Date: 23/09/2011

Time: 17:40 - 18:45 (16:40 - 17:45 GMT)

Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDRO

Lazy Eights and Chandelles

My pilots license needs to be revalidated every two years. For this, I need to have had at least 12 hours flying (easy) and 1 hour instruction. If you don't get it revalidated by the end of the two years, you need to do another GST which is a bit of a faff, so I want to keep current. I believe that mine expires on 22nd of October, so it is sticking in my mind that I need to get this sorted, and I haven't had instruction over this period. So I have chosen this Friday afternoon to go up with Steve.

A little bit of confusion - when I phone in the morning, Graeme say that he didn't think Steve was coming in and I could fly with Alan, but would I mind coming in earlier? My booking was for 5, but I said I would try to get in for 3:30 - not too easy with my current workload. I manage to get there, but Steve has come in (and had always intended to) so I now had some time to kill.

Steve asks if there anything particular that I would like to do. Initially I say that just some de-rusting and be moaned at for any bad habits I may have picked up. After I have fuelled and prepped the aircraft I have remembered that we had one talked about Lazy Eights and Chandelles. These are two maneuvers that are as close to aerobatics that are permissible and legal for these aircraft.

We take off on 26 and head off to the north west towards Highclere and climb to 3000'. For once there is sufficient cloudbase to do this. Steve then demonstrates the maneuver. This involves accelerating to 80 knots level, then pulling the nose up. As the speed bleeds off, start a turn to the left - plenty of rudder required and as we get near to the stall the nose cuts down and we start the descent and continue the rest of the turn with the throttle closed. The idea is to level out at the same height and place where the maneuver was started and then pitch up to do the same again to the right, hence describing a figure 8 when viewed from above. I give it a go - hmm tricky. We try some practice tight turns as I'm not very good.

To avoid annoying people on the ground we move off to the west. Have another go - it's very difficult to do the maneuver clean and in balance, let alone keep spatial awareness. Some further attempts and demonstrations - some improvement, but still poor. I'm also beginning to feel a bit queasy. Fortunately Steve is on the ball and warns that we are getting near to Rivar Hill gliding site - 'cos I have no idea where we are!. We now try towards the east, following the the ridge towards Hannington. To be honest, it is now a bit of a blur, trying different ways to cock-up this trick. There is some improvement, but not what I would call impressive. And I am really suffering with motion sickness and at some points, trying not to throw up. Buurrrppp!

Heading back to Popham, we discuss the Chandelle maneuver. This is basically a climbing 180 degree turn where you end up right on the limit of stall as you level out. At first we do some hovering practice where I slow the plane down as much as I can. With full flap, we are doing less than 30 knots and the ASI is well below the white arc. It is as slow as I dare and using very gentle rudder turns I point it into the wind as best as I can. The GPS log shows I was doing 21 knots over the ground. I can feel the airframe shuddering in complaint we the pre-stall buffet. In reality, even if we did stall, we had loads of height to recover. We then try a few chandelles. But I am feeling fairly crap now.

We then head back and join for a rather flat landing. Once again I try to impress and fail - never mind.

There are several things I have learnt today and how to do the maneuvers acceptably isn't among them. I have learnt that any sort of aeros are an awful lot harder than I had imagined - not just in coordination, spatial awareness and control talent but also in having a strong stomach (still felt weird the next morning). I also realised that my flying has become a bit too vanilla - I have been going places (enjoyable and exciting), but I guess I haven't been doing the evening local bimbles, doing maneuver practice and I need to do more of this.

Then I found that my license expiry is next year, rather than this year - oh well, I did enjoy it.

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