Time: 14:05 - 15:20 (PUT) & 15:20 - 15:35
Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDRO
Exercise: Engine Failure after take off (EFATO's) and FIRST SOLO- Ex 12, 13, 17a
Weather was a bit nippy today, but otherwise lovely, so we get to do some circuits.
First couple were useless, coming in too high; possibly due to lack of wind but probably due to lack of practice.
We then do engine failure practice during the climb-out from the airfield. After gaining little height and a high nose-up attitude, Steve shuts the throttle and demonstrates how hard you have to push the stick forward to bring the nose down, so that you keep airspeed - otherwise you will stall and have little or no control. The manoeuvre feels like going over a very steep humpbacked bridge as you go very light in the seat. The difference is that from looking at the blue sky, you now have a lot of green in the windscreen. But you 'simply' glide the plane back down, getting the extra stage of flap in, if you have time.
Ominously, he has now told me that this is the last time he will warn me that we will be doing this - from now on, he will just do it and I have to recover.
The circuits 'feel' better this week - probably because I am looking out, rather than at needles; landings get better.
After an hour an a quarter, Steve says that our time is running out (which it has) but when we get to the end of the taxiway, he stops and gets out. I'm told to do one circuit on my own, watch out for other traffic and if it isn't right, then go around.
I'm not too sure how my nerves feel at the moment. The obvious question, is am I ready for this - well Steve obviously thinks so. Gotta do it sometime, and rather than worrying about it, my brain goes into full concentration mode.
Flying solo is a little different to dual, due to the reduced weight. The rate of climb is greater and the rate of sink is lower, so you float longer on landing. My circuit is generally good and there is little other traffic at about to distract me. I try to predict the reduced sink rate and go into the glide approach early, but I think it was a little to early. On the round-out just above the runway, I balloon a bit, where I round-out too much and end up climbing, but losing airspeed. I bloused-out, hit the throttle and went around for another go. Although I could have tried to force it down, I am happy that I made the right choice. I also don't feel that I have been distracted or stressed, by doing so. Second circuit is also fine and approach is a bit better. Again, I balloon it a bit, but recover to a landing - not the most elegant one, but safe and straight.
The solo taxiing back to the clubhouse possibly seemed stranger than the solo flight - I guess because of the much lower concentration needed, I noticed the empty seat more than in flight.
I've done it - phew - the next big step. 15 minutes of solo written up and signed in my logbook.
I even get a mention in this months club newsletter!
I know that there is a long way to go and that there is also a lot more dual training (and solo) ahead. But today I feel quite chuffed!
I know this picture looks like it was taken at night, but it is just the way it got exposed with the low moon in the background.
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