Now that I’m out of the sim, I’ve moved onto flying the Cessna 172 to put what we were learnt in the sim into practice before moving on the Twinstar.
The first couple of lessons have been about using the VOR beacons to track, enter and maintain the holding pattern and make approaches.
In my last lesson, these all came together as myself and Fraser, another cadet on my course, flew over to Rotorua for the day. We flew there using the beacons at Hamilton and Rotorua to guide us and then using the Rotorua beacon to do holds and approaches at the airport there.
Having Fraser in the back on the way out meant we were able to film my last approach
My approach to land at Rotorua
Another benefit of IFR flying is that we can fly at any time of the day and in pretty much any weather conditions. This allows for some great photos! Head over to the photos page to see some of the better photos from the past couple of flights.
Here are a couple of my favourite photos from these flights: Above: Flying over Hamilton city at night
Below: On profile to land at Hamilton
The next lessons see me moving onto GPS Holds and Approaches and then moving onto flying longer distance routes under IFR conditions, so an exciting couple of weeks ahead!
In the commercial world of aviation, very little flying is done visually. The majority is done on instruments, often using ground based navigation aids (VORs and NDBs). My last few lessons have all been about how to use VORs to navigate through the skies.
In addition to navigation, I’ve been taught how to fly holds and approaches using both the VOR and GPS. These are crucial for a commercial pilot as it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to go straight in and land when you arrive at an airport. You will be told to wait somewhere near the airport in one of the holds and then commence your approach from there when ATC are ready for you.
The lessons have been a great learning experience as I now feel like I’m ready to apply the methods that I’ve been taught to the real thing in the aircraft and now can’t wait to get up in the Cessna 172 in a couple of flights.
After my week off last week, this week has started off with two days of ground school to go over instrument flying and the scanning technique, operation of the Garmin 1000 units and being taught how to fly holding patterns.
All of this has been great and this is when everything starts feeling extremely commercial as we’re being taught the sort of things that we are going to be using for the rest of our careers on the flight deck.
With this over, we are now moving into the simulator for 6 lessons. This sim is designed to simulate the Diamond DA42 Twinstar, which is the multi engine aircraft we move onto towards the end of our training. The lessons will be used to allow us to practice flying holds and approaches as it’s all well and good going through it in a classroom but it all sinks in better when done in the cockpit.
As it’s currently winter here in New Zealand, one very good thing about being in the sim is that it isn’t weather dependant and all the lessons are likely to go ahead first time. Fingers crossed, I should have these six sorties done in a couple of weeks time.