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I learnt about proper planning from that!

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I learnt about proper planning from that!

Old 17th Jul 2015, 18:35
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I learnt about proper planning from that!

Thought I'd share this little ditty for those of you who may find yourself in a similar predicament. It was my first Xcountry solo which for most students is perhaps 20 miles. Firstly let me set the scene, the cloud base was initially around 2200' and the slant viz was not as good as my dummy run with my instructor some days earlier.
I set off climbed in the cct to 2000' and headed off for the waypoint. Within 5 miles the cloudbase reduced to around 1900 and then further to 1800. This in itself was not an issue as the Fens are flat.
my navigation was perfect; just as I'd been taught, right on track. I was enjoying the freedom so much, my waypoint slipped under the nose without me noticing! The next thing I did notice was the Wash and Kings Lynn on the nose...bugger! i've overshot. Ok there's no need to panic. I picked a point and did a teardrop 180 onto to my return heading.
Now this is where it all went wrong. My heading was out 5 degrees to stbd, but assuming that it was right because I never make mistakes I carried on without further a do.
After only a few minutes of the wrong heading and a left to right tail wind I was lost. I tried to identify wind farms and railway lines but to no avail, the viz just wasn't good enough to see any major points. Although my heart sank, I didn't panic but quickly decided to pick a land mark and put myself in a left hand orbit, I had plenty of fuel so that was never going t be an issue.
I called my home plate and told them . "Call London Info and ask them for a fix" was the reply. Now why didn't I think of that? was this a Pan? ...err I don't know, what's the procedure...err I don't know. So, I called them and just told them my situation; they gave me a squawk and once identified they gave me vectors to my home plate. I stayed with them until I was visual with the airfield. I was grateful of this service and landed safely without further a do.

The learning points were:

1. Proper planning - on the occasion it went wrong my instructor hadn't checked my numbers - check and double check!
2. I hadn't been taught what to do in this situation, was unaware about London Info - no what agencies/airfields are available.
3. Never panic - it achieves nothing but can cost plenty.
4. Have a plan in mind if things go wrong - it won't be so much of a shock.
5. If you are lost - don't make it worse, put yourself in a fixed orbit take a deep breath.
6. Don't take your eye off the ball or in this case your track/heading.

I'm sure this may have put a wry grin on one or two faces, but more importantly, hopefully someone may learn from my mistakes.

Fly safe!
Magic90 is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2015, 19:05
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One of the things that always stuck in my mind after having it drummed in to me during training was the 5 "Ps"

Prior, Preparation, Prevents, Piss Poor, Performance.

It didn't work all the time although I never got lost, was only unsure of my position a few times.
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Old 17th Jul 2015, 20:52
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On a similar solo cross-country, in a no-electrics DH82 Jackeroo, despite my careful planning, a huge CB over Wimbledon produced unpredicted wind, and I got lost. I learned to mistrust nav calculations, but to trust railways, which I followed back to Thruxton, after probably infringing Farnborough and Lynham. 1964. Cruising at 65?mph means wind has a big effect on the track..
The CFI alleged my PPL might come with a restriction: "Not valid after Dr Beeching cuts completed"

Last edited by Maoraigh1; 17th Jul 2015 at 20:52. Reason: Cut
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