Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wow. That was fun!

I think I have found a new fun thing to do in aircraft [alongside strip flying, of course!]. It's this night flying thing, which, on a night like last night [a very gentle breeze, good visibility and no cloud] is just about the perfect way to spend an evening, even a series of circuits around the airport!

One of the best things about night flying is the lack of traffic. There were only two circuits with any sort of holding [plus a couple where we extended downwind for runway 34]. The rest of the time I was getting my touch&go or landing clearances when I called downwind. Nice :-)

The evening started with me arriving a bit early to fuel and preflight the aircraft [WAC's Cessna 172N, ZK-FLT] in daylight, then a short wait until it got dark.

The first few approaches were a little stink [it has been a long time since I overshoot the centreline... grrrrrr], but with good instruction [thanks James] and a bit of practice they seemed to come about right. Normal circuits, simulated electrical failure [so flapless landing], and the PAPIs were off for one approach also [not sure how that got organised without me knowing ahead of time :-)]. We discussed procedures for handling an actual electrical failure [could I divert to PP with an electrical failure? No... because I need the radio to turn on the lights at PP etc etc*].

After an hour of dual circuits, I was sent off on my first night solo for another hour. Yep, there were a couple of landings where I gently bounced, but nothing dangerous or evening frightening. Did I mention just how much FUN this is?? It's nice just how much clearer the stars are when you're just south of all the city lights.

What a way to spend the early night time. I could get used to this. There are no photos [I was busy...!], but I am looking forward to some more circuits. Combine that with the dual time I already have, plus a "diversion" to Paraparaumu so I can see what it is like to approach and landing at an unfamiliar aerodrome at night, I should be close to done for my night rating. Can't wait - I've been trying for a few years, but that's another story :-)

* actually, there are ways this could be done, but you get the picture...

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