Flight 49, bumpy solo

🙂 Woke up in the middle of the night thinking, ooh no, the Nor-Wester is blowing, no flying today. But by the time I got out of bed, it calmed down a lot.

So I left home to go to the airport, and yes by the time I got there, absolutely no wind.

Rang Dave as Terry my current instructor was in a conference, and got permission to fly. I need to get that every time until I have my first licence.

I got the plane ready, and of I went. The wind was picking up a bit but nothing serious, but straight away I noticed that higher up there was definitely a bit of a Nor-Wester, a wind coming over the mountains, with a lot of turbulence in it. Especially in the last 15 minutes that wind was getting stronger and bumpy-er. Really happy how my body is coping with turbulence now

Anyway, I flew for 1.1 hrs. Happy with all my landings! Today I definitely had to work harder to get them right as the wind was playing tricks with me, but learned from it. Get your speed right and everything falls into place.

Flight 48, just solo

Yep, more solo today. First time, without instructor Terry for first few circuits.

Was a nice day but there were North Easterlies developing, creating bumpy conditions, tossing me around a bit while up there 🙂

This made the landings a bit trickier. One of the reasons as I was flying a bit faster during landing to compensate for the wind gusts and turbulence around the hangars on final at RWY07 here in Rangiora. So yes a few landings were bumpy, ballooned a little bit. But all about learning I suppose.

Terry and Mike Small, watching me were not concerned. Yes their comments were that my speed was probably a bit on the high side.

But yes, feeling good after today !

Lesson 47, more solo…

Beautiful winters Sunday. Was going to do a little trip 7 nm West of our airfield, but Terry thought I should have some more solo circuit flights first. We will do that 7 nm trip next week.

So off we went, first 2 circuits with Terry, then about 5 I think on my own “SOLO” 🙂

All very good, feel comfortable !

The second to last landing was a little bouncy. Started flaring to high, and then in the end “stalled” from a bit to high. Could have landed, but decided to do a go-around. First time ever. Basically aborting the landing and applying full power to take off straight away.

So yes never did that before, but this is one of the best decisions you can make if you are not 100% sure !!!! Good lesson for myself 🙂

Lesson 46, :-) more solo

Horrible weather yesterday (Saturday) but today, just perfect.

So I contacted Terry for a lesson just after lunch. Went through all the preparations, checks and was ready to fly just after 1300.

It was almost as I was mentally not completely prepared. I took me 2 circuits to get used to everything again.

  • I need to be so more aware of the slip indicator, and
  • With different conditions, it was a bit harder to get the altitude right for finals (the landing)

Apart from that, the circuit was fine.

During the landing I had to pay a bit more attention to the timing of the flare. At one stage I was flaring a bit to high, like only 1/2m to high, so no drama !!  🙂

After 3 circuits with Terry, he jumped out and I went solo again. Everything went really well. Almost like its easier if no-one is watching……. I know Terry was, “outside” from the runway, keeping an eye on me.

After I finished my 3 circuits, I did a “full stop” and vacated the runway and back to the hangar, were Terry came to see me.

He was happy overall with what I did. So from now on, while I need to get more time under my belt, I can start flying on my own, without an instructor with me for these first few circuits. I do need to call Terry before I take-off and talk him through the conditions.

So yeah !!!! Really solo now 🙂

Lesson 44, circuits and yeaaaah tail dragger SOLO

Yes after last lesson I knew  was going to do some good landings. And yes my feeling about what was about to happen was right !

I think I made 4 landings, 3 of them really good !  🙂  During that last circuit Terry, my new instructor told me to do a full stop. Strange I thought, didn’t think I had done an hour yet, but yes I was thinking maybe I will fly solo today.

Terry rang Dave who just arrived at the airfield and asked him to come over. The reason, Terry belongs to a different club, so only Dave can authorize me to go solo. So started doing circuits with Dave, and after 2 of them he told me to let him out, so I could do my solo’s.


Yes had two almost perfect circuits, good takeoffs and landings.

First solo in KNZ
First solo in KNZ
First solo in KNZ

Nice comment I got from Brent Thompson:

I recon the kitfox is one of the best taildragger trainers around. Beautiful when you do it right but let’s you know all about it if you don’t. Once you’ve mastered the kitfox, you have an excellent foundation for any other taildragger. Well done!

Lesson 43, stalls and circuits

Beautiful day here today, no wind and lots of sun, with a frost!

Had my first lesson with Terry Salmon, so lots of new tips and comments ( Dave is currently busy in his olive grove ! )

Anyway, we first agreed on a few rules and things we were going to do today 🙂

  • Leave the circuit and do a few turns then a few stalls.
  • Re-joining the circuit.
  • And a few touch and go’s, flying around the circuit !

I am not a big “stall the plane” fan, but I know its good and should be doing this every month I think. We flew towards Mt Thomas where we do training work, where Terry showed me two stalls and afterwards I did two. When I did it, KNZ sort of stalled a bit but definitely didn’t do a dramatic dive, all gentle. That means it (KNZ) is showing that you are stalling but still a lot of control so that’s good…..

After that we went back, went through the re-joining procedure, and flew a few circuits.

Got a few hints about my flare (just before touch-down) I need to keep on doing what I do:

  • Most importantly get the approach right: correct height, correct speed (50)
  • After flaring, keep flying horizontal, pulling more and more stick until it stalls and lands.
  • But the new things is; when touching the ground, push stick forward a bit, to keep the landing gear on the ground. Not to much, just a little !

And for the take off I also had a few things I should do better. All the normal things:

  • Apply power, in 3 seconds.
  • Stick full forward; to get forward vision, more rudder control, better airflow over the wings.
  • Use rudder for directional control.
  • But the (not so new) important thing to look for is air speed, before pulling the stick. Make sure the speed is 50, so I can fly!!!!! If thats not high enough, you try to take off but the plane is still stalling, and could side slip ways or stall one wing etc etc creating all sort of very dangerous situations.

Anyway Terry was quite happy with most things, just those few points to pay attention to 🙂

Oh yes, when in the circuit, make absolutely sure, you join at 1500ft AGL, and when in down wind fly at 1000ft AGL, because thats where other “planes” expect you to be !!!!!

Oh and yes keep the slip indicator ball in the center all the time.

Phhhh quite a few things. Lots to think about when flying, but yes happy pilot, still learning.

Practice practice practice

Thanks Terry !!

Tips from Paul

Saw Paul today, the owner of KNZ.

Basically I am doing all the right things, flaring just before the landing. Its finding the right moment to start pulling the stick gently, and slowly pull more and more, while staying at the same height, maybe half a meter (1 – 2 ft) above the runway until the speed drops below the stall speed: you land.

But sometimes, you pull a bit to much, or you touch the ground and still have to much speed, and as a result you balloon: going up again. But because your speed is so slow now, you are about to stall, and fall down onto the runway, from a bit to high.

So what to do is when you balloon, is to apply a little bit more power, enough to not to fall to fast but to gently fall, and land   🙂

Next time I will talk with Dave and practice this…..

Lesson 42, Circuits

Today a little bit of a South West wind, nice and constant.

Off we went, did lots of circuits, one full high one at 1000ft AGL and all other ones at low level, 500ft. As the final is going past some pine trees there was a bit of turbulence, enough to disrupt my final flare. Not to dramatic, but a whole lot harder in KNZ compared to JOR, my first plane.

I am thinking that I need to get some tips from someone else, maybe Paul, the owner of KNZ, the plane I am flying now 🙂

But yes looking forward to the next flight !!!!