Thursday 17th Feb 2011.

Awoke to what looks like being a fine day today, although there is some mist/fog lingering this morning. This delayed the start of the days flying schedule, which was to have an inevitable knock-on effect to all the later flights.

I was scheduled to fly at Noon, then again at 4pm. I quite like being scheduled for early afternoon flights, as it gives me time to catch up on my e-mails in the mornings, and to contact the office during working hours if needs be. I still find I am waking around 6AM, so I have 5-6 hours before flying. I really need to get stuck in to the books again, as I still have three examinations to complete.

There is a section of the Navigation course that I am really finding quite hard to understand, and that is the effect of crosswinds, and the calculations to measure this. There is a ‘flight computer’ that is a circular slide rule used for these calculations. I used a slide rule when I first started work (in the last century!), but that was a linear one. However, it hasn’t taken me long to get back into using the circular one for normal calculations, and there is no doubt that using the various conversion methods available, it speeds up then necessary calculations. However, for converting Miles to Kilometers, to Nautical Miles etc. it is fairly easy to check if the answer is in the range expected, as the conversion factor is known (i.e. 1.15 Nautical Mile = 1.0 Statute Miles) When it comes to calculating the ‘Triangle of Velocities’, I have not yet got my head around the logic. On the reverse of the slide rule is a wind calculation chart. I may have to learn how to use it parrot-fashion, and trust the results, because I can’t yet see the logic of how it works.

I spent some time today in the Study Centre, as I had to wait for my flights due to the early morning weather problems. At lunch time, I walked across to the River Bend Golf Club, next door to the Airport for lunch (a very reasonable $8 for hot dog & fries, coke, and a pastry).

My flying lessons today consisted of various angles of turn, and slow flight. In the steeper turns (45 degrees), it is easy to let the nose drop, and lose height, so I had to concentrate on applying a little more power, and holding the nose angle higher). Slow flight consists of reducing the power down to approx 1700 RPM, then gradually raising the nose to bleed of the speed to about 70Knots. I am also trying to use the radio more, and listen to what is happening around me (difficult to do when concentrating on the flying), and I am far from word perfect.

My last flight of the day again left late, so we were flying in the twilight. When it came to returning to base, this actually helped to identify where the Airport was, by the lights of the Runway, and surrounding area. The PAPI lights are also clearer, which assist in the landing. These are two (or four) lights located at the end of the runway, coloured white and red. If you have one white, one red, you are on the correct glide path. Two white is too high, and two red is too low.

I decided to call back into the Golf Club to collect a sandwich on the way home, but unfortunately, it had already closed. Back to Pretzels and Toast for tea!