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From Zero to Forty Five - my PPL Diary

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From Zero to Forty Five - my PPL Diary

Old 21st Jun 2006, 14:43
  #1561 (permalink)  

Super-Friendly Aviator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Reigate, UK
Age: 38
Posts: 424
Just be glad you didnt get 24 shortest licensed runway in the UK and downhill
And don't forget it's grass to boot (which could do with a cut!).

V1R
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Old 21st Jun 2006, 16:07
  #1562 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Leicester
Age: 30
Posts: 213
V1R what do u fly at leicester or are u a humble student like me
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Old 23rd Jun 2006, 11:57
  #1563 (permalink)  

Spicy Meatball
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Liverpool UK
Age: 38
Posts: 1,115
A nice revival of this thread!

JWF - good to see your progress, it seems like 5 mins ago when you were starting out! Keep up the good work (and yes - do the exams boyo!!!)

V1R - superb, another addition to the class of 2006 - need I describe how good the feeling is when you hear those wonderful words ("You've passed") Very well done, and look forward to that write-up

1d2d - thanks for the writeup, very good. Sounds like you learned a lot that day, all part of the process. I don't think there is anyone out there who didn't have a hairy moment or ten on their QXC. Best of luck to you in the remainder, and let us know how you get on!

Blinkz, I nearly fell off my chair when I saw your name in here again - are you trying to regain top spot? Pics are superb, looks like your having a great time, keep us informed as to how you get on! Will speak to you soon (getting t'internet set up at home in a couple of weeks (bought my first house with the GF and only moved in a few weeks back) so will be on MSN like the old days)....

Thanks for the good wishes,

Lee
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Old 23rd Jun 2006, 15:31
  #1564 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Leicester
Age: 30
Posts: 213
Hey people had my first lesson today instructor very happy with me already talking about getting solo. Its nice to finally getting the ball rolling after a year of just flying with mates
David
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Old 23rd Jun 2006, 15:41
  #1565 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Norfolk UK
Age: 77
Posts: 1,201
David,well done ,it seems to be going very well for you.
I had my first lesson around just under a year ago and have now had my PPL for 4 weeks.It's is very well worth all the effort!
Re this excellent thread.
There is so much good stuff in here it would be worthwhile someone putting the lot into an electronic type book, with chapters for all the different topics.
It sounds like a lot of work, but are there any computer buffs out there who would have a bash at it?
Lister
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Old 23rd Jun 2006, 18:18
  #1566 (permalink)  

Super-Friendly Aviator
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Reigate, UK
Age: 38
Posts: 424
V1R what do u fly at leicester or are u a humble student like me
I was...until last Sunday

Still have to sit the practical R/T and bundle the application for that off with the PPL paperowork (cheaper apparently...bonus) but the final skills test is passed

I'm guessing your in a 152? PM me if you have any questions about, well, anything!

Leicester's a friendly club.

V1R

P.S. That GST write-up may happen...bogged down with stuff at the minute though in prep for starting professional training
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Old 29th Jun 2006, 18:39
  #1567 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Posts: 155
Thumbs up

Well, the GST was passed this afternoon. I'm knackered but very happy and there's a bottle of Moet open if anyone wants some.

I'll get the write up on here as soon as I settle down....
Happyeater is offline  
Old 29th Jun 2006, 18:45
  #1568 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 167
Just to add on to what I've said....

WELL DONE PAUL!!!!!!

Very many congratulations!! I'll have some of that Moet...!

Very well done man, hope to see you flying at Newcastle as a qualified pilot very soon!
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Old 29th Jun 2006, 21:34
  #1569 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The noisy part of Papa 1-8 55 N 1 W
Posts: 291
Captain Happyeater !!!!!!

Well done Paul (easy init)

Catch up with you soon.
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Old 29th Jun 2006, 22:39
  #1570 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Posts: 155
Here ya go.

THE BIG DAY

My General Skills Test was actually scheduled for Thursday the 22nd June. I had spoken with Alistair Stevenson, the Flying Examiner the previous day and received the route and a briefing over the phone. Unfortunately, the weather was against us and despite being at the Club for most of the day (poor Alistair had to come backwards and forwards from Carlisle twice) until we eventually called it off at 7pm. The winds had been gusting to 40 knots and even in the late evening the ATIS was giving the wind at around 17 knots. The GST was re-scheduled to the 29th June 2006.

This time Alistair called me, as arranged, the night before to make sure I was ok with everything and to give me a few ideas once again as to what the test would involve. On the Thursday at 1.30pm, Alistair called to confirm that all seemed ok and we would rendezvous at the Club at around 2.45 - 3pm. I was feeling ok until Alistair said,

"A beautiful day, great viz, little cloud, no wind....no excuses!"

I had already done the plog from the information supplied by Avbrief and most of the rest of the stuff was done in preparation the week before. so, one last check of my flight bag and I was off to the Club. Only stopping briefly at Tesco for a couple of bottles of cold water, I was at the Club inside half an hour. After saying hello to the instructors and my friend Dave (dogs bollock's dad) who was there for a bimble down to Humberside, I checked the NOTAM's and prepared myself for the flight.

Alistair arrived not long after and we went through to the briefing room to finalise the plan and to fill in a bit of paperwork. Our chariot was heard arriving back from Carlisle and I was told to go and check (Juliet Victor) out. As we were doing the walk around, Andy one of the Flying Instructors came out to say that the pilot who had returned JV mentioned that the rudder seemed 'spongy' and Andy offered to take it for a run around the apron to check things out. With safety in mind, of course, I agreed and Alistair and I went inside to wait for the prognosis.

After 10 minutes, Andy came in to explain that the rudder did seem spongy in its feel but he'd checked all linkages etc and it looked to be fine. I was offered G-BMUZ instead but elected to take Juliet Victor. The booking form was faxed to ATC and the technical log checked to ensure we were within legal aircraft hours. Out we went to finish off the checks and I backtracked a little on my checklist to ensure nothing was missed. Alistair stood at the end of the starboard side wing, in the brilliant sunshine, as I went through the external stuff and as I was climbing in Alistair asked,

"What colour light is at this end of this wing"

"Erm green" I replied, after working out that I was sitting in the doorway facing the rear of the aircraft and the right hand wing was now on my left! I was right, thank heavens. In we got and I slowly, methodically said the checks out loud. Alistair nodded and said all was well before I asked for clearance and we moved to the Foxtrot hold for power checks. Trying hard to remember all the little things I moved through the list and we were ready to go. I gave the passenger brief and the emergency procedure, just in case and called for our departure instructions. When I was ready, I took a couple of deep breaths and a long drink of cool water out of my flight bag.

"Golf Juliet Victor ready for departure"


After a short hold, we backtracked on runway 25 and before we'd turned, received clearance to take off. After checking with Alistair to make sure he was ok and comfortable, power was applied and we accelerated along the tarmac and lifted clear. Climbing to 500 feet, checking the instruments, ensuring that we were at 80 knots, we turned north for the navigation leg of the test. The first leg was to Wooler and at 3500 feet I trimmed and did my first FREDA check.

As I was familiar with this stage, I took time to settle in and arrange the map, plog and get pens ready before the hard work begins. With the aircraft trimmed and staying where it was put, I actually began to enjoy the experience. We arrived two minutes early at Wooler due to stronger than forecast southerly winds pushing us along. We approached my first turning point and we noticed a fast military jet down to our right, hugging the ground at incredible speeds. Just as I was about to say, "They normally come in two's", a second jet passed right across our tail and turned right before descending on our left hand side below the wing and out of view below us....WOW!

Turning at Wooler and re setting my stopwatch, we made for Duns in Scotland. Newcastle asked me to call Scottish FIR and then come back to Newcastle once we return back in to their airspace. My first radio call to someone other than an airport. We got a Flight Information Service and travelled north north west over the Scottish border at Coldstream. The big meandering rivers made navigation easy and before long we were at Duns and turning for Dumfries. Using a large disused airfield on my left, I used a main road to follow to a small town called Earlsdon before Alistair asked me to divert to Beadnell on the North East coast.

"105 degrees, 35 miles, 22 minutes at 3000 feet". And off we went, towards familiar territory again. At this point I noted that the direction indicator was precessing and had to reset it. Good job those FREDA checks worked although I could have done more really. Keeping the Cheviot Hills on my right we passed Millfield and Wooler before sighting the coast in the distance. Holy Island to our left looked fantastic bathed in early evening sunshine. Bamburgh Castle shone like a beacon just a little way down the coastline as we moved towards Beadnell, then on time loomed the small village we'd been aiming for, excellent stuff.

"Confirm it is Beadnell using any aid you wish" asked Alistair.

Using the VOR and DME at St Abbs Head, I confirmed the position with the Vortrack purchased for such an exercise, it was spot on. And we climbed and headed south as Alistair explained that he was now responsible for navigation and radio as the upper air work was going to begin. Then after following the St Abbs VOR at 105 knots, we turned to head south.

We climbed to 4500 feet and started with the three stalls which were good. My steep turns went well as did the spiral dive recovery and steep gliding turns. I had a large mouthful of water before starting a gentle descent to 2500feet to do a PFL. Then after following the St Abbs VOR at 105 knots, we turned to 180 degrees.

The power was pulled and the aircraft was trimmed for 75 knots and a couple of fields pointed out before the restart checks, simulated MAYDAY and an approach was done. Shut down was said out loud and then I realised that I was too high and swapped for a field to the left, further away and a better option. Alistair was really helpful all the way around and he called for a climb away at 500ft satisfied with a "Really good" PFL. On climb out, the power was pulled again.

"Oh no, another engine failure" He smiled as I pushed the nose down and aimed for another field. Again this went as it should and we climbed away to head back towards Morpeth.

"You now have the radio and navigation, take us back and we'll need three circuits".

So, I asked Newcastle Radar for a rejoin and three circuits. The rejoin was given but I was asked to speak to Tower for the circuits. Changing frequency to Tower, I asked them for permission and they were approved. Alistair said that if there was a problem, he'd intervene to "Mark his authority" on them, which gave us a good laugh. With the airfield in sight, a full flap landing was requested. ATC then asked us to get in early as there was another aircraft on a long final. Down went the nose and we shot along towards the runway. When we were close, I pulled back the throttle and got some flap in before turning base. Full flap was put in at 400 ft and down we went. The landing was a little hard but it wasn't too bad at all. Full power and up we went for a flapless approach.

This time the approach was flatter and the landing a really nice one on the centre line. Alistair was happy and up we went again for our last left hand circuit. A comment about how well the circuits had gone without interruption by other aircraft was bound to spoil my last landing, and it did.
"Orbit left as one aircraft on final" requested ATC and we smiled. Ah well, it had to happen, I suppose.

This approach was a glide approach and it was one of the best I'd done. We taxied to Foxtrot, thanked ATC as we vacated and closed down the aircraft. Alistair had said that I'd handled the landing well and then said, "Congratulations" as he offered to shake my hand.

Wow, a lifetime ambition had been achieved, what a feeling. We opened the door and the cooler air was a relief as the aircraft had been incredible. As we walked across the apron, I was grinning like a complete loon! Inside the club house, I was congratulated by Phil and we went to the training room for a de brief and to complete the paperwork.

Alistair pointed out a few things which will improve me as a pilot and the paperwork was finished off before he said "Goodbye" and headed home, after we got Phil to take a celebratory photo.

So, thirty eight years after getting the 'bug' on that flight to Jersey and fifty nine hours in to the training, I'm now a pilot. A lifelong ambition reached and I am incredibly happy that now I am free to explore the skies with and family members or friends brave enough to get in an aircraft with me. What a journey....
Happyeater is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2006, 08:15
  #1571 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Leicester
Age: 30
Posts: 213
Well done Happy eater! Your making me jelous now and scared as ive got to do that in a couple of months anyway i best be off I have a flying lesson to go to
David
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Old 30th Jun 2006, 08:15
  #1572 (permalink)  

Spicy Meatball
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Liverpool UK
Age: 38
Posts: 1,115
Paul - I am absolutely made up for you my friend - very well done to you. I remember what seems like ion's ago you sending me your progress and remember you had several concerns etc - look at you now, I bet it doesn't sink in for months yet (well, I still wonder sometimes how I managed a pilot's license!).

Best wishes, and thanks for the write-up, very well written!

Lee
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Old 30th Jun 2006, 13:09
  #1573 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Posts: 155
Lee - thanks a lot mate. Its amazing how it all just comes together. Even a few weeks back I didnt feel ready, on test day, I knew I'd be fine.

David - There is nothing you'll be asked to do that your FI's haven't asked you to do. Once they're confident to let you do the GST have confidence that you are good enough. Also, its been said many times on here, the examiner really really wants you to pass.

Paperwork sent today having been all signed off this morning.
Happyeater is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2006, 19:44
  #1574 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Wales
Posts: 27
16 hours and counting

Hi all,
i've just come up to my 16th hour with the PPL - but it feels like i'm progressing really slowly. I'm onto my 2nd instructor now as my last landed a job with the Airlines. When I was younger I started out flying and managed to wind up 8 hours - at the time i could'nt really afford it and so had to stop. But now i'm older and wiser with a bit more cash and so have recently started back up again. I'm up to 16 hours now but it feels like i'm progressing slowly - mainly due to the weather but it has also taken me a while to grasp stalling - is this normal ?.. When I first started stalling I was nervous - but now after 3 or so lessons i'm there.. Can any-one tell me ?- should I be starting on the radio work yet ?? - i'm eager to, but have'nt been shown the correct procedures as yet.. I'm currently having 2 lessons a month which is as far as my budget can go at the moment.
Biggles
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Old 1st Jul 2006, 10:34
  #1575 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Shoreham
Posts: 133
Well done Happyeater and thanks for a great write up !

Lysander
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Old 1st Jul 2006, 16:56
  #1576 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Norfolk UK
Age: 77
Posts: 1,201
Excellent write up Happyeater ,and very well done!
Took Mrs N flying today,my first non-pilot passenger,and she absolutley loved every minute of it despite a tricky cross-wind landing.
The viz was a bit hazy but we flew over some of our old sailing haunts in Suffolk and Norfolk,and picked out some favourite overnight anchorages etc.
It was quite amazing flying along over estuaries and backwaters with her beside me,we both said "Who would ever imagine we would be doing this?"
I'm really glad she liked it because we can now plan some longer trips for the future,maybe with an experienced pilot beside me at first.
Brilliant stuff this flying,isn't it?

Lister
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Old 1st Jul 2006, 23:18
  #1577 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Coulsdon
Posts: 263
Well done Happyeater.

Lister, I was due to head up to Old Buck yesterday (Sat), but on taxying out the oloe leg collapsed! And such a nice day for flying as well!

Oh well, another day perhaps.

I note from your blog that there was a tricky cross-wind. Out of interest, what runway were you on and what was the wind?

Cheers,

C23
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Old 2nd Jul 2006, 07:13
  #1578 (permalink)  
Fixed+Rotary (aircraft, not washing lines)
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Peak District, Yorkshire, UK
Age: 53
Posts: 357
Well done HappyEater!
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Old 2nd Jul 2006, 09:04
  #1579 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Posts: 155
Now the dust has settled a bit, here is my own self-appraisal of the skills test and maybe a few lessons for the studes coming through to practice or take note from.

Firstly, everyone says that the examiners really want you to pass. Its a strange concept to grasp that you'll be flying a test with someone positive and pilot friendly. You know what? Its true. My examiner was fantastic, the pre test brief was comprehensive and thorough. If anything its there to build your confidence before the flight and to put you at ease. Everything is explained, slowly, in detail with lots of opportunities to ask questions and discuss things. For example, where and when to brief the examiner, what order things will happen, how the plog will be examined and what he/she is looking for. Blimey, how easy and helpful can people be?

Then there is the GST day. My examiner called me the day before and a few hours prior to the test to make sure I was ok, happy with the weather and generally to put me at ease. It sounds formal, it wasn't at all. It was professional but very friendly and helpful.

You can (and probably will make mistakes....I'll go through mine in a moment) these are accepted as 'understandable' in certain circumstances, some are simply silly and some may or will fail you. The ones which may or will fail you are the ones where the examiner has absolutely no alternative than to take control of the aircraft or you show that you have no idea of what you're saying or behaving. This is not likely given that your Instructors and CFI have said you're ready to do the GST!

OK, to the problems I had, and the lessons I learned. Perhaps I should say that I was fortunate enough to gain some experience from an expert...because that is true. We learn all the time, even in the test.
So, what did I do that could have been better;

1. At the hold for power checks I turned the aircraft towards the wind but not in to it. Why not? Well the Foxtrot hold at Newcastle is quite narrow and runs north to south. The wind was southerly (behind me as I approached the hold) I should have swung the aircraft 180 degrees instead of 90. As it was a warm day, the engine wouldn't have cooled sufficiently as I did the checks and held there for traffic. I have never turned the aircraft 180 there nor have I ever seen it done. The aircraft in front of me did the same thing (with instructors aboard) turning 90 degrees to wind. I will swing in future and next time in the club will inform the instructors too.

2. FREDA checks. Familiarity is a bad thing. When in the area where I had done most of my training, I didn't do enough FREDA's. Do them, its habit forming. My DI was precessing during the nav leg and I found it and rectified it after every change of heading. Yet after steep turns and a spiral dive recovery, I didn't check it. Why? because the upper air work was in 'home' territory. Do the FREDA's complete and often. Btw, I was checking the T&P's and applying carb heat often, just not addressing the precessing DI.

3. On the VOR/DME position fix I tuned the VOR to show 'from' St Abbs Head and took the fix. After the fix, I was asked to track directly to the VOR at 105 knots indicated. So, nose down, power up and off we went. The VOR indicater needle moved a little right and so I turned a little right too. The needle mover further right.....hmmmmmmm. Not until I turned the indicater to 'to' the VOR was I flying accurately. It was like flying backwards, luckily I realised something was wrong quite quicky as we'd have been heading for Norway had I continued like that!

4. Be tidy. During training the FI will often take control to allow you to draw a line, do a fix etc. It may not happen in the GST so, be tidy, have everything to hand and remember to keep a look out, often. Its easy to get your head down and the aircraft decides to spiral!

5. Take some water with you, its thirsty (and hot) work.

6. Enjoy it. You're flying...its what we want to do.

Just a few of my experiences from a very enjoyable but stressful day. Believe me, it's worth it.
Happyeater is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2006, 18:14
  #1580 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Norfolk UK
Age: 77
Posts: 1,201
Cricket,
I was on 07 and the wind was at around 70 degrees to runway,maybe 10 + knots and gusty.
Sorry I can't be more exact , there was a small crosswind on take off,but it was a lot stronger and had moved round on landing, I was told wind on finals but can't remember exact figure now.
Look forward to seeing you at Old bBuck someday.
By the way 07 is quite uphill at the beginning of runway,I have been told it's better to land further up the runway but it's strange to accept this concept of the use of less runway,especially when it's not of an immense length anyway!
Lister
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