Night VFR experience

In addition to my basic instrument flying module I have decided to add a night VFR rating. Basically it is complicated to fly night vfr in Spain, you need to request some 10-14 days in advance a permission, which has to be granted and than you are allowed to fly during the night. So basically even if you have the rating, you are not allowed to land after sundown, only if you have a special permission by the authorities… Spain is simply different. Even our first training flight had to be cancelled because the ATC told us that the permission issued by the authorities was not complete… So the FI had one week to clear all the necessary paperwork and it seemed our permission was ok, only there was some misunderstanding… Finally we got to the plane, which was after a regular check, so everything was in perfect state, except the landing light seemed to not be working… It seemed we had to cancel our flight again. But luckily we had the maintenance guy with us, so he was able to fix the problem and we were ready to go.

Getting our landing light fixed

Getting our landing light fixed

The taxiing was quite easy, there was sufficient light outside.

Taxi via Juliet to the holding point of the RWY 03L

Taxi via Juliet to the holding point of the RWY 03L

In the cockpit there was of course less light than during the day, so this was already the first difference. Engine run-up, all the checks following the checklist we were cleared to line up and wait on the runway 03L.

Line up and wait 03L, Canavia 71

Line up and wait 03L, Canavia 71

The things started to get more serious, haha. The big question was: how is going to be once in the air? The clearance for takeoff came from the tower, so the answer on my question was not far away… Full throttle, paramaters in green, speed alive, rotate into the night. Looking more inside on the instruments than outside; for correct speed, climb, altitude… 500 feet, flap 0, fuel pump off, landing light off and following right turn into the dark. Strange thing is, you don’t realize how deep the darkness bellow the plane is… On the top of that, we had to hold over the bay during the first circuit, so I had to watch the instruments to make a couple of 360 degree turns without seeing any light. I thought always, that from the circuit the runway light could be seen, but they are not! The first 2 circuits were a bit more complicated, but after that I started to get to used to it… When turning on base, lights of some villages could be seen which was really a nice feeling to get again some visual references…

Final Rwy 03L

Final Rwy 03L (night VFR)

There was a wind from the north between 20-25 knots, which gave us 11 knots crosswind component during the approach and the landing on the RWY 03L. It complicates the practicing of the landings in the night a little bit. Or better said quite complicated… I was hoping to have winds calm as it should be in the night, but it was not the case this time :-). There was also a turbulence bellow 300 feet on final so it was tough work to keep the plane leveled. Crosschecking the instruments, ILS, speed, horizon getting safe on the ground. Hovewer the landings were not so great as I would have expected. Still have 3,5 hours to fly, and I already look forward to it! Finaly I made 12 landings (without counting the bounced ones, lol), and made these with the plane this beautiful drawings on the screen of my ipad:

Today’s flight…

Today’s flight… 🙂

 

After my first successful night flight

After my first successful night flight

 

Safe landings!

Flight to El Hierro (GCHI)

Last saturday the weather forecast was not the best one, but we have decided to go to the North Airport (GCXO) and see if it was truth… Unfortunately yes….

Not the best flying weather

Not the best flying weather

This airport is situated some at 2.000 ft and the base of the clouds in the Canaries is normaly around 2.500-3.000 feet, and the best place is over the airfield… Normaly around midday the weather improves, when there is sun and a little wind, the clouds usualy disappear.

We have used the time to prepare the aircraft, I have polished the windows and have installed the Gopro inside the cabin. Since I saw a coupple of nice videos made from the cockpit, I have decided to install it inside.

Todays place for my Gopro Hero3

Todays place for my Gopro Hero3

The weather started to improve, so we have pushed our plane out the hangar…

Piper ready for pushback...

Piper ready for pushback…

The colors are so strong after the rain

After the rain everything looks more colorful

The leg to El Hierro was flown by my friend Daldo and we had a passenger on board Oliver, who loves flying as well.

The crew on the way to El Hierro

The crew on the way to El Hierro

The crew ;-)

The crew 😉

The flight was very smooth, almost no wind and no turbulence, so we have descended near La Gomera to see closer the rocks called “Los Organos”.

Los Organos, La Gomera

Los Organos, La Gomera

We have enjoyed a short round flight around the island El Hierro.

El Hierro in sight

El Hierro in sight

El faro de Orchilla

El faro de Orchilla

Flying along the coast at El Hierro

Flying along the coast at El Hierro

Landing at El Hierro (GCHI)

Landing at El Hierro Airport (GCHI)

Arrived at El Hierro Airport

Arrived at El Hierro Airport

After the landing we went to Valverde for some lunch, came back, paid taxes, made the flightplan and departed direction Tenerife. On the way back, I was at controls and Oliver was able to fly for a while as well. He did a good job! With his experience from flight simulator he was flying the plane (almost) better than me ;-).

Our flight back, Oliver at controls

Our flight back, Oliver at controls

On the way back I have performed 2 low passes at La Gomera Airport, one at the former La Gomera’s Airport “El Revolcadero”, following the next low pass at Tenerife South Airport (GCTS).

There were plenty of clouds on the way back, but luckily Tenerife North Airport awaited us with some nice weather so we could landed without to having divert to the alternative airport.

Return flight El Hierro-La Gomera-Tenerife South-Tenerife North

Return flight El Hierro-La Gomera-Tenerife South-Tenerife North

When holding over Playa de las Américas we had very nice views over the zone.

Holding over Playa de las Américas

Holding over Playa de las Américas

It is actually strange to see, that the people were cutting from the volcano to built their houses on this hill…

Los Cristianos from the air

Los Cristianos from the air

Landing at Tenerife North Airport (GCXO). I was happy that my friend Daldo used his new Iphone 5S to make the video of my landing, with its 60 frames per second you do not see the propeller. I have edited the video with iMovie, sincronized both videos (Gopro and Iphone 5S) and this is the result:

After the landing at Tenerife North Airport, a nice Learjet was parked on the general aviation platform (reg. D-CGRC). I´d love to have a jet like that, but unfortunately my garage is not big enough :-).

Learjet 35 (reg. D-CGRC)

Learjet 35 (reg. D-CGRC)

Low pass over field “Pista El Revolcadero” at La Gomera

Pista el Revolcadero was an privately owned airfield which entered service in 1959. Since 1995 La Gomera counts with a new airport, which was built only 2 km before the old field “El Revolcadero”.

El Revolcadero made me and still makes me very curious about its past.

pista el revolcadero, la gomera

Pista El Revolcadero, La Gomera

Sorry for the quality of this picture, but the frame just photographed our propeller as well :-).

La Gomera Airport is a pretty complicated airfield due to its location and wind conditions, and overflying the field is very bumpy. Today the weather conditions were very favorable; almost no wind: 4-5 kts), so after the take off from the La Gomera Airport (GMZ/GCGM) we have proceeded to El Revolcadero to make a low pass.

During the low pass we could spot the old hangar and the former tower (and the only one tree as well :-)). I am quite sure, that this short runway, and its surface turned every landing in the past in to a big challenge (and adventure)…

Hangar on the "El Revolcadero" field

Tower and  hangar on the “El Revolcadero” field

El Revolcadero's Tower

El Revolcadero’s Tower

On my next trip I would like to walk to the field to visit it closely. If you have heard any stories about the field, or you have some nice pics or recommendations, I’d be pleased to see them.

I will leave you a short video taken from the airplane, so enjoy the flight and experience together with us.

Happy landings!