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!

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Touch and goes

Sometimes I have the impression that if I am doing only cross country flights, navigate and do one landing, I am a little loosing the practice of stall recovery, emergency procedures, side slips, short traffic pattern landings, etc… Flying for a hour or two above the sea is sometimes boring, it is mucho more fun to make approaches, take offs, or landings…

So on my last flight last week with Piper P-28A Cherokee Archer ii (reg. EC-JMT),  I have decided to practice stalls, touch and goes and some other manouvers and to have fun.  The weather was perfect, wind calm and it was a very nice experience.  And I feel safer again. I have made a lot of stalls, recovery with or without engine, steep turns and also a zero gravity flight.

One of the landings I wanted to practice was with short traffic pattern, and actually I was lucky, because after take-off there was some traffic that should be departing in the next moments, so I have been cleared for touch and go with short pattern. Descending to the field without flap I have passed a centerline a bit, but finally I have lined up with the runway centerline and touched down. This is the result:


After this take off the ATC has notified 3 planes arriving, so I have proceeded to the visual point November for manouvers. After some manouvers I came back to the airport for more touch and goes. In total I have made 5. My second landing was just a normal approach on the glideslope with 1 point flap.

The third one was planed with side slip. So I have stayed simply to hight on the downwind when turning on base and on final. Side slip consists of crossing the controls, yoke into the wing and the opposite rudder; this causes you drop faster without accelerating the plane. It is not my favourite manouver, since you approach the runway from the side, like with heavy crosswinds. The altimeter was showing a rate of descent of 1.000 feet/minute. Not bad 🙂 Here is the video:

The 4th touch and go was with full flap; I have decided to stay to high again in the pattern, and have performed a full flap landing. You can see it in the video, that I was to high. But with 3.400 meter long runway, there is enough of space to practice 🙂 This is the result:

Of course, normally nobody does this kind of landings with passengers 🙂 Safe landings!