First Solo Flight

Due to the weather not cooperating it was nice to finally find an opening to squeak in some flying.  Though their was bad weather all around us Petter and I decided to take a chance and headed to the airfield on May 26th for 6:30PM.  The evening could have went either way for us but turned out awesome!

I got up for 2 or 3 solid flights on the buddy box, taking off and landing by myself.  On the last flight of the day I did my first solo flight!  This is the first time I actually held my Spectrum DX6 transmitter in my hands while flying.  Using this transmitter over the old one I was using (as Peter held the primary) gave a different feel while flying due to the joysticks being stiffer and the ergonomics of the transmitter itself.   I was on an ‘aeromodellers’ high and my heart felt like it was going to beat out through my chest!  Following tradition my maiden solo voyage was a short one.  I took off, flew down to the end of the run way and maneuvered right into the box pattern, turning left and flying out away from us parallel to the runway.  I then throttled back, getting ready for my approach, banked left once I got to the far left of the field, leveled out and then shortly there after banked left again pointing me at the runway, cut the throttle and coasted in for a successful landing!

We then called it a night as my first solo mission was a success and we were going home with the plane in tack!  We then packed up, and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the sun went behind the clouds (didn’t want to be flying in shadows just yet!), the skeeters instantly became wicked and the rain started to fall.  Didn’t matter to me as I was on cloud nine!  I think Peter was too as he gets a great thrill out of seeing his students progress and ended with saying, “Now you’re on your own as there’s nothing more I can do for you while you’re flying”.   Though I know he’ll still help when he can, and plan to be on the buddy box again when I’m out their and the wind has changed and need to land from the other direction.  We then followed it up with going out for a treat.

I’ve been really looking forward to getting out again; however, the weather still hasn’t been cooperating as it’s been raining to much making the field to wet or their have been threatening dark clouds in the sky, which typically end up contributing to the sogginess of the airfield!  If it hasn’t been precipitation it’s been strong unpredictable winds.  Based on the forecast Thursday is looking to be my best chance of getting out before I go on holidays.  In the mean time I’m blogging to take the edge off. 😉

Takeoffs, Flying & Landings. Oh Yeah!

On Wednesday, May 18th I got in my first flights of the season! I went out the night before; however, my transmitter with its new battery pack (that’s actually made for the Spektrum radio I have) when I got there was not charged!  I thought I had charged it, plugged it into the wall overnight, but my outlets are weird, so I’m guessing the outlet was turned off.  Lesson learned though, always check the radio the night before going flying!  I then tried again the next night and boy did it pay off!  I got in three solid flights.

The first flight started with Peter taking off the plane and then allowing me to fly around however I saw fit.  I did a few figure eights and transitioned into boxes to practice lining up for landings.  I then descended lower and lower on the approach whizzing down the middle of the runway.  I eventually took more and more off the throttle until I was pretty much landing, but since wasn’t time yet I’d apply full throttle to ascend up for another come around until no mention of doing another come around came up from Peter and I landed!

The second flight started with me taxing the plane out into the runway, followed by me standing behind the plane lining it up for take off (based on the windsock).  I then took off the aircraft and awkwardly (as that’s me, Mr. Awkward! Well, sometimes, lol) backed up as Peter guided me with a nudge here and their back behind little fence for pilots in the air as I didn’t want to take my eyes off the plane.  I then flew around until it came time to land again and then practised lining up my approach and eventually landed my Sig Kadet LT-40 back on solid ground.

The third flight got even more exhilarating.  Their were times I could feel my heart beating hard in my chest!  This time I taxied the plane out to the runway, stayed behind the fence, and took off the aircraft from behind the fence.  This provides a whole other perspective of the plane while taking off (side-view essentially).  I then flew around for a bit and transitioned into touch and goes.  I would come in as a landing, slowed right down, touch the plane down on the ground and coast along the ground a tiny bit as I’d then give full throttle to take off yet again to come around for yet another landing.  I did this a handful of times before finally touching down for the night.

All in all I had an excellent night of flying and learned more while I was at it.  You basically gotta learn something new each time out, whether its little or big, as that is part of the fun and what allows you to progress!  Some key things for this night out are:

  • Don’t bank to steeply in turns, especially when it is windy as it was this night, or you risk the wind catching your plane and flipping you over, due to the amount of surface area being exposed
  • At our airfield don’t go to far off the end of the runway for your approach or else you risk the wind (up draft?) coming up the hill and rocking your plane.  Thank-you Peter for the save (rather than then seeing if I would have been able to).
  • Kinda learned this one before, but if you are not comfortable with your approach for landing, give ‘er power and come around again (this is why you want to land before you run out of fuel) because if something already started to go wrong it’s likely only going to get worse if you try to correct/force the landing.