Lesson 1 – Basic Flight Manoeuvres

basic flight manoeuvres

G-CFAV – Pre-Flight Complete & Ready To Fly!

It was an absolutely glorious day for my first proper flying lesson after my experience flight a month ago. The weather was looking a bit dodgy earlier but the good old British weather managed to pull through in time for my flight at 2pm.


I had a chat with Tom, my flying instructor for today, about my previous experience and he briefed me on what we’d be doing today:




  • Straight and level flight
  • Climbing
  • Descending
  • Medium Level Turns
  • Climbing and Descending Turns
  • Slow Flight

Quite a tall order for my first flight after such a long time but it would give Tom a chance to assess my basic flying ability and give him an idea of what I might need to work on during future lessons.


Straight and Level Flight

The Ikarus C42 is an amazing aircraft to fly and handles better than the Cessna 172 I used to fly. Tom claimed that the German made microlight is the best aircraft in its class and I could see why. Once trimmed it practically flies itself and after take off Tom trimmed it for climb attitude, let go of the controls and the plucky little flying machine took us to our intended altitude of 2000 ft AGL. Once there I took control and flew the aircraft straight and level at its intended cruise speed of 70 knots, trimmed perfectly, altimeter needle bang on 2000 ft, heading towards Eastbourne on the horizon – job done!


Climbing and Descending PAT & APT

Next Tom asked me to perform some climbing and descending manoeuvres. The old knowledge came flooding back; For climbs:

  • Visual check – above, below and to both sides
  • Set climb POWER (P) – around 4800 rpm
  • Set climb ATTITUDE (A)
  • TRIM (T)

I held climb speed at 70 knots maintaining it using pitch control and trim.

For descents, the procedure is similar except that attitude needs to be set before power:

  • Visual check – above, below and to both sides
  • Push control column down to set descent ATTITUDE (A)
  • Set descent POWER (P) – around 3200 rpm
  • TRIM (T)

In a powered descent, rate of descent is controlled with power and airspeed with pitch.

Medium Level Turns

Medium level turns are turns up to 30 degrees of bank and because the vertical component of lift is reduced in a turn, slight back pressure on the control column needs to be applied. A smidgen of same side rudder is also needed in a turn to keep the aircraft balanced. So before any turn, to maintain good airmanship:

  • Visual check – above, below and to both sides
  • Move control column in the intended direction
  • Once in the turn neutralise control column
  • Apply slight back pressure on the control column to maintain height
  • Apply same side rudder to balance the aircraft


Climbing and Descending Turns

A combination of the previous two manoeuvres – obviously! What I did find however, was a tendency for the aircraft to yaw in the direction of the intended turn if insufficient back pressure was applied. Uncorrected this would lead to a spiral descent but I didn’t really fancy any of those in my first lesson!


Slow Flight

This was the final manoeuvre of the session, the aim of which was to get a feel for how the aircraft handles in slow flight. Power was reduced to 3200 rpm and I set the pitch and trimmed for 50 knots – well above the Ikarus’ stall speed of 40 knots with flaps retracted. As might be expected, the controls were less responsive due to the decreased airflow over the control surfaces


Back To Deanland

My hour lesson flew by (pun intended) and ended with me flying the Ikarus back to Deanland Airfield. Tom took back control on final approach, and as I was rather high, side slipping the machine to lose excess altitude by crossing the controls (opposite aileron and rudder) and ended up performing  a great cross wind landing.

I have to say that I am totally hooked and am going to try my best to get my NPPL this year. My next lesson is this weekend.

Go slip those surly bonds!


Categories: My Training Blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>