First Area Solo

In which I’m let loose in the training area by myself for the first time, practice various things with varying results and play a game of ‘find the airfield’

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The plan for today was for me to do my first area solo (yay!!) – me going out to the training area by myself to practice stalls, steep turns and forced landings.

I arrived and preflighted 4964. Unfortunately, they’d parked it fairly close to the tail of 4929 so there was no way I was going to be able to taxi it out without taking out the tail of 4929 with my wing. I tried to drag it around myself but didn’t seem to get anywhere so I figured I mustn’t be strong enough to do it, so I wandered inside and ‘borrowed’ J to help. It turned out that taking the park brake off helps (oops).

So, having avoided taking out 4929, I taxiied over to refuel. After some messing around I got it lined up next to the fuel bowser and started to refuel. The first tank was fine, the second one filled up quicker than I expected and overflowed slightly, but it was all good. J wandered over to check over the aircraft before I headed off and, after some last minute instructions, I was sent off by myself.

I climbed in and taxiied over to 36. I did the takeoff from 36L (amazing how it just leaps off the ground with just me in it) and headed off to the northern part of the training area. Since I had to be back on the ground by 5:30pm, I had about 45 minutes to mess around.

I climbed to 4000ft and decided to try a few stalls. The first one I tried was a clean power off stall which was a complete failure (didn’t really stall at all) which was good since I’d forgotten to put the carby heat on (oops). I then tried a few more clean power off stalls which were slightly more successful. It felt rather weird trying to get it to stall though, since I had to hold a slight amount of right aileron to compensate for all the weight being on one side. I then decided to try a flapped power on stall. That one worked better but I ended up getting a wing drop which is slightly scary when you’re alone, it definitely got the blood pumping!

I then decided to try a couple of steep turns. The first one wasn’t totally successful but the second two were far more successful.

One thing I noticed I was having trouble with today was maintaining my height, for some reason I had a tendency to climb today and a few times I had to catch myself before I went over the 4500ft limit.

The last thing I tried was a forced landing. I didn’t pick the best field I could have, when I got closer I noticed that there were two ditches running across it but there was another field nearby that appeared suitable so that wasn’t too bad.

It was then time to head back so I climbed to 1500ft and headed back to Lilydale. However, spotting the airfield proved to be a slight challenge and I played a short round of ‘find the airfield’ before realising that I was actually closer to it than I thought I was. That’s what I get for flying out of an airfield that has a grass runway in the middle of a grass field surrounded by other grass fields! So, I made a slightly messed up inbound call and at the same time VH-ISD made a call saying that they were inbound so I did an orbit to see if I could spot them. I couldn’t see them anywhere so joined crosswind and headed around the circuit.

On final I discovered that the sun wasn’t really in a convenient spot, shining in the LHS window and making it very difficult to see the runway. Another new adventure, final approach without a good view of the runway! My landing wasn’t too bad, although I think I was a little high but there wasn’t a huge thump on touchdown which was nice. I don’t know if I forced it to land sooner than usual or if it was because of having less weight than usual or what, but it seemed to land earlier on the runway than usual and take a while to taxi to the end. Still, made it off eventually and taxiied it back and parked it.

In other news, I took the opportunity to round up two members of RA-Aus to nominate me to run for election to the RA-Aus Board. I’ll be posting more on this later, but I’ve decided to run for election to the Board of Recreational Aviation Australia. I asked J if he’d vote for me and he just grinned at me so I’m not sure if that’s a yes or a no! 😛

I’m booked again at 8:30am tomorrow (getting up at 7am on a Sunday, I clearly love flying!). The plan for tomorrow is for me to head out solo again and just do more practice on what I did today. I now have 3.8 hours PIC and need another 1.2 hours to get the required 5 hours (maybe I’ll manage to get the whole 1.2 tomorrow, who knows?). After that it’s back to dual to brush up on everything for my flight test. I definitely need to get on and sit the various theory tests I need to do, I’m planning to ask J about that tomorrow, see if I need to arrange a time to do it or what. I definitely need to set myself a deadline though, otherwise I’ll never get around to learning it (I feel bad for studying flying theory when I should be doing all the uni study I need to do). It all seems to be getting closer though, which is rather exciting 🙂

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2 Responses to First Area Solo

  1. Jeanne says:

    Congrats on the soloing. Did you find yourself looking over to the right seat for advice and find none there? It was so odd the first time I went out to the practice area alone. Fun but strange. I also had trouble with altitude maintenance until my CFI and I spent one lesson on power management(airspeed & rpms) and straight and level flight. I was spending too much time looking at the instruments and not enough on the horizon. Things went much better after that lesson and I passed my checkride two weeks later.

  2. Jack says:

    Sounds so exciting!
    I think you have just made me re-decide buying that new phone I wanted (and was going to buy today. but didn’t get around to it)and save more for flying (..well actually start saving :s). Can’t wait for future flying lessons.. need to get a job first, sigh! Oh, and I’d Vote #1 Darky, but I guess you would have to be a RA-Aus member to vote. Damn.
    -Jack (:

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