Lesson 7. Flight Circuits II

Airport: Hervey Bay Aerodrome
Instructor: BS , Briefing time (hr): 0
Time to take off: 8:15 Runway: 29
Time to land: 9:15 Runway: 29          Total Engine time: 1.0 Approx. Fuel ____
Wx: Wx at aerodrome (Approx time of AWIS call 8:00): Cloud clear <1200, Wind Direction variable 340 – 350 N, Wind Strength 13 kts , Temp 22.4oC, Dewpoint -, Rainfall last 10 mins nil, Wind types -, Visibility >10km,  Humidity 60%, QNH 1012, Changes in Wx Conditions, BOM daily wx obs: Temps Min (°C) 13.2, Max (°C) __, Rain (mm) 0, Evap __, Sun __, [[Max daily wind gust: Dir __, Spd (km/h) __, Time (local) __]] [[9:00am record: Temp (°C) 24.1, RH (%) 57, Cloud -, Dir N, Spd (km/h) 17, MSLP (hPA) 1022.4]], [[3:00pm record: Temp (°C) __, RH (%) __, Cloud __ , Dir __, Spd (km/h) __, MSLP (hPa) __]] http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/dwo/IDCJDW4056.latest.shtml

TAF YHBA 072111Z 0800/0812


FM080100 36012KT CAVOK


T 25 26 25 22 Q 1021 1019 1017 1018

METAR YHBA 080400Z AUTO 36012KT 9999 // NCD 25/17 Q1018

RMK RF00.0/000.0


Goals: Review previous lesson and optimise operation of aircraft… Downwind checks, operating minimums (1/2 balance ball, +10/10 heading, Vref +5 kts -0 kts, +150 ft of set altitudes, main wheels first), maintain consistent tracking, pre-landing checklist, emergency engine cut off routine practice

Briefing discussion: Home-study on circuits and own notes, no formal briefing necessary as one was due to practice the circuit pattern and improve on skills.
Tasks: pre-flight checks, oil and fuel check, wheel chocks, start-up procedures and checks, radios, take-off, climbing, descent, turns, preflight briefing (re-aborted take-off procedure), touch’n’go x5, final landing.

Aircraft checked over, noted fuel ~60-65L of fuel by dipstick, plenty for the PA-28 that burns ~35L / hour. Noticed large areas of eroded tarmac beneath the wing, apparently due to previous fuel-leaks that weren’t adequately cleaned up (the fuel eats the tarmac?).

Initial start-up checks ran smoothly, but for the sake of time establish a routine to work with for start up. Waited ~5 mins on the tarmac prior to departure to allow commercial operations right of way – ~4 aircraft one SeaAir en-route to Lady Elliot, one caravan bound for Bundaberg, another that used runway 11 alternatively to get a marginally faster route out of the airspace… seemed bizarre but manageable as the tailwind was about 10 knots at the time. Then there was the local parachute group that took off in no time and we were clear to take off.
Rolling start from the mid-runway point. Took off tracking the middle of the runway.
– first circuit seemed rough, especially re-engaging the BUMFISH and having too much speed on the descent… must ensure to check the speed before engaging flaps. Approach was good nicely controlled but to the left. Landing was flat, to the left of the runway and beyond the numbers, all three wheels simultaneously touched without bleeding off the speed for a nosewheel.
– second and third circuits improved marginally with a better control of speed, height and centreline landings… approaches are less flat but when trying to pitch the nose up on engine-out one balloons the aircraft and still comes down relatively flat.
– fourth and fifth landings were much improved, finally getting the nose-up enough and the runway more centre-line… the last approach was still too fast and ballooned but still corrected, one needs to work on getting the speed low enough to stall just at the right moment.

A lesson learned here was that although the weather conditions seemed to be more of a challenge (especially for keeping the runway straight on approach) you have got to remain ‘ahead’ of the aircraft and make small but const and adjustments to maintain the accuracy of landing. Get used to lining the runway up and heading straight for the numbers – avoiding over and undershooting the runway.

Emergency procedure for an engine cut out were demonstrated and practiced after touch-and-go takeoff at ~500 ft (I can’t remember which circuit these were on). The nose-down, glide-speed, select field, flaps as necessary to reach the field routine has to be practiced to become automatic in the event of a sudden engine failure… This reminds me to watch the film Sully, apparently it’s a great movie full of insight into the split-second decision making necessary.

My radio calls need to improve with stringing things together in the right order
– E.g. “Hervey Bay traffic, KEP, on base, runway two-nine, Hervey Bay… {pause} touch and go”…
– It’s a simple glitch but probably annoying to listen to…
– ensure positional accuracy… “early, mid or late” in the leg … e.g. “late downwind”, or “turning into base leg”
– any clarification over the radio were addressed by instructor where necessary…

And again with the theme of split second decision making… After the 4th circuit a microlight that did not seem to be oriented to the circuit or other aircraft (such as us) came within hundreds of feet of us requiring an evasive manoeuvre (executed by instructor). This was a very dangerous situation that will have to be reported, considered from all angles, and discussed with the other aircraft operator. I take this as an early hard lesson in situational awareness highlighting just how important it is to look out the window, pay attention to the radio calls and make ample radio calls to let other people know where you are at.

I look forward to next week!
Radios: YHBA AWIS 134.9, general


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