30 & 14:50 - 15:25

Aircraft: Eurostar EV-97 - G-CERE

Eurostar EV-97

The club rules state that we are supposed to have a check flight with an instructor at least once a year. Being keen on efficiency and wanting to get value for money (OK, I'm tight!), I decided to do something more useful than a few circuits so it's about time I got round to doing my conversion to the Eurostar. We have two aircraft in the club that we can use - there is the good old C-42 that I have been flying to date and the (confusingly named) Eurostar (nothing to do with trains). This is slightly different to the old C-42: it has a low wing rather than the C-42's high wing, it has metal wing and fuselage coverings (very thin metal) instead of material/composite. One of the bigger differences for flying it, is that you use the left hand for the joystick and right hand for the throttle - the other way round to the C-42. It does have the same engine though.

When I eventually realise the plane is waiting out on the end of the line (hiding - I did look for it earlier and assumed it was still flying). I went to check it out - OK, I haven't been shown how to do this yet, but I check the oil and water, the obvious things and those I remember from the POH. Feeling brave, I taxi it round to the fuelling stand and fill it up.

When Steve (master instructor) has finished with his previous student, we run through the inspection routine. This basically the same as the C-42, but different things to look out for. From previous trips with Colin and Steph, I already know how to get in and out, which is more fiddly than the C-42, and you have to be careful what you step on or hold on to.

Eventually, we are on our way. For some reason, take-offs are on 26 and circuits/landings on 21. There is some low cloud hanging around, along with some higher cloud. Steve takes it initially and the acceleration along the runway seems normal and once in the air, keep level until reaching 60mph, then we rotate into the climb.

As we climb out of the circuit, Steve demonstrates the (reduced) effect of the ailerons by waggling the wings - I start to laugh. It's been a while since I've been instructed and I thought about how I would have been a bit freaked by this maneuver when I was first learning - but now it's just normal, which shows how my confidence has grown since then. There's a convenient gap in the clouds that we take advantage of whilst we can, to gain altitude to try some stalling. Despite reports otherwise, it's fairly tame. We do some dangerous attitude practice, which is OK, although I'm already having some confusion of pushing the throttle to close it instead of pulling it. I believe this is caused by the swap of hands, where my right hand is used to doing the joystick rather than the throttle. Then some practice applying/removing flaps and general handling. Steve demonstrates a PFL, where the constant aspect approach is recommended. A bit later, Steve pulls the throttle closed for my go. Unfortunately, my confidence fails and I want to abort, but Steve (quite rightly ) says the engine's failed and I have to deal with it. With his guidance we bring it into the field that I had selected. I think it would have helped greatly if I had ever landed the damn thing on a runway, but we have to make use of the current cloudbase. I also wasted a lot of height not keeping to the best glide speed of 68mph. Steep banked turns are interesting, as the wings ripple a little.

Time to head back towards the airfield for a rejoin. It seems it is prudent to cross to the deadside further away from the runway to give space for the slippery plane to lose height. Circuit and landing demo. It's quite a lot to take in, so I elect to stop for a coffee. After tea and a chat, we're off on 26 again for some circuits. It's very sensitive in pitch due to the huge elevator which can make it seem a bit twitchy. However, it goes quite well, despite some GA aircraft going way out towards Overton in a huge circuit, forcing me to extend too. On one take-off from 21, Steve pulls the throttle shut for an EFATO, which goes OK. Time gets the better of us and Nikki has the plane booked after me (otherwise I would have done some practice on my own).

I'm quite pleased with the flying and Steve says I'm safe and signs me off for the conversion. I still need lots more practice, but then I don't think you ever stop learning.

Quite a lot of this sounds like I'm not impressed with the EV-97 and that it doesn't compare favorably with the C-42. The thing is, it's the only thing I have to compare it with. It's a good plane with very light controls and fantastic visibility all round. I need to spend some time to learn to fly it and get used to it. Now if only it had the manners, trim control and ease of the C-42 - a plane with the best of both - wouldn't that be great!

I'm pleased with today - 1hr 35mins must be quite quick for a conversion.

No GPS track, I'm afraid - to many other things to deal with.

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