Saturday, July 26, 2008

Nav 6: the part that went well

After busting controlled airspace within the first hour of Nav6, life went on in the cockpit of VH-SPQ. The end of the flight even turned out to be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Approaching Mount Warning, we did some low-level flying to simulate a low ceiling. I chose to follow the side of the mountain chain, which eventually put us right back on track for Kyogle. I think I did quite well, the only thing Lee commented on was that I had forgotten to hold the map at eye level while flying low. The shorter the distance the eyes have to travel between the map and the outside, the less likely we are to fly into something, which obviously can happen very fast when flying low.

After that I spent some time under the hood, and when I came out I was lost and had to find out where I was. It actually took me a while to come up with the (right!) answer. What made it hard was that I only used features from the terrain, trying to read ground-to-map, while in fact I could also have used navaids. After getting un-lost, Lee asked me to perform a diversion and go straight to Archerfield rather than Glen Innes, as initially planned.

I tracked for the Laravale VOR, which was one of the turning points in my original flight plan. Approaching from the south, the entry point to Archerfield is the Park Ridge Water Tower. I knew from reading the NOTAMs that the flashing light on top of the tower was not working, so I didn’t waste any time looking for it. The tower appeared right under the nose of the plane at exactly the time I expected it to be there, so that was an easy one.

I made an inbound call and Archer Tower asked me to report crossing the Logan Motorway. We joined downwind for runway 10R. On base the tower gave us the option to use 10L instead, which we accepted since it meant a shorter taxi to the terminal.

We stretched our legs briefly and started up again. No taxi clearance required since this is a GAAP aerodrome, and we taxied for 10L. The run-up bay is huge and could easily hold a half-dozen of small aircrafts. The weather at Archerfield was very ordinary, which showers of rain and a few low-hanging dark clouds.

We called ready, lined up and took off, mindful of not drifting into the circuit of the parallel runway. We aimed for the south end of Mount Coot-Tha, found the Centenary Bridge, then tracked north to Petrie at 1000ft. We landed at Redcliffe on 07 then debriefed the flight. Lee said I would have to do the controlled airspace part of the nav again, which I was absolutely fine with.

Little did I know at the time that it would be more than two months before I could do Nav6 again. A bad case of overseas trip, sick instructors, high demand for flying training and bad weather.

The plan for the Nav6 re-run is to go Redcliffe - Gold Coast - Laravale VOR - Archerfield - Toowomba - Redcliffe, and is scheduled two weeks from now. Fingers crossed the flight actually goes ahead, otherwise that'll really put a big spanner in the works. I also have my CSU (Constant Speed Unit) endorsement on the C182 lined up for about the same time, so that's going to be a long week-end packed with lots of aviation, with hopefully a sign-off for the solo nav in controlled airspace, the actual solo nav and the CSU endorsement at the end.

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