Forced Landings

In which I hit the plane to make it work, practice some forced landings and judge things surprisngly well.

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Today was my first mission after returning from Canberra. The plan was to continue with forced landings.

I preflighted 4964 and taxiied us to 36. When doing the pre-takeoff checks the flaps stopped working so I was shown where to hit the plane to make the flaps start working again. You bash it just behind the door on the pilot side, roughly equal to the top of the door. It took both of us giving it a bash to make it work but we got it working. 🙂 We took off and headed off over Yarra Glen, turned right and headed towards the farm strip we were going to use as a ‘field’. It took me a minute to spot the strip and luckily we weren’t really planning to use it since there was a pile of cows standing in the middle.

First I flew a circle around the field so I can see what it looked lik from all angles. Then it was time to attempt a forced landing.

J cut the power and I was left to glide around and down to the field. The first thing I noticed was the silence. I know that the engine was still running (at idle) so there was still some noise, but it was interesting to hear the air outside whistling past.

The first landing I had some input from J about where I should be pointing the aircraft to deal with the slightcrosswind. I made the 1000ft point in the right place which was rather nice 🙂

I was rather surprised to discover just how long you have to get down once the engine has stopped. It seems like you’ll only have a short time to get down but you actually have about 2 or 3 minutes to get down to the 1000ft point. That being said, today I was only flying the aircraft, not adding in checklists and radio calls etc.

We climbed back up to 3000ft, flew around a little to give the engine time to warm up again and then I had another crack at a forced landing. This time I did it with far less input from J and made 1000ft at exactly the right place. Considering it usually takes me a while to pick up things that require judgment (such as landing!), I was rather surprised how well I was judging the landings!

I did one more forced landing but didn’t judge this one quite so well – I ended up at 1000ft slightly before I reached the 1000ft point. Other than that it was pretty good though.

We headed back and I flew the circuit and did the landing. It was a pretty good landing I though, and I’ve realised just how much I like landing now I can do it – that feeling of everything coming together (even if the landing isn’t perfect).

During the debrief J said that I flew well today, judged the landings well. Next mission we’re going to add in checklists – all the things to distract you from flying the aircraft when trying to do a forced landing! 😛

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