This week on Tuesday I had my first flights to the training area by myself. So far all the solos have been in the traffic circuit, circling the Malmi airport. These training area solo flights actually leaving the airport felt great!
Going to the training area for us usually means that we leave the Malmi CTR to an uncontrolled airspace east of Malmi, towards city of Porvoo. That’s where we did our very first air exercises, in the beginning of our training, as well as most of the other exercises like stalls, advanced turns, spin avoidance etc.
On the very first flight on Tuesday me and Timo took off 2 minutes apart. We had the same flights that day. The objective of the first flight was basically to go out by ourselves and get back. On the way we did two 360-degree turns. I had taken off first and while I was doing the 360s I saw Timo doing his somewhere behind me. Would have been a pretty cool Kodak moment!
After leaving the Malmi CTR we fly in an uncontrolled airspace, but also below the Helsinki TMA. Flying east we can first climb to maximum 1300 ft and after a while to maximum 2500 ft. Inside Malmi CTR the maximum altitude is 700 ft, or 1000 ft, if Helsinki-Vantaa traffic allows it.
After we reached the boundary for the Helsinki TMA upper, we climbed to 2400 ft. Then we descended back to 1200 ft trying to maintain a descend rate of 500 fpm (feet per minute). That went well. We descended towards the city of Porvoo, passed it from the west side and caught up with the motorway, which we followed back to the reporting point DEGER.
Another cool Kodak moment happened when we had caught up with the motorway and we flew on both sides of it nearly side by side. It’s hard to describe how amazing it feels to think that now we are flying by ourselves. And it all seems to have happened so fast.
We were both cleared to join base leg of runway 18 via DEGER. I reached DEGER first and ATC told Timo to follow “the Cessna”. That would’ve sounded even better if she had said “follow the company Cessna”! We landed, again, two minutes apart. Taxiing back to apron I was thinking that that was probably the best flight so far!
The second flight later that day was the same route, but with more exercises this time. The objective was to practise climbing and descending turns, climb with different speeds, to fly with different flap settings and descend to 800 ft with full flaps and then do a go-around. I have to say doing the same exercises by yourself at this point really gives you a different kind of idea of what you’re doing. The pieces fall into places in whole new ways. And I guess you really start learning after the teacher leaves the plane.