Friday, 19 March 2010

A bit of VFR 'on top'

Another two flights in a row last week-end, and that was quite enjoyable in the middle of the final revisions weeks.
I flew the Cessna 172 on saturday and the PA28 on sunday, both solo.

Me: 'G-BJWI at BCFT with Information Yankee, QNH 1030, Request taxi'.
ATC: 'G-WI, QNH correct, give way to a Falcon passing you from right to left to FR Aviation, then taxy behind, to November via Mike, for runway 26 departure'.

Holding at November (holding short of runway 26) after the power checks and 'before take-off checklist':
Me: 'G-WI at November ready to copy clearance'
ATC: 'G-WI, hold position, your clearance is to leave the zone on track to Sandbanks, not above 2000 ft, VFR, Squawk 7010'.
Me: 'Hold position, not above 2000 ft cleared on track to Sanbanks, VFR, Squawking 7010, and ready for departure, G-WI'
ATC: 'G-WI, readback correct, after the landing Citation line up and wait 26'
Me: 'After the landing Citation, line up and wait 26, G-WI'
And here I am, on that 2300m (7500ft) piece of asphalt facing west and ready for take-off.
Feet on the brakes, 2000 rpm, brakes released and full power applied. RPM checked, airspeed is alive, 65 kts, rotation, positive rate of climb, 80 kts.
Passing 500 ft I slightly bank the aircraft left to a heading of 217°, when Tower asks me to contact Radar on 119.475. (VFR Map is included, see below)
Me: 'Bournemouth Radar, G-WI passing 700 ft climbing to 1800 ft, on track to Sandbanks, VFR'.
ATC: 'G-WI, report leaving controlled airspace'.
Me: 'Wilco G-WI'.

Just on time to take a picture of Bournemouth town centre with its beach and pier, Boscombe pier in the background.

Leaving the zone to the South-West, I'm now heading towards Old Harry Rocks a bit further along the coast.

Turning left towards Poole Bay:

Right turn on track to the East (heading 085° with a 12 kts / 350° wind at 2000 ft), I soon reach 'The Needles' as it's called, which are the arm-shaped cliffs of the Isle of Wight (west side).

Left turn to Lymington and then Stoney Cross (a disused airfield now used as a VRP), cruising at 1800 ft as the Solent CTA starts at 2000 ft, just in between Bournemouth CTR and Southampton CTR. There's not much in this area and as the visibility inland isn't very good i'm giving it a better look out to find the grass-now-closed airfield. I see Brokenhurst just below me 3 minutes after passing Lymington, VOR set on the Southampton VOR (Sierra Alpha Mike), radial 260, the needle comes in, and I see my next turning point.
This is the easy part, I now have to track 261° (heading 270 to allow for wind) for 12 min before reaching Blandford. It happens to be aligned on the 260 SAM VOR radial all the way to Blandford.
I check the ATIS, it gives a cloud base of 4000 ft (BKN), I climb on top at Verwood to enjoy the superb view we get over the clouds layer.

Soon time to start our descent as Blandford is in sight, still on the Radial 260 of SAM, I contact Bournemouth Radar for rejoin, 2000 ft, left turn Heading 099 to enter the CTR via Tarrant Rushton (VRP). I'm cleared to join the downwind for runway 26, I turn 111° and the NDB needle is now pointing straight ahead. ILS frequency set (110.50), descent to 1000 ft, before-landing checklist complete, base leg and then final for a runway 26 landing. I put the camera with the self-timer on and it takes the picture right on time as I flare the aircraft a dozen feet above the runway.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Night Rated and Magical Sunset Views

Another small step forward, I got my Night Rating on wenesday night after my second solo flight and a fifth stop-and-go landing.
I did it on the Cessna 172, which takes a little getting used to, but is a nice plane to fly.

If the weather permits it (after the awesome blue sky we had all the previous days, I really hope it'll be alright), I should fly this afternoon my first pre-CPL solo nav on the PA28.

I backseated yesterday on the PA28, taken around Bournemouth and enjoying an awesome sunset over Poole Bay (the town next door), and then up to Salisbury further North. It makes us almost forget that we are still doing the ATPL theory and that the next and last 7 exams are in just 4 weeks time.