Date: 21/07/2006

Time: 13:50 - 14:50 (PUT) & 16:00 - 17:00 (PUT)

Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDHR

Exercise: Low hops, High Hop(e)s and circuits - Ex 12 & 13

Weather is hot! - Somehow this statement isn't enough. - The weather is really, really hot!

We start by doing some low hops again - I am awful. I get a bit frustrated that I am worse than I was last week.

We are using runway 21 which has a slope to one side and I find it difficult to get used to this. The heat also makes it difficult to concentrate; well that's my excuse anyway.

With low hops, we stay close to the warm ground, never get much speed and have the long slow taxi back to the start, which all makes the cabin very warm and us sweaty. I have to hold the door open during the ground taxi to let some less hot air into the cabin. Even then I forget until I hear a quiet plead of "open the ****ing door" over the intercom.

Can't say I'm too impressed with my performance, but do get a little better. We then try some high hops - a bit like low hops but ...... higher! For this we use the short field takeoff technique which involves opening the throttle fully, with the brakes on and then letting go. Whoosh ! quickly into the air and climbing to about 100 feet then pushing the nose over for a landing, before the runway runs-out.

Two lessons today, and we start the second one early. Some more hops and then we start circuits. These involve takeoff and flying in a loop, around the designated circuit at the designated height (800 feet at Popham) and then landing again on the same runway.

Pretending to be a conscientious student I have been looking at the circuit diagram and aerial photographs of the area. I have even put many multimap aerial photos together and superimposed the circuits over them and tried to study these to memory (see picture here). The trouble is that when you are climbing out of the airfield with the planes nose in the air, it is difficult to see the ground below you, let alone recognise it.

The cockpit workload is high. As soon as you have taken-off and got the flaps up, you are trying to navigate the circuits course and avoid overflying any of the local houses who apparently have no sense of humour. By the time you are up to circuit height and levelling off, you are already on the downwind leg and trying to remember the pre-landing checks:- DFAWTH - Deadside, Fuel, Altitude, Wind, Traffic and Hatches/Harnesses. No-one has actually explained what you would do at this point if you found you had no fuel.

After some further mis-navigations I improve to vaguely barely passable. There is an awful lot to try to pull together for this and currently I find the workload high. But improving slowly so we're in the right direction. It will get better.

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