Today was the day that I would complete the course. Started out at 6 am again, up to the flight school at 6.45. I had planned to sit in the Arrow for about 30 minutes, but it was still in maintenance from the cowling coming off in flight the day before. The FAA had been looking into it.
So, it wasnt until about 10.30 we got going. I got the aircraft pre-flighted and Bill was out. We were on a navex to Skinners. The nav went great. He then diverted me to Hutson, and again the nav went great: found the field, did some emergency drills, fires, engine failures. Climbed back out to the south and we did our stalls, more instrument time and back to Ormond. Three circuits, flapless, glide and normal. Another 2 hours logged. That was the course completed! The next flight I would do would be with Stephen Fisher, the Head of Training, to complete the CAA required 170A Checkflight.
So we met up around 1pm, Bill had already told me to plan to Haller, but when I met with Stephen he said that it was too short a route and that we would go to Mid Florida instead. “My Worst Nightmare” – I had done this route once before, and if you read back you will know that I got lost.
I preflighted the aircraft and went back into the flight school. I had to show him everything a commercial pilot would be expected to do. Ask him to use the toilet, turn off mobile phones and walk out to the aircraft. I feel stupid doing this, as I’m still just a student! I showed him how to get into the aircraft, how to step on the wing, how to close the cabin door, fasten seatbelts etc.
Next, was the biggest fear of all – the startup. Anyone who has flown a fuel injected aircraft know what they are like starting hot. It took me four attempts but i got it going! I was on my way.
I got clearance to taxi to the runway, lined up and off we went. I was a little late requesting frequency change to Daytona and they just got busier and busier. Therefore the first 10 miles of the journey was at 1000 ft.
I set up on my track and gave him my three things: heading, ETA and altitude. Of course, when I contacted Orlando approach they advised me that the restricted area ahead of me was “HOT”, meaning it was being used for military or other dangerous activities. In all my training flying to the south, this not once had happened me, so the pressure was on.
I got to my destination and he told me about 6 miles before that we would divert to “Massey Ranch.” I had to ask him where it was because I was never there before. I completed my diversion on the map, got my distance, time and gave him my ETA, altitude and heading. I completed my Gross Error Check, I told him that I would be descending, as per the semicircular rule, but Orlando would not give us descent as we were in class Bravo airspace. I got to Massey Ranch okay and we headed back north. On the way, we completed our steep turns, stalls and emergency procedures.
I was given an emergency near Flagler and I would of made the runway there. We did some hood work, he simulated I went into cloud, so the checks are:
– Pitot Heat – On
– Check for Ice – Clear
– Contact Approach and request flight plan change from VFR to IFR
– Request Vectors back to airfield
– Descend to MSA
All that went good and we went back to Ormond. We completed our flapless, normal and glide approach to a full stop.
On the debrief, he told me he would give his recomendation for the CPL skills test. Also I was told that if it had been a real exam, I would have passed. I’ve got a few minor little things to polish off for tomorrow.
So, I shall post my next blog about how the Skills Test went!
Bye for now,