A Milestone in the Logbook
With University taking up my time and (mainly) lack of funds, it has taken what some may think as a long time, but a recent flight to Gamston meant I have now reached 100 hours Total Flight Time (TT). What an amazing 100 hours it has been- which has included training for and gaining my PPL (48 hours TT), after around 70 hours gaining my IMC rating, with the rest of the hours taking myself, friends and family around the North of the country!
The flight was planned for Gamston, a lovely little airfeild just south of Doncaster. My passenger was planned to be my girlfriend; who has flown with me before on a flight with my parents soon after gaining my PPL, but this was the first time she would be upfront with me. As usual I did all the pre-flight planning the day before, with only final weather related calculations and phoning for PPR to do on the day of the flight. The planned track was an easy one, routing direct using the VOR located at Gamston. I planned to fly at a minimum of 3500ft to avoid the military zones along the route.
Durham Tees Valley to Gamston
We got to the airfield in plenty of time and filled in all the required paper work. Mine was the first flight of the day and so I completed the walk around checks carefully after which we settled down into the plane. I got the engine started and requested departure clearance and taxi. After a wave to my instructor, who was in another plane getting ready to take his first student out, we were on our way to holding point A1. The run-up checks showed no problems and so in no time we were in the air.
We were cleared to leave the zone to the south direct on track and so I took up an intercepting angle onto the VOR radial to GAM VOR. I tracked the VOR all the way down, which made navigation very easy. We were passed from Durham radar to Leeming Zone and then eventually to Linton Zone; who all pointed out a couple of other traffic, other than which all was quiet.
Approaching the town of Selby, Leeming advised us to freecall Doncaster; which I did requesting a zone transit direct to Gamston. After passing my details, I was given a basic service and then eventually clearance to transit controlled airspace not above 4000ft direct GAM. I read this back and was pleased to be given a direct route clearance. Soon after this I got a call asking if I’d copied, to which I read back the clearance again. This time Doncaster called asking the readability and cancelling my transit clearance. I orbited Selby to avoid the zone, while still hearing the controller fine but not getting them to hear me. I quickly tuned in Doncaster radar on the second comm radio and called them again. Thankfully this time the call was heard and I was re-issued the zone transit….phew!!
After passing overhead Doncaster I could begin to make out Gamston in the distance. When we were a little closer I requested frequency change onto Gamston radio. Runway 03 left hand circuit was in use and so I joined on the left downwind. It is quite a short distance from the threshold of 03 to the first exit of taxiway A, and so I decided to practice my short field landing technique; with the knowledge I actually had 1600m of runway, should I not get it perfect. I Slowed down nicely on base and deployed two-stages of flap, everything was looking good. I deployed the final stage on final and focused on my aiming point and ensuring the speed was in control. The touch down was very good; which I was pleased about after my recent heavy landings in the lighter Tomahawk plane (todays flight was in my usual Piper Warrior). I also managed to stop in time to make the turn off at taxiway A; so it was a good short field landing and certainly good practice.
I went to pay the landing fee, and then me and my girlfriend had a nice drink in the cafe which looks out onto the Apron. Perhaps slightly pricey, but I would say very worth it, as the food was very nice. We sat watching the coming and going for a while and then made our way back to the plane.
Return to Teeside
After starting the engine, performing the run-up checks and with “no known traffic” we backtracked on the runway getting ready to takeoff. After a final check that everything looked in order, we were soon taking off. My girlfriend commented that she loves taking-off and I certainly agree with her!! After departing the circuit I changed frequency back to Doncaster to hopefully get my second zone clearance of the day. Once again this was given direct track not above 4000ft and so I set about intercepting the 350 degree radial which would take us back to D.T.V.
The flight back was much the same as the journey out (except no radio problems this time!!) and so was a good chance to take in the great views. I listened to the ATIS at Durham Tees some distance away and noted a change in runway from the one we had departed on. After calling up Durham Radar we were given clearance to enter the control zone for a right hand base join. By the time we had joined base, a jet was just landing and so we were asked to report final. Again the landing was a good one, which completed a very nice flight
After taxiing back and shutting down the plane we made our way back to complete the paper work and reach into my wallet. Getting back into the flight school office saw me enter my 100th hour into my logbook (100 hours 50 min to be precise). I didn’t imagine that I’d be doing that when I first entered that very same office ready for my first ever “trial flight”.