Flight 58, low level flight in brisk NW conditions

Sunday today, having a lesson with Terry in low level flight, that’s at 500ft.

The plan is to go via the Ashley river towards the coast, and then North flying over the beach towards Motunau Island. Then over the hills to Omihi and Waipara, back to Rangiora.

BUT, the wind was from the NorWest, and we knew we might have to change plans……

Take off was good, but yes turbulent weather today. Taking of into the NorWest on RWY25 and leaving the circuit via the downwind leg at normal circuit height 1000ft above ground level. As soon as we were a few miles towards the coast I started descending down to 500ft, and that is quite low…. The air was a bit nicer to us down here, but as soon as we reached the hills from Amberley, the down draft of the NW wind over the hills there was really bad. I am sure it would have been OK higher up, but that’s not what today’s lesson was about. So we turned around and followed the hills towards Waipara. The idea is that you fly at an angle of 45deg with the ridge of the hill when crossing it, so that you can quickly turn if you want to for what ever reason. That’s all today’s lesson was about, knowing how to go across one safely.

When we reached the other side, I followed the State Highway up to Omihi, and turned around back towards Waipara and Amberley, still flying at 500ft above the ground. I am glad I did this lesson, not just for the low level flying and going 45deg across ridges, but also the NorWest wind, and the turbulence’s associated with it. With Terry as instructor I felt safe, but I am sure I would not have flown solo in these conditions. Not ready for it, but good to experience them. Its like being in a washing machine, up, down, left right…..  Just have a look at the landing video below, gives you a little bit of an idea about the wind.

I call it a solid landing, suddenly lost airspeed and got onto the ground, without bouncing !

Tomorrow possibly my “flight test” with Dave before I get my Advanced Local pilot licence. Will let you know how that went 🙂

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