While the ATPL ground school gives us a growing amount of work, I somehow got the time to backseat on a 2 hour flight to Exeter last thursday.
What could be better after 3 hours of Principles of Flight and 3 hours of Meteorology ?
The trainee pilot was doing his very first flight on the plane after about 30 hours on the simulator, and I must say I was really impressed by his knowledge of the the aircraft, although he wasn't that quick on the checklists, which can be easily understood for such a complex plane.
It took us 30 minutes from engine start to clearance request at the holding point to allow for the checks and flight planning, but I reckon it gets better when you're used to it.
'Blackadder 07, holding short of runway 26, ready for departure', 'Blackadder 07, line-up 26, wind 030° at 4 knots, you're cleared for take-off'. (Blackadder is the callsign for the BCFT fleet).
Full throttle, and a second later an intense feeling of acceleration pushes you far into your seat with the nice sound of 360 hp roaring in the calm night. Such moments make you realise how much you love flying ...
Heading to the North-West and cleared to Flight Level 65 (6,500 ft), we could catch a glance at the beautiful Poole bay as we enjoyed a nice clear night. Quite mesmerising !
Still heading to the North-West, we eventually reached the bay between Wales and England with Cardiff in front of us and Bristol to the right. Time to turn left, as we were getting closer to Exeter we could distinguish a thin layout of low clouds building up as the night was becoming colder.
Holding pattern somewhere near EXT (Exeter airfield), I'm afraid I can't tell you much about that since I've never flown on IFR before and didn't have any charts with me, but it looked pretty tough ! 7 nm final for runway 08 at EXT, still doing a nice 140 kts ground speed, a few minutes later at about 200 ft AGL the instructor finally opened the blinds to allow the pilot to have a nice clear view of the approach lights and get that plane to the ground. Missed approach procedure just above the runway threshold, full throttle and that's when the instructor decided to put one engine on idle to simulate and engine failure.
After all sorts of events like those, we finally made our way back home at Bournemouth airport, ILS on runway 26 to finally make a very smooth landing ...