The flights as pilot in command commenced this week. To be able to start the CPL later on, we have to have 100 hours PIC under our belt. 50 hours of the total must be cross-country flights, including one that is over 300 nm (540 km) in length and includes two full-stop landings at different airports.
I had flights scheduled from Tuesday to Thursday this week. The first one was a progress check with a teacher to give me a permission to fly solo in Pori. We flew to the training area and did stall recoveries, slow flying and turns. Coming back to EFPO, we stayed in the traffic circuit for a few rounds. The crosswind was pretty hard again that day and I got to practise landings again. I did landings with flaps up, flaps 10, flaps 20, flaps full and a couple of spot landings as well as a go-around.
On Wednesday morning we had an exam on aviation regulations. In the afternoon I had my first PIC scheduled. The crosswind was possibly even worse than the previous day and while waiting for it to calm down, my 2-hour plane reservation expired. I had better luck the next day. I had a plane booked for the morning from 8 to 10. The wind was calm or 1 knots. What a perfect weather to fly.
I took off from runway 12 and with a right turn I headed towards the training area and climbed to 2500 feet. I flew around the training area to see where its’ boundaries lie and to familiarize myself with the area. It was my first time over that area and the first time alone in the Pori airspace. The air was still, no bumps on the road. It felt so good to be up there by myself.
The surroundings of EFPO are divided into six VFR training areas (plus a few IR training areas). That enables the ATC to assign a different area to each plane, which makes practising maneuvers safer. Of course you still have to keep your eyes open for other traffic.
After about 30 minutes in the training area I flew back to EFPO for the traffic circuit. I did a few rounds just practising the normal approach and landing. The wind was still calm to 1 knots and so the conditions were perfect for getting the feel of the plane and concentrate on the right speeds during the approach and landing. Flying feels pretty good again after the summer break.
Flying as PIC we plan our flights, destinations, routes and possible exercises ourselves. It is our own responsibility to try to develop as pilots. We have to set our own goals and challenges. That means for example not always taking the easiest route, e.g. along the seashore, or the same route to a certain destination. The time as PIC is supposed to build our confidence as pilots in command, the ones who make the decisions, be it an easy one or a tough call, as well as perfect our flying skills and routine. After this week’s PIC flight, I now have 12 hours 47 minutes as PIC. A few more hours to go until 100 and plenty of time to grow as a pilot.