Lesson 18 – more circuit consolidation

Another day of circuit consolidation. I had a different instructor to last lesson, so we started off doing 3 circuits together. I decided to go-around on my first landing as my speed was a little high and I thought we risked a rather large balloon. My instructor said (afterwards) he thought I could have landed just fine, but was good to see I was able to make the decision myself. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

We did 2 touch and gos together, before stopping for the instructor to jump out. We were on runway 22 today, which I had not done circuits on before, so I was quite glad to do the first few with the instructor whilst I got used to the ‘feel’ of it. Whilst there’s not a huge difference between 22 and 27, 22 doesn’t have a noise abatement procedure on right hand circuits, so the initial upwind leg felt a bit different.

I then did a further 7 solo circuits, which took about 55 minutes, before heading back. The circuit became busier and busier – there were 5 remaining in the circuit at one point – so there were lots of orbits and extended downwind legs. On my second solo circuit I had to extend downwind and ended up doing a 3.5m final. For a couple of seconds I felt a bit disorientated – I couldn’t see the airfield (I could, I just wasn’t focusing at the right distance) but I trusted the instruments (the ADF was tuned) and the general timing of the pattern and found myself pretty much lined up on the extended centreline at 3 miles. Goes to show how easily/quickly it can happen though, without the familiarity of the visual reference points (GCHQ for runway 27) you’re used to.

Here’s a clip of that circuit:

I forgot to start the GPS recorder, so no tracks this time.

Next lesson should hopefully be either advanced turning or practice forced landings (PFLs). Both of which require considerably better visibility than is needed for circuits, so I may have a longer wait for my next flight than usual…Fingers crossed.

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