Monday, April 23, 2007

Special VFR

Flight hours: 0.3 (air switch time)
Study hours: 0
Aviation Reading: Killing Zone: How and why pilots die

The weather forecast looked promising at the start of the weekend and Saturday was a great day to fly. As I was still a little tired from a previous big night out, I decided to postpone and go flying on the Sunday.

The weather changed overnight and by morning, a broken to overcast cloud cover rested at around 3000 feet. The weather was calm with almost no wind. I decided to take the flight anyway, bringing someone along for the ride. The plan was to do a simple CBD orbit and the low altitude Victor 1 route under the clouds.

Pre-flighting was a breeze and I pulled the plane out of the hangar, had a fuel truck fill her up and then started to taxi for the run-up bay. The ATIS reported visibility at greater than 8km below 3000 feet at that time.

Soon after, we took off and straight into fairly crap visibility above 1000 feet. I would have estimated a distance of around 6 kilometres by this stage and in haze. It certainly looked much better from the ground, just not great for photos.

As we approached Parramatta and then started for Pennant Hills, I told my passenger we will reschedule this flight for another time due to visibility, which by now, was more like 5 kilometres, still legal in the VFR sense as I was clear of clouds, however it could easily deteriorate further. I started a descent and swung the aircraft towards Prospect to go back to Bankstown. I did however manage a small diversion to allow my passenger to take a photo of their apartment.

The visibility in the area of Prospect and looking South-East to Bankstown must have dropped to around 3 kilometres. The ATIS was still reporting the original weather.

After my inbound call, I was needing to reference the instruments a lot more to ensure I was on track for joining downwind on 29R. I also was utilising my colour GPS, which is a much quicker way of confirming instruments along with landmark identification.

As I joined the extended downwind, the tower informed of a new ATIS, which was now Special VFR with a visibility of 3 kilometres. I was mid-downwind when the call was completed and soon after, the landing was a greaser.

On other news, the plane has only 10 hours to run before the hundred hourly maintenance release expires and we all know what this means... Prepare for financial rape! Engine replacement, windshield replacement along with most of the aircraft panels.

My next flight will be on ANZAC day and I am sure this flight will be the last before it's massive maintenance.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sydney Jaunt

Flight hours: 6 (3 via Human Mailing Tubes)
Study hours: 0
Aviation Reading: None

I finally managed to get some time in the air and not just my usual RPT flying, yes folks, I took my plane for a spin.

It ended up being a very late afternoon flight and very pleasant. I let Ajanta control the aircraft at times and she did quite well... that is if your discount the screeching of excitement at various times.

We flew over the harbour and Johnny Howard's Kirribilli residence a few times before heading back into an excellent sunset. I will post photos when AJ gets back from New Zealand.

AJ decided to extend her trip downunder up to her maximum 3 month visa limit (she has been continually extending her trip since it originally was only going to be for 3 or so weeks) and now she has decided to move to Australia. Until that time, her visa tourist day count needs resetting, so she flew over to New Zealand for a couple of weeks so that when back in Oz, the count will be zeroed off again.

The plane has around 45 hours left until its hundred hourly, which also coincides with the engine and windshield replacement along with some insurance work on the hail damaged areas. Time to buckle down on the money saving.