Lesson 12

Today another lesson. This time in the evening, a little bit of an Easterly breeze, but dying away, resulting in a nice calm evening, ideal for practicing my landings. Yes today going around and around practicing takeoffs and more importantly landings.

A few things I need to remember (probably what this website is about, writing it down so I remember) is during take-off as soon as the nose lifts, I need to give left rudder to stop the plane from veering to the right as it does as a result of the rotating propeller. Prop creates a rotating air stream that pushes the plane in one direction, which needs to be compensated for with the rudder.

I might have mixed up my terms a bit last time. I thought the landing flare was when you pull up when you get low enough. That’s not right. There are 3 phases; descending, round out and flare.

  • Descend

To descend, you lower the engine power and keep the plane’s attitude aimed at the airstrip, resulting in the plane loosing altitude. Control the descend with the engine power and to a lesser extent with the elevator.

  • Round out

Then when a few feet above the ground, gently pull the stick, so that you fly horizontal (not descending anymore). Pulling the stick will increase the angle of attack, resulting in a momentarily increase of the lift. This will decrease or even stop the descent. This is the round-out. This phase is a very short one compared to the other two, but essential, before initiating the flare.

  • Flare

The third phase, the flare, is where you pull the stick gently more and more while at the same time slowly reducing power if engine not already at idle as a result of the descend power setting. By pulling the stick more and more in the flare, you create a take-off attitude.

At some stage, the plane will stall and touch down with the main landing gear first. Continue pulling the stick more and more until at the limit, and basically wait for the nose to come down onto the ground.

Descend, round-out and flare:


Round-out and flare:


Really enjoyed this lesson again, and with everything, but especially the landing, you need lots of practice, so that all these three phases, go perfect. Still need more practice, yes. Usually one or two parts of the landing go reasonably well, but one of the will not so good…..

And again to speed up or get more landings, we did most of our circuits at low altitude.

Yes all good fun !!!!   🙂  Oh yes. during one of the down wind lags, Easwaran, pulled the throttle, to simulate a engine failure. This was luckily (obviously well timed) just past the beginning of the runway.

I turned left, but was way to high so continued my base leg (last bit before turning into the final lag) a bit further, so basically made a bit of an s-curve to loose more height. If you have enough height, its just like a normal landing really except there is no engine you can use to slow the descend if you have to….

Lesson 11

Yeah today an early lesson at 0730 with my new instructor Easwaran (Iceman) while Dave is on holiday.

Just did circuits, and did learn a few new things. Its all basically about lining up for landing and doing the landing.
I have been looking a lot at my air speed indicator, a bit to much maybe.

Today I learned that if I just concentrate on flying at the right attitude (the orientation of an aircraft with respect to the horizon), then it’s the engine power that determines where I go (down / straight / up).

When landing, all I need to do is using rudder (no aileron) to aim at the runway, use elevator to keep the right attitude, and adjust engine power to aim at the right point of the runway for landing.

All of this makes sense, but only when you practice it, you realize it. So glad I have done this !

Then the last phase is the landing flare.

In the flare, the nose of the plane is raised, slowing the descent rate, and the proper attitude is set for touchdown. In the case of conventional landing gear-equipped aircraft like my Bleriot, the attitude is set to touch down on all three wheels (main landing gear and stick) simultaneously or on just the main landing gear.

In the case of tricycle gear-equipped aircraft, like the plane I have my lessons in, the attitude is set to touchdown on the main landing gear initially, then front wheel.

Also I learned that its a lot nicer to finish a turn by positively changing the banking to 0 deg with ailerons and rudder at the same time.

Also we did a few circuits at lower level which is allowed by micro lights. The difference is you don’t go all the way up to 1000ft AGL and also the down wing leg is halfway between runway and normal 1000ft AGL down wind leg.

The reason was to speed up the landing taking of frequency to get more landings in my lessons. Not sure if I should do this when there is more traffic, in fact I am sure I shouldn’t !

Some photo’s and video made by my son today:



Video of one of my landings. Nothing special for a lot of you guys but for me, wow… So amazing learning all this stuff 🙂

Painting the exhaust

Yesterday I started cleaning and priming the exhaust to prepare it for the final black mat colour. Went really well. I used primer (white) and final coat (black mat) Flame Proof from VHT. I think it worked well, all that needs to happen now is cure the paint by heating up the exhaust. can’t wait !!!!!

Looking good anyway 🙂

Oh yes and I need to secure the sleeved sections of the ring by drilling little holes through the sleeves, inserting a little steel pin and a clamp over it.




Lesson 10

Another day at the office, beautiful day !
Last lesson I started making the downwind radio call, so I thought, I can do this not to hard is it so I made a list of all the possible calls you make when flying in the circuit. For people that don’t know, this is the pattern you fly, when arriving or flying around a uncontrolled airfield:


Anyway, back to my radio calls, here is the list of calls after a few adjustments I made when talking about it with Dave:



  • The RANGIORA TRAFFIC at the start and RANGIORA at the end is so people hearing this message know its about the traffic around the RANGIORA airfield.
  • BRAVO X-RAY INDIA is my call sign when flying with my Bleriot so they know who I am.


The next bit is about what is happening:

– TAXIING towards the beginning of the runway.
– LINING UP at the runway.
– ROLLING full power and taking off.
– OVERHEAD RE-JOINING getting back to the circuit, in case we left it to go somewhere else.
– DOWNWIND LEFT HAND the last straight leg going down wind before turning left into the wind to land.
– FINAL leg, landing.

  • ZERO SEVEN is the “name” of the runway. Adding a ZERO at the end gives you the heading of the runway, 070 deg.
  • NUMBER ONE/TWO/THREE, indicates the sequence number for landing. I could be the only one (ONE) or second one (TWO) etc etc  to land.
  • FULL STOP you arrived and stay on the ground.
  • TOUCH AND GO for practice, you often land and immediately take off again.


So all very basic and short to keep it simple and understandable, and to free up the frequency so others can use the radio. Sometimes there is a lot happening on the radio.
At a uncontrolled airfield, you basically don’t “communicate” with others, you report so others know where you are, so a lot of listening so you know where you and others are in the circuit.
OK getting back to my lesson. I did maybe ten TOUCH AND GO’s, was in the air for 1.4hrs.

Hardest part is to descend, getting your final leg right, loosing hight, right speed and making a soft landing, basically stalling while just a foot above the ground at the right place on the airstrip.

Also making sure you know where others are “in the circuit”, how many are in front of you before landing, knowing what they do “FULL STOP” or “TOUCH AND GO” so you know what’s behind you.

Making all the radio calls, doing safety checks before landing “brake, landing gear, choke, fuel valve fuel quantity, flaps, door hatches, safety harness and lookout”.

And all that time you are flying the plane as well:
maintaining air speed, making sure you are at the right position in the circuit, flying the right shape as everyone else,making sure you are at the correct heights in the different parts of the circuit:

So the basic “circuit lap” goes like this:
Full power, pull stick at right speed, take-off.
Flaps up at 300ft AGL.
First turn at 500ft into base leg.
Second turn at 1000ft into down wind leg.
Reduce power to maintain 1000ft.
DOWNWIND radio call.
Down wind safety checks.
Reduce power to start descend when begin of runway is “next to you”.
Flaps in position one.
Third turn when begin of runway is 45 deg behind you.
Flaps in position two, aiming to be at 500ft AGL before making,
Fourth turn into final leg.
Flaps in position three.
FINAL radio call.
Adjusting power to get to runway past the markers.
Reducing power when almost there.
Pulling the stick while flying 1ft above the ground, until we stall and “kiss” the ground.

Lots happening including looking out for others all the time and listening for others……………..

Had a really good feel after this lesson.
Dave is going away on holiday for a month so next time I will fly with my other instructor “Iceman” nice guy !

Lesson 9

Today I had the day off, had two lessons, one before lunch and one after.
First lesson was about flying at different speeds, and staying at the same altitude. Basically flying fast, the plane tends to want to climb so you need to push the stick forward pushing the nose down to stay at the altitude. You see more horizon.
Flying at slow speeds is the opposite, pulling the stick to “stay” in at the altitude, pulling up the nose, and less horizon visible. Very interesting because there is a cruise speed where you stay nicely at altitude and you hardly need to use the stick.

But what really happens, is that the lift vector is moving depending on your speed.
When you go faster, the lift vector moves backwards and is behind the CG of the plane, basically pulling up the back, nose down, so you see more horizon.
When you go slower, the lift vector goes forward and is in front of the CG, pulling the nose up, so you see less horizon.
All of this is true when you try and stay at a certain altitude, keeping the plane in balance using the stick.

Also we did one or two more stalls well Dave did. The way he was talking made me think that today could be the day I was going to do stalls.
I was right !!!
Pulling the throttle, engine idle, you keep pulling the stick more and more till it slows down so much it stalls. The way I did it , slower then what Dave does, made it stall nice every time, no noticeable side slips. I am sure we will be doing more of those. So far so good.  YEAH I am stalling the plane !!!!!

In the afternoon we were doing lots of circuits, lost count, but at least 5 or 6.
Taking off, going down wind and landing, followed by immediate take off (touch and go).
Plus I started to make the down wind radio calls, easy but everything needs to be learned really. And also doing the last “downwind check” : brake, landing gear, choke, fuel valve fuel quantity, flaps, door hatches, safety harness and lookout. And then last turn into runway for descend.
Also applying full flap for landing and a bit of flap for take off.

So lots happening, but all good. Happy with the day, learned lots, every time a bit more !!  🙂

Lesson 8

Got to the airport early and started pulling out my plane, when someone else popped up saying he had the plane booked from 9 – 10. I didn’t know, so I let them and started walking around the hangars, until my instructor Dave came.
We had an theoretical lesson first in the club house.
One of the subjects was about two different ways to land.
First one like normal where you control the plane altitude basically with the engine power.
The second one, new to me, about landing without engine power, well engine idle. This is to practice forced landings after engine failure. Its all about setting perfect glide path, this is with the optimum air speed, at about 1.5 times the stall speed. for this plane that is about 40 * 1.5 = 60 mph.
Dave was showing me this landing at the end of my lesson. Here you gently turn (to minimize height loss) towards the runway, aiming at 1/3 of the runway. So the aim is obviously to get there and land like normal.
If you have a bit to much height, you use the flaps, when you have them, and with this plane we do.
Extending the flaps, creates more lift and drag, allowing you to fly slower, but because you go slower, you can drop the nose a bit more. This plane automatically drops its nose when extending the flaps.
If the plane doesn’t have flaps (in case of my Bleriot), you can easily loose height by side slipping, basically opposite rudder and aileron, but this is for later for more advanced lessons.
So yes that was all interesting.
During my lesson more of the same to increase skills, taking off, start turn at 500ft AGL towards practice area. flying straight and level by controlling power etc, a few turns while climbing at full engine power. Also did two stalls again, Dave did. This is all for me to get used to. Because we had a bit of turbulence he warned me it could be a side slip again and is was but didn’t feel to bad.
Soon I will be doing one or more myself on a nice day (for starters 🙂
I am thinking of taking a day of this week to get a few more lessons as Dave is away on holiday in 1.5 week. This Tuesday is looking promising !!