Stalled & Grounded

After several postponements, I finally managed to have my ninth lesson on Friday. This has now taken me through the 10 hour mark and a little further as the lesson lasted approximately an hour and forty five minutes and actually covered the material for two lessons. I was originally only booked in for a single lesson, but my instructor felt that I had grasped and mastered the first exercise of stall practice quickly enough that if I had the time available, he was happy to continue the lesson through to the second exercise. Completing these last two exercises now opens the way for me to begin circuits around the aerodrome.

I was fortunate with the weather yet again, and it was only when we decided to return to the airfield and dropped back through the clouds did we find that visibility was closing in to around 1.5 – 2Km. An expected warm front was sweeping in and conditions were starting to deteriorate quite rapidly. It was also the only time during the lesson that I had any chance to take some aerial photographs as my instructor had taken control. However, I was annoyed to have my phone battery die after only snapping one photo! There will be future opportunities I’m sure and I’m already investigating ways to mount a GoPro in the cockpit or on my personage for some video footage.

Something I found interesting a few weeks ago was that the flights I do seem to be tracked on flightradar24.com. I’m not sure if the data is collected from the aircraft’s transponder or from my instructor’s iPad (he runs SkyDemon for GPS positional location). Either way, the tracking data is stored and freely viewable for a few days after. I’ve screen captured the map and speed/altitude graph for my stall practice – ignore the reference to Cardiff, we were never even close to Wales 🙂

So, that’s the stall training done and dusted. But unfortunately, there is now the issue of being grounded to consider. There is a very good chance that my flight training may have come to a grinding halt. Literally. Just last weekend the semi-automatic gearbox on our Ford C-Max failed, causing some alarming and potentially dangerous jolting and jerking when attempting to drive in 1st or reverse gears. Since then, the reverse and 2nd gears have failed completely and the car is effectively immobile, despite only having clocked up 65,000 miles. Estimates for repair are hideous and taking the issue up with Ford seems likely to be fruitless, therefore unexpectedly we have found ourself in the situation of needing to purchase a  replacement vehicle. With the need to prioritise, it is likely that the funding we had set aside for my flight training will need to be used and therefore further lessons are potentially cancelled. I am working at the moment and jobs are coming in, so it may just be a temporary hiatus. I will provide an update to the situation in a future post and in the meantime continue as normal, working toward passing the first three of my exams.

Quote of the Day : – “Roger the Army.”

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Heady, Set, Go…

headsetselfie

Blue Steel

I’m a couple of posts behind due to a busy week, so I’m adding them a week later for posterity, with their original dates intact.

It seems to be common practice for student pilots to have their own headsets for use in the cockpit, but like everything else related to aviation, there is of course a hefty price tag attached. While there are a number of low-cost options available, David Clark headsets have set the standards of comfort, quality and performance in design and manufacture and their ‘green domes’ are very widely recognised. I knew that I couldn’t stretch to anything as advanced as their Electronic Noise Cancelling (ENC) range of sets, so I spent a few days scouring eBay for one of their passive offerings. I soon became disheartened that few were available as second hand models, at a price point I could afford, and even commented to my father that I can never find a good deal for the things I want on eBay. But within forty eights hours of making that comment, I had won an auction for the H10-13.4 headset, at 50% of its brand new retail cost.

I always experience some doubt and trepidation whenever I buy anything off of eBay… Will it turn up? What condition will it be in? Will it be the one that was shown in the photograph? Well, I’m pleased to say that the headset arrived within 24 hours by Special Delivery, was the item shown in the photograph and both it and its carry bag were in mint/’as new’ condition! I gave them their first use during my second lesson and they worked beautifully.

Anyway, enjoy the obligatory black and white selfie.