Lesson 9 – exams and circuits

I had two lessons booked this week, but the first lesson was cancelled due to poor visibility. I took the opportunity to take my AirLaw and Operational Procedures exams, which I’d been revising for throughout the week. The content of the exams were different to what I was expecting. I’d been using the pplquiz and airquiz practice exams but the content didn’t really seem to align. I’d been practicing all sorts of marshalling signals, light signals and altimeter pressure calculations and none of that came up! There were 4 questions about wake turbulence in a 16 question exam! Luckily I passed both so I was very happy, even though I didn’t get to go flying.

The next day the weather was much brighter and my lesson was going ahead. This one would be more circuits. There was virtually no wind today, which made a pleasant change from the last two gusty circuit lessons. No wind drift corrections needed!

After getting in the airplane and completing the internal checks, my instructor asked how much fuel we had. I had forgotten to check – oops! This was the first time flying in a plane that had already had it’s daily A-Check, and I hadn’t done a ‘regular’ external check before. In fact, there’s nothing in the checklist that says what should be checked. So, after a brief chat with my instructor, we got out the plane and did a basic walk around checking the external surfaces, checked fuel in both tanks (between 10-15 gallons in each tank), and checked the engine oil. All good, so back in the plane and off we go…

All in all, we did 8 take-offs and landings in 1 hour and 5 minutes. During one of the circuits, ATC asked us to orbit left on downwind before turning final, to make way for a fast jet on final approach. Nice bit of variety to spice things up. This lesson I was doing the radio for the first time, which also added to the work load.

For the final circuit, my instructor asked ATC if we could land on a different runway, and they gave permission. Runway 18 has no visual approach indicators (unlike 27 – with PAPI lights – which we had been using for the other circuits), which means judging the rate of descent and glidescope would be all down to me. It required a lot more concentration.

One of the landings was a bit bumpy (approach speed was too fast) but apart from that they felt pretty smooth. Here’s a short vid of probably my best landing of the day:

Here’s the obligatory GPS track of the circuits. You can see the left orbit for runway 18, and the left orbit for runway 27 followed by an extended base to make way for the jet.

I’m now busy revising for Human Factors, which I’m hoping to take on Tuesday. I have my Class 2 Medical booked for Tuesday morning, followed by a double lesson – so it’s busy, busy, busy!

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