Tuesday, 28 June 2011

First solo nears

Since the completion of the FAA written exam last Tuesday (this past week has gone so fast!) it's been a bit of a whirl wind to be honest. Lack of ground school, a humongous increase in free time and the bumper hours of flying has meant this past week has gone so quickly it really is hard to believe that this is our sixth week here already.

Over the next few days the Flybe Liaison Officer for this flight school will be heading out to see us. This will be the first time I have got to speak to him since the interview back in March. As this is the first meeting of it's kind for myself I'm unsure what to expect. It will hopefully be a great way for him to find out how I'm getting on and for me to find out more about the airline.

The 'Pattern': A standard path for all coordinated flights within an airspace.

The flights have been coming thick and fast and I'd like to think that my knowledge and piloting skills have also matched the requirements and standards set. The initial stage of flight training is designed so that you are able to fly a plane within the 'pattern' around the home airport or airfield, in this case Melbourne. The idea is that you are able, on your own, to complete all checks, taxi to the runway, take-off, join the 'pattern' and then land on the ATC directed runway and returning the the ramp. This should be completed three times to constitute the first solo flight. This usually comes after approximately 12 hours of flight (as long as all lessons up to that point have been passed).

The final three lessons leading up to this mainly cover everything within the pattern. This should cover the likes of normal and crosswind landings, simulated engine failures on runway and just after take-off, take-off and landing procedures and much, much more. Having now completed two of the three 'touch-and-go' lessons it becomes very clear very quickly the workload put onto a pilot during the time within an airspace either approaching or departing the airport. The stress levels also reach great heights on occasions, much to the amusement of my instructor.

So, final touch-and-go lesson tomorrow and then as I look at the pre-planned flights for the rest of the week, Thursday could be the big day...

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