Almost 850 viewers already! Well, I was flying at 8 am this morning, and my skills test was scheduled for 5 pm. I met the examiner at the airport at 4 pm, with all my documents: Licence, Medical, Weight & Balance, Performance Calculations, Logbook and the CAA forms.
He gave me a route to plan – the flight would be to Almeria Airport. The route invlolves completing the SID from Malaga, joining the A44 airway at MGA VOR and usually completing a STAR at the destination.
With the weather got, flight route planned, NOTAMs and flight plan sent to Eurocontrol, it was back within minutes, approved.
There wasn’t much else. He did ask some questions about the low level en-route chart, but that was it really. Asked me about the weather, what runway to expect.
Once downstairs, he asked me to make a quick turnaround. It’s bad in Malaga as the instructors/examiners are the only ones allowed on the ramp with the student. So when the examiner arrived, I didn’t know if there was fuel in the plane, or even if the plane was in Malaga.
While I had done the flight plan and route, he was looking over my licence and logbook, making sure I had done all training and met the requirements.
We soon got onto ground control for clearance and taxi. We started the long 3.2 km taxi to runway 13. They asked us to expedite, as there was a number of larger aircraft behind us.
We were given the VIBAS 1A departure, but the controller asked us to fly on a heading of 090 passing 1000 ft to get us out of the way of all the other operations. It was nice to see the control tower so close 😀
Before departure, I already had the navaids set up and identified. I gave him my takeoff brief, and had all my performance calculations to hand. The Accerated Stop Distance Required was 800 m, and we had the full 3200 m. I probably shouldn’t have told him this, because when we got to 71 knots he called for an aborted takeoff. So we stopped and continued from C6 where there is still over 2300 m of runway available.
After departure we were told to fly direct MGA to join A44 to AMR. Which we did, at FL100.
The airway is over 102 miles, so it was very boring for the best part. We descended visually below the airway to perform our general handling parts of the flight test and continued at FL90 to AMR.
At the top of descent, I was given an engine failure. So, got it secured by just touching the relevant controls (except the cowl flaps) and started descending. We approached NUSMA, which is the Initial Approach fix for the NDB approach. Pumps on, lights and pre-landing checks! The arc is a 17 mile arc, but you only join it for 20 degrees, then you are on the inbound bearing for the NDB.
The wind was 15 knots, 30 degrees off the runway. I had my ADF needle glued the 068 bearing. We did a single engine go around and a visual circuit.
I made one mistake, I had two stages of flaps on about 5 miles from touchdown. The 180 hp engine struggled to maintain level at 740 ft with gear and flaps 20. Once visual with the runway, we descended below MDA after the MAPt.
We passed Asymetric Commitment Height of 500 ft. Basically, after this height above the runway you have to commit to land, as if you try go around, you will most likely loose 500 ft in the process of applying full power and getting the aircraft configured in such a way that you will have a climb performance!
Once on the ground, that was the worst part over, the Non-Precision approach, and it had been done on one engine so that was a relief.
We taxied back to the runway and changed our callsign to return to Malaga. We were cleared to FL140, I had to tell the controller that neither me, or the aircraft would make it to FL140. It was almost 35 degrees outside. The climb performance at FL80 and above goes to about 200 fpm.
Due to other traffic in the airport, we were given a non-standard departure. Flying to the AMR VOR, going outbound on the 220 radial for 20 miles and holding. Some of the way back was in IMC, we were in a nice layer of stratus cloud. It was nice and smooth and the OAT was still almost 10 degrees.
Earlier in the day with my instuctor we did an approach to Granada and the visibility was so bad that at the Missed Approach point on the VOR approach we couldn’t see the ground! So we had to go around. Typical high pressure haze sitting over the place.
The ILS into Malaga was good. I was ahead and asked would I be given vectors or would I have to fly to MAR VOR to complete the entire procedure. I was told to anticipate flying to the VOR and then getting vectors for a 14 mile final.
The interception on the ILS good. I heard a Ryanair 737 behind us being asked to reduce speed, the controllers words were “due to a slow light aircraft on the approach”.
So, the throttles were moved forward and we finished the ILS at 160 knots. At 4 miles, I brought the power back and within gear operating speed got the gear down to slow things down. Worked great, and we didn’t disrupt the airport operations.
I taxied back and saw the examiner write “PASS” on the report! Wahey! My centreline steering was so good that you could heat the “thud, thud, thud” from the nosewheel hitting the lights. Once parked up he told me I had passed! I’m delighted, it was a really good flight.
So, I’ve spent 12 hours at the airport. The test route was just under 3 hours! I’m ready to hibernate for the next two days before I return home!
Bye for now..