Finally I did it! To be honest, I was worrying that I would have to return to Moscow before finishing my PPL, because I did not have any possibility to stay here after the 1st of July. It is much easier to take an exam right after finishing the course because of fresh skills, and I highly desired to do it before leaving.
I got an unexpected route via Prague CTR, and I had never flown it before. During my training I was flying through another CTR in Karlovy Vary, and it happened only two times. Besides, today I had an airplane that I had flown only once on my long cross-country.
On practice everything was not so scary as it sounds. I flew as usual, I contacted a controller, and he approved my request for flying my route. After leaving a CTR I contacted an ATC one more time and reported leaving a controlled area.
I think that the most difficult part was the weather. Thermal activity was pretty strong causing a bumpy ride. I saw hanggliders on some aerodrome, and they were climbed very fast. In those conditions the approach was a little tricky: for example, I experienced altitude changing from about -5 to +5 and vise versa just in some seconds without any power adjustment. At least it was not boring 🙂
I am very happy that I made emergency landings without any stress, I was just calculating a new path and turning at a proper point. During engine-out procedures there is no more feeling that I fall like a rock.
Thus, now I have almost 60 hours and an EASA PPL. I am accepting congratulations 🙂
I continue flying my cross-countries. Today I explored incredible mountains near the Czech border with Poland. I climbed to 5500 feet, so I am getting closer to airliners 🙂
I enjoy cross country flights. I can see beautiful forests, castles, fields, mountains, houses, cars and people below my plane, and incredible blue sky above. The clouds look great. I am already pretty good in controlling the airplane, and I have plenty of time to enjoy sightseeing.
After some days of practice here I can fly in the vicinity of the aerodrome even without a paper map, but for longer flights it is still vital. The airplane also has a GPS, but I try not to use it.
There are some interesting places around: the Skoda automotive factory, a paper factory (I can see a lot of lumber there), beautiful rivers, an abandoned military aerodrome, mountain villages.
Today I had a different airplane again; it is also a Cessna C-152, but I like it much more. I think it is more stable, and its performance is better. I will try to book this plane next time.
The traffic is so hard to see! The airplanes seem really tiny from distance! Even more, once I saw a radio-controlled airplane near the airfield, and initially I thought it was a regular plane.
Today I did not like my landings. I flared too high. I will work some more on it in the next few days.
Surprisingly I was not tired today. Probably probably because the weather was easier to control the airplane, or I am just getting used to flying.
There was one more important stage for me today: I flew my long cross-country with two full stop landings in different aerodromes. In my case there were Hradec Kralove (hurray, concrete runway!) and Pribram (hurray, asphalt runway!). I already said that I like concrete and asphalt runways more than grass or turf ones.
The landscape was incredible, the weather was great, and the flight was a pleasure.
Today I flew a different airplane. It is a Cessna C-152. I like it less as there are some more vibrations, controls forces are higher, and ground roll is longer. However it has a VOR receiver, its airspeed indicator is in knots, and one does not require holding flaps lever for some seconds to set flaps in the required position. The flaps switch looks like this:
Do you see what happened with fixed position limiters due to wear and tear? The photo is not from that airplane, but it is a common problem. You should guess a proper switch position.
To be honest, I like electric flaps in C-150 some more as it is easier to set it to required position (I have to count 3 seconds for flaps 10, and 1 more second for each higher position), and the airplane also has a flaps position indicator.
Generally it is not important, and I enjoy flying both airplanes.
As I want to finish my PPL ASAP, I flew one more time after my long cross country. The destination was LKMB, an aerodrome with two grass runways for different wind. It is not very common in Czech Republic, usually aerodromes have only one strip. The approach there is a little bit scary, I had to fly pretty low above the hill.