Wow what a glorious week of weather! I took the opportunity to do some hour building: Tatenhill & Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green.
I’ve been pretty quiet as I have been working on the ATPL exams and havent done much flying worthy of a post on it’s own. However, when I saw that we were going to have a good week of weather I had to get up and get some hours built, as flying just 1.5 hours at a time wasn’t really cutting it.
I have also done a few other flights over the last few weeks but they were just trips around say 50 miles of the field that I doubt you really want to hear about.
I have recently subscribed to Flyer Magazine for nothing more than their free landings. I have no idea why I haven’t done this earlier as if you use just one it pays for itself.
This month it was Tatenhill, Halfpenny Green and Goodwood that took my interest.
19th April 2018 – Tatenhill
Firstly it was hot! Wearing jeans was most definatley the wrong idea.
I took of from Runway 20 at Henlow and routed “the long way round” which was towards Cambridge, over past Cranfield then up towards Tatenhill while getting a LARS service from East Midlands.
Well I say a LARS service but you only get a basic service outside of controlled airspace with East Midlands.
There was nobody on the radio at Tatenhill so I just addressed Tatenhill Traffic with my intentions.
I joined downwind and landed without incident.
I must say it is a pretty nice airfield and we was met with a warm welcome. I did uplift fuel, as I do try to make sure to take some if I am getting a free landing.
I was with a friend and we got some food before setting back off and heading back to Henlow on the reverse route.
It was a short visit but worth it as I built some good time.
Flying Time – 2.9 hours.
20th April 2018 – Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green
Second up in the free landing tour was HalfPenny Green in Wolverhampton.
This time it was a departure from 26R which is the small runway at Henlow. Well I say small, it’s more thing than it is small.
I chose to go a more direct route and departed south of Cranfield, up towards Wellesbourne and then into Halfpenny Green for a standard overhead join.
Wellesbourne seemed to be really busy, and I have heard good things about it so I need to visit at some point.
It got a bit choppy up closer to the airfield but nothing major to worry about.
I need to just say that the guys on the radio up there are excellent, some of the best I have encountered and both were really helpful.
Again I uplifted some fuel before parking and presenting the free landing voucher that was accepted without any issues.
The same friend was with me and we got some food before departing back to Henlow.
With the airfield closing at 6pm, I managed to make it back on the ground about 5:45, just in time.
Again another great day and some good time built.
Flying time – 2.8 hours
I am now up to 107.1 hours and 61.2 PIC time.
Now I best get back to studying for the ATPL exams. I have just 1 slot booked next week which is next friday where if the weather is nice enough I am planning to get down to Goodwood, but time will tell on that one.
22 months? Wow what a slog. Heres a quick recap of ATPL Theory Month 22: Gnav, Pof, Flight Planning.
Well there isn’t really that much to say. I have been trying to get up to speed in Flight Planning, General Navigation and Principals of Flight but after 22 months I am really struggling now. I am just so tired and worn out that after a day of work I don’t really want to study any more.
Some days I feel good and like I could sit the exam but then a few days later I seem to have forgotten a load of the formula!
I saw that there was a sitting just 3 weeks after the one I was going to sit in so I am now sitting the exams between the 1st and 3rd of May for what I hope will be my final exams.
The scores are going up (slowly) across the 3 so hopefully with one more month I hope I will be in a position to pass all 3.
I haven’t done much flying recently either as the weather has been shocking. I think I have managed a grand total of 2.8 hours this month which when you have about 50 hours to build doesn’t cut it at all. I figured I could get a good 5 hours at least this weekend but of course being a bank holiday the weather is crap.
If this weather doesn’t change in the next month or so I am going to seriously have to consider going abroad to somewhere with better weather (so basically anywhere else).
However first things first I need to pass these remaining exams and actually have something that resembles a life.
While this isn’t new, it is one of the most incredible stories that I have ever seen. I must have watched it about 4 times over the years but every time I am still in shock.
The story is about a The passenger who landed a plane.
The passenger (John Wildey) is on a flight back from Skegness with his friend (a pilot) when sadly the pilot becomes unwell and unfortunately passes away.
This is where the story gets really remarkable. John has no flying experience, none whatsoever and is also sitting in the P2 seat.
ATC manage to get hold of a flying instructor and search and rescue to assist John, but of course he is the only person in the aircraft (Cessna 172).
John manages to fly the plane to an international airport, make an approach to the airport and then execute a go around.
Now it is night time (keep in mind a night rating is 5 hours) and on top of this John doesn’t have any backlight on the plane as he doesn’t know where the switch is.
John is now facing landing a Cessna 172, at night, from the right hand seat, cannot see his instruments and with no flight training whatsoever. Oh yeah, and his friend is dead in the seat next to him!
Next he makes an approach on the lit runway at Humberside but has to do two more go arounds before finally coming in again for his final attempt.
He manages to come in (I guess technically a flapless approach), bounced a bit then comes of the runway. He landed with all this going on, absolutely incredible!
It’s just an amazing job by John, the RAF search and rescue, ATC, the flying instructor and the fire and medics on the ground.
The video is here and well worth a watch.
What an absolute legend John is and he even has got back into light aircraft again.
Just a quick recap of ATPL Theory Month 21: Gnav, Pof, Flight Planning.
After plodding along these exams for what is now the 21st month, I must admit I am losing all enthusiasm for them. However at the same time I am so close to finishing them, that I am doing my best to work hard before what I hope is the final sitting in April.
So far my scores seem to be going up across the 3 subjects and even the dreaded Gnav is starting to make some sense.
The weather across the next week or two is supposed to be awful which means that I can spend more time on the exams and hopefully get the scores where they need to be before April.
Two of the subjects are maths based so they are taking me a bit longer than normal to get up to speed on them but hopefully I will crack them when the time comes. The formula is starting to stick so that’s a promising sign.
I have some accelerator days left with Bristol but to be honest I don’t think I will use them. If necessary I will use them if I have to do another siting but I really hope that it doesn’t come to that.
The exam week is the 2nd week of April so that leaves me with another 6 weeks of hard study left.
Fingers crossed and all that.
Yesterday I ticked of a big part of my training as I completed the CPL cross country qualifier.
The CPL cross country qualifier requires you fly at least 300nm with full stop landings at two aerodromes.
As this would be a full day of flying I had to set of nice and early so I decided I needed to be airborne by no later than 9.30am.
I had decided my route would be Blackbushe -> Shobdon -> Gamston -> Blackbushe. This is 305 NM as the crow flies but in reality it was quite a bit more with the dog legs etc.
Blackbushe -> Shobdon
Ice Ice Baby. As it was an early start the plane was iced over, luckily there was some de-icing fluid available so after 30 mins or so I was ready to go.
The winds were easterly today so after fuelling up I took of from runway 07 before climbing into the overhead and departing to the north-west. I switched to Farnborough who then suggested I switched to Oxford (really I should have went straight to Brize) and not long after I switched to Brize.
The weather wasn’t amazing with some haze but it was good enough.
As I approached Brize I asked for a zone transit. I had never done this before but turns out it’s really straight forward. They cleared me across at 2000 ft and I continued to flow north past Gloucester and towards the west.
I tried to tell Brize that I was going to Shobdon but I think it went past 12 and they had given up for the day.
Anyways I then routed in towards Shobdon before joining downwind on runway 08.
Shobdon is a great airfield with very welcoming staff and people. The area it is set in is also beautiful and I would have no hesitation in recommending that people visit.
Time taken 1.6 hours.
Shobdon to Gamston
After fueling up and grabbing a little food we then departed for Gamston. It seems that we choose rush hour as from start up to take of was 17 mins.
There is a lot of high ground around Shobdon so I departed and just tried to get as much height as I could as fast as possible.
I then departed towards the north-east before switching to East Midlands Lars. It was a little rocky on this leg but nothing to bad, by now the little cloud had gone but it was still a bit hazy.
East Midlands only seem to offer a basic service if you are not entering controlled airspace so as I was planning to stay under their CTA that is all I got.
I made sure to keep a good look out even more so than usual due to the haze.
Gamston is under the Doncaster CTA so you have to make sure you are under 2000ft when approaching.
I ended up doing a straight in approach and joined on long finals on runway 03.
The guys at Gamston are always friendly and they helped me on my last attempt at the cross country qualifier when the radio failed. Thankfully the plane now had a new Trig unit so I didn’t have these problems.
Time taken 1.8 hours.
Gamston to Blackbushe
Time was getting on I got away from Gamston at 3pm. Sunset at Blackbushe was 17:36 and while I have a night rating I was trying to get back before the sun went down.
The good thing about this leg is that it is basically a straight line south back to Blackbushe. I flew down past Leicester, Northampton, Milton Keynes before heading under the London TMA.
I spoke to East Midlands Lars and Sywell before switching to Farnborough and getting a traffic service because it was pretty hazy still down south.
I did a standard overhead join but there was someone in a Bonanza who to be honest I had NO idea what sort of join they was doing. They seemed to cross the runway they wanted to land on, basically flew right at me, before doing a 180 and then joining the downwind. Then rather than exiting the runway they decided to taxi to the end meaning I (and the guy behind me) had to go around and do it all again. Not what you want after a 2 hour leg but these things happen.
Finally I came back into land and that was the CPL cross country qualifier all done!
Leg time was 2 hours.
That was a long day of flying, I don’t think 5.4 hours in a C150 does any good for your back but I am glad it is all done 🙂
The winds were showing anywhere from 20-30kts but it didn’t feel that bad at all.
I also managed to get 1.3 hours done the day before yesterday so 6.7 hours done in 2 days is not bad at all.
I did think about flying again today but I should really do some ATPL study! The weather next week is looking pretty shocking so that’s not looking promising.
On another note my time flying at Blackbushe is most likely done. It is a nice airfield but just too far away and I now have a share in a C150 at Henlow which is just down the road from me.
The weather this weekend has been pretty good so I managed to go flying both Friday and yesterday and managed to do some Hour Building: Local flights from Blackbushe.
There is not much to say about these at all. My main goal was to build time and just brush up on my general handling. I was down at Blackbushe using up some of the hours I had left there and managed to fly 2.7 hours over the two days which aint bad at all.
Oh yeah, the plane not only has a new radio but it now also has two USB ports for charging things. Seems it’s getting all it’s upgrades as I’m winding down my flying there!
The issue when I go to Blackbushe is that I spend more time driving down there and back (2-3 hours depending on traffic) than I do in the air.
I am not sure what to do with the remaining 3.3 hours down there I may use them to attempt a CPL qualifier to Shobdon and then Gamston. However I have now been informed that the Shareoplane at Henlow is back so obviously it is easier to get to.
I need to fly a lot more regularly as even after this weekend I still have 61 hours left to build which may not sound that much but can be difficult when you are mainly flying at weekends. I think I am going to have to book some half days at work and go fly at Henlow which aint too far away and I should be able to do at least 1.5-2 hours on those days which should help reduce the hours quite quickly.
It also felt good to get up just on my own and enjoy some true solo flight. It looks like the weather is a bit crap early next week but might improve towards the weekend, lets see.
Jeez feels like forever since I have flown, so I was happy yesterday to do Hour Building: local flight from Blackbushe.
I haven’t flown since the start of December which was starting to feel like ages now.
Blackbushe is a nice airport but quite frankly a pain in the butt to get to from Luton. Most of the time I spend more time in traffic than I do in the air once I get there.
I still had 7.6 (now 6) prepaid hours in the Cesnna down there that I need to burn off so I took a half day today and just flew around the local area before coming back and doing 3 circuits for currency.
I got there to find the plane finally has a new radio which is the same Trig TY96 as in the other C150 I fly which is a great little unit and very easy to use. Blackbushe are going to 8.33khz at the end of the month so this really is just in time.
The day was surprisingly beautiful, the winds were calm and the vis was pretty good. There’s not much to say about the actual flight as I didn’t go anywhere special.
The shareoplane that I have locally is still on it’s annual so if the weather holds up I am going to try and burn of some more (or all) of the hours I have left this month. As things stand Monday looks alright but as we all know these things forecasts change often.
While I still have hours here I need to get back over to Kemble which is one of my favourite airports.
1.6 hours done, 63.8 to go!
Just a quick recap of ATPL Theory Month 20: Gnav, Pof, Flight Planning.
It’s been pretty quiet from me simply because there hasn’t really been anything to say. As per usual the weather at this time of year has been shocking with low clouds, high winds, rain and snow. For this reason I haven’t actually managed to fly since the 9th December.
The shareoplane is away on annual until at least the middle of next month, and I haven’t managed to get down to Blackbushe to finish my flying down there due to the weather conditions.
In regards to ATPL’s I feel I have made alright progress on Gnav with things starting to make sense. Flight planning & POF I am still putting the work in and I feel things are progressing well on those fronts.
I moved my exams back to April. I was working hard to meet this March deadline I had set myself and then it dawned on me, why? I have until July to complete my ATPL exams and I still have 2 sittings to pass these final 3 exams so it makes sense to take time on them rather than rush myself to make a self imposed deadline.
I still have 65 hours to fly before August so I really need the weather to change soon. I am glad I have managed to get a plane closer to home so I can dash to the airfield when a flying opportunity arrives. I also still need to do my CPL qualifier after having radio failure on my first attempt last year.
All in all I would say that things are going alright and with about 10 weeks till I sit the exams I still have some time.
With the Christmas period done this is a recap of ATPL Theory Month 19: Gnav, Pof, Flight Planning.
To be honest there’s not that much to say really. I sat 3 exams at the start of the month which were Operational Procedures, General Navigation and IFR comms. I passed IFR and Ops and failed Gnav.
After this I initially went back to study but I was so tired and burned out I decided to have a rest for the first time. I did no study until the 27th December and may I say it felt great and was needed to be honest. My performance and retention of knowledge had started to fall of a cliff.
This means that the 3 exams I have left are Gnav (resit) Pof (resit) & flight planning.
I am going to do my best to try to be ready to sit these in March which gives me just over 9 weeks to get exam ready. If needed ill push them to April but really I want to try and get these done in March.
I am going to try to study 5-6 days a week and cut out as many distractions as I can aka (tv, youtube, whatsapp, twitter, etc) however I can’t study in complete silence so some music on quietly in the background is essential for me.
I have only done one flight this month due to the weather so hopefully if I can pass these exams in March I can focus on actually doing some flying. As much as learning what convention deals with lost baggage is, I much prefer the flying side of things.
Hopefully the light at the end of tunnel is now getting pretty close.
It had been a few weeks since my last flight so I did hour building: Local flight from RAF Henlow to Northampton.
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.