Great news this week. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about having taken the PPL exams. This week I got my results – PASSED. I passed all the nine subjects on the first try. I am of course really happy about that. Like I wrote before, I was a bit unsure about a couple of subjects, Aircraft General Knowledge and Principles of Flight, but I actually got 90% for both of them! You have to get 75% to pass.
Regarding flying it has been an interesting week again. On Monday during pre-flight inspection I noticed the landing flaps felt a little different. We put them down, as in “full flaps” position, for the pre-flight. They are supposed to move a little, but now they felt like they were giving in too much. We informed the maintenance and they took the plane to the hangar. Something about the flap wires. The repair took a few hours and mine and my partners morning flights weren’t happening. In the afternoon the plane was ready to go, but the winds had gotten stronger and were gusting. Since we were going to have more solo flights, they weren’t happening anymore in that weather. Time to go home. I said to my flying partner that at least we get to hang out at the airport among the airplanes! And I mean it.
Come Tuesday, I finally got in the air by myself again. It was the first time after soloing. I felt pretty good! I flew the traffic circuit. On the first round I did a low approach, I continued the approach until I reached 200 ft (60 m) and then did a go-around. Not a very low low approach, but it was only my first by myself. After a couple of rounds the tower informed me that the next landing will be a full stop landing due to IMC conditions (instrument meteorological conditions). Usually when that happens, Helsinki airport (EFHK) starts using the runway 15. That causes delays at Malmi airport, because if someone has to perform a go-around on runway 15, they will climb straight towards Malmi. That causes a bit of a problem if the Malmi traffic circuit is full of little Cessnas. That’s why we are ordered to land. ATC gave me an option to taxi back to the runway holding point to take off again later or taxi to apron. I chose the apron because I had flown three rounds already and I had no idea how long I would have to wait. That had never happened to me before.
This week I also got to practise forced landing without engine power and precautionary landing. The difference between the two is that the forced landing basically happens when the engine fails, the latter can be performed for example due to engine running rough, weather worsening quickly or the pilot becoming unfit to fly due to food poisoning etc. The point of the precautionary landing is to land before the situation gets from bad to worse. I did the exercises over the fields east of Porvoo. In the precautionary landing the aim was to look for a suitable place to land and then fly over it inspecting the surface for large rocks, trenches, power lines etc. If it’s possible it’s good to make two rounds over the planned landing spot and land after that. In the exercise I did a go-around at 500 ft (150 m).
The forced landing of course differs in the time available to land. I did the exercise both at 2500 ft (760 m) and 2000 ft (610 m). First thing to do is to pull the carburator heat on, trim the plane to fly at 60 kt and then start looking for a place to land. Over the fields it’s fairly easy, and luckily Finland has a lot of fields. After you have chosen the place to land, if time permits, you can try restarting the engine. If the engine power is not regained, you secure the engine, squawk 7700 (transponder code for general emergency), transmit MAYDAY and brief the passengers. Just before landing you turn the master switch off and unlatch the doors. In case the frame bends it’s easier to get out. Again, I did a go-around at 500 ft (150 m).
This week I also flew one navigation flight. This time the subject was navigation at lower level and in reduced visibility. The weather was clear so it was sort of simulated. I flew at minimum altitudes and instead of flying on the straight route line drawn on the map, I followed roads to be sure to get where I wanted. On the route I also did two touch-and-go landings at Hyvinkää airport (EFHV). It was a good experience since so far I have only landed at Malmi airport. I’m looking forward to the next navigation flight, which should happen next week. I will have a chance to do a touch-and-go landing again at EFHV and also at another airport near Lahti (EFLA).
On another note and slightly aviation related, I finally dug out my bike and as usual I went around the Helsinki airport! I took this nice picture for you!