Month: May 2008

Flat Tyre & Radio

Unfortunately I found a flat tyre this morning, which I changed and then drove the car to the garage to get the tyre fixed – they replaced it and at the same time I got a radio installed. It took quite a while, so I ended up taking a long walk to pass the time, since it was a nice day. The whole thing took more or less half of the day, and then I went to Hipercore to get the car cleaned.

I’ve got my Progress Test 2 profile tomorrow and then a night flight. I had to cut my navigation exercise short since there was a lot of cloud where I was going, and flying below it would mean I’d be below my minimum planned altitude. We have to stay clear of cloud by a 1000ft and 1500m horizontally when flying VFR.

Car’s back!

Finally got my car back after 2 weeks! I really missed it. There are so many times I use my car to get out of having toast because I missed dinner due to my flying schedule or whenever I don’t feel like having canteen food. I went into Jerez on the bus today, just to take a walk in the city – something I’ve not done often whilst I’ve been here. The weather’s not been great today, however I’m not too bothered, as it’s my day off from flying. I am hoping for good weather tomorrow though, since I have a solo VFR navigation exercise and then I’ll be doing my CPL qualifying cross-country flight. This usually goes from Jerez to Granada to Seville and then back to Jerez.

LEMG, Malaga – IFR Landaway

We set off at around 6pm local time to Malaga. I knew this was going to be a great experience and also a difficult flight with the busy environment at Malaga. The route planned was a standard departure from Jerez and then direct to the Malaga VOR, joining into a standard arrival and then a VOR approach to runway 13. During the pre-flight briefing, I mentioned that we can expect runway 13 due to the wind direction at Malaga, given and predicted by the METARs and TAFs. Planning an IFR flight involves checking the weather, NOTAMs, studying the appropriate instrument plates, filing the flight plan and a pre-flight briefing. The pre-flight briefing is where I basically go through all my planning, highlighting key points such as any weather that may affect us, NOTAMs relevant to us and plate briefs.

Once the brief was done, we checked and signed the paperwork and went to the aircraft. Before startup, clearance for start up must be requested and then taxi and IFR clearance follow afterwards. Avionics management is something that takes a bit of getting used to at first – having to set and identify all the frequencies in use by morse code and having them ready to be used. This is something I’ve started to plan on the ground now so that I know exactly what frequencies I need and when, without too much thinking in the air, leaving me free to do other tasks. I’ll also usually draw the route on my VFR map, just to give me some reference to terrain if I need it at any point.

The flight started out slow and easy, and around 15 minutes before arrival, I obtained the ATIS information, which indicated runway 13 was in use, as expected, and other information such as the weather and QNH. Since we had some time, I gave the approach plate brief to my instructor after obtaining the ATIS – we were expecting to do the VOR approach to runway 13, so that’s the one I gave and set the avionics up for that. I also set up the avionics for the ILS as a contingency. Everything went smoothly, and soon we were given permission to descend and so completed the initial approach/descent checks and complied with the instructions. Malaga approach vectored us directly to intercept the 314 radial for the VOR approach. Unfortunately I couldn’t see anything outside since the screens were up… till my instructor let me have a quick peek outside – the view was amazing! I don’t have any photos yet, since my instructor has them, so I’ll put them up when I get a hold of them.

Just as we were established for the VOR approach, the wind suddenly changed to the opposite direction, and so ATC changed the runway in use! So, the controller made us carry out a missed approach and gave us vectors and to climb to an altitude of 5500 feet. Now they were vectoring us for runway 31. The environment was incredibly busy – we were number 6 to land, meaning there were 5 aircraft in front of the queue to land. All the avionics were set for runway 13, so everything had to be changed around for runway 31. The workload was quite high since we were being constantly vectored as well. We decided to go for the ILS approach in the end and did a relatively high speed ILS approach to runway 31. This is the first time I have ever flown an ILS for real – I’ve done it in flight simulator, so that helped a little! Once we were at decision height, I cut the power and let the flaps down once we were in the safe operating speed for flaps operation, to loose the speed, and touched down in Malaga.

The Tower instructed us to exit the runway at the next taxiway on the right and change to the ground frequency once we were clear of the runway. We then taxied to the general aviation apron and were greeted by a “follow me” vehicle. We then had one hour to reflect on the flight, de-brief and have something to eat! Time went by fast and we were soon in the aircraft again calling up clearance delivery for our IFR clearance back to Jerez. The SID we were given and requested was a relatively complicated one – the JRZ1C from runway 31 since many nav-aids had to be used and required slick avionics management, something that I’m getting used to. Nonetheless, it went well, and ATC soon vectored us off the SID, to give us a shortcut, directly to a fix and then from there to the Jerez NDB for the NDB approach.

The scenery on the way out was amazing – the sun was setting and the view was breath-taking. However, I couldn’t enjoy the view too much, as it was an IFR flight and so had to have my head down in the cockpit monitoring the instruments and flying the aircraft. My instructor kindly took a few photos for me to share here, so those will be up soon. As night set in, we switched on the navigation lights and the instrument panel lights. On the way, we practiced fix-to-fix navigation and plotting a fix on the map. Once we got to the Jerez NDB, we practiced a few holds and then were cleared for the NDB approach. This was a night landing and though people tend to flare high at night, I tended to flare a little flat! This is probably because of people telling me that I may have the tendency to flare high and so over-compensating slightly. I’ll have plenty of practice with night landings when I go to Faro soon!

Unfortunately I didn’t fly today due to the weather, which is holding all of us behind a little at the moment. I’m hoping for some improvement today so I can complete an IFR flight to Seville and a night flight that I must complete before being allowed to go to Faro!

Phase 2 Exam Results

We finally got our exam results today, and I’ve passed all Phase 2 groundschool subjects and topped my previous mark, which I’m pleased with! With all ATPL groundschool subjects passed, I can now concentrate fully on the flying and aim to pass all flight tests first time! I’ll be flying again on Saturday, and I’m hoping for the weather to improve by then.

Eustation Tubes!

Still a bit clogged but getting better.  Went to the doctor today to get some antihistamines for my hayfever – I managed to remember the ones I used to get prescribed in UK which were really good and gave me no side-effects, so I got the same ones.  Looks like I’ll finally be flying on Saturday and will be doing 3 events a day or so to catch up – the usual being two events.  It will be tiring but much more fun that the last few days have been, sitting in my room recovering from a cold.

I went to the Apron today to practice some checks in the warrior again.  I think I’m going to try and do this at least once a day – practice all of the emergency checks and the avionics checks.

We’re still waiting for our groundschool exam results.. maybe they’ll be here tomorrow!

Cold

Unfortunately I contracted a cold since Sunday.. which means no flying for me till I get better.  I’m feeling much better today than I was yesterday, but I still can’t fly till my ears and nose have cleared up.  This is really frustrating.  I was really looking forward to the land-away in Malaga, and to experience a busier environment and the VFR night flight.  In the meantime I’m getting plenty of rest.  The weather’s not been too great, so I don’t think I’m missing much, other than my IFR land-aways, which I’ll catch up on once I’m back flying.

Back from Granada IFR 2

This time I flew from Jerez to Granada and took my camera with me! My flying partner took a few photos whilst she was sat at the back and then I took some more on the way back when I was not flying. The weather wasn’t bad – a few clouds at 3000 feet and then a thicker layer at 9000 feet near Granada, we were above the clouds most of the time apart from the approach and descent. The flight started with a standard intrument departure from Jerez, flying east and then an instrument arrival and VOR approach into Granada. We were, for the post part at at Flight Level 90, then temporarily at Flight Level 100 (10,000 feet), till we were given descent instructions to 7000 feet for our approach to land on runway 09. During the cruise we practiced some fix-to-fix (or point-to-point) navigation.

The new plog (pilot log) that I designed using existing ones makes it much easier for me since I’m left handed. I’ve always found, as a left-handed person, with most things being designed for the right-handed, existing plogs awkward to write on! Flip things around and it’s way better for me!

Here are a few photos of the Granada trip:

Flying IFR enroute to Granada – screens are put up to simulate Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC):

Flying over mountainous terrain (Grazalema):

The aircraft is parked up:

Granada general aviation apron:

Granada Tower:

Flight de-brief with my instructor:

Day off!

We get one day off, every 6 days.. though by definition it is a day off, I end up planning for my flights and practicing checks anyway, so I’d call it a semi-day off! I spent today with a lie in (don’t get to do that often) and then went to the Apron around 4:30pm to practice some avionics and emergency checks. I took my camera with me to take a few photos of the aircraft on the Apron, as many had come in for a rally. It’s some kind of competition where a group of general aviation aircraft fly-in.

As I was walking around, I noticed an Aeronova Co-pilot waiting outside the aircraft for the Captain and the passengers. He kindly let me into the aircraft, which was a Fairchild SA227 Metro III, to have a look around the cabin and flight deck. He was very friendly and allowed me to take this photo of the flight deck:

And a cheesy photo of me posing in the Captain’s seat!

Here are a couple of shots of the aircraft:

This aircraft is equipped with GPS, GPWS, TCAS and auto-pilot. The Co-pilot explained that the autopilot is only used for the cruise and initial approach and departure segments of the flight – the approach plates have to be flown manually.

IFR Flight to Granada

The IFR flight to Granada was amazing! It takes around 3 hours to get there by car and only took us less than half that time to get their by air. My flying partner flew to Granada and I flew back. The route was simple – we followed a STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival) out to a VOR and then followed a SID into the destination airport, for both inbound and outbound routes. At Granada we had just enough time to grab a bite to eat and de-brief and brief for the flight back to Jerez. I think this has been my best IFR flight so far. The R/T is a challenge but I’m getting the hang of it. There’s much more to say and be said in a specific manner in IFR compared to VFR.

Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos, which is a shame because the scenery on the way was beautiful – we flew over Grazalema mountains and as we arrived in Granada the Sierra Nevada mountains were in clear view. Not to worry though, we’re going to Granada again and we’re going to make sure we have a camera with us!

The weather’s not been great today, so my two VFR navigation exercises have been cancelled, which gives me ample time to prepare and practice IFR flying. Flight simulator is a great tool.

Also dropped my car off to the VW garage today.. finally getting fixed! It’s almost been 6 months since my car was broken into.. things do move slowly here! I’ll hopefully have my car back in a week.

Phase 3

I can’t believe we’re here already.

The weekend away was great – the weather in UK was actually better than here in Jerez, Spain! I flew to Stansted and then stayed at my sister’s place, where the rest of my family met up with me. Had a great time and I was enjoying the home cooked Indian food, and we had a barbeque on Sunday. I also spent time with my nephew who’s almost a year old. The last time I saw him was about 5 months ago and he had only just started to sit on his own and lie on his front by himself. He now crawls so fast that I have to literally run after him! He stands on his own now and again and walks with the aid of something to hold on to, so it’s not long before he’ll be walking! He’s grown so much! As expected, the weekend went by very quickly and before I knew it I was taking a flight from Manchester aboard a Jetstream 41 to Stansted and there to Jerez aboard a Ryanair 737.

We jumped right into the deep end today with the flying – two dual, instruction, flights on flying an SID and doing VOR and NDB non-precision approaches. It was quite over-whelming at first, considering we’ve not flown for about 5 – 6 weeks, however it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would have been and I managed to pick up more or less where I left off. It feels odd not having groundschool anymore – we’ve had it for about 10 months of our training here.