Friday, September 23, 2011

Blindfolded, half of the instruments not working and a spiral dive....

Me in the Robin
Today involved some good flying, some testing flying and a good lesson or 2......
I am really grateful to my friend Darrell for putting me through my paces today and pretty much testing the limits of my flying skills.
found the windmills from 3000ft
We started off simply enough with a navigation exercise to a grass air strip about half an hour away, we then had a diversion to a wind farm consisting of 4 wind mills and was pretty chuffed to have found that from 3000feet.
Me with the blindfold hood on
A drink and a bite to eat at the nearby airport of Angouleme was in order before it was time to head back out and get into the serious part of the CPL training which involves some strange exercises including wearing a blindfold so that you can only see the instruments, then block off half of the instruments, then whilst you can't see make the plane go left, right up and down. I seemed to get on ok with this, climbing descending and turning to points on the compass, then the real fun starts where I am not allowed to even look at the instruments whilst Darrell spins us around a bit to disorientate me then puts the plane into an unusual attitude and I then have to recognize which direction we are going with only some of the instruments working and the blind fold on, either diving nose first into the ground at about 130 knots or going straight up into the stars like the Space shuttle. This has to be recognized and recovered in a matter of seconds before we hit the ground or run out of sky.
Covering up the important bits

 I actually seemed to cope ok with this, I was slightly worried about this aspect, not due to the impending death aspect but because when I had done it before (flown with a blindfold) I got quite motion sick as I was disorientated. It was for this reason I told Darrell is was probably best not to be wearing his best jumper today.
He need not have worried, my lunch stayed where it was intended and I am still alive to tell the tale.
After all of this was completed it was time for some real brushing up on my circuit work, which is where you join the airport where you are going to land and then make final approach and land, I seem to have gotten a little slack over the passed few months of flying and this needed some tightening up, which due to some patience and clever teaching techniques of my passenger all seemed to work well, so there was only one thing to finish off with and that my favorite some stalling, I have always hated stalling planes, since day one of learning to fly it has been my bogey area, so Darrell got the bit between his teeth and we managed to get this to a far better standard, passed the point of being a baby about it and making it a lot better and controlled throughout the procedure.
Me and my training Captain.....
After 3 and a half hours flying today I really feel 100 times better and prepared on what training lies ahead for me in Florida over the months ahead.

 Once again my exam result didn't arrive, so another nail biter of a nights sleep ahead before it arrives.....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Unusual Atitudes......Spiral dives....

The Robin DR400
Today was great fun, some real flying and a concerted effort to get into training mode. Darrell, my patient friend who is also an instructor put together some of the exercises which come up all through the CPL training, these include recovering from unusual attitudes, ie Spiral Dives, approach to stall, basically the up is down and down is up, and the sky is somewhere in between, oh and I forgot to mention you are wearing a hood over your eyes so you can't see out !!
Not usually my idea of fun but it feels like a real accomplishment to get through it unscathed and only slightly green with nausea.
The rest of the flying today included stalls, which has always been my bogey point of flying, I don't overly enjoy it and then steep turns and circuits around the airport.
I felt that I got back into the groove flying wise today and the advice and help from Darrell who has been through this course not so long ago has been a real help and I feel after our long flight tomorrow as we have the plane for the day I should be firing on all cylinders.
We have been so lucky with the weather its just perfect for getting these hours done and hopefully after tomorrow I should be very close to my 100 hours Pilot in command time that I also need for the commercial training.
Unfortunately the postman failed me today and there were no exam results coming through, so another 24hours of waiting. Patience is the key.....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Back in the saddle and it feels good

Its been a crazy few months of study study study for this final Navigation re-test. I took the exam 10 days ago at London Gatwick CAA HQ, and as expected it wasn't the most fun day of my life. But I am hoping hoping and hoping some more that I have done enough this time.
I am sitting tapping my fingers waiting for the result to come through at anytime maybe even tomorrow.
If and thats a rather large IF, I have passed it, it will mean I have the right to be on the already reserved plane for Florida in 2 weeks time to start my Commercial Pilots License practical flying course and then onto the Flight Instructors course. All of this will take me up to around Xmas if all goes well and I pass the further exams.
At the moment I am writing this blog post from where it all started for me, in Limoges, France where I studied for and passed my PPL 2 years ago with my Instructor Sue Virr who owns and runs the only English speaking school in France based at the aeroclub de Limoges. I am here, as its now 2 years since my license that I have to re-validate it with a flight with an examiner and be signed off once again.
I did this flight today and it was great to be back in familiar surroundings with the Robin DR400 aircraft. I have bought my friend Darrell along for the ride for this week as he is already qualified and has been through the courses before me and he is putting me through my paces to get me match fit for the intense training ahead, although I didn't scare him too much today I think he has his work cut out to get me ready over the next few days.
We have some navigation routes lined up for the next couple of days and I will take some pictures, hopefully the weather will stay this good and I will get a few good hours under my belt.
I will report in when the exam result comes through.

London's calling..... London's calling.....

Well, where are we......? I was reminded at the weekend that I hadn't done my blog in a while, (thank you Gruff) so I have sat myself d...