In which I spray myself with AVGAS, finally get out of the circuit, fly the boundaries of the training area and learn how to read a map.
Today’s mission was to fly around the borders of the Lilydale training area so I know where I’m allowed to go, and also to cover some very basic navigation so I know how to find my way back to the airport 🙂
I preflighted 4964, then was told I was going to refuel it myself today. I dislike ladders so I wasn’t too keen on the prospect of balancing on a ladder while trying to wield a fuel hose!
I taxiied over to the fuel pad and J wandered over to keep an eye on me while I was refuelling (I joked it was to make sure I didn’t fall off the ladder) I got everything set up and climbed up to fill the RHS tank. I put the nozzle in the hole and pressed the trigger…and got sprayed with AVGAS! Luckily J had disappeared to grab the bucket to wash the windows and didn’t see my AVGAS splashing! I fiddled around a bit and realised that the rubber thing on the end of the fuel nozzle was actually…a cap (oops!). I took that off and suddenly everything starting working more like I expected 😛
I finished the RHS tank and moved around to the LHS tank. This one was on the far side of the plane from the bowser so it was hard to read how much you’d put in. I thought it seemed to fill up pretty quickly but the bowser seemed to say 20 litres so I figured I was done. Until I walked over to replace the hose and realised the bowser said 2 litres not 20, they really need to make those numbers bigger… Anyway, I added another 18 or so litres and it was done.
We jumped in and J explained what we were going to be doing this mission – basically, flying around the boundaries of the training area so I know where I’m allowed to go, plus a look at very basic navigation (i.e. how to read a map).
Runway 18 was in use so I taxiied us over and did the pre-takeoff checks. As I was doing it a call came over the radio that they were changing to active runway to 36. I’m very glad I wasn’t in the circuit at that point, judging by the radio calls there was a bit of confusion up there as everyone got turned around.
I finished the checks, taxiied us to 36 and did the takeoff.
We climbed to 3000ft and started our trek around the training area.
The training area for Lilydale is basically the Yarra Valley and is surrounded by mountains. It reaches up to Kinglake in the north, around to Healesville and Warburton, down to Emerald and back up the north. At the end of the mission I said that the main thing to remember about the Lilydale training area is that “If you’ve hit a mountain, you’ve gone too far”. J pointed out that if you hit a mountain you’ve probably got more things to worry about than just that, but he could see what I meant 😛
We also looked at the basics of reading a map while flying. It’s important to orientate the map so it’s facing the same way as your flight path, rather than trying to look at the map then work out where everything is in relation to it. If the map is facing the same way as you’re going, then all the things on the map will (hopefully) be in the same place as they are out the window, you don’t need to hunt around for them.
As we headed north back to Lilydale, we passed Coldstream. It’s important to remember to not go below 2000ft (I think) when passing Coldstream to avoid their circuit area. A few years ago there was a mid-air collision between a Coldstream aircraft and a Lilydale aircraft, luckily nobody was hurt, but unsurprisingly they’re keen to avoid it happening again!
We joined the circuit on crosswind and flew a normal circuit. The landing was flapless and I ended up slightly low for most of final which I should have corrected more than I did. Overall the landing was fairly smooth, although not my best. It’ll be interesting to see how my landings go now I’m not practicing them so often!
The plan for next mission depends upon the weather – if it’s nice weather, we’ll be doing some work on advanced stalling, if not, we’ll be doing some work on steep turns. It’s certainly nice to be out of circuits for a change 🙂