Date: 16/6/2007

Time: 14:35 - 15:30 (PUT) & 17:25 - 18:20 (PUT)

Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDVI

Exercise: Ex 12, 13, Phase 1

Last time I flew I thought I was suffering from a bit of hayfever. It seems that I was beginning to come down with a bit of a yucky cold (man flu). This has kept me out the air for a couple of weeks and even off work - dismal.

Looking at the forecast this morning, I didn't think that I would get a flight today either - heavy rain showers, thunder storms and relatively high winds. Still I made my way to the airfield without much hope.

The first stint is at 3:00pm, and it's a bit windy, 15 knots gusting 22 - this made it a bit bumpy. This also makes me a bit anxious. We take off dual on 21 in an aircraft that I haven't flown before as Mark usually keeps this one to himself. I'm trying to control-out the turbulence, but I'm finding it very difficult. We are doing circuit practice and is a bit better than last time, but still could be better. I am trying to concentrate on keeping it in balance, but keep letting my attitude/speed control go adrift. I get a bit better, but my stick rudder co-ordination deteriorates - probably as I get a bit tired.

Second stint is at 6:00 pm and we plan to go off and do some out-of-circuit work. However, we take off and Steve asks "Do you think the wind's dropped?". It appears that it has, so we continue on with circuit practice. Steve pulls a PFL on the downwind leg and I decide that I can't make it back to the airfield, so I choose to land on the handily located Charles Churches private airstrip - would have made a reasonable landing, but we obviously climb away before we quite land on it.

Improving a little with the circuits, we then try powered approaches, which I haven't really done much of. You have to start the descent much earlier and ensure you trim for the 55 knot approach speed. Then you come in low, and use power control to adjust your stationary point and accurately touch down at your required point. We are attempting to just brush the hedges at the threshold and put it down early, then do touch-and-go landings - saves time.

These improve, so we move on to the opposite extreme, where we leave it far too late to start the descent an have to use 's-turns' and sideslipping to get the plane down in time to land. Haven't really done s-turns much before and you have to force yourself to deviate away from the runway centreline, which can be a little more difficult (mentally) than you might think. Steve also pulls an EFATO (engine failure after take off), which goes OK. I'm still having trouble with my attitude control but generally it isn't too bad. We have to finish at 7:20 as there is a parachute drop going to happen at half past.

On the way back to park the aircraft for the night Steve says that that was my Phase One test and I had passed! What a great surprise - much better than having the stress of knowing that you are on a test. Phase two next, which means out of circuit work. Great!

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