These past weeks have been fun flying cross-country flights in the Bonanza. I finally got to land at Helsinki airport too! We have also finished the synthetic training and are almost done with Bonanza too! Things have been moving quickly and it’s a little sad that the last Bonanza flight is just a moment away. I am nearly done with PIC hour-building too. All this means that summer holiday is approaching fast.
Since the last post I’ve flown five cross-country flights in a Bonanza and visited Jyväskylä (EFJY), Tampere-Pirkkala (EFTP), Vaasa (EFVA), Turku (EFTU), Mariehamn (EFMA), some more than once, and last but not least Helsinki (EFHK).
The first cross-countries included the en-route part as well as some extra approaches which we did either at the departure airport or the destination depending on the leg each student flew. We flew some of these flights with three students and usually did a triangle trip. It was nice to have some company in the backseat. Some of the flights included a touch-and-go at one airport and after that the next en-route part to the destination. This way we got to practise approaches as well as other things like getting a clearance and activating the flight plan for the next leg and switching flight plans on the GPS. All this teaches you to always think ahead and organize and time your work in the flight deck so that you are always able to navigate and fly correctly.
Easily the most memorable flight was the trip to Helsinki. It’s one of those milestones I have thought about while advancing on my training as well as something I’ve dreamed about by the EFHK runways for so many years. I took off from Pori and headed first towards Turku. There I did a touch-and-go and then was off to Helsinki. I was really excited! Leaving Turku the ATC (air traffic control) first tells you to contact the ACC (area control center) Tampere radar. Especially when flying to Helsinki it is good to tell the ACC whether you are able to follow the standard arrival routes or not. The Bonanza doesn’t have what is called a PRNAV (precision RNAV) approval and therefore we tell them “negative PRNAV”. This lets them know that once we enter Helsinki airspace we will need radar vectoring. That is when the ATC gives you headings to fly. It’s actually quite easy, you just do what they tell you to.
Moving on, the next order was: “O-BK, contact Helsinki radar 129.850.” Here we go. “Helsinki radar, OH-BBK, information TANGO, BE36, maintaining flight level 70.” Radar guided me towards runway 04R and then handed me over to Helsinki arrival. “Helsinki arrival, OH-BBK.” The arrival then gave me vectors to guide me to intercept the localizer for the ILS approach for runway 04R. Then finally “O-BK, turn left heading 070, cleared ILS approach runway 04 right, QNH1019, report when established on localizer.” “Turn left heading 070, cleared ILS approach runway 04 right, QNH1019, wilco, O-BK.” Then a while later: “O-BK, contact tower 118.6.” “118.6, O-BK.” “Terve Helsinki tower, OH-BBK, runway 04 right.” “Terve O-BK, wind (something like 070 degrees 6 knots), cleared to land runway 04 right.” “Cleared to land, runway 04 right, O-BK.” This was such an amazing moment! There it was in front of me. Cleared to land. Moving!
Coming in to Helsinki we do a high speed approach. This is so we don’t slow down the other faster traffic too much. When normally we set flaps for approach and select gear down when the glideslope is moving (in an ILS approach) and slow down from 140 knots to 100 knots, in a high speed approach we keep the speed at 150 knots and set the flaps for approach a little later and select the gear down only at 4 miles from touchdown. Only then we slow down to 100 kts and then aim at 80 knots over threshold.
After I landed and got to the exit, I contacted Helsinki ground. There are many specific instructions at EFHK, one of them relates to landing on runways 22L, 04R, 33 or 15, and it is that you should contact Helsinki ground right after vacating the runway unless otherwise instructed. In the other two cases you stay on tower frequency. “O-BK, taxi to stand 314 via ZULU ALFADELTA.” “Taxi to stand 314 via ZULU ALFADELTA, O-BK.” And then I was asked to expedite taxiing because there was an AirBaltic 737 landing behind me and it was going to vacate the runway via the following exit. I needed to get out of the way or else would have to wait. I managed to speed up and even got thanked for it! Found my way to our stand and job well done! Exhilarating! Now it was time to enjoy a fellow student fly us back via Tampere-Pirkkala.
The last cross-country flight was a progress check. It was supposed to be as close to a normal en-route flying as possible. I flew us back to Pori from Jyväskylä. It was a nice flight and we received shortcuts both on the way there and on the way back. I have enjoyed these cross-country flights tremendously and I hope to do them much more in the future!
I have two more Bonanza flights left before my checkride. Some of us start with checkrides already this week. Mine is probably next week. It’s a little bit exciting, but hey it’s just another flight right?!