Circuits – final mission for 2009

In which I fly surprisingly well, forget the displaced threshold and learn how to attempt to fix an engine failure.


Today’s mission was the final one for 2009 and was simply further consolidation of circuits.

There was a south-westerly wind today which meant that I had to think about the wind and how to correct for it during the circuit and also deal with it on landing. In this sort of weather you’d probably normally do flapless approaches but for training purposes we did a mixture of flapless and flapped.

I preflighted 4929 (we didn’t have 4964 today, much to the relief of both of us), taxiied us to 18R and did the take off. I have so much more appreciation for the plane after flying 4964, 4929 seemed to just leap off the ground on take off.

My first circuit for today was a flapless approach. I had to remember to correct for the slight crosswind during the circuit, particularly pointing the nose to the right on upwind (to correct for drift). The main problem with this circuit was that I completely forgot about the displaced threshold (When I was close to flare J was like “Don’t forget the displaced threshold” and I was just like “Aw shit!”) so we touched down a bit before it (oops).

The next few circuits were also flapless, and a fair bit more successful now I’d been reminded about the displaced threshold. One of my landings was assisted (the only assisted landing for the mission) because when I had levelled off and was flying level J suggested that I add a bit of right rudder (which was needed) but it distracted me a bit from everything else and I would’ve flared too late without J’s help. He admitted a bit of fault for that one during the debrief though 😛

The next few circuits were flapped approaches.

On one of these circuits, J pulled an EFATO. I lowered the nose and picked a field just to the right of the nose. In the event of an engine failure, if you have enough altitude you can attempt to troubleshoot the problem and restart the engine. Most engine failures are caused by carburettor icing or fuel exhaustion. It is also possible that you may have inadvertently knocked the fuel pump or one of the magnetos to the off position. So, if you have enough time, you should try to troubleshoot the problem by turning on carby heat, checking the magnetos and fuel pump are on and checking that the fuel tap is on. If none of these work, you’re going down!

The second last circuit for today was a glide approach. J pulled the power and was like “You’ve lost your engine”. I was like “Oh, you’re so kind!” and he was like “I am, aren’t I? :)” I turned the plane to the right to head towards the runway and managed to keep the nose up until the airspeed dropped to the best glide speed of 65kts. We did an S-turn (turning to the left, away from the runway, then turning back to the right, which meant we ended up nicely lined up with the runway) and a sideslip (so. much. fun.) before dropping full flap and I brought it to a nice smooth touchdown (if I do say so myself!). I asked J before the mission how you decide whether to S-turn or sideslip (I know you use flaps as the last option) and he said it was mostly personal preference rather than being any suggested situations when to use particular ones. In this situation, the S-turn lined us up neatly with the runway, which is good to remember for the future. Sideslips are a good way of dropping a fair bit of height fairly quickly as well, and are just plain fun to do.

The next circuit was the final one for the mission. We were going to do another glide approach but 5231 joined the circuit in front of us and this meant that we couldn’t do the glide approach as 5231 was in the way of our early base turn. The final landing was a flapped full stop on 18L. I put it down completely unassisted and J said it was “Perfect” so I’m pretty stoked 🙂

J said that my flying today was the best yet (yay!). I feel like solo is really approaching now, hopefully in early January it might happen. My next mission is on January 6th, I think I’m going to get withdrawal symptoms before then!


3 Responses to Circuits – final mission for 2009

  1. Flyingninja says:

    Very, very cool! I have all this to look forward to but having read your blog, I think I’m already immersed in a lot of it. Great stuff!
    It also just occured to me that I have been side-slipping on my landings. I have been using the rudder to help line me up on approach, and when that doesn’t quite level me up, I use ailerons too. So, that explains why I do land with a slight crab.
    Those S Turns sound challenging.

  2. Darky says:

    The S-turns are pretty easy, it is basically a slight turn to one direction then a slight turn back to the other way (like an S shape lol)

    Glad to hear my blog might have helped 🙂 Plus now you’re prepared for your FI’s amusement at your dismay when they pull EFATOs (lol)

  3. tfg says:

    That’s awesome Jen 🙂

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