Date: 07/09/2006

Time: 16:00 - 16:55 (PUT) & 17:25 - 17:35 (PUT)

Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDHR

Exercise: Even More circuits - Ex 12 & 13

Today I have failed to achieve my goal. I have previously stated that as long as I am better at the end of a lesson than at the beginning, then I'm happy.

We have a good take off from runway 03 and do a circuit with less than perfect height control, but not too bad. We come into land and everything feels good - do my best landing ever by far - I'm really quite pleased. Unfortunately, I don't manage to repeat it!

We then do my first Power Fail Landing (PFL) exercise, Steve closes the throttle and announces engine failure. I put the nose down to keep the airspeed and glide round to runway 08 and make a reasonable approach. We don't actually land but do a go-around. I think it was OK but apparently I should have made for Charles Church's private airstrip. At least my attempt would have been safe.

The next few circuits get a bit distracted by some GA aircraft, that seem to be joining in the most inopportune times. With a little instruction I realise the pattern I should be taking, with the base leg much closer to runway 08.

I think that I am still getting too excited/scared at the point of meeting the ground. Approaches are getting better but I can't seem to get the very last (but very important) bit.

We have a quick break for coffee/coke.

We haven't long resumed and whilst running along the taxiway alongside the runway, a Yak does a low pass along the runway. The Yak is an old Russian military trainer.

I ask Steve if he is allowed to buzz the airfield (traffic control have already gone home). "No, it's not strictly legal". "Ahh, but he could claim that he is doing a go-around", I suggest. "That would be an awful lot more credible, if he had put his undercarriage down", was the reasonable reply. "True, but what if he said that he just realised the lack of undercarriage and did a go-around". "Yep - that would work".

A short time later (after a quick high hop I think), we are again on the taxiway with the Yak calling finals coming into land. Steve says "three greens" referring to the lights that indicate that the undercarriage is locked down, and I can't see any wheels poking out the bottom of the Yak. As it gets close, we can see the wheels are indeed still up - Steve quickly calls on the radio "WHEELS UP! WHEELS UP!", but it's too late. We turn our plane round to see the Yak has belly-landed at the end of the runway. We are unable to raise them on the radio, so quickly taxi back up to where they are. By the time we get there, they are out of the plane and some of their friends are running up towards them.

The Yak still has its wheels in the retracted position, just below the wing. The flaps are bent, the prop is destroyed and there is some damage to the leading edge of the wing - probably due to bits of prop flying off after striking the ground. Actually doesn't look like that much damage, but I bet it's expensive!

The pilot initially says that he couldn't get the undercarriage down and the low pass was him trying to shake them out. Later, he says that he couldn't get the control levers down below their detent gate. Seems like a bit of a change of story already. Either way, I would have called my predicament on the radio, if it were me. Smells like just a cock-up.

Anyway, with an aircraft firmly rooted to the active runway, that's the end of my flying for the day. I'm glad my undercarriage is fixed and doesn't need raising and lowering! (ooh-err madam!)

My goal was not achieved, because the first go was good and never equalled - I wonder if it would have been if we had more time?



Found a video clip of Joe Pasquale owning a Yak-52. To watch it click HERE and note the comment about it's safety features ;-)

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