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Phil Flies

Rhosilli 10/04/14

First uk PG flight, bit light and scratchy to begin with, picked up later but time was a cruel mistress and other taks demanded attention, no matter, good to be in the air and catch up with so many people.

Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod

12/04/14 Withybush Airport

After a 14 year rest I decided to resurrect my ppl training. Conditions were far from ideal with a low base and gusty winds, many stayed on the ground but I was enjoying flying circuits in the little Cessna so much that my instructor Cliff Thorburn (who's let himself go a bit since his snooker glory days tbh) kept us flying until base was only 500ft ato. Very challenging keeping the old girl straight on final approach as the winds were really gusting towards the end of the day, prevailing was around 15kts but some belting gusts really gave us all a workout. Great fun if a little hair raising, happy days.

Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod

Well done, Phil.  You two will get on just fine - I can just imagine the banter when you get to know each other a bit better!
No way would he have taken a new student flying in those conditions - so that's a feather in your cap!  He'll make allowance for the fact that you're already a pilot (of sorts!)  and progress you accordingly.  It will be fun, and also good discipline.  Each kind of aviating helps the other ones.

18/04/14 Heol Senni

Got there just in time to witness the xc chaps leaving the hill, decided to make a family day of it which inevitably delayed my arrival.  No matter, after the arduous climb up it was reassuring to see a windsock blowing consistently in a favourable direction if a tad east, so it was kit out and go time.  launched into a thermal and got hoofed up to a respectable 2.5kft but nothing much after that, nonetheless a very solid and boaty afternoon was had, plenty of room out front and if you wanted it with no danger of going down :-)  Great fun though and Jac (my 8 year old) really enjoyed his tandem with Nick B.  3 flights in total with a ttb that proved tricky to get down from at close of play.

Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod

21/04/14 Penllergaer

Well the forecast for once did as it said it would and a blustery day became subdued as the evening wore on, so it was out with the motor and a short drive to my local launch pad. After a half power launch (yes the wind had lulled that much) an hours worth of calm and pleasant sky bimbling ensued. Decded to head down and landed shortly after the glum sky to the east had crept up and captured me with its moist deposits...

Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod

22/04/14 Bont.

First tandem PPG, well if you think PPG is for girls then try a light wind forward launch with an 8year old passenger and 25-30kgs of engine strapped to your back...

Actually it was a breeze, a nice 8mph wind was funnelling up from the valley behind Mynydd Y Gwair towards my launch site. On a count of three Jac and I ran for what we were worth and the XL Mojo2 popped up above us beautifully. A short 10m or so run had us airborne with Jac taking narrow strides and me taking wide so as not to trip ourselves up.  Climb was perfect, not bad for a little 80cc motor, 10mins of sky mincing prevailed before once again the weather gods decided to call time with spittles of rain... Landing was equally uneventful, quite impressed with the flare on the ENA wing too.  Much fun was had and we will both take away some happy memories from this short but sweet flight :-)

Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod

24/04/14 Haverfordwest Aerodrome

A day of stalling and emergency landings, now my vision of stalling is really limited to paragliding where you practically stop the wing in flight and and then plummet towards the ground with the assistance only of gravity... So when my instructor Cliff told me we had a fun packed day ahead involving power off and power on stalls of the little Cessna it's fair to say visions of plummeting ground wards were definitely rooted in my mind...

Fortunately my trepidation was unnecessary as recovery is a relatively straightforward process, stall speed on the Cessna is around 48knots so whilst it feels like you are hardly moving your forward momentum is still quite significant. After the stall warnings have done their thing the first indication that the plane is stalled is a loss of control, nothing too dramatic, often accompanied by a veering of yaw and a pitch downwards of the nose, if you do nothing now I guess you are in real trouble but recovery is as simple as pitching the nose down, regaining airspeed to the point where the plane can fly, and then taking control again. No stress if done correctly and much less dramatic than a paraglider stall.

The emergency landings focus your mind though,  sat at 2kft, engine off, "right where are you going to land and how long have you got?" came the question... Check dials, maintain airspeed, don't stall, descent rate is good at 500ft/min, ok I have 3mins before I need to be on a final approach. Circling around I spot a nice field and think about lining up, damn- power lines, go around... Pick another field but not into wind, go around, pick another but getting low now, it's a good field though and at around 700ft we are on approach, Cliff lets me drop to around 300ft, we are committed, asks me if I can land it, I'm sure I can but not sure it will be nice, sweat is running now and the approach is turbulent from nearby trees and hedgerows. 200ft and I can see the farmer staring, Cliff tells me we are going to live and powers up the engine to climb out, we did this 3 times in different locations and I don't think I've ever felt so awake... Slept well that night though :-)

Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod

Well done, Phil!  Cliff is pushing you along at a fair old pace there ..................  and that's a good sign!  (Although very sweaty at times  :? !)
Yes - that stuff does concentrate the mind wonderfully doesn't it?  You just don't have that paragliding luxury of being able to get in to a small space - needing a fair old glide approach, while thinking about wind direction, power lines, trees, ditches, up/down or sideways slopes on the ground, and obstructions on the ground!  Oh - and the other point is that the real thing would not happen with a lovely 2000 feet to use up before gravity wins!!
Keep it up - you're zooming along  Smile [size=78%]!  [/size]

[/size]A treat to come - a stall in a turn, with flaps, and one wing drops suddenly [size=78%] >Big Grin  !!  Then you are falling out of the sky!

Cheers Gron, it's certainly a good treatment for constipation... ;-)

Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod

28/04/14 Llanddarog

Kids were at swimming lessons, rain had stopped, winds were light, I'd just finished work, I'm going flying! 

A quick chat with Gron and a field near to him was selected, 15 mins in the trusty Vdub had me there and ready for the off.  Best laid plans and all that.... within 10mins the light breeze had backed around 90 degrees, so we waited... rightly enough it continued to back and another 10 mins saw it shift to give a completely different direction to that on arrival.  No matter - relocate, the field is accommodating. Grons practically nil wind launch was textbook and he was aloft within a short run. In contrast mine was a little less graceful, half the wing came up, keep going, change direction, the other half inflated, keep going, cue violent oscillation (at this point you'd normally abort and start again), keep going... running now like something out of a Benny hill sketch but without the scantily clad ladies chasing me, wing still not settled above, slight stumble nearly had me down, keep going, wing overflew due to losing speed on stumble, keep going, loss of pressure on lines, keep going..., then I overtook wing, that did the trick, with a snap the wing caught up and it yanked me off the ground for a much needed sit down... Phew, up in one very ugly attempt...

A good exploration of the valleys and quarry just to the south west of Llanddarog commenced.  Managed to get a few pics of the flying doctor en-route as well.  Whilst the sky at times seemed as savage as the wildest cat, the air itself was still and calm in all directions, a few smoke stacks indicated a complete lack of any perceptible wind.  After so little flying this winter the last couple of weeks has seen my truant muse make it's amends and 'I was cheered and cheque'd even by the self same sky', (sorry, it is Shakespeare week after all...) in a nutshell it was cracking :-) Couple of circuits of the landing field to establish no breeze and a nice textbook plop down right next to the van made amends for my errant launch, upon landing we were met by Marshall and Alun from the Air Ambulance who had seen us flying and decided to come for a chat. Nice fellows, they were in full livery and had just returned from a fundraiser, makes you appreciate the selfless efforts of these fellows that come to our aid when we need them most. Pint and much cud chewing finished off the evening nicely.

Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod

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