Flight log

Hour 11: Circuits, repeat 4

Hour 11 was the second flight of the day. The weather was good. The plan for this flight was to try and improve on all of the items Greg listed in his Hour 10 review. In the end, as you can read and see in the videos, I did a few things better and worse, including a terrible full-stop landing that should have been a go-around.

Full-length video.


The weather was still good, holding the same conditions from the morning. I expected worse weather, so I was excited to be able to fit a second flight on the same day.

Here's what BOM shows for the day (for its historical records):

Daily observations for September 27, 2023.

ATIS reported this:

Runway 06, wind variable 5 kts, occasional tail wind 3 kts, vis > 10 km's, Cloud sct 3500, temp 23, QNH 1018

So, the weather was as good as it gets; let's do this!

Pre-flight briefing

The pre-flight briefing was very... brief. The last flight was only a couple of hours earlier, and everything was fresh in my mind. We'd have to refuel JBC and some additional AVGAS and then fly the circuit.
My job was to improve on all the items Greg highlighted in his review:

  • Use of trim.
  • Airspeed: 75 kts on base and 70 kts on final.
  • Power - Power must be reduced when leveling off a climb via the ASPT method. Attitude, Speed, Power, Trim.
  • Reduce tension on control column and "death grip".

We walked to the plane, moved it to the BP bowser, and did the refuelling. I commented on the price of the fuel and that it is (perhaps) the only fuel left in Australia that contains lead.

Soon, we were ready for departure.

The flight

The first circuit sets the stage for the rest, so I wanted to make this good. But I managed to get my radio call wrong.

I said, "Camden Tower, Julia Bravo Charlie, at Holding Point Six, ready for circuits.". 

Tower responded: "Julia Bravo Charlie, Camden Tower, Runway zero six, cleared for take off."

I responded: "Cleared for take-off, Julia Bravo Charlie".

I thought I had this, but Greg pointed out two errors:

  1. The designation for my position was Holding Point Alpha, not Holding point Six. My call should have been "Camden Tower, Julia Bravo Charlie, at Holding Point Alpha, ready for circuits."
  2. My response to ATC must acknoledge all of the ATC instructions, not part. So, I should have said "Cleared for take off, Runway Zero Six, Julia Bravo Charlie".

Excellent start! (not)

My take-off was relatively good. I was stable on the centerline, checked P's and T's, static RPMs and airspeed were alive, and did a good rotation at 60 kt. I kept the climb at around 10° as the speed increased to the best rate of climb. During the downwind climb, my heading drifted slightly to the left (something I need to improve).

I started the left turn to crosswind just as I climbed to 1,000 feet, and the turn was 15° since I was still climbing and still at full power.

I levelled off at 1,300 feet and trimmed for the speed. Speed picked up quickly, and was late to power down.

I was also late to start my downwind turn, and Greg had to remind me. I almost got us to the edge of the airport control boundary.

When I started with the left turn to downwind, already late, my speed was high and had picked up altitude. I even turned too much to the left and had to correct it by returning to the right to get my heading parallel to the runway.

I had not done well so far, and not much of an improvement from previous circuits.

I called Tower: "Julia Bravo Charlie, Downwind for Touch and Go", to which I got clearance: "Julia Bravo Charlie, Runway Zero Six,

Cleared to take off". I was a little confused there because Tower cleared me for "take off" though I requested "touch and go". So I responded, "Runway Zero Six, Touch and Go, Julia Bravo Charlie".

I think that's OK, as Greg did not correct me.
By this time, it was too late for the BUMFISH check. Greg suggested I continue and practice that in the following circuit.

I prepared for the left turn to base. Reduced RPMs to 1,800, trimmed for that speed and extended 10° flap once airspeed was below 110 kt.

Did the lookout and commenced the 30° left turn. Airspeed at the start of the base leg was 80 kt, but it should be 75 kt, so I used attitude to reduce speed (Greg prompted me for this).

I managed to trim and stabilise the plane at 75 kt (but I forgot to extend the 20° flap) and did the lookout before the left 30° turn to the final leg.

On final, I used attitude to reduce speed to 70 kt (I am finally starting to create a habit of using attitude to control speed). I added full flap and reduced RPM to 1,500. Airspeed was good, though dropping, and used attitude to get it up again.

Landing was very good, so finally, I had something to be happy about. Despite that, I was unhappy about almost everything I did in Circuit #1.

There's a lot of room for improvement. Circuit #2 begun. I kept on the runway, heading for the entire upwind leg (success!). Turn to crosswind was better than in the previous circuit. Again, my turn was late because I was flying "behind" the plane.

I did the BUMFISH checks and probably needed to remember something there (!). Flaps down, slightly off at heading, anticipating a left turn, but let the speed drop. I turned base but forgot to reduce power to 1500 RPM.

I started to turn into final, received clearance for touch and go from Tower, and Greg left me to do the landing on my own. It was a decent landing, though to the left of the centerline—something to work on.

There were several more circuits. In each one, I improved something but regressed in something else. The worst course was the last, as I hovered halfway down the runway until I managed to land. This was a mistake. I should have gone around. This is now ingrained in my brain. Do not land unless the plane is stable and has sufficient runway for an emergency. With half the runway passed, the remaining is insufficient, and a go-around is mandatory.

A bit shaken about this, Greg took control and got us off the runway and back to taxi.



I have mixed feelings about Hour 11. I made some noticeable improvements. But my landing in the last circuit and the lack of proper judgement to go around had an impact. 

I concluded that I need to start thinking like a pilot in command, not a student if I am going to be able to make such decisions and not wait for Greg to tell me what to do.

I also need to relax and allow my brain to function with the flow and ahead of the plane. As Greg said on a few occasions, I'm overthinking.

Next time: Get my speeds, heading, power, attitude, checks, radio, timing, and spacing right.

Here is Greg's review:

Runway 06, wind variable 5 kts, occasional tail wind 3 kts, vis > 10 km's, Cloud sct 3500, temp 23, QNH 1018 Time of flight 1330 local. Better session with Peter. On occasions I can see Peter thinking what to do next, this results is Peter passing his turning points in the circuit. Peter needs to be "ahead of the aircraft", I expect this will develop with practice. Peter is still having trouble managing airspeed. Use attitude to adjust airspeed as required. IE raise the nose if too fast and lower the nose if too slow. Round out is developing. As the runway turns from long and skinny to wide and flat, transition your line of sight to the end of the runway, raise the nose no higher than the horizon while reducing power. This will develop with further practice. I observed good use of power adjustment to manage rate of descent. Keep that up Peter. 
Suggested Revision:
I am not comfortable for Peter to progress to the next stage until he has mastered the use of attitude to manage airspeed and the use trim to hold that attitude/airspeed. Peter has confirmed that he wants to "get it right" before progressing.

After my incorrect judgement in the last circuit of continuing the landing instead of going around (after flying over half the runway), and the various small or large errors and delays on the controls, I agree with Greg. I need more practice.

I'll be back next week for more circuits.  

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Shorter and narrated video.

Flight path from Flightradar24.

Refueling before Hour 11.

At holding point Alpha, ready to takeoff.

On base, setting full flap. Airspeed is a little high, RPM 1,500, Altitude 1,100", Mix is rich, heading is good, P's and T's are good.

Touch and go.

Always a lovely sight.

Turn to crosswind.

Turn to base.

More from Peter's flight log

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Hour 22: Back on runway 06

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Hour 20: Preparing for solo

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Hour 19: Preparing for solo

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Hour 18: Preparing for solo

Flight School

Hour 17: Preparing for solo
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