Monday, 2 September 2013

That was fun

Icky weather today, low cloud base, changeable visibility and the airspace closing at midday for the Labour Day airshow.

It became readily apparent that the planned local east flight (dual or solo) wasn’t going to happen. I wanted to fly though. Bob is very respectful of both my time and money and likes to a) give me options and b) try to accomplish something meaningful each lesson.
After some discussion today and a quick peak at the local cloud base measurer (aka the CN tower*) we decided that the conditions were really only conducive to circuits. To make it a useful session we decided to concentrate on speciality takeoffs and landings; short field and obstacle landings especially. A check in my PTR confirmed that it has been a while since we last looked at these.

The flight was a challenge, muscle memory hazy from techniques taught while I was still fumbling my way through the circuit. Having said that though it was a good challenge. I relished the opportunity to push myself. I felt in control but on the edge if that’s not a contradiction. It was satisfying in all kinds of ways.
I felt so much confidence in myself and faith in my abilities. It wasn’t a straight forward flight. The low cloud base meant that traffic was using the ILS approach, so ground were getting you to hold short at different places than I’m used to. Add to that the fact that I was doing stop and goes with backtracks; I really had to manage myself within the other traffic and spacing. The low and changing cloud base meant I had to think about my circuit altitude. I made the decisions to level off a little earlier sometimes without any input from Bob and a lot of the time without a second thought.

I coped well with unusual ATC instructions, being told to backtrack on 24 but hold short 26 didn’t bother me. I read back the instruction then Bob asked me “do you know where the hold short line for 26 is on 24?”
“Nope,” I replied cheerfully “let’s go and see if we can find it.”

Truthfully I didn’t know exactly where it was but I knew what I was looking for, the hold short lines are actually easier to spot  in lower visibility because they have flashing yellow lights by them. And sure enough there was the line I was looking for.
By the time I got to it though, ATC had  changed their mind and got me to line up on 26 instead.

All part of the fun that was today’s lesson.

*stuff what it says on the METAR, the CN tower is a known height, as are its various observation platforms. By figuring out how much you can see, you can figure out the cloud base to about 100ft accuracy.

No comments:

Post a Comment