Flying-Monster

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Lesson One - August 8, 2013

My training was to commence in a “Tecnam Eaglet P-92” with the RA-AUS registration 24-7600. The flight training school is based at Redcliffe (just north of Brisbane) in Queensland, Australia.


My first step was to fill out paperwork and handing out monies starts.                                                 


RA-AUS membership $185, student pilot kit (training manuals and logbook) $185 and lessons. Lessons cost $235 per hour (special offer at the time). No briefing costs. Paperwork was for the Flight Training School which comprised of general/personal information sheets, emergency contact sheet as well as RA-AUS membership forms.


Next was the briefing… the basic components of a plane.


A tin model plane was used to highlight some components and their functions:

                                       

Ailerons:  the hinged section on the rear outer section of wing. They cause a rolling moment and motion about the longitudinal axis – the aircraft is rolled to a certain angle of bank to turn.


Flaps: an extra moveable surface at the rear of each wing nestled between the aileron and fuselage. They are move together and in stages. They are lowered for increasing lift at low speed or to descend slower and/or steeply for landing.


Propeller: the blades at the front of aircraft engine. Its purpose is to convert engine power to thrust. It is an aerofoil which generates lift and this lift is used to propel the aircraft through the air. This form of lift used by propeller is called “thrust”. 


Rudder: the hinged vertical section on the tail fin at the rear of the aircraft and provides balance for the propeller slipstream, power setting and even the differences in drag caused by ailerons.

 

Then it’s over to the real thing. Not a tin model but a full sized aircraft sitting in a hangar. Tecnam P-92 Eaglet. It’s an Italian 2 seater ultralight monoplane with a Rotax 912 engine.


Tecnam P92 Eaglet

The instructor walks me around the aircraft and identified the above mentioned components (aileron, flaps, propeller and rudder) and well as other components.


After doing a visual overview and identification of components. I was showed how to do a fuel dip and drain, check oil level and oil needed to be added. To look “under the hood” and check for leaks, frayed/broken belts/hoses, anything loose or out of place.


Then it’s to the inside of the airplane, identification of gauges and levers. Once seated inside the plane, it’s a matter of adjusting the seat position (I’m short and thus a cushion ended up being placed behind my back). So basically the seat is pulled and locked as far forward as it could go. The seatbelt gets adjusted and lengthened to accommodate the seat being full forward. I was supplied a headset to wear and these had to be adjusted to fit comfortably for me.


After all this identification and adjustments, I was ready for the next part… a flight taken on the left side of the cockpit. A first for me! It was uncomfortable and exciting all at the same time. I read off a “cheat” sheet of standard radio calls and state my aircraft and that I was heading to the Taxiway with the intention to depart from Runway 25. I also had a “cheat” sheet for the necessary checks at the appropriate times.


Sample of checklists as follows:


Pre start: park brake, fuel switch, master switch, radio and transponder, ignition, prime fuel pump (if cold start) and the “clear prop” shout out to make sure people in the area are aware that the aircraft is about to start.

After start: throttle, oil pressure, radio, strobe, av map, transponder, warm up (if cold start), choke, auxiliary fuel pump, brakes and taxi call.


Run up: area (check to see if it’s suitable), brakes, choke, rpm, oil pressure, cdi and idle.

Pre take off: trim, throttle, fuel cocks, aux pump, flaps, ignition/cdi, instruments, circuit breakers, compass, temperatures, hatches, harnesses, controls, transponders and look out to make sure all is clear.


Line up:  is the approach clear and line up call.

Sample of radio calls as follows:


Taxi call: location traffic, aircraft type and registration, taxiing for runway, location. When call is made it’s said as “Redcliffe traffic, Tecnam 7600, taxiing for runway 07 or 25, Redcliffe”.


Ready at holding point: location traffic, aircraft type and registration entering and backtracking runway _ for, traffic. When this call is made it’s said as “Redcliffe traffic, Tecnam 7600 entering and backtracking runway 07, for departure to the north, Redcliffe.


Departing the circuit: location traffic, aircraft type and registration departs the circuit from which leg of circuit, to the direction for, destination at, what height, location. When this call is made it’s said as “Redcliffe traffic, Tecnam 7600 departs the circuit from cross/downwind, to the north for Bribie Island training area at 1000ft, Redcliffe. 

Flying-Monster mascot in her Peltor Headset

August is known for its westerly winds and this generally means runway 25 gets used. We are inflight and heading to the “training area” which is situated over the national parklands on Bribie Island.


I practiced going at straight and level over the training area and heading towards Caboolture. It was a windy and bumpy ride, with the wind sock fully extended and going straight down the runway. Unexpectedly there was a strong wind gust from the port (left) side and that pushed the plane over. This was quite unexpected and felt a bit shocked as the suddenness of it; then came nervousness and feeling quite uncomfortable. It was already a bumpy ride and this wasn’t what I had expected in my first lesson. 


The aircraft is quite light and I didn’t realize how I had adapted to the “sturdiness” of the C172 which I had been a passenger in numerous times previous to this flight.


August is known for its westerly winds and this generally means runway 25 gets used. We are inflight and heading to the “training area” which is situated over the national parklands on Bribie Island.


I practiced going at straight and level over the training area and heading towards Caboolture. It was a windy and bumpy ride, with the wind sock fully extended and going straight down the runway. Unexpectedly there was a strong wind gust from the port (left) side and that pushed the plane over. This was quite unexpected and felt a bit shocked as the suddenness of it; then came nervousness and feeling quite uncomfortable. It was already a bumpy ride and this wasn’t what I had expected in my first lesson. The aircraft is quite light and I didn’t realize how I had adapted to the “sturdiness” of the C172 which I had been a passenger in numerous times previous to this flight.


Straight and level in bumpy air isn’t too much fun but I needed to learn the principles of this. My aim for the flight was to try to stay straight and level at a constant speed. I had to learn to set a reference point to the horizon. Keeping the airplane level is hard in “bumpy air” in a light plane. Also the horizon point for me was different than my instructors as he was tall and myself being short; we saw things at different angles. I had to learn how to read the horizon to suit my seated height in the airplane. Once I worked out my “horizon” and a common reference point; this is what I used to keep myself on a straight path as well as making sure I was level and not looking at a lopsided horizon. I learnt how to keep the wings level by using the ailerons and watching the balance ball. Centering the balance ball was done by stretching fully my legs and learning to master the rudder pedals.


I had set my cruise power and was at the set altitude, then I had to set my nose attitude for cruising. Then I had to check my gauges, I had a partial glass cockpit with traditional gauges underneath and beside the glass. I was used to looking at the glass screen as my friend used one on a regular basis. So small changes were made with the use of the elevator after cross checking the altimeter and vertical speed indicator. I had to learn not to over correct and let things settle to first. There was a slight delay depending on what I was doing, so by the time the airplane had caught up to my actions, things were out of adjustment. With the airspeed settled, it was matter of rechecking the airspeed indicator for the current airspeed. Then to check the attitude again by again checking the altimeter and vertical speed indicator, then to take pressure of the elevator, there was the “trim” to do. It was an electronic switch and it was a matter of watching small green lights on a small area of the dash light up to a desired level,


I had trouble mastering trim. My instructor seemed to be trim happy and wanted constant minute adjustments and in reality I really couldn’t notice any difference the majority of the time.


So this lesson was focused on aircraft familiarization and learning how to stay straight and level (in bumpy air).