First Local Area Solo Flight

First Local Area Solo Flight The plan for my lesson today was to head over to Headcorn to do some solo circuits. However, the winds at Headcorn do seem to have something against me (given my luck over the summer) and today was no exception! There was a steady 8 knot crosswind which might have been too much for my first solo circuit session. Richard therefore suggested that we go out into the local flying area and practice some approaches back to Deanland to get used to the local surroundings. If these went well I would be allowed solo into
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Practiced Forced Landings

Practiced Forced Landings I was due to do some solo circuits at Headcorn today but the airfield was closed for a model aircraft exhibition. My instructor Richard therefore suggested we head over to the Downs and brush up on some manoeuvres. As I felt I needed to hone my practiced forced landings (PFLs) we decided to do a few of these along with some sideslips. Although sideslips aren’t part of the NPPL syllabus, they are an invaluable pilot skill to have – and they are tremendous fun too!   Practiced Forced Landing Procedure PFLs are an important part of the
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Crosswind Landing Technique

Crosswind Landing Technique Us aviators are mere playthings of the elements, particularly the wind. An important part of good airmanship is to know what the wind is doing at all times and this is vitally important in the circuit. Apart from being an essential piloting skill, being competent at crosswind landings will boost confidence in your flying ability. You will also be equipped to handle a broader range of weather conditions and won’t be so much at the mercy of the elements. There are two recognised crosswind landing techniques – the crab method and the side slip.   The Crab
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My First Solo Flight

My First Solo Flight Driving out to Deanland for my 8am (on a Sunday!) lesson, it was hard to prevent myself from anticipating whether or not I would be allowed to fly solo today. Richard had said that I’d progressed really far in my last two circuit sessions so I hoped that, all being well today, he might be getting out of the cockpit at some point, for me to do one solo circuit.   Perfect Conditions For Flying Even the weather conditions were perfect for a potential first solo with little to no wind and hardly a cloud in
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Forward Slip Vs Side Slip – When To Use And What’s The Difference

Forward Slip Vs Side Slip – When To Use And What’s The Difference Forward slips and side slips are the same in terms of aerodynamics.  They are both un-coordinated flight manoeuvres involving the use of crossed controls – that is stick and rudder applied in opposing directions. However, a key difference between the two is in their application. Forward slips are a safe way to lose height quickly without gaining excessive airspeed, whilst side slips can be used for crosswind landings. Another key difference concerns the position of the aeroplane’s longitudinal axis, in relation to the flight path. In a
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My Circuits Are Finally Coming Together

My Circuits Are Finally Coming Together When learning to fly, you ideally need a lesson a week at the very minimum to build up your skills. Anything less than that and you could be throwing money away as you tend to spend part of your next lesson getting re-acquainted with the aircraft. I have had a really bad run of luck since I started flying due to the good old British weather, and many of my lessons have been cancelled. At the time of today’s lesson I hadn’t flown in three weeks. This was very much reflected in my take
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Crosswind Circuits At Headcorn

Crosswind Circuits At Headcorn I thought today’s lesson went pretty well. It was another intense session of circuits at Headcorn. It was an absolute scorcher of a day, so by the end of it I was drenched in sweat. Headcorn is a pretty mad aerodrome to fly circuits at. There are parachutists jumping out on the dead side of the runway (rather unfortunate name) and there are all kinds of light aeroplanes arriving and taking off. In today’s session there was a Tiger Moth in the circuit flown by a British Airways pilot. If you’re thinking about taking up flying
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Flying Circuits At Headcorn Aerodrome

Flying Circuits At Headcorn Aerodrome My upper air flying is great. I can fly at accurate altitudes, have the aircraft trimmed perfectly, maintain a good lookout and all the other necessary tasks of a standard flight. In the circuit things are in pretty good shape too and I have a good awareness of other traffic and make all the right radio calls in the right positions. However, things get a bit beyond me as we get closer to the ground! I guess my previous flying experience has really helped me with my upper air work. Landing is undoubtedly the most
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Lesson 2 – Stall Recovery Procedure, Unusual Flight Attitudes, Practice Forced Landings (PFL) Training

Lesson 2 – Stall Recovery Procedure, Unusual Flight Attitudes, Practice Forced Landings (PFL) Training I arrived at the Deanland Airfield 30 mins early only to be told that flights were all delayed. I didn’t mind as it gave me some time to psyche myself up for my second lesson which promised to be another in which I would be put through my paces in an effort to get me up to the standard required for the Microlight General Skills Test (GST). After this, my previous flying hours would make me eligible for the award of the NPPL(m). My instructor Tom,
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Lesson 1- Basic Flight Manoeuvres

Lesson 1 – Basic Flight Manoeuvres 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
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