Debrief – Wednesday 21st June
After flying the day before I spent the afternoon trying to revise for ground exams and recover. Flying is tiring!
I had spoken to my instructor about flying up to Thruxton to combine a nav exercise and a land away into one. The latest edition of Flyer had a free landing voucher for Thruxton and I wanted to make use of it!
I woke up bright and early and plotted my route to Thruxton via Alton and Andover; it looked intimidating. I would be talking to a number of radar stations and requesting a MATZ penetration. The flight back would be via Andover, Chilbolton, Stoney Cross and Beaulieu. This would require a MATZ penetration to be requested shortly after take-off and then I would be talking to Solent Radar the entire journey back.
I walked down to the airfield and boy it was hot. Getting into the plane was just like getting into a car that has been parked in the sun for too long!
After departing Lee we headed East along the coast towards Portsmouth. I lined myself up on the first compass heading, and flew over of the Spinnaker, my first navigation point, and we were on our way.
The sky was hazy and I soon lost sight of the coast and any familiar terrain I would have been able to identify from above; I would have to trust in my flying skills! Somehow, right on time, but slightly off-track Alton appears from the haze. I was able to eyeball it to my turning point and head onto my new heading towards Andover. This leg got busy: I made the turn, reset the timer and talked to Farnborough to tell them I had changed direction over Alton. Up ahead I knew I was approaching the Middle Wallop area and would need to request a MATZ penetration and shortly after that I would need to change to Middle Wallop and speak to them as I was approaching. Somehow I managed to pull it off!
The approach to Thruxton was interesting as the circuit height was lower than I was expecting and close to a few hills which made it exciting. I overshot the centre line on my turn to the final leg but there was plenty of room to correct. I made a good landing and back tracked off the runway via the taxiway. The tower directed us where to park and we followed their instructions and parked up in one of their snazzy parking spaces.
After a quick cup of tea we were back up and heading back to Lee. As I mentioned before it was very busy after take-off. We request an immediate MATZ penetration and headed to our first visual reference. We were shortly told to change to Solent Radar, it was at this stage of the flight I was struggling to make anything out on the radio and my instructor had to take over with some of the radio work.
The rest of the flight went well with each navigation point emerging from the murk on the horizon. We flew an approach into the Lee from the south west (I told the radio south east, oops) and landed just on time to hand the plane over to my Dad who was beginning exam preparation for his practical test.
After my fly away navigation exercise I logged in 1.4 hours of flying and got some good experience of flying into a new airfield.