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P1-(ish) Catchup 3 - Baby Steps

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Autumn 2014

Some of the best flights in my training were the solo consoldation 'out and backs'.

Chris would send me out a few miles to a point on the map then have me come back and report what I saw. It gave me inital practice in departing the circuit, starting some nav, and rejoining again.

So for the first time, I left the circuit, heading out into the wider world on my own. Well, only a little bit into the wider world - but it was still 'out there'.

I flew for 10 mins or so out to a target point, turned around, then came back. I was able to practice calling the airfield, making Stoke's version of an overhead join, entering the circuit and making the landing.

And it was the most enjoyable flight I had done to date! Hey, I'm nearly a pilot! I've amost been somewhere!

So to the debrief...

"Well, there was the grand house off to the north... " I reported.

Chris looked at me somewhat quizzically.

"... and the field full of polytunnels really stood out."

Chris eventually interrupted: "What about the airfield?"

" airfield?"

He sighed, then: "There's an airfield there, with a bloody obvious strip and hangar. What did you think that shaded circle on the chart was?"

I knew I should have been reading up on nav by now...

Next lesson he sent me back, this time as the first leg of a little triangular course around the area. And to my embarrassment the 'invisible airfield' was glaringly obvious, even as I departed from the Stoke circuit.

They must have cut the grass since my earlier flight.

And installed a hangar...

In the same few weeks we also did the 'lost procedure' exercise out over the Kent countryside, planning a route, getting me to divert from it, then asking me to match view to map to work out where we were and how to get back.

Apart from me bithely intending to fly over the centre of Maidstone at 800 feet this didn't go too badly.

"You have looked at Rule 5, haven't you?"

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