Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Holy Sh*t!

I said this phrase a lot today.  I don't know why I chose this particular one - it's not like I'm on a 1960s TV series of Batman or anything - it just seems to come out of my mouth whenever my plane does anything unexpected.  And there was a lot of unexpected today.

The first thing was that we were practising slow flight.  Slow flight is fine until it gets too slow and the plane stalls.  This too is fine if you know what to do...but today we talked about what happens if the plane starts to dive off to one side and, if that's not corrected, how it starts to spin downwards.  If this happens...all together now... HOLY SH*T!!

So we're not allowed to practise an actual spin in the plane I'm in (thank the Lord of holy microlights) but we can simulate the start of one.  Believe me, it is terrifying.  I never, ever want to ever do that without an instructor beside me who allows me to panic and say "Holy Sh*t" many times whilst he saves the day.

The other "HS" factor today was the wind.  Before you take off, you listen to this thing called an ATIS recording which tells you interesting stuff about the airfield, including how windy it is and where the wind is coming from.  The trouble is, this is recorded every half hour or so and things can change quite dramatically in that time.  Anyway, we listened to it and the wind didn't sound that bad so off we went.

Holy Sh*t!  Take off was ok but immediately after we left the ground we started to be shunted all over the place.  It's interesting - when you're driving along and buffeted by a side wind you feel as if you've been pushed sideways but, unless you're driving a very high sided vehicle, you generally feel pretty stable (as I guess cars are heavy and most of the weight is anchored low down).  Flippin' 'eck Tucker.  In a plane you're shoved sideways, up, down, rolling, yawing,'s very hard to keep the damn thing going in a straight line. 

So that was a challenge.  But the scary bit was coming into land.  The plane just wasn't going in the right direction.  And we were having to come in at a steep angle.  These two things in themselves were making me sweat.  But when Pilot Phil said, as we were about 50 feet from the runway, "I HAVE CONTROL!"... and was obviously having a bit of a struggle with the wind himself (although I have to say made an incredibly smooth landing), I didn't feel too bad in letting the odd swear word escape.

A bottle of coke and some chips later, the terror is fading and the joy of battling with the elements is rising.  I need to knuckle down and do some study now.  Air Law here we come!!!

Wishing you a less windy and very stable week,

Becky xx

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