Flying Lesson # 44 – C172 Re-familiarisation (Circuits)

December 16, 2015

After a long wait, I’m finally back in the air. I won’t go into the reasons as to why I haven’t flown for some months, but let’s just say – life gets in the way.

In any case, I’m back and ready to smash the last part of my PPL. Since I’ve been gone for so long, I do need to do a little bit of catching up. First step was to contact my faithful instructor and book a dual lesson of circuits to make sure my flying is up to scratch.

Just to side-track for a moment, since my last flight (back in March), since I had every intent of returning to flying, I spent a lot of time on my home simulator and even completed a theory course with Bob Tait up in Redcliffe. Heading into today’s lesson, I really hoped my simulator work would help keep my skills up.

I walked in to Gil Layt’s Flying School and it was as if I’d never left. Friendly familiar faces and the old school office I know well. On this day, the weather wasn’t good. Overcast at 2500 feet and rain on its way. I arrived at the flying school about 20 mins early as I estimated that the rain was about an hour away. As soon as I got there (after a few pleasantries), I grabbed the keys to VH-TKJ and headed for the plane to get the pre-flight started.

After a long wait, I’m finally back in the air.

It really is like riding a bike! As soon as I got to the plane, I went straight into autopilot (pun intended) and instantly remembered all the necessary checks and balances. Everything was in order so we jumped a board and kicked her in the guts.

From the get go everything was on point. My calls were good (apart from saying “Tango Julo Kiliet”), my taxing was dead on and my checks were efficient. Great start I thought. Lining up and take off just came naturally and before long, I was in the air flying once again. What a great feeling. I never realised how much I would miss flying.

My first circuit was without error. I turned up wind at 500 feet, the turn was coordinated and smooth – as was my turn on to downwind. I levelled out, maintained 1000 feet, made my downwind call and even remembered to conduct my landing checks. At the end of downwind, I pulled 10 degrees of flaps, slowed the plane and turned on to base. At just above 500 feet I turned on to final (with only a little bit of overshoot). I was lined up and sitting pretty at 70 knots with 20 degrees of flap and the runway picture looking sweet. I crossed the threshold at what I thought was a perfect height. Levelled out and dumped the throttle. With rudder and aileron input, I was shooting down the centreline and nice and level. With the stall warning screeching, the main gear touched down softly soon followed by the nose wheel. Perfect! I was stoked!

Robert too was very happy. A great start he said!

The next 2 circuits were very similar. Not a thing forgotten and purpose in every move I made. After the 3 circuits, Robert said there was no need to continue, my circuits were great. We changed our touch and go to a full stop and exited the runway. I left the flying school feeling great. All the concern I had about losing my skills had been for nothing. I’m back and as confident as ever.

What’s next – I’m going to head out to the training area to practise some forced landings, steep turns etc. Then I’ll hit a couple of navs and if all is good, take the long awaited test. Stay tuned!

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