With the usual UK winter weather being overcast, windy or raining getting a long enough slot to complete my qualifying cross country is proving difficult, I need a 4 hour window of clear and sunny weather and good visibility of 10km or more, or a cloudy day with good visibility of 10km or more and clouds well above my MSA en-route.
To ensure I am keeping current with no more than 2 weeks between flying I used the time today to practice some PFL’s (practice forced landings) dual flying with my instructor. Prior to the session some revision on PFLs from Pooleys book 1 was completed over a cup of tea before getting into the aircraft.
There was a little cloud around but nothing major and I carried out the usual checks, startup, taxi and takeoff before heading towards Cheddar Reservoir and climbing up to 2500ft and levelling off. The selection of a suitable field can be more choosey when practicing, I am sure when doing this for real the selection of a field would be a lot quicker and more definite, today as well a lot of fields were water logged after recent heavy rainfall but we ignored the water for the sake of practice but in the real event of a PFL selection of a non water logged field but be made.
I kept finding suitable fields but the orientation of them was often the wrong way for the position of the aircraft after I had turned downwind, it would of meant shortening the PFL or making it longer in order to get into the right position, although with each PFL I carried out the technique and practice were all helping get the visual references and processes in my mind.
During the session we managed to complete 4 PFLs successfully before climbing back to 1900ft and heading back to Cheddar Reservoir and returning to Bristol Airport for a slight crosswind landing on runway 27 which all went smoothly and without any major dramas, just need to perfect my crosswind landings more and remember opposite aileron when applying rudder, note to self that more practice is needed on this.
Writing this post allows me to play back the days session and remember each time the instructor brought the throttle back to idle, I remember the first time that was done when I started learning PFLs and felt quite uncomfortable with no engine power, you do feel quite a slowing down sensation. Now I love it and the sensation and want to do more and more. Until next time.
Below is the video footage uploaded to YouTube recorded from today’s PFL session: