Flying Lesson # 33 – GFPT Revision

October 1, 2012

I finished the BAK test in about 2 hours and as the navigation exercise that Robert had booked was cancelled, we decided to head straight out and get into some GFPT revision. As JOO is in for maintenance, we took UGF up in to the circuit. Today would be all about glide and flapless approaches, short field take offs and landings and cross-wind landings. A lot to get through and a lot of landings to concentrate on!

We started with a short field take off. One of the easiest manoeuvres and definitely one my favourites! It’s probably a boy thing, but there’s something about lining up on the runway, brakes on and revving the engine to full that excites me. Releasing the brakes, we go hurtling down the runway at breakneck speed (OK, I may be over sensationalising that a little, it is a 150 after all) before lifting off and climbing steeply. Fun times!

Robert was happy with my short field take off, so we moved on. Next on the list was a glide approach. This is where my skills come to a grinding halt! I requested a glide approach and once the threshold was clear of my wing tip, I pulled the power to commence the glide. My set up was good, I held 60 knots through the descent and was looking OK. As I thought I was too high, I pulled some flap and began a small manoeuvre to lose height. Unfortunately, I raised the nose a little, lost speed and it all went downhill from there so we tried again. Again, the set up was good, this time I was scared of pulling flap too early so I held off and ended up way too high. I was starting to get really frustrated. Roberts’s advice to me was, during the test, if you stuff something up, let it go immediately and move on. If you dwell on mistakes, you will keep making them. Robert demonstrated a scary as hell but ridiculously talented glide approach. I was incredibly impressed! When close to the threshold, he pulled 40° of flap and, to keep the speed, began a scary dive to the runway. Just before what would have been a nose first crash, he pulled the nose up, flared and landing perfectly. Damn I wish I had the balls and skill to pull that off. The glides weren’t getting any better so we moved on and will return to them next lesson.

Next on the list was short field landings. I wish I could say there was a marked improvement in this area, though unfortunately, they are eerily similar to glides and, well, they suffered the same fate. After 4 or 5 terrible landings and scaring the hell out of people at Harvey Norman by doing a terribly low pass at 200 feet on my approach, we moved on with the promise of revisiting these areas next week.

Lastly, we had cross-wind landings. To help facilitate this, we changed runways to 04 right which is a grass strip. I’ve never landed on grass before and I’ve gotta say, it was quite exciting. I actually really enjoyed it. As there is no white dotted centre line, at ground level, it is definitely harder to see where you are going. The landing itself is quite bumpy and noisy but it was good to have a change and experience something new. My cross-wind landings weren’t perfect, though they weren’t terrible either. After a few more landings and an hour and twenty minutes of lesson, we called it a day.

I’ll spend the week studying the recording to see where I can improve and hopefully I’ll better myself next week when we revisit these areas. The test isn’t far away now so I really need to improve fast.

Until next time…

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