First school flight

The fleet of C152’s waiting for us in the morning.

Today was the day for our first school flights. A lot of excitement and many smiling faces afterwards!

In the morning our first task was to check the plane and the fuel in the tanks, and then order the proper amount of fuel according to the calculations we had made. After the pre-flight check was done to the plane, we filed the flight plan, had a briefing about the flight, what we’re going to do while in the air, and then it was Aleksi’s turn to go first.

Ordering fuel by phone.

Ordering fuel by phone. 34 liters was the order.

Waiting for our flights in the crew lounge. John ordering pizza, Antti verifying the order and Timo probably studying how to make a loop.

Waiting for our flights in the crew lounge. John ordering pizza, Antti verifying the order and Timo probably studying how to make a loop with a Cessna.

Me and others who were flying as second, waited in the crew lounge. About an hour later it was my turn! Funny thing happened while we were checking the plane before flight when a helicopter hovered by and turned our plane about 90 degrees just like that. A nice demonstration about the power of moving air.

The teacher handled the radios and did the checklists. I taxied the plane to the runway and we were cleared for take-off. Full power, rotate and up we went. The teacher had to help me a little during take-off, the winds were pretty tough. We took off runway 36 and I got to fly almost over my house. We left the control zone via reporting point DEGER and headed towards the city of Porvoo following the motorway to get to the training area above the sea.

The objective of the first flight was to learn the controls of the plane, ailerons, rudder and elevator. I did some turns, climbs and descends and got to try how different flap settings affect the flying. After a while it was time to head back, but there was a problem on the runway and we were told to wait. Someone had a flat tire and was blocking the runway. It took about 15 minutes to clear out and during that time I got to circle couple of times on both sides of the city of  Helsinki. Awesome views, I can’t complain!

Coming into landing via reporting point NOKKA (for those who know the area, NOKKA is by the anchor shaped breakwater and ship pier in Herttoniemi) and the teacher had to help me again to land the plane. The winds weren’t too easy today. Then it was time to taxi to our parking spot and head inside to fill out the paper work. Because of the delay coming back, I logged 51 minutes in the air today. What a fun day! And the fun continues tomorrow!

Anyone interested in checking out the locations of the reporting points on a map, here’s a link to the Malmi visual approach chart (pdf). EFHF Visual Approach chart.

10 responses to “First school flight

  1. That is great. You just learned the first rule of aviation. Turn someone else’s misfortune into your good fortune. Good Job! Be sure to take a camera with you and have the IP take some pictures of you. In 20 years, you will be glad you did.

  2. So exciting isn’t it!? I was surprised at first that you were using the “reporting points” (which I think we call “intersections” here in the US). I won’t use them until I start training for IFR. Then I looked at your approach plate and noticed how close you are to a major airport. I realized I’ve never been that close to a big airport. Did the controller give you headings to fly, for instance after takeoff turn right to DEGER, or did you plan on that route before takeoff?

    • Yes, we fly in a very tight space being so close to Helsinki airport. As you can see Helsinki CTR is above Malmi CTR starting from 700 ft. Depending on the runways they use, we can also get 1000 ft. This also makes things more interesting of course. Controllers don’t give us headings, just the altitude. We put in the flight plan where we plan to go. For example yesterday the plan was DEGER TA (training area) NOKKA. Tower then cleared us via DEGER 1000 ft or below. If they don’t mention the altitude, then it’s the normal 700 ft as stated in the charts. And yes, it is very exciting! It feels funny to think this is what I will be doing every day now.

    • We do have visual reporting points in the U.S. Look for the magenta flag symbol near small cities on the FAA sectional charts. We also have VFR waypoints, depicted by a rounded black star with a hollow center. Both are different from airway intersections.

      • Good point, I didn’t think about those. While I’m familiar with the magenta flags, there isn’t a VFR waypoint within 100 miles of my homebase on the NY sectional. No wonder I didn’t think about them!

  3. Very cool! It’s so much fun to learn the basics of flight, and they are so important to everything else you will do.

    Interesting coincidence that someone had a flat, the same thing happened at the tower today. A Diamondstar lost his right main on landing and was obstructing a taxiway intersection for a few minutes.

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