Friday, May 14, 2010

Below the clouds

I looked out the window, and what I saw wasn't really rejoicing.

Dark gray sky, and at times this sky would give us rainfalls. I was anxious that my flight could be canceled...

An hour later, I checked the latest METAR and I let out a sigh of relief. It looked good enough for a nice local flight.

We arrived at the airport at 6:30pm and to occupy myself I went for a little walk. I was looking for a spot were I could see the planes. A few minutes later my Instructor was here,
after some time we started the briefing, during which time he informed me that we would be flying to the training area via Touhin, in the south-west of the airport which is not too far from France !

We headed for the plane...
OO-VNI - Pa38 tomahawk
I have 2 hours of flight on it.

Actually it has been elected, the nicest Piper pa38 tomahawk in Europe ! What an honor to pilot it.

As the Preflight walk around was complete, we got on the plane, and started to prepare for engine startup.

I'm just happy :)

Ok engine started moments later. I'm communicating with the control tower for the first time !
I hesitated a moment, and then started :

Me:      "Charleroi Ground, Oscar Oscar - Victor November India good evening"

Tower: "Oscar - November India, Good evening, go ahead"
Me:      "Oscar - November India, request a local flight of one hour, leaving the zone via Thuin"

The tower cleared us for taxi to "platform 5" for the run up checks. Afterwards, we were cleared to taxi to Sierra 4 runway 25 and then they cleared for take-off. The winds were at 070° for 6 knots.
This means we had 6 knots of tailwind. But there's nothing to worry about as the runway length at Charleroi is 2500 meters...

later on:

Full throttle...

sevral minutes later :
Me:      "Oscar November India, Overhead Thuin, request to leave frequency."
Tower: "Oscar November India, frequency change approved."

Heading west, lights start to glow as the night falls slowly on the kingdom, as we pierce this calm air at 160 km/h, the engine seems to be roaring quietly.

Moments later the silence was broken by the ATC. I could see the Y formed by the intersection of two roads.

Here it is! Our training zone. Without delay we started to work.
I slowly raised the nose of the aircraft above the horizon and started applying gradually more and more throttle to reach 2300ft. Then I slowly pulled back on the throttle and let the airplane descend towards the ground for us. It was as simple as that.

But it wasn't long before it became harder...

We climbed to 2700ft and started some steep turns above the plain, I could feel the G pushing me into my seat as I kept raising the nose above what I could see of the horizon.
We lost 100ft...

Then I did an aborted descent, climbed back to 2700ft for some slow flight. And then a spiral descent back to 1500ft.

Thats enough for today we're heading back home...

Soon entering Charleroi's airspace

Me:      "Charleroi Tower, good evening Oscar Oscar - Victor November India overhead Thuin request landing instructions."
Tower: "Oscar November India, copied, QNH 1012, enter left hand downwind runway 25 report on downwind leg."
My instructor: read back what the tower told us.

More and more houses are enlightened it's wonderful.

Me:      "Oscar November India, entering downwind runway 25"
Tower: "Oscar November India, you are number one, report final runway 25"
Me:      "Oscar November India, we will report final runway 25 (I forgot to say number one)"


Me:      "Oscar November India on final runway 25"
Tower: "Oscar November India, cleared too land runway 25 wind 250° 05 knots"
Me:      "Cleared too land runway 25, Oscar November India"

... life on the land continues ...

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