Monday, 28 October 2013

Do you wanna fly this thing?

Needed to do a couple of circuits with Bob before venturing out on my own.  Was feeling a little anxious as the conditions weren’t exactly perfect, winds a little gusty and due to get gustier as the day went on. Coupled with the fact that it’s been a fair few weeks since I’ve flown and I’m suffering the usual angst over my decision making abilities, I was not exactly in a sunny mood.

We took off just fine, little squirly on the centreline tracking once airborne but corrected quickly enough. ATC buzzing in my ear almost immediately “Turn crosswind when able JPM, faster traffic behind you.” My usual reply of “Crosswind when able,” fulfils two uses. One, saying the phrase out loud buys me a few seconds of time and two, also lets ATC know that I’m gonna do exactly that, turn when safe and nothing they say will persuade me otherwise.
OK enough, Bob pointing out that I’m drifting slightly due to the winds. I acknowledge this fact a little testily, the windy conditions and general struggle to maintain situational awareness (the first thing that gets rusty in my case) making me a little short tempered.

“Turn down wind JPM” from ATC. I acknowledge and do exactly that. I sort out my slight altitude deviation and set up for base turn.
“JPM, turn base for 26” I acknowledge and dutifully do so, pulling back the power and dumping 10 degrees of flaps.

I’m musing out loud about when to turn final to avoid overshooting the centreline when I get ATC in my ear again “Turn final JPM”
“JEEZ, DOES HE WANNA GET IN HERE AND FLY THIS THING?” I ask Bob. ATC get a more muted “turning final”

Next time round Bob pre-empts my argument with ATC by pulling back the power and simulating an engine failure, thus giving me something else to bitch about. Luckily for him and the controller I made the runway just fine.

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