Hour Building: Local flight from RAF Henlow to Northampton

It had been a few weeks since my last flight so I did hour building: Local flight from RAF Henlow to Northampton.
G-ASYP Milton Keynes

It was a very cold morning yesterday and I got to the airfield and pulled the C150 out the hanger, checked it out, gave it a few primes and tried to start it. Nothing. Another prime, and another attempt or two…. nothing.
Hmmm I didn’t want to flood the engine so I called one of the guys who has been in the group for ages. He came round and worked his manage and a good 6 primes later …. we had life!
Now the next issue is I had never fueled up at RAF Henlow (or anywhere for that matter) so I next had to be taught how to fuel the aircraft.
Now finally it was time to take off and the runway in use was 31. Hmmm, I’ve never used that runway so I then had to work out the procedure for this runway.
So I took of and climbed to 3000ft as the Luton CTA starts at 3500 right above us. Also as it was cold the performance was pretty good.
I then flew past MK making sure not to fly through the instrument approach for Cranfield and then up towards Northampton.
This area is quite strange as people can be on so many different frequencies. You have Henlow, Old Buckenham, Cranfield, Sywell, London Information and Farnborough North all in the same area.
The toll of starting the plane showed it’s head around Northampton and we got the LV light. This plane has a generator rather than an alternator and the plane was already at minimum load, transponder, radio and becon. For this reason I decided to head back to Henlow.
Luckily the flight back was uneventful and I flew back close to Cranfield just incase.
All in all a nice flight and another 1.3 hours in the log book and I am now just short of 85 hours. I wanted to be at 100 before 2018 but being realistic that is just not going to happen.
Today the country is covered in snow so there’s no flying happening today.


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ATPL Theory Module 4 results

As I sat more exams this week here are my ATPL Theory Module 4 results.

I must admit I am now at the point where I am pretty worn out, these exams seem to have been going on forever.  Anyways, I sat OPS, IFR comms and Gnav this week here.

Operational Procedures – 84%
I was worried about this exam before sititng it as I know people had been struggling with it recently and two people I know had failed it in the previous month or so.
On getting in there it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, I seemed to be progressing through the test at a good speed which is normally a good indication that you are doing ok.
I would say I had finished in 40 mins and thought that I had passed when I got up so happy to see that I did.

IFR Communications – 83%
I sat VFR communications in my last module and there was a lot of new questions and some questions I thought would have been more suited in Rnav so I was a little apprehensive.
I sat this exam on the 3rd day of exams and by this point I was a bit worn out and made some silly mistakes on a few questions and defo through away a few marks. However I passed it so thats the important thing.

Gnav – 55%
Not only did I have a horrible feeling before going in, but I failed and failed quite badly. I knew as soon as I got up from the exam that there was no chance of a pass. I used every second of the 2 hours that was given to me. I seemed to get a lot of 2 mark questions (at least 10) little on the CRP 5 (maybe 5 in total) and 1 plotting type question.
I found the exam very hard.
I am not a fan of Gnav and this sums up my feelings on the subject.

So this leaves me with 2 resits (POF and Gnav) and Flight Planning left to pass and 2 sittings left to do it in. I have till July 2018 to pass them so I see no reason to rush and I will take my time (on top of this I need a break from these exams). I am going to take a week of studying before kicking of the final push.
I have booked these subjects for April 2018 this gives me a lot of time to try to really get to terms with these remaining exams.

11 down, 3 to go.

ATPL Theory Month 18: Gnav, Ops, IFR Communications

Another month done so here is a quick recap of ATPL Theory Month 18: Gnav, Ops, IFR Communications.
mod 3 progress

To be honest I am reaching the point where these exams have been going on way to long and are becoming very draining.
I have spent the month working on all three exams but mainly Gnav and to be honest I am not totally sure how that one will go. However I am going to be sitting it anyways next Monday.
Operational procedures seems to be going through a lot of changes and two people I know have failed it in the last month alone. For this reason I am a bit nervous about what I am going to be faced with in the exam on Wednesday but we shall see.
Last up is IFR communications on Thursday, this is an exam which I would hope would be alright but these days who knows whats going on. I remember sitting VFR communications on quadrant and it was a load of new questions including some that should have been in Rnav in my opinion.
As usual I only have half days to sit the exams so to help things I also have half a day of work thrown in between, the joys.
I will spend the weekend revising Gnav and trying to get up to speed before kicking of the exams on Monday morning.

Hour Building: Local flight from RAF Henlow

Yesterday I went up for a quick flight and did Hour Building: Local flight from RAF Henlow.

The weather conditions were perfect yesterday, still cold air, great visibility and high clouds!
I decided to take this opportunity to do a local flight. The route took me up out of Henlow below the Luton CTA, past Leighton Buzzard (which you can make out in the picture), up past Northampton, across to Alconbury and then back down into Henlow.
It was the same runway in use at Henlow but I am getting more familiar with the procedures etc.
The weather was so still that the plane was happy to just sit where you put it with very little intervention. This allowed me to take in the views a lot more than I normally would and on a day like yesterday they were absolutely breathtaking. It is days like this where you remember how privileged you actually are to be able to fly across this beautiful country of ours.
It has been a while since I have flown from Blackbushe but I have hours left on my account so I need to get down there and burn some hours soon.
In the end another 1.5 hours logged.

Hour Building: RAF Henlow to Fenland

I had the plane booked for most of today so I decided to do some hour building: RAF Henlow to Fenland.
Fenland
I was looking at the map and looking for somewhere new to go that wasn’t a huge distance away. The options came down to Wellesbourne and Fenland. The wind seemed to be a bit better towards the East so I choose Fenland which allowed me to increase my experience on grass fields.
I took off from Henlow and routed towards Cambridge, to the East of Connington and then into Fenland
One thing I have realised is that grass strips can sometimes be a lot more tricky to spot from the air, we was basically onto top of Fenland before we saw it.
The runway in use was 26 so we did a overhead join and descended on the deadside before doing a standard circuit. On final there was an aircraft still on the runway so I did a go around and finally landed and taxied to park.
Fenland is a cool little airfield with good food and just a £5 landing fee so very good value.
We stayed for about a hour, got some food, before departing back for Henlow.
The routing back was the same but in reverse before we joined long final for runway 26L at Henlow and then taxied back to park.
All in all a good day out and another 1.8 hours into the log book. The wind was a little sporty up there but nothing to be concerned about.
I will return to Fenland I think, it’s great value for money!

ATPL Theory Month 17: Gnav, Operational Procedures & IFR Communications.

A bit late on this one but a quick recap of ATPL Theory Month 17: Gnav, Operational Procedures & IFR Communications.
atp digital complete

I’m a bit late on this one but in the last week I have decided to drop flight planning from the subjects I am taking in December. I was finding that having four subjects around my full time job was just too much work. This allows me more time to focus on Gnav which tbh, I don’t really like that much but hopefully by exam date it will all click in place.
I am now spending my time going over the practice questions and looking up things in the material to try to get it all in my head before I sit the exams.
I am hearing operational procedures has changed a lot since quadrant so I am trying my best to get up to date on that. Quadrant really has made a lot of unknown in the exams as it seems many unused LO’s have had a load of questions chucked at them.
IFR comms I expect to be like VFR with a load of new questions in it but hopefully that will be alright.
The 4 weeks I will be doing more of the same and we will see where I am come exam week. Hopefully all will be fine.

 

Circuits at RAF Henlow

Today I went out for circuits at RAF Henlow.
G-ASYP

Not an awful lot to say today.
I needed to get familiar with the procedures and flying at RAF Henlow so I decided to go up and do some circuits today.
Flying on grass is still a bit foreign to me, on the taxi I still feel like I am in a rally car but it is all good fun.
In total I did about 5 circuits. Taxi time at Henlow is quite a lot as the hangers are pretty far away. Every time I have gone to Henlow there has been a different runway in use. Today we was using 26 left with a right hand circuit.
Take off is with 10 degrees of flap and circuit height was 1000ft.
It was very choppy today and got worse as it went on, in the end I decided to land as the wind was getting to a point where it was making the flying very challenging. I think SkyDemon was showing 30-35 knots in the end.
I am still getting use to the procedures and the way things work at Henlow but practice makes perfect and all that so I look forward to flying more.
I also met a guy who was learning at Cranfield the same time I was and he is buying the other share in the aircraft so it will be good to meet up and do some flying together.

I bought a plane

I bought a plane! Well that is slightly misleading, I brought 1/15th of a plane so like the wheels or something.

I am now the proud 1/15th owner of a C150E that is based just down the road from me located at RAF Henlow.
I had been looking for a plane locally for a while, I seem to be in an area where there are not that many shares located (or that become available).
It is an old but well equipped plane with manual flaps but more importantly the radio has already been changed for a 8.33 one and the transponder is mode S.
On top of this it has a recent engine overhaul and there is only 700 hours on the engine in total.
The share cost me £1500 (£250 admin fee) and the monthly costs are £60 (membership of the club, insurance, hangarage etc).
The flying rate is £65 per tacho hour and £7 landing fee.
As you can see this will provide me with really cheap flying which is great as I still have a good 70 hours to build before I can start my CPL ME IR course next year (and I plan to keep up my SEP anyways after I am done).
This is really going to help me with my hour building as the current plane I am in is located anything from 2-3 hours from me. With so many hours to build, I need a plane that I can take a half day of from work when the weather is nice and build 2 hours or so without much hassle, which this allows.
I look forward improving my flying and getting more experienced while flying this plane.

Two years of flying

Another year has passed and this month marks two years of flying, so I thought it would be cool to recap what I have managed to achieve.
Shoreham to Cranfield

  1. Night Rating – I managed to achieve my night rating last winter. This allows me to fly at night (funnily enough) and means if you get caught coming back from somewhere and are late you can still fly.
  2. ATPL Exams – I have managed to pass 9 out of the 14 ATPL exams so far. It is a real struggle doing these around work but I am finally at the point where there just might be some light at the end of the tunnel.
    I really cannot wait until these exams are over and I can get my free time back.
  3. Flying from a new airfield – I started flying from Blackbushe and have been flying from there for the last year. It was nice to be based somewhere new and I am on the verge of moving somewhere new again.
  4. Booked my CPL ME IR – My prefered place to do my CPL ME IR course was Bartolini Air in Poland due to the good reputation and the cost. I should be heading there next summer!
  5. Buying a plane – Well technically 1/15th of a plane. If all things go well I should be joining a group locally in the trusty C150 and flying from a grass strip.
  6. Building Hours – It has been nice to spread my wings and travel to new airfields and increase my flight time. I still have about 70 hours to build before next summer so there is still lots of flying to do.

So I feel that I have achieved quite a lot this year building on from when I had completed one year of flying. I look forward to what the next 365 days has in store for me.

 

Checkout on a C150 at RAF Henlow

So yesterday I had a checkout on a C150 at RAF Henlow.

As you know, I have recently been flying down at Blackbushe which is about a 1.5 hour journey each way with traffic. Driving 3 hours round trip for a plane is a major bummer, so I have been looking for something closer that didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Not to long ago I saw a share in a C150 based just 15 miles away come up, so naturally I jumped at the chance. Ironically, after months and months of waiting two actually came along, but this one came along first.
Today I had a check out flight with the group instructor and all being well I should hopefully be able to buy a share in the aircraft.
The plane is a C150 but an older one so it has some uniqueness. For instance the flaps are manual on a handbreak type of lever, kind of like in the PA28. The speed is in MPH so that will take some getting used to as well.
All in all its a nice basic aircraft that is cheap enough to fly, which is about all you need when building flight time.
The checkout was simple, we went out into the local area and checked out some of the VRP’s. We did a stall and steep turns and came back for two circuits.
This was the first time I have landed on grass so that was nice.
Henlow has 4 runways and I am used to just one, so that is going to also take some adjustment and getting used to.
The prospect of having a 20-25 minute journey to the airfield as opposed to a 1.5 hour one is really a huge selling point.
Time will tell how it goes but after 6 weeks of no flying, it was great to be back in the air.