So, last blog post I alluded to the fact that my next flight was going to be in the Twinstar – well, that didn’t happen! Weather meant that I had to cancel the flight unfortunately. We did manage to do our last block of groundschool though, so it wasn’t a completely wasted day.
Since then, I’ve completed my first SPIC (Supervised Pilot in Command) flight. These flights are where the instructors leave virtually everything up to us. This means it’s our choice of routes, speeds, altitudes and all air related decisions.
I chose to fly from Hamilton to overhead Rotorua and then onwards to make an approach at Tauranga before coming back to Hamilton. All was going really well up until Tauranga where my instructor decided I was doing too well and threw in a ‘problem’. He simulated that there was severe turbulence on the standard IFR route back from Tauranga and asked me what I was going to do. So, calmly, I studied my charts and found and alternative route back to Hamilton and flew it. I think I coped with it well – the instructor didn’t say anything negative about it!
Just before reaching Hamilton, he threw another problem at me and again I dealt with it swiftly and calmly.
Overall, I think it was one of my best flights to date! (Although I must admit that it did help being allowed to use the autopilot!)
As promised, I’ve got some more photos, these are courtesy of James Linsell who backseated my flight.
Lining up on 36R at Hamilton Airport, preparing to take off
On the GPS approach into Tauranga Airport (the airport is just to the left of the compass)
Looking down the beach at Tauranga from final approach with Mt Maunganui in the distance
And, as a final note, today marks exactly 7 weeks until I leave New Zealand! It’s odd to think that I’ve come so far in just over 6 months and I still have so far to go in these remaining weeks.
Note: I have just updated the photos page and the videos page with things I’ve been doing over the past couple of weeks. Go check them out!
All photos in the post – James Linsell
Firstly, I apologise for the lack of updates recently. I’ll be totally honest, I haven’t done anything noteworthy! I’ve either been doing flights where I haven’t got any good pictures or been sitting in my room and eating cake that I was given in exchange for moving furniture.
On a more flying related note, tomorrow sees me take control of the Twinstar for the first time. I can’t wait – I just hope the weather holds up as these first few flights are meant to be under VFR conditions, so good weather is required.
Looking back at what I’ve been up to, I’ve finished practicing holds and approaches in the Cessna and have now moved onto flying routes in instrument conditions. To do this, we flew from Hamilton to Rotorua and then onto Whakatane. It was a great flight and the weather was really clear, so got to see some great views of further down New Zealand’s east coast.
Fingers crossed my flight goes ahead tomorrow and my next update should have some pictures!
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!