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Schlagwort: D-EALX

Second first solo

Second first solo

Visibility: about 10 kilometres
Temperature: -1°C
QNH: 1025hPa
Location: EDAY
Equipment: Cessna 150 (D-EALX)

It is a cold morning. The first of the season, really although it is nearly February. The grass on the airfield is covered in white frost. The atmosphere is dense and cold and the wind sock hangs down with not enough air movement to shake off the nights frost.

There is a lot of activity on the airfield. A crew of four workers is getting three of the Stemme motor gliders ready that are parked on the apron. They perform checks and wipe the ice off of the wings. Two or three other aircraft are being made ready on the apron.

At the door of the flight school I find a note “Meet me at the hangar”. I arrive over there as the instructor has just started to pre flight the little Cessna. I check the fuel and we pull her out of the circular hangar.

Lima X-Ray starts up almost immediately. Good girl. We taxi over to the apron and give her a minute to warm up. The carburetor pre-heat expedites this process.

We take off into the cold. The sky is grey but the ceiling is more than high enough. There is almost no wind. Perfect conditions for a low time student.

The first landing is a greaser. I round out, hold her parallel to the runway until the stall horn chimes and then let her settle onto the runway. Just like I learned it. The flight instructor is happy. He gives me a bit of advice on the timing and tells me to fly a larger pattern. He starts talking about a solo.

After the second landing he breaks. He tells me to do another two of three landings on my own – if I feel like it. Is he kidding? I’m thrilled!

I am giddy but not quite as excited as with my first solo. After all I have flown aircraft on my own before. I know that I will be able to land it somehow. On take-off the missing weight of the instructor is noticeable but not as much as in the ultra light. I reach the pattern altitude a bit faster, that’s about it.

Lima X-Ray and I have started to become friends. I treat her gently and she forgives my clumsiness in return. My first solo landing is very respectable. Not as greasy as when the instructor was sitting next to me but good enough. As I take off after my second landing, I pass the instructor while he walks down the side of the runway. Apparently he is not afraid for his property enough to stay out in the cold.

After two touch and goes, I announce my intention to finally land on the third run. My instructor comes on the radio and tells me to keep going if I like. I sure do!

After six successful landings I have had enough. Lima X-Ray and I are done for the day. We go back to the apron and taxi by my first love, the trusted Lima Juliet. She is about to take another student to his wings. I waive at my old instructor and he smiles at me.

To be continued…

(originally posted on January 25, 2012 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/second-first-solo/)

Instrument flying

Instrument flying

Visibility: right around 1.5 kilometers
Temperature: 11°C
QNH: 1014hPa
Location: EDAY
Equipment: Cessna 150 (D-EALX)

It is a miserable day with visibilities so close to the VFR minimums, that only the fact that it is Saturday is getting aircraft in the air. I arrive at the flight school and we start our morning with an extended theory lesson.

Around mid morning we go out to fly a few patterns to see if the visibility has improved. It has not. In the down wind leg we are just about able to see the runway.

Back in the briefing room, we continue theory of radio navigation. Today I am introduced to the concept of the VOR (VHF Omnidirectional Radio). This is a network of ground based radio stations. Their signal can be picked up by the VOR receiver in the aircraft which displays the relative position of the aircraft to the station.

We go through the theory. Then we simulate a trip on the computer. After that the flight instructor looks out of the window. The fog has not lifted. “Today would be a great day to get some real life experience” he says refering to the poor visibility. I’m game.

Our half hour trip will be a triangle to the south. My job will be to follow VOR and compass and to fly the aircraft without looking out of the window (there is not much to see out there anyway). The job of the flight instructor is to tell me the new headings at the way points.

We are departing to the south, following the VOR receiver in the cockpit to a close by VOR station. I hold the course and maintain the correct altitude. Maintaining the correct attitude with the artificial horizon is something new to me. It requires a lot of my concentration.

We use the VOR station as our first turning point and change the course to the north east. Again we follow its signal, this time to guide us away from the sender.

The next turning point, which will bring us on a western course back to the airport, is more complicated to find. We calculated the time after which we should get there and we know the heading for the last leg of the trip back home. As we are getting closer to the turning point, we start calling in to the airport to get our bearing.

At about 30 degrees south of the final bearing, I begin a left bank onto the new course. I peek out of the side window. Beneath the clouds and the fog I see something dark which may or may not be the lake that markes our way point.

We keep confirming the heading to the airport and before long, we see our home field through the mist. This was great training. I’m sure I will be tired tonight!

To be continued…


(originally posted on November 10, 2011 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/instrument-flying/)



Visibility: less than 5 kilometers
Temperature: 10°C
QNH: 1014hPa
Location: EDAY
Equipment: Cessna 150 (D-EALX)

I have an appointment at a different flight school in EDAY today to sign up for the PPL, the Private Pilots License. It is the next step from my Sports Pilots License.

The new flight school is in the tower building. A friendly office manager welcomes me to a tidy room with large windows. We go through the details and start the paper work.

Next door, a flight instructor is preparing a check ride with another student. It is a rainy day with a low cloud ceiling. The weather is around minimums and they are debating weather or not to cancel the check ride.

New part of the airport
I have been flying in EDAY for a little over a year but I had not been to the round hangar at the far end of the airport. This is where the Cessnas of the new flight school are living.

D-EALX, Cessna 150

Meet Lima X-Ray
My new ship is going to be Lima X-Ray, a Cessna 150 that is older than me. She has the look and feel of an old-timer but I know that her logs are up to date and that she is absolutely airworthy. The aircraft is larger and heavier that the light sports aircraft I had been flying so far, but the cabin is surprisingly narrow. We pre-flight the aircraft and I get my first hands-on experience with a certified aircraft. I read the flight manual of the C150 last week. That helps me now.

We taxi to the runway. The fight instructor operates the radio and I concentrate on steering. On the runway I slowly push the throttle forward. The Rolls Royce engine has a reassuringly deep vibrato. At 60 mph I start taking weight of the front wheel. At 80 mph I carefully lift Lima X-Ray off the runway, ease back on the joke to let her pick up speed close to the ground before I pull her up gently at 90 mph. So far so good.

We climb out of the pattern and break through a layer of scattered clouds at about twelve hundred feet. I know the area but I quickly loose my orientation with the poor visibility and my concentration on the new aircraft. The instructor keeps track of were we are while I do full circles to get a feeling for the handling of the aircraft.

Back in the pattern we do an approach. I am in charge of steering and holding the correct speed. The instructor takes care of the power settings and the flaps. I am pleasantly surprised how stable the glide path is and how easily Lima X-Ray comes down onto the runway. It is a calm day, that certainly helps. On the next round the instructor adds the flaps to my responsibilities and from the third touch-and-go on, I also set the power. I’m officially flying the little Cessna now.

The fifth landing is our last one for the day and we taxi back to the hangar. I’m enthusiastic. Not surprising, I guess…

To be continued…


(originally posted on October 27, 2011 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/d-ealx/)