Flying Lesson # 20 – Second Solo Check

June 4, 2012

Sunday was due to be my second solo check, though as luck would have it, a rain depression decided to settle over Brisbane. I still went out to Gil Layt’s in the hope that it might clear up! No such luck! I used the opportunity to have Robert go through the theory behind Spiral Dive Recovery. The great thing about Gil Layt’s flying school is that they don’t charge for briefings. Other schools charge $50 for the privilege! As there isn’t a lot of other theory to go through, we decided to call it a day and try again on Monday.

After leaving the flying school for the day, I decided to take a drive around Archerfield. It’s actually really sad to see how run-down the airport is. You can see remnants of what was once Brisbane’s main airport now plagued by ageing buildings and aircraft. Fences have been erected over roads and the outer regions feel like a ghost town. Some dollars need to be injected into the great piece of Brisbane’s history! Just my two bobs’ worth! If you’re interested, check out the ‘History of Archerfield Aerodrome’.

Monday started out looking great. A little light fog early in the morning clearing to beautiful blue skies. Arriving at Gil Layt’s, Robert threw me the keys and we headed out to the plane. We took out UGF as JOO was already taken. As I’m used to flying on the weekends, when most are hung over or still drinking, I was surprised to see Archerfield buzzing with activity so early on a Monday. The airways were alive with ATC chatter and planes were landing and taking off every few minutes.

This lesson was bound to be similar to the last, with Robert observing one or two circuits before allowing me to fly the beast on my own! On takeoff, I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of UGF, she is a little younger than JOO! The only down-side with UGF, as pointed out by Robert, is the flap control and the artificial horizon. Both are a little harder to use/read than in JOO. I think I might start using UGF a little more often!

After completing a circuit, Robert instructed me to make the next a full stop. With a slight screech as the tyres touched down on the bitumen, I turned off the runway and headed back to the Eastern Apron to drop off Robert. I then turned around and headed back out to do it all again. This is the best part! I love taking the plane up by myself! Not that Robert isn’t good company, it’s just the greatest feeling to fly a plane by yourself. After obtaining clearance, I took off for a few solo circuits. Every landing was good, some were better than others, but all were definitely acceptable. I’m so glad I can pull off consistently good landings now. I’ve got to tell you, there was a time there where I thought I would never get them down pat.

Now that I’m on my own, I have to keep an eye on the time and judge how many circuits I can do and still have the plane back on time. Robert instructed me to have her back and ready for refuelling by 9:20am. I was on down-wind at 9:10 and decided to pull up for the day, so I called a full stop. My last landing for the day was a good one! I taxied back to the apron and parked, ready for refuelling. After locking up UGF and taking down the odometer reading, I headed in to be greeted by an elated Robert. I had arrived back at 9:19. Perfect!

What a great day! Can’t wait for my next flight!

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